Beth Courtney

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Elizabeth Hardy "Beth" Courtney​

(President of Louisiana
Public Broadcasting)

Political party Independent

Born May 15, 1945​
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Spouse Robert Louis "Bob" Courtney​

Children:
Julia Courtney Moore​
Parents:
General John Spencer Hardy
​ Virginia Elizabeth Doyle Hardy​
Alma mater:
Louisiana State University

Elizabeth Hardy Courtney, known as Beth Courtney (born May 15, 1945), has since 1985 been the president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, her state's educational technology resources center based in the capital city of Baton Rouge. She is a former vice chairman of the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, having been appointed as a political Independent in 2003 by U.S. President George W. Bush. Her term expired on the CPB expired in 2010.[1]

Background

Born in Shreveport, Courtney is one of three children of the late Virginia Elizabeth Doyle, and the World War II Lieutenant General John Spencer Hardy (1913-2012), originally from Logansport in DeSoto Parish. Her brothers are John S. Hardy, Jr., of Baton Rouge and George Dickson Hardy of San Diego, California.[2]

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in history and speech and a Master of Arts in European history and government from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. She completed a course in public broadcasting management at the University of California at Berkeley.[3]

Work at LPB

LPB is a six-station television network with affiliates in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Baton Rouge, with a seventh affiliated station in New Orleans. The network has produced award-winning documentaries, including Sunshine By The Stars: Celebrating Louisiana Music[4] which celebrated the song You Are My Sunshine, popularized by former Governor Jimmie Davis, Louisiana: A History in six parts; Uncle Earl, about former Governor Earl Kemp Long; Kate Chopin: A Reawakening, about the Louisiana author Kate Chopin, and Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard." Other productions have included Atchafalaya Houseboat set on the Atchafalaya River in south Louisiana, Washing Away: Losing Louisiana," about the disappearance of the state's coastal wetlands, Katrina's Smallest Victims, a focus on Hurricane Katrina, and Louisiana War Stories.[3] She also helped to launch and co-hosts Louisiana Public Square, a monthly public affairs program which permits viewers to voice their own input.[5]

Prior to her appointment as CEO of LPB, she was the network's executive producer. She has reported on multiple aspects of state government and moderated candidate political forums. In 1984, she was named "Broadcaster of the Year" by American Women in Radio & Television .[3] In 1999, she was inducted into the Louisiana Center for Women and Government at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish.[6] She is a member and past president of the Baton Rouge Press Club. She was instrumental in developing LPB's annual "Louisiana Legends" program. The National World War II Museum once honored Courtneyr for having co-hosted a three-hour live program, "Louisiana Honors Its Veterans," commemorating surviving veterans of World War II.[3]

Courtney has frequently testified before congressional committees. She has appeared on such public affairs programs as CBS's Sunday Morning, and two former series Firing Line, hosted by William F. Buckley, Jr., and the CNN offering, Crossfire, once co-hosted by conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan.[3]

Controversy

In 2006, the Louisiana Ethics Commission fined Courtney and her husband, Robert Louis "Bob" Courtney (born October 4, 1949), who operates a Baton Rouge public relations firm and a film/video production company, $10,000 for violating a provision of the Louisiana ethics code. The complaint involved receiving payments from a private company, which hired Bob Courtney's firm, and did business with a Louisiana public broadcasting entity under Beth Courtney's control. Under the state Code of Ethics, subcontractors and contractors must comply with the provision which forbids nepotism. The Courtneys did not contest the ethics board findings.[7]

Personal life

Courtney is affiliated with Rotary International, the Junior League, Special Olympics, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Inc., and the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Beth and Bob Courtney have a daughter, Julia, an attorney, and two grandchildren.[3] She also has four step-children from Bob's previous marriage.​

References

  1. Vice-Chair Beth Courtney. cpb.org. Retrieved on September 25, 2010.
  2. Obituary of John Spencer Hardy, The Baton Rouge Advocate, May 3, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Beth Courtney: President and Chief Executive Officer. beta.lpb.org. Retrieved on September 25, 2010.
  4. http://www.lpb.org/index.php/programs/sunshine/sunshine
  5. Louisiana Public Square: Our Hosts. lpb.org. Retrieved on September 25, 2010; no longer on-line..
  6. Past Inductees. nicholls.edu. Retrieved on September 25, 2010; no longer on-line..
  7. Cliff Kincaid (January 24, 2006). Whistleblower Blasts Public Broadcasting Official. Accuracy in Media. Retrieved on September 25, 2010.

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