Louisiana Public Broadcasting is a state network of six non-commercial television stations licensed to the Louisiana Educational Television Authority (LETA), established in 1971 by the Louisiana Legislature.
|Mission||About 90 staff members at the LPB Telecommunications Center in Baton Rouge direct network program acquisition and scheduling, production, promotion, broadcast and technical operations, educational services, development, and revenue producing activities.|
|Founded||September 6, 1975|
The date of September 6, 1975 probably doesn’t mean much to you, but here at Louisiana Public Broadcasting it marked the culmination of three years of planning and hard work. At 11:58 on that morning, WLPB-TV signed on in Baton Rouge as the flagship of what was then the newest public television state network.
For LSU Professor and Educational Television activist Lucille Woodard, the move to get educational television in the state was almost a crusade. She began pushing for educational television in Louisiana in the early 1950s and even got Governor Robert Kennon to create a short-lived Educational Television Commission during his term. After decades of frustrated efforts to bring public television to the entire state of Louisiana, the Television Authority in 1971 approved the money needed to start the state network. After almost three years of preparations led by Executive Director Max Fetty, Mrs. Woodard had the honor of flipping the switch on September 6, 1975 to let Baton Rouge viewers get their first glimpse of Mr. Rogers and the people on The Electric Company.
Unfortunately, Fetty never got a chance to see WLPB go on the air because he died a few months before the sign on. “We saw this television station as an extension of education for the state of Louisiana,” said Elise Rosenthal, one of the original LETA Board members and a former president of the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting. “We worked really hard to spread this message and get people excited about it. And they were.”
LPB’s first home was in the Louisiana Department of Education building in Downtown Baton Rouge. The first studio had a giant pillar in the center which made it rather difficult to shoot wide shots. Necessity being the mother of invention, this unattractive support beam became an integral part of every LPB production. “It was an old square concrete post so we put about a three foot base around it, put posters on it, lit it, and used it as part of our first fest