|City||Santa Barbara, California|
|Broadcast area||Santa Barbara, California
|First air date||1961 (as an FM station)|
|Format||Classical (KUSC simulcast)|
|HAAT||265.0 meters (869.4 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K Dorothy Barnes (in honor of the wife of station owner George Barnes in 1929)|
|Owner||University of Southern California|
KDB (93.7 MHz FM) is a non-commercial radio station in Santa Barbara, California, and is owned by the University of Southern California. The station airs a classical music format, simulcasting KUSC 91.5 FM Los Angeles.
The station went on air as KFCR-AM radio in 1926. The station was also purchased by George Barnes in 1929, who changed the call letters from KFCR to KDB in tribute to his wife, Dorothy Barnes.
In October 1929, KDB’s license was cancelled for failure to comply with regulations from the Federal Radio Commission. At issue were broadcasts of “The Crusaders,” which promoted the repeal of Prohibition. Station management put up a vigorous fight and KDB returned to the air by the end of the year.
Over the next couple of decades, KDB was bought and sold a few more times. It was Santa Barbara’s first 24-hour station, broadcasting on both AM and FM. KDB-AM and KDB-FM were bought in 1971 by the Pacific Broadcasting Company, consisting of Bob Scott, Harvey Pool, and Dick Marsh. After programming American show tunes and beautiful music for nine years, KDB-FM changed its format to classical music in 1980.
In 1990, KDB-AM and KDB-FM were split apart due to an owners’ dispute.
Currently owned by Rincon Broadcasting, KDB-AM is now KSPE. Bob Scott, and his son Roby, along with Harvey Pool, retained KDB-FM.
Michael Towbes, David Anderson, and Jean and Barry Schuyler bought KDB in 2001, with the goal of retaining ownership until such time as the station could be sold to a nonprofit that would keep the classical format and local orientation. This happened in November 2003 when the Santa Barbara Foundation purchased the station through a generous donation from Mr. Towbes.
In 2010, KDB embarked on a three-year strategic plan to enhance and grow its service to the community with programming that enriched the lives of those who listen. KDB added a Features Producer who created two to three interviews and features per week on the performing, visual and literary arts, as well as the good work of local nonprofit organizations. In 2011, KDB entered the world of social media, adding a monthly e-newsletter and Facebook page.
In October 2013, the Santa Barbara Foundation announced that it had put KDB up for sale. In a statement, the station said that it was unable to attract enough revenue from contributing listeners to support KDB's operations, despite an increase in advertising revenue. The foundation hoped to sell the station at a discount to interests that would retain the classical format, citing the "continuing community benefit" of continuing this programming, but also considered full-price offers from groups that will program a format of their choosing, in which case the proceeds will go toward an endowment to support classical music in the area.
In February 2014, public radio station KCRW of Santa Monica announced that it would buy KDB for $1 million. In June 2014 the sale price was amended to $1.3 million. The transaction will allow KCRW to begin using KQSC as a repeater for KCRW's programming, while transferring KUSC's classical programming from KQSC to KDB, thus perpetuating KDB's role as Santa Barbara's classical station.
On August 28, 2014 the sale was finalized and KDB began simulcasting KUSC's classical format.