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KOCE Foundation Hopes to Keep TV Station Under Local Control

October 11, 2002|MIKE ANTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County's public television station would remain locally owned and controlled under a proposal by the station's fund-raising foundation.

The KOCE-TV Foundation has made a bid to acquire the license and take over operations of the station from the Coast Community College District and to fund KOCE's conversion to digital broadcasting, foundation officials said Thursday. A price wasn't disclosed.

The foundation has raised $4 million to pay for equipment so that KOCE meets a Federal Communications Commission deadline for all public television stations to switch from analog to digital broadcasting by 2003.

The cost of moving to digital technology prompted the college district in May to solicit bids for a partner or buyer for the station.

Chapman University submitted a bid, but withdrew it recently. With an Oct. 1 deadline for bids, that left the KOCE-TV Foundation as the sole suitor, foundation board Chairman Bob Brown said.

The community college district board needs to approve the deal, and a vote might not come for three or four months, district spokeswoman Erin Cohn said.

An additional $4.5 million is needed to upgrade facilities and cameras at KOCE's studios at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

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