Spectrum Auction

Building a Strong Future

You may have heard that PBS SoCal KOCE earned $49M through our participation in the FCC Incentive Auction for broadcast spectrum. First, I want to assure you that PBS SoCal KOCE will continue to bring you the full schedule of PBS programs on our four broadcast channels and online, and serve as your home for PBS well into the future. Given our strong commitment to transparency, I want to share with you why we chose to participate in the auction, and what it means.

The FCC Incentive Spectrum Auction gave broadcasters the opportunity to sell all or part of our spectrum – the radio frequency used to broadcast television programs. The FCC will in turn sell that spectrum to telecommunications companies who need it to expand mobile coverage. PBS SoCal’s Board of Trustees and management decided to participate in the spectrum auction following an extensive evaluation process. Our goals were to preserve the spectrum necessary to provide robust broadcast and broadband services to serve the 18 million people in Southern California, while earning funds we can invest in expanding our mission as a financially strong and vibrant community organization.

We accomplished that through a channel sharing agreement with a local Los Angeles full power television station. We retained most of the stations’ collective UHF spectrum and will carefully invest the $49 million we earned in the auction to ensure PBS programming for Southern California for the long term. That plan includes increasing investment in PBS and other programming, making strategic investments in content production and broadband services that reach more audiences via mobile and web, and building a strong financial foundation for PBS SoCal’s future by restructuring debt and creating an investment fund that generates annual revenues. This plan is in keeping with the priorities outlined in our community impact plan, Building a Strong Future.

We maintain our deep commitment to advancing the PBS mission in Southern California. While the one-time auction revenues will help us further strengthen our organization, the ongoing financial support from the community will continue to be essential—the support of individuals makes up more than 65% of our annual budget. Learn more about the Spectrum Auction.

In the coming months, we will keep you informed on the investments we are making to grow our organization and expand our mission. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any additional questions.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our organization.


Andrew Russell
President & CEO