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

Dec 27, 2010  •  Post A Comment

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.

 

3 Comments

  1. Having lived in LA for over twenty years, having been a regular contributor to KCET, and having worked on independent productions that paid to use the KCET facilities, my perspective MAY be warped, however, I feel free to write here that I think the entire KCET/PBS Debacle is full of BS from the gitgo.
    The place has always been top heavy with too much “management”.
    Having run facility companies as well as having been one to hire and use facilities for over forty years, my note would be that their operation was overought with more people than could ever be justified.
    Too bad. It has been a good facility and one with a wonderful eclectic feeling and history, not to be found anywhere else, coast to coast.
    So, I don’t buy the notion perpetrated by KCET management, that they couldn’t afford to stay with PBS because of costs/revenue issues. Yes, their costs are too much, and some responsible trimming of “staff” over recent years could have averted this current mess.
    Peter Bright

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