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KCET's Award-Winning Weekly Series 'SOCAL CONNECTED' Presents a Special Episode Celebrating the City's Culture of Reading Inspired by the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

KCET's Award-Winning Weekly Series 'SOCAL CONNECTED' Presents a Special Episode Celebrating the City's Culture of Reading Inspired by theLos Angeles Times Festival of Books

BURBANK, Calif. - March 31, 2015 -  On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, SOCAL CONNECTED, KCET's Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning series, will air a special, single-themed episode celebrating the culture of reading in the City of Angels inspired by the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April 18 and 19). First, Val Zavala tours the offices of the country's fourth largest newspaper with its 14th and newest publisher, Austin Beutner. He took the helm of the L.A. Times in August 2014 following an era of cutbacks and declining readership. Among other questions, Zavala asks him about how he will face these ongoing challenges; how the paper is adapting to the digital age and whether or not newspapers can still afford investigative reporting.

This week's SOCAL CONNECTED also features:

Little Libraries on a Post - They are popping up in neighborhoods across Los Angeles: little free libraries that invite people to take a book and leave a book. Reporter Dija Dowling finds out from where they come, who builds them and if they are working. She also meetsDavid L. Ulin, book critic for the Los Angeles Times, to get his thoughts on the lost art of reading and this grass roots literacy effort.

From Gangbanger to Poet Laureate - By the time he was 13, he was running with gangs and addicted to heroin. At age 16, he was sitting in a jail cell and something changed. Reporter Jennifer Sabih profiles writer Luis Rodriguez, recently named the Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles. His best-selling memoir, Always Running, launched his career and has helped hundreds of troubled youth. But can Rodriguez do for his own son what he has done for scores of other young people? Based on stories from KCET.org's Departures.

The Last Bookstore - It's not just a bookstore, it's a tourist destination. Owner Josh Spencer converted a stately bank into the largest independent bookstore in California, enhanced with art installations, a walk-through book tunnel and an upstairs labyrinth where book lovers can get lost. Reporter Nic Cha Kim takes us inside this unique literary environment.

Broadcast Premiere Date:  Wednesday, April 8 at 8 p.m.

Repeated: Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m.

SOCAL CONNECTED is anchored by 16-time Emmy®-Award winner, Val Zavala. Contributors include science journalist Cara Santa Maria, reporters Derrick Shore, Jennifer Sabih, Conor Knighton, Dija Dowling, documentary filmmaker Nic Cha Kim and writer Nick Hardcastle.

The television broadcast executive producer for SOCAL CONNECTED is Val Zavala; digital executive producer is Zach Behrens; and Linda Burns is senior producer.

ABOUT SOCAL CONNECTED

SOCAL CONNECTED, winner of a Peabody® and two duPont Awards, 23 Emmy® Awards, 24 Golden Mikes, 48 LA Press Club Awards, two Gracie Awards, and four regional and one national 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 visitwww.socalconnected.orgSOCAL CONNECTED is made possible through the generous support of The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman University and the MaddocksBrown Foundation.

ABOUT KCET

On-air, 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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