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KCET may unplug 'SoCal Connected' due to funding crunch

March 28, 2013|By Scott Collins
  • "SoCal Connected," with anchor Val Zavala, faces an uncertain future.
"SoCal Connected," with anchor Val Zavala, faces an uncertain…

"SoCal Connected" might be going dark for good. 

The award-winning nightly news show on KCET-TV has just wrapped up its fifth season, but staffers fear the program won't be coming back because of lack of funds.

"As happens every year, there are questions about the show's future," Bret Marcus, the show's executive producer and a senior vice president at the station, wrote in a statement. "And the answer is always the same: 'SoCal Connected' depends on public funding and we don't know at this time what that funding will be."

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The picture looks much darker than in years past, however.

KCET's financial results have deteriorated since it left the PBS network several years ago and forged a path as the nation's largest independent public TV station. For the fiscal year ending June 2012 -- the most recent for which figures are available -- the station posted a net loss of $7.4 million, according to audited financial statements. KCET had only about $80,000 cash on hand, as opposed to $1.5 million the previous year. Contributions and grants -- the station's lifeblood -- tumbled 20%, to $17.9 million.

The station recently merged with Link Media, a national satellite network, but it is unclear what that merger will mean for the fate of local programs such as "SoCal Connected."

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Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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