Who is PEG & what’s her role in Oceanside?

Tom Reeser
Executive Director

KOCT’s official name is Oceanside Community Service Television Corp. Community and service are the heart of why we’re here and what we do. So who is PEG? KOCT is a PEG station (non-commercial Public, Education and Government access) with a federal mandate to provide local programming in the public interest. Started by citizen volunteers and governed by a volunteer board of directors, KOCT provides a dizzying array of programs for, by and about Oceanside and North County on television and on-demand online.

Government programs (the G in PEG) bring you the California State legislature, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Tri-City Healthcare District Board and Oceanside City Council Meetings. Public access programs (the P in PEG) provide Democracy Now! UCSD, and religious church services. We air educational programs (the E in PEG) from a variety of sources —NASA, The Pentagon Channel and documentaries.

KOCT is not a traditional public access channel. From the beginning we chose to serve the viewer instead of the user. Due to early budget constraints—not enough money or equipment to teach the public how to use cameras and edit programs— as well as fulfill our City contract obligations. As time evolved the KOCT non-profit model was embraced because the public saw itself in large community events, learned about topical city issues and kept its eye on local government without having to become video experts to do so.

Unfortunately, hundreds of PEG channels are dying across the county. PEG is only thriving in New England because state laws guarantee a percentage of cable franchise fees to public access stations. Sadly, this is not the case elsewhere, and in California we see many PEG stations go out of business for a variety of factors—all having to do with funding. Although KOCT is the largest and most successful PEG station in San Diego County, we too are grappling with budget cuts and an uncertain future. Read about the “perfect storm” that has overwhelmed PEG and KOCT’s survival strategy in my next blog…

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2 Responses to Who is PEG & what’s her role in Oceanside?

  1. Mandy Barre says:

    Still would like to know how much franchise fee O’side collects and how much they may give KOCT this year. Thanks. Love the blog!

    • The latest figures we have are that the City received, in 2009, $2.3 million dollars in franchise fees (5% of Cox Cable and AT&T Gross Revenues) which they put in the General Fund:

      KOCT’s received $377,000 from the general fund in our 2010-2011 contract with the City of Oceanside. Our total budget for the year is approx. $858,000 of which our goal is to generate approx. $130,000 thru fundraising, grants and production income. We receive an additional $350,000 of funding through a Technology Grant and Pass-Thru fees that were negotiated in the current cable franchise with Cox Communications by the City of Oceanside.

      —Tom Reeser, KOCT Executive Director

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