For the second time in less than a year, a California appellate court determined a community college acted improperly by selling its public television station to a private foundation. The problem? They sold to the foundation for little more than half of the $40 million offered by a Christian network.
The future now seems to favor Daystar Television Network, a Dallas-based component of Word of God Fellowship, in the three-year battle to acquire KOCE-TV from Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa, California. But the closing act of the case continues to highlight the resistance Christian broadcasters face when trying to acquire a spot on the airwaves.
"The question is, 'Why is a religious broadcaster a person you don't want to see that channel go to?'" asked Frank Wright, president of the National Religious Broadcasters. "The answers are not that comfortable. Is it bias? Is it animus? Is it outright religious bigotry?" Board members for the district argued they wanted to preserve KOCE as a public entity.
In late May, though, California's Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed its June 2005 ruling that called KOCE's sale to a private foundation "the rankest form of favoritism."
Daystar initially offered $25.1 million for KOCE, but lost to a private foundation's $32 million bid. The day after bidding closed, however, Daystar increased its purchase proposal to $40 million. The college district rejected the late pitch.
If at first the district appeared to simply be playing fair, it quickly became apparent otherwise. The foundation, which had put $8 million down, broke its agreement to pay the remaining $24 million with interest over 10 years. The district agreed to let the foundation pay $4 million less, interest-free over ...1