KCET's Award-Winning Weekly Series 'SOCAL CONNECTED' Begins May 14 at 8 p.m. with a New Format and Multimedia Production Team


University Joins Ahmanson Foundation and the MaddocksBrown Foundation in




BURBANK, CA - April 30, 2014 - KCET's award-winning signature series, SOCAL CONNECTED,

returns for a sixth season with a new look, format and group of reporters who

will cover eclectic, smart and informative stories about Southern California.

This season marks the launch of a dynamic collaboration between digital and television

journalists to achieve greater impact and community engagement. 

Debuting on May 14, 2014, SOCAL CONNECTED will be a weekly

half-hour series airing each Wednesday at 8 p.m., (repeated on Fridays at 8 p.m.

and Sundays at 6:30 p.m.) anchored by 15-time Emmy-award winner, Val Zavala.

The new format marks a major change

from the previous seasons by taking SOCAL

out of the studio and into the community. The series will

emphasize coverage of the environment, health, government and local arts and

culture. The
creation of

multimedia production team with television journalists

working in tandem with web producers will

the audience experience and develop deeper community connections.

In addition, Chapman University, one

of California's oldest and most respected private universities,
joins The Ahmanson Foundation and the MaddocksBrown

Foundation as a major funder for the new season with a $200,000 gift. "We are

grateful to Chapman University for their generous support of this breakthrough

said Mary Mazur,

Chief Operating Officer, KCETLink.

a multi-faceted, multimedia team in place, our 6th

of SOCAL CONNECTED builds on its

history to provide an immersive, interactive community experience, and create a

broader dialogue around local issues and ideas. This further extends our

ongoing organizational strategy of becoming more platform agnostic while

underscoring the issues of greatest importance to the communities we serve."

Val Zavala, the newly named executive producer for the

series, said, "I am looking forward to offering our viewers a wider fare that

includes not just in-depth hard news stories, but also features on innovative

problem-solvers, artists, interesting places, music and food culture. At the

end of each program, viewers will have discovered more reasons to love Southern


Zach Behrens, KCET's digital Editor-in-Chief and the series

multimedia executive producer, added: "This season, viewers will start to

experience a full digital integration with

The ideal story process for new segments will begin online with stories and

community engagement, which in turn will shape the on-air reports."



of the initial features on SOCAL

will include:  

  • "Breathing

    Uneasy." It is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation:

    the expansion of the 710 Freeway between Long Beach and the 60 Freeway.

    Why is it needed and how will it impact the health of nearby families?

  • "The

    Lawn Goodbye." With a severe drought upon us Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an

    executive order urging homeowners to cut down on lawn watering.
     Brown also said recently, "It

    may well be that cactus and lizards take the place of rosebushes and

    What will happen to our yards? In the future will our kids

    have grass to play on? SOCAL CONNECTED visits one neighborhood

    where more than 40 families have gotten ahead of the drought by ripping

    out their lawns.

  • "The

    $1.00 House." Why would a grown man move back in with his mother in order

    to rent out his own lovely Spanish home for only a dollar a month?

  • "Fishing

    for the Truth." Do you know what you're getting when you buy fish? One

    consumer watchdog group found more than half of all fish sold in Southern

    California is mislabeled. Should we go to the docks where fresh fish is an

    option? Would you want to eat it?

  • "Betting

    on Plastic." In Riverside County, an entrepreneur has built the largest

    plastic bottle recycling plant in the country. Bottles are washed,

    chopped, dried, melted and turned into useable pellets. Find out what

    happens next

  • "Crazy

    Contraption." This pedal-powered dining table glides down L.A. streets

    drawing attention everywhere it goes. We meet the creative artist/engineer

    behind "A Moveable Feast."

  • "Art

    on the Wind." One day a year artists gather on Santa Monica Beach to

    launch their creations high overhead. We capture the beauty of this

    gallery in the sky.

On-camera contributors to the new SOCAL CONNECTED include science journalist Cara Santa Maria,

reporters Derrick Shore and Jennifer Sabih, documentary filmmaker Nic Cha Kim

and writer Nick Hardcastle.


television broadcast executive producer for

Zavala; digital executive producer, Zach Behrens; and Linda Burns, senior






, winner of a Peabody and two duPont Awards, 20 Emmy®

Awards, 24 Golden Mikes, 47 LA Press Club Awards, two Gracie Awards, and three

regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including Best News Documentary and Los

Angeles Magazine's "Best New Local TV Program" of 2009, airs

exclusively on KCET. For more information, to view episodes online or to leave

comments, please visit www.socalconnected.org

SoCal Connected is made possible

through the generous support of The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman University and

the MaddocksBrown Foundation.  




online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and

educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide

range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public

television programs from around the world. Throughout its 50-year history, KCET

has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public

affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its

quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community

services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community

institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive

content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.

KCET is a service of KCETLink.






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