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College district rejects television station bids
October 26, 2012, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Plans to sell KCSM-TV were halted Wednesday when the San Mateo County Community College District rejected all bids.

After struggling for years to eliminate the $1 million operating deficit for KCSM-TV, the San Mateo County Community College District decided to sell the station late last year. Six bids were received by Feb. 14. Negotiations with the two responsive highest were not successful. As a result, the board rejected all bids Wednesday. A study session on next steps is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The move to sell the station came after nearly two years of struggling to cut the program’s $1 million operating deficit. Of the six bids received, the district moved forward with negotiations with FM Media TV, Inc. and San Mateo County TV Corporation. However, the district was unable to reach agreements with either.

KCSM-TV began operating in 1964 at its current location at the College of San Mateo. The non-commercial station broadcasts a variety of programs including television courses, the numbers for which have dropped in recent years in favor of online classes. Broadcasting, as a program, was on hiatus for a couple of years but returned more than a year ago with all new digital gear.

The challenge for elected officials has been the budget strain. In recent years, millions in cuts have been made. Programs with low enrollment were put on hiatus or discontinued and the board adopted a "core values” focus. As a result, programs not addressing the basic needs of students need to be self-funded, per the district’s direction. KCSM-TV is one of the programs which fell into this category.

A potential sale would include the station, its lease to Sutro Tower and the transmitter as well as equipment. Selling the television station, however, would not impact KCSM FM — the district radio station which will continue to operate as JAZZ 91.1, according to the district.

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