Arts & Entertainment

KOCE to take over as main LA-area PBS station New Year’s Day

KOCE's new PBS SoCal logo.
KOCE's new PBS SoCal logo.
Courtesy of KOCE/PBS SoCal

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KOCE-Channel 50 in Orange County takes over Saturday as the main Public Broadcasting System affiliate in the Los Angeles area. The transition takes place after KCET-Channel 28 in Los Angeles opted to break ties with PBS and become an independent station.

KOCE is changing its name to PBS SoCal as it begins to carry the most PBS programming in Southern California.

It will run public TV mainstays including "Frontline" and "American Experience," and personalities Huell Howser and Tavis Smiley.

KOCE’s chief executive Mel Rogers says his station didn’t expect to take over that role from KCET.

"I think the general mood can best be described as bewilderment," Rogers says. "I think none of us expected it to come to this. I think all of us assumed that there’d be, at the end of the day, something worked out. But the fact is there wasn’t and that was KCET’s decision."

KOCE is in the process of moving from studios on the campus of Golden West College in Huntington Beach to new digs in Costa Mesa.

Rogers says his station had planned to do that before they learned in October that KCET would cut its ties with PBS.