Kerger speaks out on KCET negotiations, system reactions

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TVNewsCheck‘s Contributing Editor P.J. Bednarski spoke at length with PBS President Paula Kerger last week about KCET’s decision to drop its PBS membership in January (Current, Oct. 18). The transcript was posted Sunday (Oct. 31). Excerpts:

— Concerning the negotiations: “I don’t want you to walk away from this discussion with the idea that we took a really hard line. There were lots of other options that were put on the table that just weren’t acceptable.”

— Reactions in the system: “I’ve heard from a number of stations, and I’m going out to meet with more, and basically what I have heard is consistent: The stations are supportive of the fact that we do care about equity across the system.”

— Other stations following suit: “I haven’t heard from anyone saying, hey, this is a good deal, sign me up.” 

— The station-PBS relationship: “This is very much a media organization. But we are not a distant parent.”

  • .org

    Ms. Kerger,
    You talk about equity in the system. How is it equitable to increase KCET’s annual dues 40%, to an unsustainable $7 Million, while at the exact same time, and in the exact same market, new LA primary KOCE’s dues will be $ 2 Million annually. $7 Million minus $2 Million equals an annual deficit of $5 Million. How is that equitable, prudent and responsible to the PBS system?! Please tell me. Also, why would you turn down KCET’s continued offer to be a secondary PDP station for Southern California, with annual dues of well over $2 Million. Again, how is that equitable, prudent and responsible to the PBS system? It seems to me that you need to bone up on your third grade math.

  • Anonymous

    Here a different math problem…I’d like to know where KCET is going to find 80% of its new content for just 12% of its budget. That is the deal it had under PBS. The same formula used for every other station.

    Now even if KCET solves that math problem, here’s a second one…will the quality of KCET’s new content be greater than or less than the quality of PBS content?

    KCET is about to enter a downward spiral where less quality content equals fewer donations equals less quality content equals fewer donations and so on.