LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — English infomercials will replace local TV programs aimed at the Chinese, Filipino, Spanish and Armenian communities on KSCI, Channel 18, after 30 years of being on the air.
LA18 will also severely cut back on Korean programming, the station’s general manager confirmed.
“We used to be an Asian language station for 30 to 40 years and we are changing our format now. We will still have a little Korean though,” General Manager Dennis Davis said.
The changes will be implemented beginning July 1 and continue through late this year or early 2018, Davis said. He declined to offer any one specific reason for the format shift. The station has been through financial hardships in recent years and filed for bankruptcy in 2012 while laying off several dozen workers.
At the same time, the federal auction of parts of TV stations’ channels to be reused for cell phone providers raised significant funds but reduced airwave availability.
As of 2015, Los Angeles County was home to 1.5 million Asians, more than any county in the nation, according to a 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report, which also found that Asians are the fastest growing racial group in the nation.
LA18 was founded in 1977 and broadcasts on 12 digital channels in five languages — Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Spanish and Armenian. It airs a mix of its own programs and shows produced in other countries.
Starting July 1, the station’s main channel, 18.1, will cease all Asian-language programming except for broadcasts in Korean from 8 to 11 p.m. produced by Seoul Broadcasting Systems out of Korea.
The station’s other channels will continue airing their normal programming after July 1 but will be cut back over the next year from 12 channels to five and eventually only feature Korean programming produced by international providers.
Popular programs produced by LA18 slated to be canceled on July 1 include “Tsou LA,” a program aimed at introducing Chinese speakers to Los Angeles, and “Kababayan Today,” a Filipino-language talk show.
The station’s two local news shows in Chinese and Korean will also be ending July 1, as will its Chinese talk show “Juliett,” although Dennis said SBS planned to continue to produce its own local news program in Korean.
Davis said he has been in talks with other stations interested in continuing to produce some of the local shows, including “Kababayan Today,” which bills itself as the only Filipino language talk show produced in North America.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)