Voice of OC expands partnership with PBS SoCal

Voice of OC, the nonprofit investigative news agency in Orange County, Calif., is expanding its partnership with PBS SoCal. Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr. will appear weekly on KOCE-TV’s news program, Real Orange. “It’s a natural partnership,” said Mike Taylor, news director at PBS SoCal, in the Jan. 17 announcement. Santana said the partners hope to “give the public a front seat at public policy, not only after it’s being made but before it’s being made.”

PBS SoCal is the primary PBS member station for Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the nation.

PubTV in L.A. not yet a case of win-win-win-win

When KCET announced in October 2010 that it would quit PBS after four decades as its primary Los Angeles affiliate, the task facing PBS was enormous: Find a local outlet to step into the breach, establish new branding, arrange for cable carriage, find homes for orphaned shows, and, most importantly, change long-term tuning habits so 16 million-plus potential viewers could find their favorite programs. All in less than three months. The outlet that stepped up was Orange County’s KOCE, a second-string station still recovering from a costly, drawn-out legal battle with religious programmer Daystar Television Network several years earlier. KOCE became PBS SoCal and, with extensive effort and CPB aid, the PBS program schedule began broadcasts on a new channel Jan. 1. But nearly a year into the new reality, it’s clear that the changeover has not been without complications.

Other stations like the plan so much, they say it’s theirs

A consultant’s study of public TV’s crowded Los Angeles market, commissioned by CPB, predicts a highly integrated collaboration among the area’s four stations would provide hefty financial savings and grow revenues for all four. The eight-week study by Booz & Co. — a major consulting firm spun off by Booz Allen Hamilton — said the present structure of the market has stunted the four stations. They’ve suffered a 10 percent revenue decline since 2005 and a 26 percent drop in net assets since 2007. All have average audiences below the PBS national average rating of 1.1 percent.