LAT Rains on KCET’s Parade

It’s entirely logical for LA Times media critic James Rainey to take a look at the fortunes of KCET on the occasion of the independent TV station’s move to shiny new facilities in Burbank. But talk about putting a damper on the new-office euphoria.

The headline writer soft-pedals the piece somewhat, framing it with the neutral tag “The Future of KCET.” Six paragraphs in however, that future begins to sound pretty grim:

“There is no way, absolutely no way, that KCET can survive as a television station,” said Jack Shakely, former head of the giant California Community Foundation, which once contributed to KCET programs and pledge drives. “They are like the bookstore that opens just when all other bookstores are awash in red ink, a bookstore that cannot sell bestsellers, can’t sell popular classics, sells books you’ve never heard of and then asks you to contribute to the bookstore anyway.”

Three other executives at prominent Los Angeles non-profits, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to alienate the station’s executives, said they had eschewed giving or partnerships with KCET because of their concerns.

This is a very well-sourced column. Rainey also spoke to some station employees as well as another individual who hinted that a lack of financing has grounded a planned Jean Michel-Cousteau series. The good news is that KCET’s prime time audience numbers are almost back to solid 2010 levels.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Disney-Loving Frenchman Looks to Reinvigorate KCET