LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Local TV station KCET has announced its exit from the Public Broadcasting System due to a dispute with PBS over fees and programming.

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Beginning in 2011, the Los Angeles-based station’s schedule will include some current shows along with new fare that reflect Southern California’s “diverse” voices, KCET President Al Jerome said in a statement.

KCET’s lineup includes such well-known PBS series as “Sesame Street,” “PBS Newshour” and “Masterpiece.”

“After four decades as the West Coast flagship PBS station, this is not a decision we made lightly,” Jerome said.

Three other PBS stations serve the Southern California region, although none carry the system’s full slate of shows.

KCET said it was struggling under a dues assessment that was frozen at the highest rate in the station’s history as the economy crashed, leading to a drop in contributions from viewers, companies
and foundations.

The move by KCET follows several years of discussions with PBS about the challenges it was facing, Jerome said.

PBS, in a statement issued from its Arlington, Va., headquarters, said it received notice Friday of KCET’s intention to withdraw from the system.

“At issue were KCET’s repeated requests that it be allowed to operate as a PBS member station without abiding by PBS policies and paying the corresponding dues,” PBS said.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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