PBS SoCal KOCE To Invest $49 Million Earned From FCC Broadcast Incentive Auction To Expand Its Free Services Across Southern California

L.A.’s Flagship PBS Station Will Build Capacity, Grow Content Production
LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2016 – PBS SoCal KOCE, the flagship PBS station for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California, announced it earned $49 million through its participation in the FCC Broadcast Incentive Auction and will invest these one-time revenues in expanding its mission across the region. There will be no change for viewers; PBS SoCal will continue to broadcast, for free and in high quality (UHF), the full line-up of PBS programs on all four of its current channels over the air, via cable and satellite, and online at pbssocal.org.

“Our priority as the primary PBS station for Greater Los Angeles is to ensure we can deliver PBS programs to the 18 million people across the six counties in our region well into the future. We retained the bandwidth necessary to accomplish that,” said Andrew Russell, President and CEO of PBS SoCal. “The one-time auction revenues allow us to achieve another important objective: to invest in expanding our mission by providing more services to more people across the region.”

Following a long and thoughtful process, PBS SoCal’s board of trustees and management decided to participate in the FCC Broadcast Incentive Auction in which broadcasters were able to sell all or part of their broadcast spectrum. Through a channel sharing agreement with local Los Angeles full power television station KSCI, PBS SoCal retained most of the stations’ combined spectrum, ensuring sufficient bandwidth to serve the Southern California region while earning revenues that will be invested in building for the long-term future of PBS SoCal. 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.

“PBS SoCal remains deeply committed to serving Southern California and advancing the PBS mission,” Russell continued. “While these one-time auction revenues will help us expand our mission, we are grateful for the individuals, foundations and corporations whose collective ongoing support comprises more than 80 percent of our annual budget. Your support continues to be essential – particularly as our important federal funding is under threat – to ensuring the news, public affairs, arts and science programs that are critical for an educated and informed citizenry.”

The President’s budget proposes the elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting, which amounts to $1.35 per citizen per year. The loss of federal funding would have a devastating effect on PBS’s ability to produce the quality content our viewers love – educational kids’ programs like Daniel Tiger, documentaries from Ken Burns, unbiased news from PBS NewsHour and FRONTLINE, and dramas from Masterpiece would all be affected. Local PBS stations would struggle to operate and some would close – ultimately resulting in a collapse of the PBS system. A recent bipartisan survey found that 73% of voters across political lines oppose the elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting. Congress will ultimately decide through the budget process if funding continues.

“There is no viable replacement for federal funding of public broadcasting,” Russell said. “The one-time funds from the spectrum auction will not come close to closing the large fiscal gap that would be left by the loss of annual federal support. Federal funding is vital seed funding that helps stations raise the local support that represents more than half of our annual budgets.”

PBS SoCal is the home to PBS for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California. We deliver the full schedule of PBS programs plus content that is for, about and by the people of Southern California. Our content is available free through four broadcast channels, at pbssocal.org, on our mobile apps, and via connected TV services. And we provide the community with early education resources and cultural and educational experiences through partnerships, events and grassroots outreach. PBS SoCal has offices in Century City, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles. Connect with us at pbssocal.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Jennifer Vides, VP, Marketing

Tracy Smith, Director, PR