Classical Station For Sale

Want to live in Santa Barbara?  The Santa Barbara Independent reports that legacy station KDB is for sale.

The 87-year-old classical music station is owned by the Santa Barbara Foundation, but the philanthropic organization recently decided to relinquish control after KDB ran more than $400,000 in deficits over the last three years with even more loss expected this year.

It’s a small station, about 20,000 listeners.  Santa Barbara is such a great town and it has a music-loving audience, but there’s strong competition in the listening area from LA powerhouse KUSC.

With an annual operating budget of around $900,000, KDB typically pulled in close to $400,000 in advertising revenue per year and attempted to make up the rest with fundraising, explained Santa Barbara Foundation CEO Ron Gallo. But for the last few years it had failed to meet its fiscal goals, forcing the foundation to pump grants and subsidies into the station to keep it afloat.

The most common buyers of small sttions are religious entities, but those of us in the classical world are hoping whoever buys it will keep it classical.  There’s plenty of repertoire that KUSC doesn’t air, including most of the national programming.  I think the station could thrive.

About Marty Ronish

Marty Ronish is an independent producer of classical music radio programs. She currently produces the Chicago Symphony Orchestra broadcasts that air 52 weeks a year on more than 400 stations and online at She also produces a radio series called "America's Music Festivals," which presents live music from some of the country's most dynamic festivals. She is a former Fulbright scholar and co-author of a catalogue of Handel's autograph manuscripts.

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1 thought on “Classical Station For Sale”

  1. Minnesota Public Radio’s outfit that owns KPCC Southern California Public Radio is probably the most likely and the most hoped-for organization that would buy KDB, but it would change it to all news. I doubt that anybody will want to keep it classical, given the small audience and the competition from KUSC’s KQSC there. SCPR wants to expand across southern California–it’s already said that–and its ratings are good for a public radio station. It owns a station in the Imperial Valley and leases KPCC from Pasadena College as well as two other university stations in the Inland Empire. I’d rather see that happen than see another Fundamentalist radio station on the air.

    The loss of KDB leaves very, very few commercial classical stations, which in the 1950s and 1960s thrived on the FM band–and were in fact often pioneers in the FM revival during the “hi-fi” days of the late 1950s. It’s a pity to see them vanish.

    Mike Dorner


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