Dixon, ex-KATV news director, takes Pryor Center helm

Posted: January 14, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.

The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas has made Randy Dixon its director effective Monday.

Dixon, the former news director at KATV, Channel 7, in Little Rock with at 31-year career at the station’s news department, was hired after a national search, the university said in a statement. After leaving KATV, Dixon founded Dixon Digital Media, a media consulting firm and video production company, in 2011. Later that year, he began working with the Pryor Center to review and digitize the KATV archive.

His new role will entail managing all aspects of the Pryor Center, which holds as its mission to document Arkansas history by collecting audio and video interviews and images and to make the materials available to the public, the university said. Duties will encompass hiring, training and supervising staff; budgeting and fundraising; and devising ways to share the center’s collections.

“I am very pleased to have someone with the passion and the qualifications of Randy Dixon,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “The work of the Pryor Center is of tremendous importance to anyone who cares about the people and the history of our state. I can think of no one better to lead this project into the future.”

Dixon will also be responsible for two forthcoming projects: launching the Arkansas Story Bus, which is intended to collect more interviews with people across the state; and supervising the center’s move to a new location on the downtown Fayetteville square.

“This is a very exciting time to become a part of the Pryor Center,” said Dixon. “I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. Personally, I feel the Pryor Center is a perfect fit for me: I spent more than three decades covering Arkansas news; now I have the opportunity to preserve Arkansas history.”

The Pryor Center was established in 1999 with a gift of $220,000 in unspent campaign funds from Sen. David Pryor. Since then, the center has compiled hundreds of interviews and images, the university said, and its archive includes 24,000 hours of video and news film, dating back to the 1950s, that was donated by KATV in 2009.