TV Stations Wikia

KOCE-TV, virtual channel 50 (UHF digital channel 18), is the primary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station serving Los Angeles, California, United States. Licensed to Huntington Beach, the station is owned by the Public Media Group of Southern California, and is sister to Los Angeles-licensed educational independent station KCET (channel 28). KOCE-TV's studios are located at the South Coast Corporate Center (in the South Coast Metro area) in Costa Mesa, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Harvard (adjacent to Mount Wilson). Since 2009, the station has been branded as PBS SoCal.

KOCE-TV is one of three PBS member stations serving Greater Los Angeles (the others being San Bernardino-licensed KVCR-DT [channel 24], which mainly serves the Inland Empire, and the Los Angeles Unified School District-run KLCS [channel 58]). A fourth public television station serving the area, KCET, ended its 40-year membership with PBS in 2010, but announced eight years later that it would merge with KOCE-TV and rejoin PBS as a secondary station.


The station first signed on the air on November 20, 1972 as the first television station licensed to Orange County, initially airing four hours of programming per day. It broadcast its first telecourse in 1973. It was originally owned by the Coast Community College District. The station was originally based from studios located at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. For most of its history, KOCE-TV was a "beta" or secondary PBS station, airing only 25 percent of the national PBS schedule.

KOCE-TV vs. Daystar[]

In 2002, the Coast Community College District offered KOCE for sale in order to raise revenue for other programs. A bidding war ensued between the Daystar Television Network and members of the community who wanted to continue membership with PBS. In 2004, the station was sold to the KOCE-TV Foundation, an organization made up of civic and business leaders who wanted to keep KOCE-TV as an educational station, for $25.5 million, reduced from an initial bid of $32 million (with $8 million paid up front and the rest paid in 25 equal installments without interest beginning in 2009). The foundation outbid Daystar by $500,000, the religious broadcaster placed a bid of $25 million, which it intended to compensate in an all-cash payment.

Daystar sued in state court, stating that under the terms of the auction, its all-cash bid should have been accepted. A lower court ruled in favor of the college district and the foundation; but on June 23, 2005, the California Court of Appeals ruled that the sale of KOCE-TV was illegal, since the offer was modified after the end of bidding and because the value of the bid was not expressed in net present value terms. Both sides appealed this decision. On November 22, 2005, a state appeals panel reheard arguments in the case following a petition from KOCE, the KOCE Foundation, the Coast Community College District and Daystar. On May 25, 2006, the appeals court reaffirmed its decision, again ruling the sale illegal.

At the same time, Daystar also filed a federal lawsuit, alleging religious discrimination, civil rights violations and racketeering. On May 1, 2006, the District Court dismissed the racketeering claim, but not the civil rights portion of the lawsuit.

In June 2006, a state assembly bill that had previously been approved was changed to allow the Coast Community College District to sell KOCE below fair market value in order to keep it a PBS station. The new bill was passed by the assembly, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it citing concerns about serving the public interest in the sale of public property and the unresolved legal challenges to the type of sale that the bill would have authorized.

In June 2007, an agreement was reached in which the KOCE-TV Foundation would keep the station, provided that Daystar would be allowed to broadcast over one of KOCE's digital subchannels. As a result, KOCE-DT3 is reserved to broadcast Daystar's national schedule without any local deviation.

Becoming Los Angeles' primary PBS station[]

KOCE became the Los Angeles market's primary PBS station on September 28, 2009, when the area's longtime original primary member station of the network, KCET (channel 28), ended its association with PBS after 40 years due to an increase in costs to carry PBS programming—leading to its switch to an independent public television station on January 1, 2011.

After KCET left PBS on January 1, 2011, KOCE entered into a broadcast agreement with KLCS and KVCR to form "PBS SoCal" effective September 28, 2009. The PBS programming originally carried on KCET is now shared between the three stations. As a consequence, on September 27, 2009, KOCE expanded its cable coverage into Santa Barbara, and later expanded to Palm Springs. Both San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria (who were previously served by KCET), however, were not included in the cable coverage, as those communities are now served by San Francisco PBS member KQED via cable (Palm Springs is also served by KVCR-DT, while Bakersfield, which was also served by KCET, is now served via cable and over-the-air through Fresno PBS member KVPT).

In the winter of 2010, KOCE moved its administrative offices to a modern facility in Costa Mesa.

KOCE was available in the Palm Springs area and the Coachella Valley on cable and over the air since the late 1990s, formerly on K55FI and later K35LA, now a KCET translator since 2011, when KOCE became the major PBS station for Southern California.

Merger with KCET[]

On April 25, 2018, KCETLink Media Group and the KOCE-TV Foundation announced that they would merge, effective by the end of the first half of 2018. KOCE will remain Los Angeles' primary PBS station but will relocate its operations to KCET's facility in Burbank (maintaining its Costa Mesa location as a secondary facility). The two stations will continue to carry their existing programming, but KCET will return to PBS as a secondary member station.


TV stations in California
KOCE, Huntington Beach

KVCR-DT, San Bernardino
KLCS, Los Angeles County
KCET, Los Angeles
KEET, Eureka
KVIE, Sacramento
KIXE, Redding/Chico
KQED, San Francisco
KQET, Oakland
KQEH, San Jose
KRCB, Cotati
KVPT, Fresno
K18HD-D, Bakersfield
KPBS, San Diego

TV stations in California
Daystar Trinity Broadcasting Network 3ABN Tele Vida Abundante Almavision Other stations
KRJR-LP, Sacramento KTBN, Santa Ana K08MM-D, Bakersfield K10OI, Marina KTAV-LD, Altadena KEBK-LD, Bakersfield
KFVD-LD, Porterville
KMSG-LD3, Fresno
KVHF-LD8, Fresno
KACA-LD, Modesto K17JI-D, Fresno K36JH-D, Barstow KJEO-LD, Fresno
KOCE-DT3, Huntington Beach K20JX-D, Sacramento KMSG-LD4, Fresno
K21DO-D, Palm Springs
KLFB-LD, Salinas
TV stations in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, and portions of the Inland Empire
KCAL 9 (Ind)
KTBV-LD 12 (Ind)
KPOM-CD 14 (Story)
KSCI 18 (Ind)
KVME 20 (H&I)
KWHY 22 (Ind)
KPXN 30 (Ion)
K36JH-D 36 (TVA)
KXLA 44 (Ind)
KFTR-DT 46 (UnM)
KAZA 54 (MeTV)
KDOC 56 (Ind)
KJLA 57 (Ind)
KBEH 63 (Rel)