Al Jerome, who has run KCET Los Angeles, the troubled public TV outlet, for the last 18 years, will be stepping down from the organization, even as mounting financial woes threaten to overwhelm it.
KCET will ring out 2010 on Dec. 31 with Live From Lincoln Center, a performance of the New York Philharmonic with piano virtuoso Lang Lang. Exactly what will happen after that remains to be seen, as L.A.’s longtime public television leader continues to scramble to solidify its programming in its post-PBS incarnation.
Locally produced fare is a part of a programming “work in progress” as the Los Angeles station faces loss of PBS shows on Jan. 1.
Paula Kerger, president of the Public Broadcasting Service, explains how PBS tried to keep KCET Los Angeles in the fold, and why, ultimately, the public network couldn’t swing a deal. The station wanted a break on the $7 million is was paying PBS in dues. But it wouldn’t have been fair to other stations that play by the rules, says Kerger. “[T]he basic tenet is equity,” says Kerger. “They asked for something we couldn’t accommodate.”