Southern California may lose one of its flagship public-television stations, KCET-TV, as it mulls its options, ranging from leaving the Public Broadcasting Service to selling its studio in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times.
With KCET facing financial challenges, the station’s executives complain about the $6.8 million they owe PBS for shows such as "Nova" and "Frontline," because they claim the station pays more than others without receiving exclusivity, the story says.
PBS spokeswoman Anne Bentley says the station pays the same percentage of operating revenue as other affiliates and points out that PBS has done some cost-cutting of its own. Some critics point out that KCET should do some cost-cutting at its executive level: eight executives earned about $200,000 or more in 2007, the last time the station filed a public report on its operations. Its operating budget, which was $37.4 million for the fiscal year ended in June 2009, needs to be trimmed by $10 million in the current year, the article says.
That’s leading the station’s executives to consider alternatives, such as forming a consortium with three other Southern California public stations: KOCE-TV, KLCS-TV and KVCR-TV. The stations would be able to cut office and administrative costs and coordinate on-air fund-raising drives, the article points out.
But potential purchasers are also looking at KCET’s studios, a sale of which could provide cash, the story says.
Leaving PBS would be the last choice, although KCET chief executive Al Jerome said he’s confident the station would still do well without shows like "Frontline" and "Sesame Street," the article adds.