The station was purchased from Smith Media LLC for an undisclosed price, according to a statement released by the News-Press & Gazette Co. (NPG).
The sale is expected to be completed later this year after receiving required Federal Communications Commission approval, NPG officials said.
A related digital television property, MyRTV, is included in the sale.
“We look forward to operating a top-flight station serving the Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo communities, and advancing their interests in this beautiful part of the country,” said David Bradley, NPG chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement released by the company.
The acquisition, along with a pending purchase in Columbia, Mo., will give NPG stations in 10 television markets in the United States.
KEYT competes in the 122nd largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the country, with a potential reach of 230,000 households.
For Smith Media and its predecessor, which have operated the station since 1987, the sale is a major milestone.
“My late husband (Bob Smith) put in place his vision of a community oriented, first-class television station dedicated to and reflecting the unique mix of talents, resources and caring that make Santa Barbara so special to us all,” said Anne Smith Towbes. “It has been a major part of the Smith Family’s lives for these last 25 years to be directly involved in the traditions that have become KEYT.”
Towbes, who serves on the board of directors of Smith Media, added, “While nothing is forever, we take comfort and pride in passing these traditions on to NPG, another family owned and operated media company well qualified to carry on Bob Smith’s unique legacy.”
Smith Media said it plans to exit the Santa Barbara market once the sale is completed.
“We have greatly valued the opportunity to serve the communities of California’s Central Coast,” said Michael Granados, general manager of KEYT and chief executive officer of Smith Media. “Fortunately, this transaction will pass on this great asset and a dedicated group of talented employees to a new owner also committed to local service and broadcast excellence.”
The station has about 50 employees.
Other television stations based on the Central Coast include NBC affiliate KSBY in San Luis Obispo, which is owned by Cordillera Communications, a subsidiary of Evening Post Publishing Company; CBS affiliate KCOY in Santa Maria; and Fox affiliate KKFX in Santa Maria. The latter two are sister stations owned by Cowles Media.
News-Press & Gazette Co. is headquartered in St. Joseph and owns and operates television and radio stations in eight Midwestern and Western markets, including stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon and Texas.
The company launched FOX 26 KNPN this spring in St. Joseph, along with local affiliates for Spanish-language Telemundo and entertainment network The CW.
It announced in July its acquisition of a cluster of stations in Columbia – KMIZ-TV (ABC), KQFX-LP (FOX), MyZouTV (MyNetworkTV) and Me-TV – operated as The Networks of Mid-Missouri. That transaction is expected to be completed in November.