KOCE-TV prepares to take over as LA-area’s main PBS station

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Courtesy of KOCE/PBS SoCal

KOCE's new PBS SoCal logo.

KOCE-TV takes over as the Los Angeles-area’s main PBS station Jan. 1. The Orange County public television station unveiled its new PBS lineup Thursday.

The lineup adds PBS favorites such as "Frontline" and "American Experience," and personalities Huell Howser and Tavis Smiley.

"We're very excited to have, as we go forward, with this kind of prominence of what we think is the best brand in America, the PBS brand," said KOCE President Mel Rogers.

Rogers said one program that’ll be missing from the KOCE lineup – for now – is talk show host Charlie Rose.

"He will be available in various other forms, not on KOCE for as long as a year from now just because of commitments we have with our telecourse commitments that are long-standing and our Orange County commitments," Rogers said.

KOCE, which now will go by PBS SoCal, will keep its Orange County-based news shows, including “Real Orange.” But Rogers said repeats of those programs won’t be shown as often - and they probably won’t have room to add more Orange County-based programming.

"We will be a station that doesn’t ignore Orange County. I think that’s how I describe us," Rogers said. "We’re obviously not going to be able to focus on Orange County anymore, but we’re not going to begin ignoring it either."

Rogers said instead, KOCE will focus more on a regional approach to its local programming.

"Let’s suppose, instead of doing a show about the Pacific Symphony, we do a show about classical music in Southern California and we talk a lot about the wonderful, world-class LA Philharmonic with Dudamel, but we also talk about the terrific Pacific Symphony and Carl St. Clair and we encompass everything that’s going on in the market in talking about those things," Rogers said.

He said that’s not done by anybody else right now.

Rogers said KOCE also plans to expand its reach through cable and digital stations in Santa Barbara, Big Bear and Victorville.

KOCE will also partner with KLCS in LA and KVCR in Riverside-San Bernardino. Those stations will carry PBS programming that KOCE can’t fit into its new schedule.

The new PBS SoCal is also launching a new website, where viewers can search for their favorite PBS shows to see where they will air.

KOCE's takeover as the main PBS program provider in the Los Angeles area came after KCET opted earlier this year to cut ties with PBS and become and independent station.

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