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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Six TV and radio pubcasters receive Golden Mike Awards

Two Los Angeles–area public TV stations won Golden Mikes. KCET won three awards in Division A (for stations with 50 or more full-time news staff members): topping the category of news/public affairs program and investigative reporting with SoCal Connected. It also won for entertainment reporting. PBS Southern Cal (KOCE-TV) won for best documentary in Division B (comprised of TV stations with 49 or fewer full-time news staff) for Be Brave: Samantha's Story and for best news public affairs program. In the radio contest, KPCC/Southern California Public Radio won 10 Golden Mikes in Division A (stations with six or more full-time news staff members): individual writing, sports reporting, live coverage of a news story, news public affairs program, news reporting, serious feature reporting, light feature reporting, news special, entertainment reporting and use of sound. Continue Reading