Outgoing PBS prexy-CEO Pat Mitchell has joined the Museum of TV & Radio as the nonprofit org’s new topper.
Mitchell fills the vacancy left by Stuart Brotman, who departed the museum last June. She’ll officially join March 15, having promised to stay with PBS until it finds her successor. That search is expected to be resolved soon.
In conjunction with Mitchell’s appointment, Christy Carpenter has been named exec VP and chief operating officer of MTR. She’d served as a vice president of the org since 2003. The changes were announced Wednesday by MTR board chairman Frank Bennack.
Mitchell, who’ll be based in Gotham, joins the museum as it struggles to redefine its mission amid a rapidly shifting industry. Struck last summer by a round of layoffs (14 full-time employees and one part-timer) and the resignation of Brotman, the MTR is seen as needing to refocus by even its longtime supporters.
The museum boasts a slew of popular programs, including its William S. Paley Television Festival and an annual gala event. But it’s still probably best known for its two locations in New York and Beverly Hills, where museumgoers can view or listen to old TV and radio programs.
But in an age where those clips are readily available on DVD and the Internet, that function may be less relevant.
Mitchell said she and Carpenter plan to launch a “strategic planning process” in order to define the museum’s mission.
“I see a whole new opportunity for this museum here (in New York) and in L.A., to expand the programs that go beyond our walls,” she said. “We’ve got to be relevant and important to the media industry and the public. That means redesigning and reshaping the programs.”
Mitchell said she’d spent time at the museum in the past and had participated in some programs, yet was still “surprised to find out how much goes on here” once she started talking with the org’s board about taking over the reins.
“I plan to be there on the ground, increasing our profile,” she said.
No stranger to fund-raising given her PBS experience, Mitchell said the MTR still faces a major challenge in securing funds.
“It’s never been tougher to be a nonprofit,” she said. “And the media is going through such transformative changes, it has affected the fund-raising here and at PBS. We have to begin redefining who we are and the funds will follow.”
Bennack said Mitchell brings “passion and vision” to the MTR, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
“Her proven leadership abilities, combined with her experience in guiding a major media enterprise to adapt new platforms and technologies, will be instrumental in building the museum’s profile and advancing the institution’s mission,” Bennack said.
Mitchell has been prexy-CEO at PBS since March 2000; before that she was exec in charge of original productions at Turner. Her varied resume includes running her own production company and working as a reporter, news anchor, talkshow host and White House correspondent.
Carpenter previously also was exec director of the org’s Media Center and Intl. Council. She has served on the board of KCET and the board of the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, and in the 1980s she worked in early interactive services, including Warner Cable’s QUBE service, and with Prodigy.