KCET and Link TV announce merger

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Fire Monkey Fish/Flickr (cc by-nc-sa)

KCET's landmark studio on Sunset Blvd. was sold in 2011 to the Church of Scientology.

Southern California public TV station KCET and Link Media announced a merger Wednesday to create KCETLink.

A statement from KCET called the new entity "a powerful new independent public transmedia company that acquires, produces and distributes provocative global programming targeted to a national audience across multiple media platforms."

Link Media is an independent non-profit media company that operates the Link TV national satellite network and online international news portal, LinkNews.

KCET is now the largest independent non-commercial TV station, after parting ways with the national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in January 2011.

The newly-formed KCETLink will be available in 33 million households via DIRECTV and DISH Network and 5.6 million households on KCET in Southern California, the nation's 2nd largest television market, according to the KCET statement.

KCET posted an FAQ offering more details on the merger and the future of KCET.

The statement said current KCET head Al Jerome will serve as KCETLink's Chief Executive Officer, with Paul Mason of Link TV becoming Chief Strategy Officer.

"With our combined resources, we are taking a bold step forward to become architects of a new sustainable model for the industry to keep public media thriving as a vital resource in the digital age," Jerome said in the statement.

The company will be headquartered in KCET's production facility in Burbank. Last year, KCET left its
4.5-acre property on Sunset Blvd. and sold it to the Church of Scientology.

KCET's primary channel will continue to air its own locally-produced and acquired programs.

The financial details of the KCETLink merger were not disclosed.

KCET’s split with PBS, largely over dues, and its sale of its Sunset Boulevard facility prompted concern about the public TV station’s financial stability.

This story has been updated.

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