Frequently Asked Questions: About the New KCET

Our new channels

What is KCET?
Founded in 1964, KCET is the nation's largest independent public television station serving 2.2 million viewers in 11 counties in Southern and Central California. While continuing to change and adapt in innovative ways, KCET adheres to its core public media mission to delivering exceptional and distinctive programming that is meaningful to its viewers and that resonates with the vast interests of our culturally diverse community.

Why did KCET become an independent station?
In January 2011, KCET announced it was becoming independent. KCET and PBS were unable to reach agreement on a reduction in PBS fees and on providing KCET more programming flexibility.

What happened to PBS programs on KCET?
On January 1, 2011, PBS programs migrated to KOCE-TV.

How is KCET's decision to leave PBS going to better serve Southern and Central California?
KCET is fully committed to serving the critical local programming needs of a global, multicultural community that defines Southern California. As a public media visionary, KCET pioneers unique partnerships for creating new models that support its vision for growth and public television missive in our region.

What have you accomplished since leaving the PBS fold?
We have transformed into a media organization that acts nimbly and experiments endlessly to serve our viewers' specific needs.

Some examples: four eye-opening investigations from our award-winning news magazine "SoCal Connected," including one searing expose on widespread corruption at the housing authority of the City of Los Angeles; comprehensive coverage of world events like Arab Spring, the demise of Osama bin Laden and the Royal Wedding, which led us to create the only international news block in the market from the world's leading public broadcasters including BBC, NHK, Al-Jazeera and IBA; partnering with regional institutions to produce and acquire more than 50 local programs in 2011; and moving forward with a collaboration with French entrepreneur Dominique Bigle to deliver more quality educational programs, including an environmental show with Jean-Michel Cousteau.

We are more excited than ever to forge ahead with a new paradigm for public media with enriching and entertaining programs that speak expressly to Southern California audiences.

Has KCET produced any local programming since leaving PBS?
KCET is positioned to provide a distinctly local service in all areas of programming: news and public affairs, science and technology, and arts and culture. In 2011 alone, KCET acquired and/or produced more than 50 local programs.

We truly feel that great stories evolve from every pocket and crevice of our culturally dynamic region and we look forward to mining them for more unexpected adventures.

Some examples:

    One of the highlights of KCET's 2011 season was a trilogy of documentaries from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Beginnings of the Space Age, which aired exclusively on KCET.

    We also premiered "Live @ the Ford," a co-production of KCET and the
    Los Angeles County Arts Commission that showcases multicultural performances
    from the historic John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. 2011's "Live @ the Ford"
    featured four exciting events: (1) The Angel City Jazz Festival - Global Jam; (2)
    Rhythm & Passion of Korea (featuring contemporary South Korean performing
    artists); (3) Ruta del Norte, presented by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet
    Company; and (4) The 4th Annual J.U.i.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival.

    "SoCal Connected" is entering its fifth season and continues to conduct important investigations revealing widespread corruption and helping our viewers better understand the issues shaping our community. You can find all episodes on-demand at socalconnected.org.

In addition, KCET partnered with Eyetronics Media and Studios to produce and acquire programming thematically distinctive to Southern California for domestic and international distribution. With a commitment from French entrepreneur Dominique Bigle, KCET is excited to bring its award-winning programming to a broader, international arena. The first program from this partnership "Classic Cool Theater" is currently on air, and others are scheduled for production including "Ocean Alive" (hosted by Emmy award-winning filmmaker, educator, environmentalist and ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau). All shows will air on KCET.

What else does KCET offer on its schedule?
From legendary journalists like Bill Moyers to grumpy doctors like Doc Martin, and of course everyone's favorite local tour guide Huell Howser, our schedule has great stories, and unexpected adventures, for everyone to enjoy.

Our line-up includes British favorites such as "Doc Martin" (the highest rated regular series on public television in Southern California), "MI-5" and "Globe Trekker". It also includes new original programs shows like "Open Call", which is hosted by mezzo-soprano star Suzanna Guzman and which showcases the great arts and culture in our community, as well as Your Turn to Care, a new nationally syndicated series hosted by actress and author Holly Robinson Peete. "Your Turn to Care" helps people navigate the challenges of caregiving for loved ones.

We've also been airing a series of original specials called "L.A. Tonight with Roy Firestone" featuring interviews by Roy with some of the world's biggest names in entertainment and sports, including Andre Agassi, David Foster, Chris Botti, Burt Bacharach, Diane Warren, Debbi Allen and Steve Tyrell.

We're eager introduce our audience to a different kind of show for KCET called "Primeval", a very popular British sci-fi series currently airing in the U.K. The show follows a team of scientists and their adventures through time with prehistoric and futuristic creatures.

Please view our new line up online on our monthly listings PDF, or contact KCET Viewer Services at (747) 201-5238. KCET's program line-up is available on our website at our schedule page.

What does your website offer?
KCET is at the forefront of public media companies utilizing new media platforms to create and present immersive local content. KCET.org is an integral piece of our growth strategy and has thrived since leaving the PBS fold (101% increase in unique visitors from March 2010 to March 2012) evolving into a fully-fledged web development organization that produces and manages all its own sites and content.

The platform also provides a digital delivery system for broadcast content and full social media integration, which we see as driving much of our recent and future growth.

New content offerings span hyper local news, additional Departures installments examining other fascinating cultural neighborhoods of Los Angeles to expanded food content and highly acclaimed columnists who provide special curated stories about our region.

KCET is proud to have recently launched a vibrant multimedia initiative called Artbound, capturing the artistic expressions of 11 regions of Southern and Central California.

Will KCET still serve the same geographic region?
Yes. KCET remains committed to providing the 11 counties in our broadcast region with quality programming that reflects the rich diversity of the communities we serve. We truly feel that great stories evolve from every pocket and crevice of our culturally dynamic region and we look forward to mining them for more unexpected adventures.

Where can I view my favorite PBS program?
PBS programming will be available on KOCE, KLCS and KVCR. Please contact these stations or PBS for further details.

Can I watch Huell Howser on KCET?
KCET continues to feature Huell Howser's program "Visiting...". Huell Howser's programs are independently produced for all public television stations - meaning that stations with or without PBS membership may carry his programs.

What about all of Huell Howser's other programs?
KCET airs "Visiting...". Please visit Huell Howser Productions at calgold.com for more information.

What children's programming do you offer now?
KCET has a wonderful children's line up, such as "Peep and the Big Wide World," World Mustard Pancakes, and many other nurturing programs we are sure you and your children will enjoy and learn from.

We also have the KCET Kids & Family channel, featuring entertaining, educational and multilingual programs from well-known producers including the Jim Henson Company.

Does KCET carry any lifestyle programs?
We have a robust daytime cooking, life-style and do-it-yourself programming block on the daily KCET schedule from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.

Does KCET still hold pledge drives?
KCET is a non-profit, donor-supported public media organization serving Southern and Central California. We operate under a non-commercial educational license and that has not changed. The need to raise money from viewers remains, but KCET is working on new approaches to broadcast fundraising.

For example, we continue to partner with local charities to air special fundraising programs on important issues like domestic violence, prevention of animal cruelty, living and working with disabilities, homelessness and autism. Instead of offering you a thank you gift for your KCET donation, we now use a portion of your donation to assist these local organizations in providing life-sustaining supplies and services.

What are some community initiatives KCET has done?
We are committed to helping foster a better future for our community. We see ourselves as the key media partner to the Southern California community and serving their distinctive needs.

A few examples:

Every year, we recognize Local Heroes as part of Black History Month in
February; Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May; and Hispanic Heritage
Month in September/October. In 2011, we expanded the Local Heroes program
to include Women's History Month in March; Jewish American Heritage Month in
May; and LGBT Pride Month in June. Throughout each commemorative month,
KCET produces and broadcasts video profiles that showcase the contributions
and impact the honorees are making in the community. The year-long program
culminates in October, when all of the honorees are formally recognized as part
of the Local Heroes Awards Diversity Celebration. In 2011, we recognized a total
of 16 Local Heroes, with over 500 people attending the ceremony.

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March
2011, KCET utilized a special FCC waiver and worked with the US-Japan
Council to air a live Japan Relief special. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa, along with Asian and Asian-American community leaders, appeared
on the special; this was the only broadcast fundraiser for Japan held in Southern
California. The pledge show raised $105,000 for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Japan.

KCET partnered with other community organizations to conduct professional development trainings for early education teachers. These workshops were based on the curriculum for our award-winning childcare series, "A Place of Our Own."

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