Economics and Public Policy
Mel Rogers is a veteran of 30 years in public media. A former radio and television journalist and program host, Rogers joined with PBS in 1984 when he became Station Manager at KBYU-TV in the Salt Lake City television market. Following 10 years of growth in viewership and revenues, including the creation of the popular Blue and White Sports Network, Rogers launched a media consulting firm assisting both commercial and non-commercial clients in many U.S. cities. In 1997 Rogers became President and General Manger of OC-based KOCE-TV, the station now known as PBS SoCaL. The journey for KOCE, a station licensed to the Coast Community College District, to become an independent community licensee serving the entire 19 million-person LA region, was fraught with peril. When the District chose to sell KOCE, The KOCE-TV Foundation Board, led by Rogers, raised millions for a down payment that enabled the group to purchase the Broadcast License for the people of Orange County. The next three years were spent defending that acquisition in court against a well-heeled national televangelist network that claimed the station should have been sold to them. That issue was finally resolved just as the great recession of 2008 brought a reduction in station revenues of 30 percent. Rogers right-sized the operation and began re-growth of the operation. Then in Jan. 2011, PBS and LA’s KCET parted ways. Mel marched KOCE into the breach, saving PBS for the LA market. In the process, he lead a rebranding effort that created PBS SoCaL, the new name for quality on-air and online media that educates, enlightens, and informs all of Southern California. When Mel retired as CEO in April of 2015, PBS SoCaL was operating from new headquarters in Orange County and satellite offices in Century City, Downtown LA and Burbank, and PBS SoCaL was growing rapidly toward becoming a top tier, major-market, public media entity. Under Rogers, PBS SoCaL/KOCE-produced programs garnered 11 LA Area Emmy’s and 16 Golden Mic Awards. His media leadership is also reflected in a six-year stint as a member of the national PBS Board of Directors, Chairmanship of the California Public Television Stations Association, and the Utah Broadcasters' Association. He has also served on various business roundtables and non-profit boards. He and Marcia, a college English professor, have two adult children.