Santa Barbara Foundation Announces the “New KDB”

Transition to KCRW to Provide Enhanced Cultural and Music Programming


Brenda Barnes, from KUSC; Ron Gallo, from the Santa Barbara Foundation; and Jennifer Ferro, from KCRW; finalize the details.

In an effort to reimagine what classical radio might look like in Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Foundation will sell KDB 93.7 FM to KCRW, one of the nation’s leading National Public Radio affiliates. 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.

Wanting to preserve an important community asset, the foundation set out to find a new home for KDB, one that would continue to bring increased cultural relevance to an already vibrant arts community. Through the purchase, KCRW will be able to bring its exciting programming to Santa Barbara, broadcasting on 88.7 FM. KUSC radio, the former owner of this frequency, will now move to KDB, where it will continue to provide terrific classical music offerings under the historic KDB call letters.

“At the Santa Barbara Foundation, philanthropy is the starting point for being high impact on community issues,” said Ron Gallo, president & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “With the transition to the ‘new KDB,’ we were able to keep classical music alive while enhancing and expanding the variety of musical programming offered in Santa Barbara.”

KCRW will pursue its goal of creating meaningful connections with the communities it serves by providing culturally responsive news, music, and talk programming that speaks to the nuanced interest and needs of Santa Barbara listeners. With plans to partner with The Santa Barbara Independent and hire two announcer/producers, KCRW will create a Santa Barbara edition of NPR’s popular morning newsmagazine Morning Edition and afternoon news show All Things Considered. In addition, the radio station will support local, cultural institutions starting with a strategic partnership with Antioch University. In exchange for studio space at the university, the station will provide insight and exposure to students interested in broadcasting and storytelling careers through integration into the curriculum and internship programs.

“This opportunity is very exciting. Santa Barbara is a natural home for KCRW. We have partnered with Santa Barbara institutions for years on music and culture initiatives,” said Jennifer Ferro, KCRW’s president and general manager. “It has all the elements that have made KCRW a success in Los Angeles – a diverse and intelligent population interested in arts and culture who are passionate about their local community. We believe we can further amplify the voices of the Central Coast in a unique and compelling way.”

With a forward thinking, collaborative attitude, the Santa Barbara Foundation was able to reinvigorate KDB, keeping a local community treasure alive while infusing it with new life; developing new partnerships while continuing to engage the arts community.

“I am very grateful to the Santa Barbara Foundation for giving KUSC the opportunity to deepen its commitment to the Santa Barbara community,” said Brenda Barnes, president of USC Radio. “We have covered the extraordinary Santa Barbara arts community for decades, and we look forward to expanding our coverage now that we have the honor of preserving the history and tradition of KDB. We are equally excited that KCRW will develop a new public radio service for Santa Barbara, and we look forward to collaborating with Jennifer Ferro and her talented colleagues.”

The Santa Barbara Foundation was represented by Public Radio Capital, a national nonprofit focused on strengthening and expanding public media services to local communities, in the discussions and negotiations with KCRW, KUSC, and other groups that were interested in KDB.

Santa Barbara Foundation | 1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 963-1873 | info@sbfoundation.org