American Archive of Public Broadcasting

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The AAPB Executive Advisory Council comprises a distinguished group of individuals from around the country who are passionate about public media and its long-term preservation and access. The Council will inform and guide the strategic direction of the AAPB with the overarching goal of ensuring that the Archive continues to serve the needs of public media stakeholders and the American people.

The Council will provide guidance to the Project Team in the following ways:

  • Provide advice and recommendations on strategic direction
  • Collaborate with the AAPB team on initiatives to raise awareness of the collection among cultural institutions and the general public
  • Assist in outreach to their networks and communities (public media organizations and leaders, educators, government officials and agencies, foundations, journalists, historians, librarians, technology developers, etc.) and beyond
  • Guide the AAPB in developing a sustainability plan and its fundraising components.

Henry Becton

Acting Chair

Henry Becton served as president of WGBH Educational Foundation from 1984 until October 2007, when he was named Vice Chairman. He served as WGBH's general manager from 1978 until 1999. He is a Director of Public Radio International, the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and American Documentary Inc. (POV). Henry is a former chairman of the Association of Public Television Stations and a former member of the boards of directors of PBS, the PBS Foundation and The Belo Corporation where he served as lead director. He is a director of Becton Dickinson and Company where he has served as its lead director, and is a trustee or director of various Deutsche mutual funds. He is a former President of the Board of Concord Academy and a former Trustee of Connecticut College, the Boston Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium and the North Bennett Street School.

Alan Brinkley

Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of American History at Columbia University. He specializes in the history of twentieth-century America. From 2003 to 2009, he was University Provost, and before that chair of the Department of History. In 1998-99, he was the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University, and in 2011-2012, he was the Pitt Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge. He has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 1991.

Karen Cator

Karen Cator is President and CEO of Digital Promise and a leading voice for transforming American education through technology, innovation and research. From 2009-2013, Karen was Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the development of the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and focused the Office’s efforts on teacher and leader support. Prior to joining the department, Cator directed Apple’s leadership and advocacy efforts in education. In this role, she focused on the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators. She began her education career in Alaska as a teacher, ultimately leading technology planning and implementation. She also served as Special Assistant for Telecommunications for the Governor of Alaska. Cator holds a master’s in school administration from the University of Oregon and recently received the 2014 College of Education Distinguished Alumni award. The American Association of Publishers has awarded Cator with the 2014 Visionary Award. She received her bachelor’s in early childhood education from Springfield College, and she is a member of the Aspen Pahara Fellows. She is a past chair for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and has served on boards including the Software & Information Industry Association-Education.

Beth Courtney

Beth Courtney is President and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), serving as the leader of the statewide public media enterprise since 1985. LPB is also Louisiana’s educational technology resource center and is a supplier of cultural and educational programming for public television nationwide. During her tenure at LPB, the station has produced a number of award-winning documentaries including the six-part series Louisiana: A History, Uncle Earl, Kate Chopin: A Reawakening, and Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard. Recent productions have included Atchafalaya Houseboat, Washing Away: Losing Louisiana, Katrina’s Smallest Victims, Return to the Forest Where We Live and Louisiana War Stories.

Ms. Courtney is former Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provides funding for America’s public television and radio stations. Among her many leadership positions, Courtney is Past Chair of the Association of Public Television Stations board and former Vice-Chair of the Board of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Ms. Courtney has chaired numerous PBS task forces and currently serves on the Board of the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives, and the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

Ms. Courtney has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, including the House Appropriations and Commerce Committees, as an advocate and spokesperson for public broadcasting. She has appeared on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, CBS’ Sunday Morning, CNN’s Crossfire, and the Freedom Forum. She continues to share her expertise as a broadcasting professional on numerous telecommunications technology advisory committees on national, state and local levels.

Prior to her appointment as CEO of LPB, she was LPB's Executive Producer. During her tenure, she oversaw the production of many award-winning programs that have been broadcast in Louisiana and around the world.

Ms. Courtney started her career in broadcasting as a capitol correspondent, reporting on state government and moderating numerous political debates. She was named Communicator of the Year in 1984, elected Broadcaster of the Year by American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT) in 1988, and was one of the YWCA’s Women of Achievement in 1991. Ms. Courtney was inducted into the Louisiana Center for Women in Government Hall of Fame in 1999.

Ms. Courtney is married to Bob Courtney, President of Courtney Communications. She is the proud mother of one daughter, Julia who is an attorney and mother of Andrew and Virginia.

Norman Lear

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist.

Mr. Lear began his television writing career in 1950 when he and his partner, Ed Simmons, were signed to write for The Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley. After only four shows, they were hired away by Jerry Lewis to write for him and Dean Martin on The Colgate Comedy Hour, where they worked until the end of 1953. They then spent two years on The Martha Raye Show, after which Mr. Lear worked on his own for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show and The George Gobel Show.

In 1958, Mr. Lear teamed with director Bud Yorkin to form Tandem Productions. Together they produced several feature films, with Mr. Lear taking on roles as executive producer, writer, and director. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1967 for his script for Divorce American Style. In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce All in the Family, which first aired on January 12, 1971 and ran for nine seasons. It earned four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. All in the Family was followed by a succession of other television hit shows including Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Concerned about the growing influence of radical religious evangelists, Mr. Lear decided to leave television in 1980 and formed People For the American Way, a non-profit organization designed to speak out for Bill of Rights guarantees and to monitor violations of constitutional freedoms. People For remains an influential and effective voice for freedom.

Mr. Lear’s business career continued in 1982, when Tandem Productions and his other company, T.A.T. Communications, were folded into Embassy Communications, which was sold in 1985. He then created and is currently chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company with interests in television, motion pictures, and licensing.

In addition to People for the American Way, Mr. Lear has founded other nonprofit organizations, including the Business Enterprise Trust (1989- 2000), which spotlighted exemplary social innovations in American business; the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication (2000-present), a multidisciplinary research and public policy center dedicated to exploring the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society; and with his wife, Lyn, co-founded the Environmental Media Association (1989-present), to mobilize the entertainment industry to become more environmentally responsible.

In 1999, President Clinton bestowed the National Medal of Arts on Mr. Lear, noting that “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” He also has the distinction of being among the first seven television pioneers inducted in 1984 into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

In 2001, Lyn and Norman Lear purchased one of the few surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence. During the decade that they owned it, they shared it with the American people by touring it to all 50 states. As part of this Declaration of Independence Road Trip, Mr. Lear launched Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan youth voter initiative that registered well over four million new young voters in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections.

Mr. Lear is married to Lyn Davis Lear and resides in Los Angeles, California. He has six children: Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Benjamin, Brianna, and Madeline, and four grandchildren: Daniel, Noah, Griffin, and Zoe.

Mr. Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get To Experience, was published in October 2014 by The Penguin Press.

Deanna Marcum

As managing director of Ithaka S+R, Deanna Marcum leads the research and consulting services that assist universities and colleges, libraries, publishers, and cultural institutions as they make the transition to the digital environment. She heads a staff of 10 program directors and analysts with wide-ranging experience.

From 2003 to 2011, Deanna served as associate librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress. She managed 53 divisions and offices whose 1,600 employees are responsible for acquisions, cataloging, public service, and preservation activities; services to the blind and physically handicapped; and network and bibliographic standards for America's national library. She is also responsible for integrating the emerging digital resources into the traditional artifactual library, the first step toward building a national digital library for the 21st century.

In 1995, Deanna was appointed president of the Council on Library Resources and president of the Commission on Preservation and Access. She oversaw the merger of these two organizations into the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in 1997 and served as president until August 2003. Deanna served as director of public service and collection management at the Library of Congress from 1993 to 2005. Before that she was dean of the School of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America. From 1980 to 1989, she was first a program office and then vice president of Council on Library Resources.

Senator Ed Markey

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is a national leader on telecommunications and technology policy and consumer protection. Having served for 20 years as Chair or Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, he was the principal author of many of the laws now governing our nation’s telephone, broadcasting, cable television, wireless and broadband communications systems. In Congress, Senator Markey has been a long-time and dedicated supporter of public media and has the photos with Big Bird and Arthur the Aardvark to prove it.

Newton Minow

Newton N. Minow is Senior Counsel to the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP. He was a partner with Sidley & Austin from 1965–1991.

Mr. Minow was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served as a U.S. Army Sergeant in the China-Burma India Theater in World War II. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, and has been awarded 14 honorary degrees, including Brandeis University, the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame.

His career includes service as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson of the U.S. Supreme Court and as Assistant Counsel to Governor Adlai E. Stevenson. He was a partner in the law firm of Stevenson, Rifkind & Wirtz when, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed him Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He served in the Kennedy Administration until 1963 when he became Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. In 1965, he joined the law firm of Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird & Minow, which merged with Sidley & Austin in 1972. Sidley & Austin merged with Brown & Wood in 2001.

Mr. Minow has been a director of many companies including Aon Corporation, CBS, Sara Lee Corporation, Foote, Cone & Belding, Manpower Inc. and the Tribune Company.

In addition, he is a former chairman of The RAND Corporation, trustee emeritus of the Mayo Clinic, a life trustee of Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame, a former trustee and chairman of the Carnegie Corporation, and former Chairman of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

Mr. Minow has written five books and numerous magazine articles.

Mr. Minow and his wife, Josephine (Jo) live in Chicago. They have three daughters, Nell, Martha and Mary.

John Ptak

John Ptak was born in San Diego, California. He began his career in the entertainment industry in 1968 when, after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, he joined the staff of The American Film Institute, where he was part of the team that established AFI's Center for Advanced Studies in Los Angeles. He worked thereafter as a Hollywood talent agent for 35 years, first at ICM and thereafter at William Morris and CAA, with an emphasis on directors, producers and independent films. He left CAA in 2006 to form Arsenal, which provides advisory services to film production companies and financiers.

Early in his career, he was directly involved with setting up such films as Airplane, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Coal Miner's Daughter, Jaws, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Taxi Driver. His personal clients included directors such as Bruce Beresford, Costa Gavras, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Wolfgang Peterson, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Peter Weir, as well as producers such as Miramax and National Lampoon. At CAA, he expanded the role of the talent agent by representing the financing and distribution arrangements of over 100 independent films, working with his own clients as well as with Woody Allen, Jane Campion, Kevin Costner, Paul Haggis and Anthony Minghella on such films as Crash, Dances with Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hannibal, Lost Highway, The Piano, The Talented Mr. Ripley and True Romance.

He was a key executive in CAA’s corporate consultancy arrangements on such accounts as Coca-Cola, IMAX, and the French bank, Credit Lyonnais, with whom he participated in the restructuring of MGM and the rebirth of United Artists in 1993. Ptak was recently an Executive Producer of Peter Weir’s The Way Back, Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, and Terry Gilliam’s Dr. Parnassus.

Ptak is a member of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, sits on the Board of Directors of The National Film Preservation Foundation, and is on the Foundation Committee of The Motion Picture & Television Fund, where he played a key role in its alliance with the UCLA Health System. He also has served on advisory boards and panels for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and Chapman University.

Bruce Ramer

Bruce M. Ramer was appointed to the CPB Board of Directors by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in August 2013. This is Mr. Ramer's second term as a member of the CPB Board, having been previously appointed for his first term by President George W. Bush. He served as chair of the CPB Board of Directors from 2010 to 2012. He is an attorney and partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, a firm specializing in entertainment and media matters.

Ramer has been active in public television since joining the board of KCET in Los Angeles in 1992. He served as chair from 2001 to 2003. He is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Southern California (USC). He is chair of the USC Institute on Entertainment Law and Business and a member of the board of councilors of the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the USC Gould School of Law, and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. He is a member of the board of governors for the USC Center for the Digital Future, a member of the board of directors for the Foundation for the National Archives, and a member of the Peabody Board of Advisors. Ramer is founding chairman and member of the board of trustees of the Geffen Playhouse, a board member of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and the Herrhausen Institute for International Dialogue, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Ramer received the American Jewish Committee Community Service Award in 1987 and the Learned Hand Award in 2005. He has also received the Beverly Hills Bar Association Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award in 1996; the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2000; the Medal of Honor of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in 2001 and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation Ambassador for Humanity Award in 2002. He was named one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in California by California Business Lawyer and one of the top 100 lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.

Ramer is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He is married to Madeline Ramer, with whom he has four children and five grandchildren.

Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming. From 1996-2002, she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. Roberts also serves as Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.

In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by United Media. The Roberts also are contributing editors to USA Weekend Magazine, and in 2011 they published Our Haggadah, Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families. Their earlier collaboration, From This Day Forward, an account of their more than 40 year marriage and other marriages in American history, immediately went onto The New York Times bestseller list. All of Cokie Roberts’s other books have also been best-sellers, including the number one bestseller, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, an account of women’s roles and relationships throughout American history. Her other bestselling books — Founding Mothers, published in 2004 and Ladies of Liberty in 2008 — are histories of women in America’s founding era. In 2014, Cokie Robert’s published a children’s version of Founding Mothers. Based on the original book, this version introduces young readers to the brave, brilliant, and enterprising women whose influence on the founding of our country was as instrumental as that of the men whose names are inked in history.

Cokie Roberts holds more than 25 honorary degrees, serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions and was on the President Bush’s Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008, the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.

Patricia Steele

Patricia Steele, former Dean of Libraries at Indiana University and more recently the University of Maryland, focused much of her career on integrating digital strategies into the collections, services and commitment of academic libraries. Guided by her understanding of the digital world and its impacts on the use of space, she was instrumental in establishing the information commons model in both libraries. At Maryland, ethnographic techniques informed broad space planning.

Steele has served on the executive board of the Kuali Foundation and, as a founding member, on the board of Kuali OLE. After helping found the HathiTrust Digital Library, she was elected to its board of governors. Within the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) libraries, Steele was one of the negotiators that fashioned a contract with Google to digitize CIC library holdings. She also was a founding member and board chair of the Academic Preservation Trust, a node in the Digital Preservation Network.