KCET Officials Contest Times Interpretation of Station's New Budget

Kobin is president and chief executive officer of KCET; Ausman is chairman of the board

Sharon Bernstein's story on KCET's new budget (Calendar, June 15) paints a distorted and confusing picture of the station. Following is some relevant information, much of which had been provided, that the writer does not have in her story:

* KCET will finish fiscal 1991 with the largest revenues in its history and with a positive result of operations for the ninth year in a row.

* Revenues for fiscal 1991 will be more than $2 million higher than fiscal 1990.

* Revenues for fiscal 1992 are currently projected to be 6.5% below this year's final budget figures.

* KCET viewers will see more, not fewer, local production hours on the air in the new fiscal year, including a new nightly half-hour series. The total expenditure on local productions will be slightly larger next year than this year, increasing from $5 million to $5.1 million.

* To achieve this level of local production, we will allocate $500,000 more of our discretionary funds than last year (not $50,000 as the story says).

* KCET viewers will see about the same number of hours from KCET provided to the national PBS schedule next year as this year.

* "KCET Journal" was never a weekly series (as the story states) but a series of occasional specials, which we will continue to try to fund.

Like hundreds of other companies, KCET has weathered a challenging economic year with strict cost-containment actions, and brought the year to a close in the black. We have projected our budget for the next year cautiously and conservatively, without sacrificing our commitment to our local audiences; indeed, our local production plans for a nightly series are the most ambitious in years.

It is also significant that the number of KCET contributors reached an all-time high in April, and viewership has grown in 1991. Add to that a marvelous fall season of programming coming up in September, and some wonderful alternative summer viewing, and you have a better and more accurate sense of the current status of KCET.

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