The southern Californian public TV station KCET and Link
Media, the nonprofit media company that operates Link TV and LinkNews, have
announced that they have agreed to merge their operations into KCETLink.
Top executives at both organizations noted that the move
will help expand their national reach and expand their content production and
digital media efforts.
The merger means that feeds from newly-formed company will
be available in 33 million households via DirecTV and Dish Network and the 5.6
million households served by KCET in Southern California.
Under the merger agreement, the KCETLink will be
headquartered in KCET's production facility in Burbank, Calif., with Al Jerome,
who is currently president and CEO of KCET, serving as CEO. Link TV's CEO and
president, Paul S. Mason, will become chief strategy officer, based in Los
In an interview, Jerome noted that the agreement would give
Link access to their new production studios and would help expand Link's reach.
Beginning Jan.1, LinkTV programming will be available on one
of KCET's three digital multicast channels in the Southern California market
and Link's LinkAsia program will be added to KCET's current international news
"We think that other public stations will be interested in
taking Link as a multicast and this gives them an opportunity to grow their
universe," Jerome noted.
At the same time, Link has extensive digital operations,
including LinkNews at new.linktv.org,
and has a software development group that has been working on a new mobile
application that will launch later this month, noted Mason.
The combination will also help them produce more content for
both for local and national audiences, the two executives note.
"It gives us the synergy of having a national network so
that we can talk to producers about both a local and a national piece and can
greenlight both," Jerome said. "We can be a one-stop shop for the creative
community in Southern California."
Such efforts are particularly important for KCET, which
dropped its PBS affiliation on Jan. 1, 2011, after a dispute over funding and
programming. It has since worked to expand its already extensive local
programming as part of a plan to establish itself as an independent public