Monday, November 15, 2010

As of 2011, KCET becomes INDEPENDENT!

KCET public radio and TV, which covers 11 counties in Southern California, and serves 600,000 people each week, has decided to sever its contract with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Note: This letter was originally sent to Paula Kerger, President and Chief Executive Officer of PBS, and Patricia Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, on October 8, 2010.

KCET's 40 year relationship with PBS has been rewarding on many levels. PBS has provided an abundant library of quality programs to our viewers in Southern California to which we have contributed through the production of award winning programs in education, public affairs, drama, and the arts. While we share this rich and satisfying history, it appears that the time has come to acknowledge that this relationship no longer works. After careful analysis our Board of Directors determined unanimously that our potential to present the rich cosmopolitan experience that is Southern California could be enhanced if KCET suspends its active membership in PBS and its unsustainable dues obligation.

Despite our decision, we remain passionate about and committed to the mission of public media. We believe that the entire public broadcasting system model must be re-imagined, restructured, and re-launched to realize its mission in the 21st century. We plan to re-image our mission and re-launch as an independently operated public media center that integrates TV and radio broadcast with broadband, Internet, mobile and social networking capabilities that facilitate greater citizen engagement. We may also restructure our operating platform to align it with our re-imagined mission. We hope to partner with schools, libraries, cultural institutions and community organizations to raise awareness of and convene stakeholders involved in important local, regional and national issues. Based upon preliminary discussions with current and new funding sources, we are optimistic that this exciting new approach to public media can be funded successfully. If we realize our vision as an independent public media center, we hope by our experience we can continue to make a valuable contribution to the system even if our PBS membership is suspended.

Our public broadcasting system was created with noble intentions that have yet to be realized completely. By building on our obvious strengths, restructuring for a new role, and re-launching for a new era, together we can realize the original promise of public broadcasting.

Very truly yours,

Gordon Bava
Chair KCET
Board of Directors

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