Friday, April 13, 2012

Two finalists in bidding for KCSM announced

The Palo Alto Daily Post reports that two organizations from Colorado that rescue troubled public broadcasting stations are finalists in the bidding for KCSM-TV, the money-losing noncommercial station the San Mateo County Community College District has put up for sale.

One of the finalists, identified as San Mateo Community Television Corp., is an entity of Independent Public Media of Longmont, Colo., whose goal is to “recapitalize and sustain public television stations currently at risk,” according to its website.

The other finalist is FM Media, a corporation set up by Public Radio Capital of Boulder, Colo., whose website says, “We help public media to buy and finance new channels, preserve existing public radio outlets, and strengthen their organizations and services.”

The amount each bidder offered hasn’t yet been released.

In narrowing the list of bidders of KCSM from six to two, the college district rejected a bid from Community Television Educators of Orange County, a religious broadcaster.

It also turned down bids from two Bay Area broadcasters:
    • KAXT LLC, which operates low-power Channel 22 in San Francisco, which broadcasts a Spanish-language Christian TV network, and 
    • KMTP-TV, operator of low-power Channel 32 in San Francisco, which airs multilingual, ethic programming. It’s offices are in Palo Alto.
The college district also turned down a bid from LocusPoint Networks, which wanted to use KCSM’s unused bandwidth for telecommunications purposes and would continue to air a public station on the station’s TV channel.

Jan Roecks, director of general services for the college district, told the district’s board Tuesday that the two Colorado-based groups are the best and highest bidders, and that she’ll recommend one of them when trustees meet again later this month.

Dave Mandelkern, president of the college district board, said the panel has a responsibility to San Ma- teo County taxpayers to get the best return possible on the sale of KCSM-TV. The college district decided to sell the station because it said it could no longer afford to subsidize its operation.

Several years spent looking at alternatives to a sale showed them to not be feasible and the district board cannot take up that issue again, he said.

The college district is selling KCSM-TV’s FCC license, its lease for a transmitter on Sutro Tower in San Francisco, and agreements for it to be carried on cable systems and satellite TV. The college is keeping its two TV studios on the San Mateo College campus, where students are trained in broadcasting.

The deal also doesn’t involve KCSM-FM, which is not for sale.

(Correction: An earlier version of this posting said Community Television Educators of Orange County was the licensee of KOCE in Orange County, which is incorrect. KOCE, a PBS station in Southern California, did not bid on KCSM.)

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