Robert M. Batscha, president of the Museum of Television & Radio, died Friday, July 4, in Manhattan at the age of 58. The cause of death was cancer.
Batscha, who received his doctor of philosophy in political science from Columbia University, joined the museum as president in November 1981.
Appointed by the museum's founder, William S. Paley, chairman and founder of CBS, Batscha oversaw its expansion from a converted office building in Manhattan to a bicoastal institution with facilities in both New York and Beverly Hills.
During his tenure, the museum's collection grew from 5,000 programs to more than 120,000, with an increased focus on international programming, advertisements and "lost" programming, preserving the historical and cultural legacy of television and radio for the general public.
Frank A. Bennack Jr., former CEO of Hearst Corp. and chairman of the museum's board of trustees, issued the following statement: "The museum staff and its board of trustees are profoundly saddened by this untimely loss. Bob was an admired leader, colleague and friend who guided the museum's growth for more than 20 years."
Bennack added, "Through his extraordinary vision and deep commitment, he significantly expanded the museum's collection of radio and television programs and advertisements, oversaw the building of the museum's two facilities in New York and Los Angeles and secured the museum's place as a renowned institution respected around the world."