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PBS Shakeup in L.A. Sparks Criticism of Programming Decisions NY Times

As Los Angeles-area residents prepare for a shift in their local PBS outlet, the programming choices made by KOCE-TV, the Orange County station that will become the city's main PBS outlet on Sunday, are raising some eyebrows, reports Elizabeth Jensen in The New York Times.

For instance, KOCE has decided not to carry some popular PBS programs, including "Independent Lens," "Charlie Rose" and "Nightly Business Report," the article says. That means that Los Angeles viewers will have to tune in to either of two other stations, KLCS-TV in Los Angeles or KVCR-TV in San Bernardino, to view those shows.

KOCE opted not to air "Need to Know," a Friday newsmagazine, to avoid shifting its popular British sitcom programming and as it awaits permission from PBS to move it to Sunday, the article says.

“We think separating ‘Independent Lens’ from the rest of the PBS schedule sends the wrong message to the Southern Californian audience about the kinds of audiences that public television should be serving,” said Dennis Palmieri, the director of communications for Independent Television Service.

But KOCE President Mel Rogers responded that many of the station's decisions were made because of existing commitments that couldn't be shifted. KOCE was forced to quickly shuffle its schedule after KCET-TV, Los Angeles' main PBS station, announced in October it would quit PBS.

“Up to the last minute, I didn’t think KCET would go nuclear. I just thought it would get resolved,” Rogers said, according to the article.