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KCRW comes to Santa Barbara: KUSC to run classical signal

KDB 93.7

Updated: February 20: Ok, second try on this story . . .

A solution has been found for financially ailing classical station KDB 93.7 FM in Santa Barbara, California. It will be sold to innovative NPR affiliate KCRW-FM of Santa Monica. When last we left KDB its parent, the Santa Barbara Foundation, was on the verge of letting the signal go—all efforts to keep it afloat failing to make the operation “financially self-sufficient,” in the words of its general manager. Now KCRW has bought the frequency.

“Loyal listeners will still be able to hear the sounds of Mozart and Tchaikovsky, while benefiting from increased programming across the spectrums of news, culture, and a variety of music genres,” a Santa Barbara Foundation release press release pledges. BUT: KCRW will not broadcast classical music. Classical KUSC from Los Angeles is involved in the deal. Here’s a KUSC summary of the arrangement:

“Public radio station KCRW, based in Santa Monica, approached Classical KUSC and suggested that KCRW buy the Santa Barbara station and then swap it for KQSC (88.7 FM), the station that Classical KUSC currently operates in Santa Barbara. Classical KUSC agreed to the swap, which allows KDB to continue playing classical music and expands KCRW’s signal to Santa Barbara.

KDB and KQSC have virtually the same coverage area. No money will change hands between KCRW and Classical KUSC.

The KDB call letters will remain, as will its 93.7 FM frequency, but USC branding will be given at the top of each hour, as is done on all the KUSC stations, which are located in Los Angeles and Santa Clarita (KUSC), Palm Springs (KPSC), Thousand Oaks (KDSC), Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo (KESC) as well as KQSC in Santa Barbara.”

Whew! As for KCRW, the revised signal will deliver KCRW content, plus team up with The Santa Barbara Independent and bring in two new announcers. They’ll cook up some kind of Santa Barbara version of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Plus a  “strategic partnership” with Antioch University is in the works.

As you might guess, all this will take some time to settle in, and there is Federal Communications Commission paperwork involved, of course. Over at KDB run now by KUSC, the latter signal’s management plans to meet with Santa Barbara arts groups and “begin developing an advisory board to guide its efforts and ensure that the station continues its strong ties to the community . . . ”


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