LOS ANGELES, Calif.–KCET announced today it will sever ties with PBS and become an independent television station beginning Jan. 1.

The station cited an inability to negotiate an agreement that would decrease the amount of dues paid to PBS and provide for a wider range of programming.

Al Jerome, the station’s president and chief executive officer, said the move was made after years of discussions with PBS about “challenges that are unique to our market as well as our station.”

Station officials noted that the dues paid to PBS have increased by 40 percent during a time when the station was hampered by decreasing donations, grants and corporate underwriting due to the sagging economy.

“As an independent public television station, KCET will be committed to investing in Southern California by developing, acquiring, producing and distributing content across all media platforms,” Jerome said. “We will continue to offer the KCET audience programming from leading national and international sources. Some of these series are currently on our air.

“Our plan is to become the media partner for the many diverse, creative voices in our community with stories to tell, art to exhibit, music or dance to perform and news to report,” Jerome said.

“We will partner with other public service organizations so that our viewers can learn about the good work being done, but not often reported in the commercial media. We will use our broadcast spectrum and broadband capabilities to expand public service at a time in our history when people of all ages want to actively participate in the recovery and growth of our region.”

KCET will remain a nonprofit, viewer-supported public media organization, operating under a non-commercial, educational television broadcast license awarded to Community Television of Southern California as an independent public television station.

“Our board of directors decided unanimously that KCET could best serve Southern California by allocating our supporters’ funds to locally focused news and cultural programming and other national and international quality content,” said Gordon Bava, chairman of the KCET board.

“While separating from the PBS mother ship is daunting, the potential of providing a media platform for the creative, scientific and cultural communities of Southern California to create informative and entertaining noncommercial programming with a fresh perspective is very exciting.”