Starting in January, station officials intend to replace such iconic PBS fare as "Charlie Rose," "NewsHour," "Sesame Street" and "Masterpiece" with news and documentaries from Japan, Canada and elsewhere, along with old feature films. (KCET will continue to carry PBS programming through the end of December.)
The drastic move comes after a months-long battle over the dues KCET must pay the national organization. Last year, the dues totaled nearly $7 million, or almost one-fifth of the station's $37-million net operating revenue. Station officials say that amount is far too high. PBS, fearing that a reduction in the sum could lead to demands for similar discounts from other member stations, refused to budge.
"After four decades as the West Coast flagship PBS station, this is not a decision we made lightly," said Al Jerome, KCET's president and chief executive, in a news release. "We have been in discussions with PBS for over three years about the need to address challenges that are unique to our market as well as our station."
"As an independent public television station, KCET will be committed to investing in Southern California by developing, acquiring, producing and distributing content across all media platforms," he added. "We will continue to offer the KCET audience programming from leading national and international sources. Some of these series are currently on our air."
Oct 8, 2010
KCET goes its own way
KCET has cut ties with the national Public Broadcasting System, turning the affiliate into an independent public television station. From the LA Times blog: