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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:39 pm | Fair 67º


National Public Radio Launches New Santa Barbara Frequency

Some of the promised changes connected with the sale of Santa Barbara’s No. 1 classical music radio station have taken effect after the launch of a new National Public Radio affiliate channel.

Santa Monica-based KCRW launched local programming on Monday at 88.7 FM following the Federal Communications Commission’s blessing of the proposed sale of KDB 93.7 FM, the city’s oldest radio station.

The Santa Barbara Foundation, which purchased the 87-year-old station through a donation in 2003, announced plans in February to sell the historically financially strapped station in a deal that also involved Los Angeles-based KUSC radio.

KCRW, which had been operating at a weaker frequency at 106.9, gave the KDB call letters to KUSC, which transferred its 88.7 channel to KCRW.

The previous KCRW frequency will broadcast KCRW’s all-music station, Eclectic24.

As was a goal of the deal, KDB remained a classical music station, and KCRW will air community-focused and arts-infused programming.

The new KDB launched late last month, and this week the channel will begin concert calendar announcements, said Brenda Barnes, president of USC Radio.

The swap was a bit behind the May launch organizers hoped for.

Through a partnership with Antioch University, KCRW’s local studio will be based on campus beginning this fall, and the station has partnered with local media to help with its local editions of NPR’s popular morning newsmagazine Morning Edition and afternoon news show All Things Considered

The on-air schedule will include more than 100 weekly hours of KCRW’s originally produced, award-winning content, ranging from flagship music program Morning Becomes Eclectic to news and culture show Press Play with Madeleine Brand, nationally-syndicated To The Point with Warren Olney, and cultural programming on art, film, architecture, food, literature and politics. 

Locals Dr. Victoria Riskin and Scott Brittingham will join the KCRW foundation board to provide guidance for the Santa Barbara expansion.

“Since announcing our interest to increase KCRW’s presence in Santa Barbara, we have been met with the warmest welcome by area listeners, arts and culture institutions, philanthropists and the business community,” Jennifer Ferro, KCRW president and general manager, said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with Victoria and Scott, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and other trusted partners, as we expand our coverage of Santa Barbara public affairs, culture and arts.”

KCRW will build on established partnerships with the Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and other organizations, expanding its fringe-benefits program offering discounts to attend local arts venues.

A KCRW Santa Barbara advisory board is also in the works, set to include philanthropic, arts and culture, and academic community leaders.

Barnes said Gillian Launie, a member of the previous KDB advisory board, and Eve Bernstein will co-chair a new KDB advisory board and are looking for more members.

“It is wonderful to be up and running," she said, "and we will pay special attention to the balance of Santa Barbara arts announcements in the coming weeks.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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