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LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO – L.A.’s former PBS flagship station, KCET, has merged with Link Media, an independent non-profit media company that operates the Link TV national satellite network and online international news portal, LinkNews. The two are creating KCETLink, which will be available in 33 million households via DirecTV and Dish Network, and 5.6 million households on KCET-TV in Southern California.

KCETLink will be led by Al Jerome as CEO, with Link TV’s CEO and President Paul S. Mason, becoming chief strategy officer, based in Los Angeles. The company will be headquartered in KCET’s new production facility in Burbank, Calif. Link Media will join KCET’s digital media team to focus on developing new technology and programming for Web and mobile, such as an upcoming app that curates world news videos for the iPad and Google TV.

Beginning Jan.1, LinkTV programming will be available on one of KCET’s three digital multicast channels in the Southern California market, providing viewers in the 11 counties of the Los Angeles market with access to Link TV’s news, documentaries and music from around the world. In addition, “LinkAsia,” a half-hour program combining state news from Asia with trends and commentary bubbling up through social media, will be added to KCET’s current international news broadcast schedule.

KCET’s primary channel will continue to air its own locally produced and acquired programs, including “Doc Martin,” “Foyle’s War,” “Primeval,” “Open Call,” “Huell Howser” and “SoCal Connected.” Link TV is available as basic service on DirecTV Ch. 375 and Dish Network Ch. 9410. Select Link TV programming also airs on 220 cable outlets, including in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, reaching an additional 22 million homes.