Dec 26, 2010

KOCE's 2011 schedule won't include three longtime pubTV shows

KOCE, soon to be PBS SoCal, will not carry Independent Lens, Charlie Rose and Nightly Business Report as of Jan. 1, when it becomes the Los Angeles market's primary PBS station. The New York Times reports that viewers will need to turn to KLCS in L.A. or KVCR in San Bernardino to view the programs. Mel Rogers, KOCE president, said the scheduling decisions were made due to existing commitments.

PBS favors East Coast's "big three" shows over other stations' programming, KCET execs say

KCET station execs told the Los Angeles Times that an institutional bias within PBS favoring East Coast stations marginalized its contribution to the system. But critics counter that the station, departing PBS on Jan. 1, 2011, "squandered its potential" of its Hollywood location for productions.

PBS favors the "big three" — WETA, WGBH and WNET — which creates an "oligarchy" that means not only KCET but also medium and smaller PBS affiliates are unfairly blocked from getting their productions on the PBS schedule, KCET execs say. But LA media watchers insist that KCET simply didn't produce competitive programming. WNET in New York contributed 125 hours to PBS last year; WGBH in Boston, 135 hours; and WETA in Washington, D.C., 337 hours. KCET contributed 10 hours.

PBS's response: "Nothing prohibited KCET from becoming a highly productive producer in the PBS system," a PBS representative said. "All avenues were open to them." PBS President Paula Kerger declined to comment.

One professor agrees. "KCET," said Lawrence Wenner, professor of communication and ethics at Loyola Marymount University, "has long had the reputation in the Los Angeles creative community as a hamstrung entity with total lack of imagination."