Changes at L.A. pubcaster come as PBS split looms

Pubcaster KCET Los Angeles is overhauling its digital multicast channels in preparation for its split from PBS.

The KCET Orange channel that previously helped distrib the station in Orange County will transition as of Saturday to KCET Kids and Family, featuring educational kidvid programming from a range of suppliers including the Jim Henson Co. The channel has solid local distribution on cable via Time Warner Cable, Cox Cable and Charter Communications.

KCET’s PBS Worldview channel will transition to MHz Worldview, affiliated with Washington, D.C.-based MHz Networks. The channel will offer English-language news, arts and docu programming with an international emphasis. MHz bills itself as “programming for globally minded people.”

KCET Kids and Family and MHz Worldview both enjoy solid local distribution on cable via Time Warner Cable, Cox and Charter.

Another regionally focused channel, KCET Desert Cities, will transition to carrying KCET Kids and Family, while some of the daytime programming previously carried on Desert Cities will be picked up by the mothership KCET. KCET will also continue to program a Spanish-lingo multicast channel, Vme.

The overhaul of KCET’s digital offshoots comes in the wake of the station’s decision to part ways as of Saturday with PBS after nearly 40 years as its West Coast flagship. Split was spurred by conflicts between KCET leaders and the national PBS org over affiliation fees and the volume of national programming produced by KCET.

Earlier this week, KCET also realigned its exec ranks by creating an office of the president that expands the roles of station vets Mary Mazur and Susan Reardon. Mazur, previously exec VP and chief content officer, has been upped to chief operating officer. Reardon, previously exec veep-general counsel, is now chief development officer. Both will serve alongside Al Jerome, who has led KCET as prexy and CEO since 1996.

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