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KCETLink gets $1 million grant for SoCal Connected

SoCal Connected's Judy Muller investigates mandatory flood insurance for LA homeowners.
SoCal Connected's Judy Muller investigates mandatory flood insurance for LA homeowners.

SoCal Connected just got a new round of money to fund a sixth season. The local public television program is currently out of production and off the air.

The award-winning KCETLink show just received a $1 million one-year grant from the Ahmanson Foundation board of directors, according to statement from KCETLink's CEO Al Jerome. 

"We are extremely grateful to The Ahmanson Foundation for its generosity and for recognizing the unique value that SoCal Connected brings to our community," Jerome said in a press release. "We are pleased to continue to deliver the kind of quality local news coverage to our viewers that has distinguished SoCal Connected from other newscasts in the region."

Jerome told KPCC in an interview that SoCal Connected will be "more nimble, more fast-paced as a show" with broader regional coverage. He added there will be more integration of digital and social media in the program.

He said more specifics on the format and show's season 6 staffing will be revealed at a later date.

The infusion of capital comes after KCETLink had undergone a round of layoffs last year, where 22 full-time positions were cut. One of the affected employees was Bret Marcus, the executive producer of SoCal Connected.

The layoffs came just six months after Burbank-based public television station KCET announced it would merge with non-profit media company Link Media, becoming KCETLink. Prior to the merger, KCET posted a net loss of about $7 million for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, according to forms KCET filed with the IRS.

Jerome told KPCC that KCET lost fundraising revenue after it decided to end its relationship with PBS, but he said the situation is improving in the current fiscal year.

"We're in the process of building back our business model. It's an entrepreneurial situation that we've been facing," Jerome said. "We're seeing some very good things and we're looking forward to a good year in this current fiscal year."