When Mel Rogers assumed the Presidency of KOCE-TV in 1997, the Orange County PBS station had an admirable educational agency but very little recognition as an essential community institution. Faced with the sobering prospect of needing to raise millions of dollars to convert KOCE to digital television technology, Rogers began an aggressive effort to make the station an indispensable part of the fabric of Orange and Los Angeles Counties. With this mission statement focused on the goals of education, information, and culture, Rogers began creating strategic partnerships with a host of local community institutions and non-profit causes and within eight months launched Orange County’s only nightly broadcast new program, Real Orange.
After four and a half years of Rogers’ leadership, KOCE has grown its budget from $5.5 million to $7.5 million dollars, its staff from 55 to 63 people, and its prime time ratings by more than 200 percent. The station has completed a strategic plan for aggressive growth during the next five years, acquired FCC permission to move its transmission facilities to Mt. Wilson for greater audience reach, and began the quiet phase of an $8.5 million dollar capital campaign. Under Rogers, KOCE member donations have grown dramatically and the station’s broadcasting day has gone from 18 to a full 24 hours. He also oversaw the expansion of KOCE into the desert cities of the Cochella Valley. Rogers is growing the KOCE Foundation Board of Directors from 12 to 30 members and today, Directors are major donors to the KOCE annual and capital campaign.
With an updated logo and look, and strategic goals to become live, local, and educational portal and content creator, KOCE TV is now committed to addressing the television news vacuum that exists in Orange County. Without sacrificing its K-12, higher education, and teacher training emphases, Rogers says the new KOCE will also focus on bringing more timely, live, local news to 3 million residents of the station’s home county.
Rogers’ public television efforts extend beyond the Los Angeles market area. He is in his second term as an elected member of the PBS Board of Directors, which guides PBS efforts on a national level. Rogers’ service to public television includes multiple task forces, committees, and national policy making bodies. He also serves on the Boards of the National Educational Telecommunications Association, the Pacific Mountain Network, and public television’s Program Resource Group. Of course, Rogers broader efforts for the station to be a civilizing influence throughout Southern California, continues.
Rogers holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism and an MA in International Communications. He took both degrees from BYU. For more than 15 years, Rogers was an adjunct professor in the Department of Communications at BYU, teaching on-camera performance courses as well as broadcast news writing, broadcast management, and public relations classes.
Rogers was born in Rigby, Idaho and was raised in San Bernardino, California, and Draper, Utah. He is married to Marcia Anderson Rogers, an English Professor at Orange Coast College. They are the parents of two adult children.
Mel Rogers loves Orange County, saying he doesn’t care to ever live anywhere else. Here, he servers on the boards of Arts Orange County, the OC chapter of the Boys Scouts of America and the Orange County Forum. He holds memberships in the Association for Corporate Growth and the Orange County Business Council.