CE “Pep” Cooney
C.E. “Pep” Cooney was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he learned his sense of community growing up in America’s heartland during the Great Depression. He loved and excelled at sports, particularly in wrestling and baseball, and earned the Eagle Scout badge as a Boy Scout. Pep attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Utah, majoring in marketing and advertising, two areas of study that would serve him well during his long, distinguished and successful career in the television industry. His imaginative marketing served him well in another area: he proposed to his wife, Cheri, in a TV commercial. His 44-year professional career began in advertising and program sales, earning him Salesman of the Year honors at 3M Corporation. He joined KRON-TV in San Francisco, eventually becoming general manager and then president of Chronicle Broadcasting. He moved to Phoenix in 1977 as president and general manager of KPNX-TV Channel 12 until 1995. During his tenure, television was taking on an entirely new direction through technology and growing as rapidly as the Valley of the Sun. Pep played a key role in the expansion and reach of both and his legacy remains as strong today as it did when he retired as president of KPNX Broadcasting Co. and senior vice president of Gannett Broadcasting in 1998. Over the years, Pep devoted much of his time and his energies to many civic, business and professional organizations. He served as United Way Campaign Chairman and on the Samaritan Health Service Board of Directors; the KPNX-TV Minority Advisory Board; the NCCJ Board of Directors, which he chaired from 1988-90; the First Amendment Coalition Board of Directors; the Theodore Roosevelt Council of the Boy Scouts of America Executive Board; the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors, for whom he served as director and president; the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University; Harris Trust Bank and United Blood Services, Inc. Two scholarship funds have been established in his name at Arizona State University, the C.E. Pep Cooney Leadership Scholarship at the Cronkite School and in the College of Public Programs. Pep received numerous awards including Distinguished Citizen from the Phoenix Union High School District; All City’s Honor Convocation; Distinguished Eagle Scout Award; Distinguished Achievement Award by the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University; and the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith “Torch of Liberty Award.” He was a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter’s Silver Circle Society. Mr. Cooney passed away in 2003 at the age of 70.