A group of local investors purchased one of the largest classical music stations on the West Coast with plans to sell it within the year to UCSB.
Last Halloween, classical radio station KDB closed escrow on the sale of 75 percent of its stock. Local philanthropists David Anderson, Jean and Barry Schuyler, and Michael Towbes, all members of the Investor’s Board, purchased the stock. Roby Scott, president of the Pacific Broadcasting Company, and father Bob Scott, purchased the remaining 25 percent of the stock. The new owners are planning to sell the stock to local supporters who will donate it to UCSB.
The Investor’s Board first considered selling the station to UCSB two years ago, believing the university would retain the classical format, said Anderson, president of the board. When the university could not come up with the money soon enough, the investors had to explore other options to keep the stock within the community. "And that’s where we step in," Anderson said.
The board is offering the station to UCSB at the same price it paid, which is much lower than market value. The four buyers are working as middlemen between the previous owner and UCSB to provide more time for fund raising.
The university is working closely with local philanthropists and supporters, including the Santa Barbara Foundation, to raise the estimated $3.25 million needed to purchase the station, Chancellor Henry Yang said. He added that they would like to have the goal met within one year.
"The university is cooperating with members of the community on a plan to save classical music station KDB, which is one of Santa Barbara’s cultural resources," Yang said.
The board also hopes to keep the station out of hands of a large corporation unlikely to retain the classical format, Roby Scott said.
"Every other station in Santa Barbara has changed hands. It has been a feeding frenzy by large corporations," he said.
Yang said the recent buyers felt the station "fit in well with the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service."
A large audience sustains the station’s current format, and Yang hopes to continue the station’s monetary independence.
"We expect the station to be self-sustaining, and the emphasis will remain on classical music," Yang said. "When the station is given to the university, we will undertake some campus consultation and proceed."