Randy Dixon Named Director of Pryor Center

by Lance Turner  on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 8:05 am  

Videographer and former KATV News Director Randy Dixon in 2011, working to digitize 24,000 videotapes from the ABC affiliate's news archives. (Photo by Lance Turner)

Randy Dixon, a former news director of ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock, has been named director of the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas.

The UA said the appointment, announced Monday, was made "after an extensive national search." Dixon begins work on Monday.

"Randy Dixon is a walking encyclopedia of Arkansas history, because of all his years in the news department of Channel 7 in Little Rock," former U.S. Sen. David Pryor said in a news release. "We are very excited that he is taking this position. He will be a great asset to the center." 

The Pryor Center, named for Pryor and his wife, Barbara, was established in 1999 with a gift of $220,000 from Pryor's unexpended campaign funds. Its main goal has been to document the cultural history of Arkansans by collecting audio and video interviews and images from the state’s past. In 2005, a $2 million donation from Don Tyson of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale provided an endowment for the center, enabling it to expand and buy additional equipment.

Recently, Dixon led an effort to archive more than 24,000 hours of video and news film, dating back to the 1950s, donated by KATV in 2009. The goal is to make the material available to the public and to students and researchers at all academic levels.

"I am very pleased to have someone with the passion and the qualifications of Randy Dixon," said UA 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."

In his role as director, Dixon will manage all aspects of the Pryor Center, working under the supervision of the associate vice chancellor in the Office of the Chancellor. His duties will include hiring, training and supervising the center’s five-person staff; planning, budgeting and developing means to organize and share the center’s collections with the people of the state and nation. He will also work with the assistant vice chancellor for development to plan and manage fundraising for the center.

The UA said Dixon will also be responsible for two major upcoming projects: launching the Arkansas Story Bus, a project intended to generate more interviews with people across the state; and supervising the center’s move to new facilities on the downtown Fayetteville square.

"This is a very exciting time to become a part of the Pryor Center," Dixon said. "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.”

Dixon had a 31-year career in the news department at KATV, beginning as a news photographer and working his way up to news director, which he held for 10 years. His work earned 10 regional Emmys, 22 regional and four national Edward R. Murrow awards, more than four dozen Associated Press awards and three Gold World Medals from the New York Festivals. 

Dixon has twice served as president of the Arkansas Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association and was on the board of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Chapter for four years. In 2010, he was inducted into the Emmy’s Silver Circle of Achievement.

Dixon founded Dixon Digital Media, a media consulting firm and video production company, in 2011. 



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