Appeals Court Will Review Sale/No Sale of SoCal PBS Station
Filed under: Right Watch, PBS
Southern California PBS station KOCE has successfully convinced an appeals court to review its decision overturning the sale of the station.
The Coast Community College District put KOCE up for sale in 2003. Although religious broadcasting company Daystar bid on the affiliate, station officials chose to sell the station to a group of local interests that promised to maintain the station’s educational purpose. Daystar sued for religious discrimination and a court overturned the sale. (For more, see “Religious Broadcaster, Community, Battle for Ownership of PBS Station.”)
KOCE asked the court to review the decision. Yesterday, it agreed.
From the LA Times:
The 4th District Appellate Court’s action might include another hearing, but the justices are more likely to reexamine materials already filed. The judges could come to almost any decision, from allowing the original sale to go though to deciding the station should be sold to the Daystar Television Network.
There is no deadline for the court to make a decision.
The college district and Daystar both asked the appeals court to review its decision after it canceled the sale and said the district could either keep the station or hold another round of bidding. Daystar, which the court said made the highest bid, wants the court to order the district to sell the station to the televangelism firm.
The district argues that the judges’ original decision was wrong and the station should remain in the foundation’s hands.
Richard Lloyd Sherman, a lawyer for Texas-based Daystar, said it was unlikely the court would completely change its mind. “Based on the language of their original ruling, they’re not going to change the basic opinion,” he said.
Milford Dahl, the district’s attorney, said, “It’s not necessarily a positive sign, but at least we don’t have an adverse opinion right now.”
KOCE President Mel Rogers was more confident. “We believe that once all the facts in the case are clarified, we’ll get a good result,” he said.
Daystar also has sued the district and the foundation in federal court, accusing them of violating the law to keep a Christian broadcaster from buying the station.