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To Avoid KCET-TV Breaking Away from PBS, Four Los Angeles-Area PBS Affiliates Mull Forming Consortium

Sep 30, 2010  •  Post A Comment

The four Los Angeles-area PBS affiliates gathered on Wednesday to discuss a restructuring plan that would create a consortium between them, in an effort to keep KCET-TV from breaking away from PBS, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The plan would call for a consortium between KCET, Orange County’s KOCE-TV, the Inland Empire’s KVCR and the Los Angeles school district’s KLCS, the story says. The stations would look to save money by reducing overlap in areas such as fundraising and programming.

KCET, the biggest PBS station with nearly 9 million viewers, has been facing financial stress, leading its executives to warn it may sever its PBS ties and become an independent station if it’s unable to lower its $7 million in annual programming fees to PBS, the story says.

If the consortium plan succeeds, it would put the four public TV stations on equal footing, rather than the typical PBS model of having a primary station and one or several secondary stations, according to the article. One issue for PBS, though, is that the plan would likely reduce the amount of programming money it receives, the story points out.

"Both sides have too much to lose" if KCET breaks from PBS, said KOCE-TV’s President and Chief Executive Mel Rogers after the meeting. "If I were betting, I wouldn’t bet that KCET would leave PBS," he added.

KCET’s chief executive, Los Angeles-area TV station veteran Al Jerome, couldn’t be reached for comment about the discussions, the story says.

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