With return to KCET, SoCal Connected adds local color amid hard news

Los Angeles public TV station KCET is bringing back weekly series SoCal Connected after a yearlong hiatus, this time as a mix of hard news and features. The award-winning show will start its sixth season May 14. In previous seasons, SoCal earned a reputation for hard-nosed journalism, along with 17 local Emmys, by covering corruption at the Los Angeles Housing Authority, sweetheart deals involving electronic billboards and the dire consequences of climate change. But after the station dropped its PBS affiliation, it went into an economic tailspin that resulted in the layoffs of 22 employees, including Bret Marcus, SoCal’s executive producer. The show then went on hiatus.

After 18 years leading KCET, Al Jerome announces retirement

Al Jerome, the broadcasting executive who led Los Angeles public television station KCET out of PBS membership and into a partnership with satellite network Link TV, is retiring within the next six months, KCETLink announced today. Jerome has served as president of KCET for 18 years and is only the third person to lead the organization in its 50-year history. He will stay on through September and assist in the search for his successor, the statement said. He joined KCET in February 1996 after a 30-year career in commercial broadcasting at NBC, CBC and ABC. During Jerome’s tenure the station won 69 Emmys, seven George Foster Peabody awards, five duPont-Columbia awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

Friday roundup: This American Doodle, troubles at KCETLink

• Nothing spells love quite like This American Life. For a Valentine’s Day Doodle, Google has enlisted the Public Radio International program to present five love-themed stories from the series, complete with animations. Host Ira Glass provides an introduction. Time has a behind-the-scenes video of how the Doodle came together. • Veteran pubcasting exec Chet Tomczyk, currently managing Illinois stations WTVP-TV in Peoria and dual licensee WILL in Urbana in a unique agreement, announced yesterday that he is retiring, although he hasn’t set a date. Tomczyk has worked in the system for nearly 50 years, beginning in 1965 as associate producer of The Week in Michigan, a weekly travel and outdoor show produced at WKAR-FM in East Lansing, Mich.