KCETLink is the largest independent public television station in America. One of it's most culturally-relevant programs, SoCal Connected, is an award-winning nightly news show that features investigative reporting about economic, environmental, and political issues that affect Southern California. After the network posted a $7 million net loss in 2012 and laid off 22 full-time employees, SoCal Connected went off the air.
Thanks to a new $1 million grant from the Ahmanson Foundation, SoCal Connected will soon be broadcast once again. "We are extremely grateful to The Ahmanson Foundation for its generosity and for recognizing the unique value that SoCal Connected brings to our community," KCETLink CEO Al Jerome said in a press release. "We are pleased to continue to deliver the kind of quality local news coverage to our viewers that has distinguished SoCal Connected from other newscasts in the region."
Although the show's format and staffing plan for season 6 has yet to be revealed, the resurrected show promises to be more nimble, fast-paced, and feature broader regional coverage. There has also been talk of integrating more digital and social media into the show to keep it relevant and circulating in the public conversation.
Clearly, public television in Southern California is struggling. After posting that devastating $7 million loss, KCET merged with nonprofit media company, Link Media, thereby morphing into KCETLink. As you can see, KCET's split with PBS caused the network to lose a great deal of fundraising revenue. Fortunately, Los Angeles has no shortage of private foundations who see value in this type of programming and are willing to pick up the slack.
Ahmanson's philanthropic interests typically lie in the arts and humanities, education, health and medicine, and human services. This $1 million Ahmanson grant was particularly impressive because the average foundation grant is only between $10,000 and $50,000. (Read: Ahmanson Foundation: Los Angeles Grants).
"We're in the process of building back our business model. It's an entrepreneurial situation that we've been facing," Jerome said. "We're seeing some very good things and we're looking forward to a good year in this current fiscal year."