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The Region

2 Drop Bids for Orange County PBS Affiliate

October 14, 2003|Jeff Gottlieb | Times Staff Writer

Two Christian broadcasters, including Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network, have withdrawn their bids for Orange County's public television station, officials close to the negotiations said Monday.

The five trustees for the Coast Community College District are expected to decide Wednesday whether to sell KOCE-TV and use the money to prop up the district's ailing budget.

With the two withdrawals, at least three organizations are left in the running: two other religious broadcasters and a foundation that has promised to keep the station as a PBS affiliate.

Another suitor, Pappas Telecasting Cos. of Visalia, has shown interest in the station, which company officials say they would make into the first noncommercial educational Spanish-language outlet in the country.

But Pappas entered the bidding late and may not be considered.

Two officials familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is confidential, said Costa Mesa-based TBN, among the largest religious broadcasters in the world, did not submit an offer by the final Oct. 8 deadline.

One of the officials also said that a second religious broadcaster, LeSEA Corp. of Indiana, failed to follow through on its original bid, made public Aug. 20.

Remaining as prospective buyers are Daystar Television Network of Dallas, which calls itself the second largest religious broadcaster in the country; Almavision Hispanic Network; and the KOCE-TV Foundation, which has the support of some of Orange County's most prominent business leaders, educators and politicians. The foundation is the only bidder that has promised to keep the station a PBS affiliate.

Left up in the air is the $25.1-million offer from Pappas.

The broadcaster didn't submit an offer during the first round of bidding, although it met the Oct. 8 deadline for final offers, and whether the bid will be considered is in question.

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