|Huntington Beach/Los Angeles, California|
|City||Huntington Beach, California|
|Slogan||KOCE is your PBS|
|Channels||Digital: 18 (UHF)|
(shared with KSCI)
Virtual: 50 (PSIP)
|Translators||KBAB-LD 50 Santa Barbara|
KODG-LP 17 Palm Springs
K41CB Lucerne Valley
|Owner||Public Media Group of Southern California|
|First air date||November 20, 1972|
|Call letters' meaning||Orange|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||700 kW|
|Height||899 m (2,949 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KOCE-TV, virtual channel 50 (UHF digital channel 18), is the primary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station serving Los Angeles, California, United States that is licensed to Huntington Beach. Owned by the Public Media Group of Southern California, it is sister to Los Angeles-licensed educational independent station KCET (channel 28). KOCE-TV's studios are located at the South Coast Corporate Center (in the South Coast Metro area) in Costa Mesa, and its transmitter is atop Mount Harvard (adjacent to Mount Wilson). Since 2011, the station has been branded as PBS SoCal.
KOCE-TV is one of three PBS member stations serving Greater Los Angeles (the others being San Bernardino-licensed KVCR-DT [channel 24], which mainly serves the Inland Empire, and the Los Angeles Unified School District-run KLCS [channel 58]). A fourth public television station serving the area, KCET, ended its 40-year membership with PBS in 2010, but announced eight years later that it would merge with KOCE-TV and rejoin PBS.
The station first signed on the air on November 20, 1972, as the first television station licensed to Orange County, initially airing four hours of programming per day. It broadcast its first telecourse in 1973. It was originally owned by the Coast Community College District. The station was originally based from studios at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. For most of its history, KOCE-TV was a "beta" or secondary PBS station, airing only 25 percent of the national PBS schedule.
KOCE-TV vs. Daystar
In 2002, the Coast Community College District offered KOCE for sale to raise revenue for other programs. A bidding war ensued between the religious broadcaster Daystar Television Network and members of the community who wanted to continue membership with PBS. In 2004, the station was sold to the KOCE-TV Foundation, an organization made up of civic and business leaders who wanted to keep KOCE-TV as an educational station, for $25.5 million, reduced from an initial bid of $32 million (with $8 million paid up front and the rest paid in 25 equal installments without interest beginning in 2009). The foundation outbid Daystar by $500,000; the religious broadcaster placed a bid of $25 million, which it intended to compensate in an all-cash payment.
Daystar sued in state court, stating that under the terms of the auction, its all-cash bid should have been accepted. A lower court ruled in favor of the college district and the foundation; but on June 23, 2005, the California Court of Appeals ruled that the sale of KOCE-TV was illegal, since the offer was modified after the end of bidding and because the value of the bid was not expressed in net present value terms. Both sides appealed this decision. On November 22, 2005, a state appeals panel reheard arguments in the case following a petition from KOCE, the KOCE Foundation, the Coast Community College District and Daystar. On May 25, 2006, the appeals court reaffirmed its decision, again ruling the sale illegal.
At the same time, Daystar also filed a federal lawsuit, alleging religious discrimination, civil rights violations and racketeering. On May 1, 2006, the District Court dismissed the racketeering claim, but not the civil rights portion of the lawsuit.
In June 2006, a state assembly bill that had previously been approved was changed to allow the Coast Community College District to sell KOCE below fair market value in order to keep it a PBS station. The new bill was passed by the assembly, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it, citing concerns about serving the public interest in the sale of public property and the unresolved legal challenges to the type of sale that the bill would have authorized.
In June 2007, an agreement was reached in which the KOCE-TV Foundation would keep the station, provided that Daystar would be allowed to broadcast over one of KOCE's digital subchannels. As a result, KOCE-DT3 is reserved to broadcast Daystar's national schedule without any local deviation.
Becoming Los Angeles' primary PBS station
KOCE became the Los Angeles market's primary PBS station on January 1, 2011, when the area's longtime original primary member station of the network, KCET (channel 28), ended its association with PBS after 40 years due to an increase in costs to carry PBS programming—leading to its switch to an independent public television station.
After KCET left PBS, KOCE entered into a broadcast agreement with KLCS and KVCR to form "PBS SoCal" effective January 1, 2011. The PBS programming originally carried on KCET is now shared between the three stations. As a consequence, on December 31, 2010, KOCE expanded its cable coverage into Santa Barbara, and later expanded to Palm Springs. Both San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria (who were previously served by KCET), however, were not included in the cable coverage, as those communities are now served by San Francisco PBS member KQED via cable (Palm Springs is also served by KVCR-DT, while Bakersfield, which was also served by KCET, is now served via cable and over-the-air through Fresno PBS member KVPT).
In the spring of 2011, KOCE moved its administrative offices to a modern facility in Costa Mesa.
KOCE was available in the Palm Springs area and the Coachella Valley on cable and over the air since the late 1990s, formerly on K55FI and later K35LA, now a KCET translator since 2011, when KOCE became the major PBS station for Southern California.
Merger with KCET
On April 25, 2018, KCETLink Media Group and the KOCE-TV Foundation announced that they would merge, effective by the end of the first half of 2018. KOCE will remain Los Angeles' primary PBS station but will relocate its operations to KCET's facility in Burbank (maintaining its Costa Mesa location as a secondary facility). The two stations will continue to carry their existing programming, but KCET will return to PBS.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||On-air branding||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|50.1||1080i||16:9||PBS SoCal 1||PBS-HD||Main KOCE-TV programming / PBS|
|50.2||480i||PBS SoCal 2||PBS-2||PBS Encore|
|50.4||PBS SoCal World||PBSwrld||World|
|50.5||PBS SoCal Kids||PBSkids||PBS Kids|
On January 1, 2011, PBS World moved from KCET-DT4 to KOCE-DT4.
KOCE-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 50, at 11:30 p.m. on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48, using PSIP to display KOCE-TV's virtual channel as 50 on digital television receivers.
On April 13, 2017, KOCE-TV announced it had sold its over-the-air spectrum in the FCC's spectrum reallocation auction, reaping $49 million, which the station said it would use to invest in programming and other services. As a result of its spectrum sale, KOCE-TV entered into a channel sharing arrangement with multicultural independent station KSCI (channel 18). KOCE completed the move to UHF 18 on the morning of June 19, 2018, with all five programming streams appearing in the virtual channel table with the same numbering.
In addition to PBS programs, KOCE also features programming focused on the communities of Orange County, such as the nightly newscast, Real Orange. It also broadcasts several college telecourses by the Coast Community College District, which was the station's original owner. Programming produced by KOCE include Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.
KOCE produced and broadcast the only Orange County-focused nightly newscast in the Los Angeles market, Real Orange, with a concentration on human interest and public service stories. The program was co-anchored by former longtime KTLA (channel 5) news/sports anchor Ed Arnold, and Ann Pulice. KOCE partnered with the Orange County Register for newsgathering resources for the station's newscasts, the newspaper also served as a sponsor for the program. The program aired five nights a week until 2009, when only two episodes a week were produced (with rebroadcasts the other three weeknights). The program ended in 2013 due to funding constraints.
KOCE also operated a Weather Center stationed in La Habra Heights, located about 20 miles (32 km) north of the Huntington Beach studios. This weather station, which only consists of a weather camera, was shown live during the weather segments of Real Orange on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Weather radar imagery and other forecast data are gathered from other weather sources (such as the National Weather Service), as KOCE does not employ its own weather radar.
- The voice heard in KOCE's station identification spots is that of popular voice-over artist and the Voice of Disney California Adventure Park Camille Dixon.
- "A Nostalgic Look at the Milestone Events Which Have Formed the Rich History Of KOCE-TV". The KOCE-TV Foundation. September 15, 2005. Retrieved May 20, 2006.
- Fisher, Marla Jo (November 23, 2005). "Appellate court hears KOCE sale dispute". The Orange County Register. Retrieved March 8, 2006.
- Campbell, Ron (May 27, 2006). "State court strikes down sale of KOCE-TV". The Orange County Register]. Retrieved June 6, 2006.
- Fisher, Marla Jo (May 1, 2006). "KOCE lawsuit can continue, judge rules". The Orange County Register. Retrieved June 6, 2006.
- Fisher, Marla Jo (August 10, 2006). "Lawmakers take up KOCE bill". The Orange County Register. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold (September 30, 2006). "AB 523 Assembly Bill - Veto". Legislative Council of California. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
- Powers, Ashley (October 10, 2010). "KOCE stays with PBS in settlement". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 7, 2007.
- Fisher, Marla Jo (June 21, 2007). "KOCE-TV will stay with PBS". The Orange County Register. Retrieved July 7, 2007.
- Larsen, Peter (October 8, 2010). "KOCE takes over as top PBS station after KCET cuts ties with network". The Orange County Register. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
- KQED Public Television Provides Service in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria(PDF)
- "Public TV stations KCET and KOCE to merge in shifting market". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Holloway, Daniel (April 25, 2018). "PBS SoCal, KCETLink Agree to Merge". Variety. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "How to Find Us". KOCE-TV. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KOCE
- YouTube video of analog TV shutoffs in Los Angeles
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived August 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- "KOCE To Expand Service With Auction Money," from TVNewsCheck, 4/13/2017