The Museum of Television and Radio, formerly the Museum of Broadcasting has morphed once again. Since March of this year it is now the Paley Center for Media, named after late CBS founder William S. Paley. Dropping the “Museum” part of its name is telling. The Center, which has two sites–New York and Los Angeles–will still serve as a repository of television and radio programming but sees itself as foremost a place for industry leaders and the public to engage in dialogue about media and its role in society. The number of panels and interview sessions will double and new media executives and creators are being brought in, in addition to those from traditional media.
The Center is currently in the process of digitizing its international collection of more than 140,000 programs covering almost 100 years of television and radio history, including news, public affairs programs and documentaries, performing arts programs, children’s programming, sports, comedy and variety shows, and commercial advertising. Programming from some seventy countries is represented in the collection. The collection is not comprehensive, of course. The site points out that it is a curated collection, i.e. “programs have been selected on the basis of artistic achievement, social impact, or historic significance.” Both the New York and Los Angeles sites house the same archive which at this point does not have a corresponding online catalog which would be most helpful especially for folks in the middle of the country for whom a trip to either coast is required.