Longtime TV station packing its bags

KOCE-TV, which has been at Golden West College since 1972, will be moving to Costa Mesa.

December 29, 2010|By Michael Miller,
  • Andra Davis, the on-air operations supervisor, takes care of programming at the master control of KOCE-TV at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.
Andra Davis, the on-air operations supervisor, takes… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

In the coming months, KOCE-TV will move to Costa Mesa, change its name and become the new full-service PBS station for most of Southern California.

And that means finding a new home for the cat.

The station, which has operated at Golden West College since 1972, adopted a feline two years ago when rats began invading its studio. The cat, named Koce (pronounced "COH-see"), took care of the rat problem quickly but still lives there full time, in part because the crew got attached to her.

"Now she's a part of the family," said news director Mike Taylor. "I think if you remove the cat and rats know there's no cat anymore, they'll work their way back in. But I don't think we would ever give her up, no matter what."

Over the next half-year, KOCE has plenty of things to move into the building at 3080 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa. The station announced a month ago that it will replace Los Angeles-based KCET as the region's prime PBS station, and as of Jan. 1, it will be known as PBS SoCal and adopt a slew of national programs. The offices on Beach Boulevard have already started packing up, and the studio plans to follow by June.


When the boxes arrive in Costa Mesa, they'll contain four decades of Surf City history. According to studio manager Roger Genereux, some of the light fixtures date back to the first broadcast. Other items are more modern, including the high-definition cameras the station adopted in September, the computers in the upstairs control room — and Koce, who may function as a mascot even if her rat-killing services aren't needed.

"The hope is that she'll be able to be our studio cat over there as well," Taylor said.

Up in the sky

On a bitter cold Dec. 22, a small crew of half a dozen gathered in the studio to tape the news show "Real Orange." Taylor was filling in for usual anchor Ed Arnold, and co-host Ann Pulice advised him as he glanced at the teleprompter and adjusted his chair the right distance from hers. Genereux, standing behind the camera, looked up at the lighting grid and remembered when he helped to install it 39 years ago.

KOCE was the brainchild of Norman Watson, the first chancellor of the Coast Community College District, who founded the station largely to provide telecourses for students. Within a few years, KOCE grew to include news programs and other local-themed shows.

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