KSCI-TV to Show Olympics in Korean

KNBC Channel 4 won’t be the only Los Angeles TV station broadcasting the Summer Olympics this month.

Foreign-language station KSCI-TV Channel 18, the beneficiary of a Korean government deal with NBC, will be allowed to air Korean-language coverage of the Seoul games in prime time opposite the English-language coverage on KNBC.

The KSCI coverage, which will be supplied by the government-owned Korean Broadcasting System, will begin Sept. 20 and will run Tuesday through Friday, from 8:30-11 p.m., for the two weeks of the Olympics. The coverage will consist of edited, taped highlights of the previous day’s events.

KSCI regularly airs Korean-language news and entertainment programming supplied by the Korean Broadcasting System during these time periods.


NBC, which paid $300 million for the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights of the Summer Olympics, has permitted this coverage to be shown in Los Angeles in exchange for the right to supply English-language coverage over the Armed Forces Korean Network that goes out to U.S. forces stationed in South Korea, KSCI spokesman Bob Nelson said Thursday.

C.K. Han, an executive with Korean Television Enterprises, a subsidiary of the Korean Broadcasting System that regularly supplies Korean-language programming to KSCI and stations in 10 other U.S. cities, said that his company is trying to distribute the Olympics programming in other areas of the United States as well.

But so far, he said, Korean Television Enterprises has not been able to work out the details with NBC and other stations.

Han indicated that the Korean coverage would focus primarily on the opening ceremonies and on athletes and events of particular interest to Koreans. He said he did not think the programming would cut into the local audience for the Olympics on KNBC, which not only plans to carry live coverage of the games nightly in prime time but also will have Olympic telecasts throughout most of the day during the Games.


KSCI is hoping that its Olympic coverage will be of interest to more than just the estimated 400,000 Koreans living in Southern California, Nelson said. He believes the Korean coverage will serve as an alternate source of Olympic highlights for many non-Korean speaking viewers.

“I think there will be a lot of people going back and forth between this coverage and the coverage on KNBC,” Nelson said. “When NBC is showing an event that they’re not particularly interested in, some people may switch over to us for a while. You don’t need a commentator for many of the events.”

KNBC officials were not immediately available for comment Thursday.