Bay Area pubcasters finalize sale, creating Northern California Public Media

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Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District, licensee of KCSM-TV in San Mateo, Calif., voted Wednesday night to finalize the station’s sale to KRCB in Rohnert Park for $12 million.

KRCB, a joint licensee, and KCSM will become part of the new umbrella organization Northern California Public Media when the deal closes Tuesday. KCSM’s call letters will change to KPJK.

“Through our purchase of the station, we have preserved an important public asset that would likely have otherwise been lost but can now be applied to helping grow a more healthy, just and resilient community,” said Nancy Dobbs, KRCB’s president and CEO of Northern California Public Media, in an announcement.

The new call letters KPJK reflect the name of its founder, Sonoma State University Professor John Kramer, who is Dobbs’ late husband. KRCB spokesperson Darren LaShelle said the staff selected the call letters “as a surprise to Nancy and to honor John.”

Combined, the two public TV stations have a potential audience more than double KRCB’s current potential audience. The signal of KQED in San Francisco totally overlaps the San Mateo station’s; KRCB’s extends north.

The San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees initially approved last year the sale finalized Wednesday. The community college had been trying to sell KCSM since 2011 after the station had accrued an $800,000 deficit.

KRCB used part of its $72 million in spectrum auction proceeds to purchase the station.

According to KRCB, “KPJK will launch with a selection of programs from the MHz Worldview international service, France 24 TV, and programming from FNX (First Nations Experience) a channel that presents programs for and about Native Americans.”

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