May 26, 2006


We don't watch TV around here (too cheap to pay for cable, rabbit ears don't quite do it, and the stuff rots yer brain anyways), but that doesn't mean that I can't be dismayed at Daystar Television Network's attempts to purchase KOCE-TV. Daystar is a Christian broadcast network out of Texas; KOCE is Orange County's local public television station.

Back in 2004, the Coast Community College District, which had been running KOCE, decided that it shouldn't be in the TV business anymore and sold KOCE's studios and broadcast license to the KOCE Foundation, a non-profit set up to run the station. During the sale, the foundation bid $32 million for KOCE, with $8 million up front and the rest to be paid in installments; Daystar bid $25 million, up-front and in cash. (In a move that confuses me but was apparently intended to underscore their seriousness, Daystar 'upped' their bid to $40 million after the bidding process closed.) After the sale, Daystar took the foundation and the community college district to court, claiming that the district was obligated by law to sell the station to the party with the highest cash bid. After losing that case, Daystar went back to court, alleging religious discrimination. Today, an appeals court ruled that the sale of KOCE was flawed, and that the foundation had to give KOCE's license back to the community college district. What happens next is unclear.

Daystar obviously wants to turn KOCE into nothing but a repeater for programming piped from their headquarters in Dallas; if they succeed, the only local employee left will be the guy in charge of making sure the satellite uplink is turned on. It irks me that KOCE, Orange County's only public TV station and the only station with OC-focused news and current affairs programs (there was an experiment with an "Orange County NewsChannel" on cable TV in the 90s, but that folded years ago) may go dark as the result of a bunch of so-called 'Christians' on a vindictive, petty-minded mission to acquire the station at any cost. It irks me that people who have $40 million in cash to wave around have the chutzpah to claim religious discrimination!

If you think likewise, you might want to let Daystar know how you feel.

Posted by Kevin at May 26, 2006 09:33 PM
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