Change comes in 2011 as KOCE becomes main L.A. PBS affiliate

As Orange County pubcaster KOCE adjusts to fill the Los Angeles void left by KCET’s split from PBS, the station changing its name to PBS SoCal.

KOCE will continue to air Orange County-skewing shows “Real Orange” and “Inside OC With Rick Reiff” alongside marquee PBS skeins including “Frontline,” “This Old House” and “PBS News Hour.”

“Our new identity is the result of extensive viewer research, and I am confident that it fully represents our new role as the full-service PBS station in Southern California,” said KOCE prexy Mel Rogers.

“We’ve always been a PBS station, we’ve just carried a smaller lineup … on a delayed basis,” Rogers said. With the switch, he said viewers will “notice the shows they’ve always had in a more timely way.”

KOCE is Southern California’s primary PBS affiliate following KCET’s break with PBS over disagreements regarding pricing and programming flexibility. “The general mood can best be described as ‘bewilderment,'” Rogers said regarding the rift. “None of us expected it to come to this.”

KOCE is working with other local PBS affiliates KVCR and KLCS to make the full range of PBS content available. Skeds for all three pubcasters are available on the website pbssocal.org.

Rogers said that despite the friction witnessed between KCET and PBS, he’s not worried that PBS SoCal will share a similar fate.

“We’ve always worked with PBS as a PBS station (and) we’ve had nothing but terrific relationships with PBS,” Rogers said.

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