PBS SoCal ratings soar in first month as the network’s flagship station in Los Angeles area


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PBS SoCal has experienced higher ratings since it started carrying ‘American Experience’ -- and ‘Frontline,’ ‘Masterpiece’ and ‘Charlie Rose’ too.

Formerly KOCE-TV Channel 50, the Orange County-based public broadcasting outlet has seen its ratings soar 150% since it took on the full PBS schedule on Jan. 1, according to the Nielsen Co.


A year ago, KOCE was delivering a 0.2 household rating for its programming day. Now, with PBS signatures such as ‘American Experience’ and ‘Charlie Rose’ added to the lineup, that rating has jumped to a 0.5 for the month of January.

That, incidentally, is the same number KCET-TV Channel 28 was doing with the PBS schedule during the same period last year. KCET left PBS after months of dues and other disputes and is now the nation’s largest independent public broadcasting station. However, the station has seen ratings plummet since it dropped the familiar network lineup.

PBS SoCal is earning its highest numbers with ‘Masterpiece’ (1.2 rating), ‘Antiques Roadshow’ (1.0) and ‘Nova’ (0.9).

However, the changeover has not been without disruptions for viewers, and those are reflected in the ratings. PBS SoCal’s morning programs for kids are still underrated compared with how KCET was faring with those shows. That suggests parents may be confused about where to find shows such as ‘Dinosaur Train’ and ‘Sesame Street.’

And though KLCS-TV and KVCR-TV, the secondary PBS stations in the Southern California area, initially benefited after KCET left the network, their ratings have now fallen back to their levels from last year. That indicates PBS SoCal may need to redouble its marketing efforts with its partner stations.


KCET prime-time ratings slip 38% in first three weeks without PBS


-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)