Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

KZSB -- Who Owns the Radio Station?

A faithful radio listener and reader of this blog reminded me that the Wikipedia entry for KZSB states that the Santa Barbara News Press does NOT actually own 1290am KZSB even though they are listed as owners on the page's sidebar. The text of the entry states that it is owned by a friend of the paper's owner. How 1984 is that? I guess it is simply a portmanteau of ownership.

How can this rather arranged marriage allow the newspaper to label 1290 am as the "Santa Barbara News Press Radio?" For the Santa Barbara News-Press to "control" this station, there would have to be a "limited marketing agreement" (LMA) which was announced as the sale was made.

I am told that LMA's are a common method of broadcast management which is recognized and regulated by the FCC. This marriage of sorts does, however, raise a few questions and does not mean that the spirit of FCC law is being followed.

  • Is there a current LMA in force between KZSB and the Santa Barbara News Press? Is it public information? If so, where is it? A web search bring up a "Black Rock" fund application for a group that includes the call letters -- is there any relation to the station? Why can't I search for "KZSB, limited marketing agreement" and get anything more relevant if it is public information?
  • Is control of station programming by any News Press employee a conflict of interest? We would have to think so considering the very public displays of angered bias the News-Press Editor has made of several public officials only to extend a fake hand of capitulation when an employee of the radio station.
  • Is the day-to-day program management of KZSB by the News Press part of any LMA approved by the FCC? We would have to doubt it although I would be happy to be proven wrong.
  • If a listener wanted to ask these questions, where would they call? News-Press Radio does not have a call-in number at all...

I was reminded that a large radio monopoly once told their local employees that they were "leveraging your assets across the facilities in the market cluster". If that is what the News-Press is doing with KZSB -- we should all rest assured that our market clusters are safe from bias.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call 564 1290

12/27/2007 7:36 AM  
Blogger Goodhelp said...

Happy Holidays! Thank you for helping me undestand this KZSB thing.

We live in an age of interactivity with our media. One-way messaging is a dinosaur!

How can a "news talk" radio station exist with NO phone number for listeners to call?

We are left to think that they don't want any callers. Eh?

Keep up the good work, Sara! --G

12/27/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not the News Press who is biased.

It is the fired employees who were( and are) biased and now they are trying to "spin" it.

Most of us are smart enough to see right through this 'spinning" by the disgruntled, terminated, has been, reporters. I know I sure can!

Thats why 99% of us still read, enjoy, and like, the News Press.

The News Press haters have long since lost this battle but are too stupid to realize it.

12/27/2007 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, Wendy trying to monopolize public comment in Santa Barbara. Who woulda thought!

12/27/2007 2:07 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

To the rather angry anon whose comment I rejected -- the sidebar on the link I provided lists the News-Press as owners even though they technically are not. I'll edit the post to make the reference more clear.

Public perception is that they are the owners even though they are not -- I don't care who owns the station, but can News-Press Radio be News-Press Radio when they don't own it?

12/27/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember that KTMS stood for Thomas M. Storke? Newspaper-radio station links are nothing new. Take a look at the LA Times owning KTLA television. It will be very interesting to see what happens to the Times under its new billionaire owner since The Tribune pretty well wrecked that newspaper. Monopolies abound in present-day America and do no one--except the fatcats--any good.

12/27/2007 5:36 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

If we are not resting assuredly that we are safe from bias, should we consider ourselves "Market Custer#@*!ed ?

12/27/2007 5:52 PM  
Blogger Goodhelp said...

Sara - A radio station company can use any name they want for the station. There's just one thing that I'm not clear about: What is the nature of the management arrangement between KZSB and the SB News Press? Is it a "favor" from one company to allow another company to program their daytime hours?

Or, is this being done according to a negotiated agreement which meets licensing requirements?

The owner of the SB News Press has defined a concept of "no-bias" journalism in many recent reports. I'm sure that includes being accurate about any connection to a federally licensed media facility which operates in the public interest on the public airwaves.

The measure of control one business entity exerts over a broadcast outlet is always spelled out--in shares of stock owned or in a limited marketing agreement to operate a station on behalf of the actual owner. Often, Company "A" buys all the airtime agreed upon and programs those hours, sells commercials and keeps the difference.

These details are spelled out in documents on file with the FCC relating to the broadcast licensee. Therefore a LMA (limited marketing agreement) would be an official document on file with the FCC.

Can we see it?

12/27/2007 5:54 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Goodhelp -- you are much more to the point and eloquent than I -- to the point, let's see if we can find access to the LMA.

12/27/2007 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like someones a little upset about the public digging into the question of who owns KZSB.... hummm
good job Sara.

12/27/2007 6:37 PM  
Anonymous freedom of speech said...


Have you ever heard of leasing?

A company does not have top own something to lease it.

it's done in business every day and it's perfectly legal!

There is nothing at all being done here illegally, and I think it's quite underhanded for you to suggest otherwise.

It's common knowledge that the News Press had leased all the time and can therefore do whatever it want s with that time. It could be 100% silent, 100% music, 100 % news, or 100% talk radio.

Those who like what they hear will tune in. Those who don't can tune out.

Now just what is it about that that you don't get?

And why is it that some people don't have anything better to do than to stick their noses in other peoples business. If you don't like what the news press is doing with THEIR paid for air time then don't tune in. You won't be missed.
This is a free country with freedom of the press and freedom of the radio. Please allow them to exercise their freedom. What are you trying to do stifle their freedom of speech just because you don't like what they say.


12/27/2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

No need to shame me 7:59 PM -- as I said, I don't care what they do and people will listen or not. Very much agree with you on that point.

But, shame on me for wanting that to be more public? Shame on me for not wanting a monopoly of media in our town that is unbiased? Shame on you! If you look hard -- I think you can find a way to respect my point of view.

Try finding the LMA at and tell me that it's easy to find and the public does or doesn't have a right to know.

12/27/2007 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's done in business every day and it's perfectly legal!

Uh, no it's not.

Cross media ownership was against FCC regulations - and I'm fairly certain that, had enough people filed a complaint, the FCC would have taken a significant look into how KZSB was being managed, and whether or not the current ownership was Ampersands way of circumventing that regulation.

Unfortunately, as of a few weeks ago, the FCC just rolled back ownership regulations even further. It might just all be a moot point if congress doesn't act. (It looks like they will, so that's good news.)

FCC Votes To Relax Media Ownership Rules

Everyone was asleep at the switch on this one. Unlike print, the FCC can determine whether or not a broadcast medium is serving the public trust.

Incidentally, KZSB is also required to keep and allow access to public files. Any member of the public can request to view those files during business hours, and KZSB (or any station, for that matter) must provide access.

Don't take my word for it. Ask the FCC!


Remember kiddies - "freedom of speech" only applies to the rich and wealthy.

12/27/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1290's radio partnership came about over two years ago and is completely legal for a radio station and a newspaper to work together for image, content usage and brokering programming. Look at the recently ended Washington Post radio project with the newspaper and Bonneville, a radio station owner. They quit doing it because ratings and revenues were not as strong as they hoped.

What would not be legal is for the newspaper to own the radio station. The owner of the license is ultimately responsible to maintain it based on FCC rules. However a recent change at the FCC has allowed some changes of cross ownership in the top 20 markets (Santa Barbara is #211) based on the Tribune change of ownership deal since there were some grandfathered waivers specifically in LA and Chicago.

I do want to point out, just because a group of locals do not agree with an opinion of a radio station doesn't mean that the station is not doing its duty for its community.

12/27/2007 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep digging there must be something somebody does not want the public to know about... or why all the fuss over something that's supposed to be nothing?

12/27/2007 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the 9:24 post -I do agree that anybody can review the public file. So call the General Manager of the station and ask for an appointment to do so. In the file, you can view all FCC documents and see how the station is owned/operated.

The way 1290 is operated was addressed about 18 months ago when Marty Blum and Travis Armstrong were going at it and there were no findings of wrong doing of the station.

Yes, I work in the industry but elsewhere. I just want to remove the hysterics of drive by blogging. If you are concerned about your local media, call a manager and discuss it.

12/27/2007 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:09 p.m.

The fuss, my friend, is that you are trying to make something out of nothing, and that pisses me off.

Mind your own business.

12/28/2007 1:02 AM  
Anonymous Edwin Howard Armstrong said...

If KZSB or any radio station does not want public regulation, then they should keep their darned signal out of my private property, and they should also expect someone to use 1290am for alternate transmissions.

12/28/2007 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Last word police said...

Anon 11:17,

Watch it, pal. You may support Wendy and the right of the ownership class to run amok all you'd like, but don't insult her fired employees - some of which are my closest friends and are still struggling to climb out of Wendy's hole.

When one is illegally fired by a tyrant, one need not spin a thing, and I won't let you or your ilk get away with fingering my professional friends as "has beens" or anything less than cultured craftsman who did an admirable job but were caught in the crossfire between Wendy's ego and her ineptitude.

And seriously, are you sure you're not reading the LA Times by accident?

12/28/2007 7:22 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

What happens if Wendy marries Rupert Murdoch?

Would that be illeagal or just bad taste?

Caution: Don't visualize.

12/28/2007 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to sara 8:39 p.m.

Sara, you say the news press is biased.

I have news for you;
EVERYONE in this world is biased. Thats what being a thinking person is all about. All conservatives are biased towards conservatism and against socialists. All socialists are biased towards socialism and against conservatives.

It is a well known fact that the vast majority of journalists and newspapers in this country are socialist and are biased towards socialism and against conservatives.

A prime example is our own "Independent" socialist rag. If anyone is biased it is them.

And you , Sara, are extremely biased in your open and constant hostility against the News Press. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Before Wendy bought the News Press it's biased journalists had been writing stories which were biases in a socialist leaning way. This is a well known fact. What upsets the small hard core socialist group in town, including you, is that Wendy came in and ordered her journalist employees to stop writing biased stories.

They refused and quit. And now they are trying to 'spin' what happened by claiming that it is Wendy and the news press who is biased. any intelligent and thinking person can see right through this and that is why the vast majority of Santa Barbarans' don't have any sympathy whatsoever for the biased journalists who quit and choose to keep their News Press subscriptions and continue to advertise in the paper.

When all this went down I doubled my business advertising in the news press from $2000 to $4000 a year and I took out a second home subscription. I will continue to support the News Press in their efforts to keep out the biased socialistic journalists who quit. I couldn't care less what happens to them or their socialistic union.

12/28/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:34 a.m.

What is wrong with you?
Nobody ever said that KZSB does not want any public regulation.
The fact is that KZSB is being regulated and KZSB fully complies with all regulations.

There has not been one fact presented here of any specific violation by KZSB.

But there has been a transparent attempt to smear KZSB's reputation by making false hints and innuendo at violation by those who don't like Wendy, and are trying to harm her.

And these same low life people are asking us for sympathy in their cause? I don't think so. You sure ain't going to get it this way. What your actually doing is creating sympathy for Wendy and a backlash against your cause. Keep it up and see what it gets you. Are you seeing any "progress" yet? Don't hold your breath.

12/28/2007 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I have read so far it seems this is a topic that has hit a nerve. Why? It sure make me want to know more about the operation of KZSB and the owership. I'm surprised that the question of ownership has not been answered yet. I look forward to finding out. It could or could not be interesting. But I for one want to know what all the "fuss" is about on this topic.

12/28/2007 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Last Word Police said...


*Sigh* - as for accusing my friends of being purposefully biased towards socialism in their professional endeavors - although I can't fathom you have even a basic understanding of what the philosophy entails - to this I say, don' Give your money to McCaw all day long if it turns your little crank, but don’t drag my friends’ good names into your fetish. If you were acquainted with but any one of the fired journalists, you would be aware that this claim is absurd and insulting. Furthermore, no one has yet produced any evidence backing up this fabricated bias accusation, which you consider fact, even though you have no proof. No proof.

Also, congratulations on twice subscribing to a newspaper that mostly scrapes its content from wire services. Are you aware that most of this content can be gotten for free elsewhere? I question your skill as a self described "thinking person," not to mention a business person.

12/28/2007 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9;35 a.m.
The fuss, my friend, has nothing at all to do with the radio station, but is a result of many of us being sick and tired of the constant, one after the other, weekly blogs attacking the News Press.

So, every single time there is such a new blog published the "backlash" folks, like me, are going to take the opportunity to bash the lies and bias in the content of the most recent blog, the news press opponents, the socialist union, and the disgruntled, terminated with cause, employees.

I'm surprised that you were not smart enough to figure this out on your own by now. Watch the future such blogs and notice the comments in support of the news press that it generates.

Blogging is a two way street my friend. It allows that pesky flow of information from both sides. So the more you bash the news press, the more it is going to be supported, and the more the disgruntled terminated employees are going to be torn down. Its a lose-lose situation for them. So keep it up! I'm having fun watching them SLOWLY lose this battle. (and the operative word here is SLOWLY.)

12/28/2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger Goodhelp said...


This blog is doing what it promised, that is holding the local media up to scrutiny. Print, radio and tv. With this in mind, the simple question is raised:

Is there a KZSB Limited Marketing Agreement (or time brokerage deal) in effect and is it public?

No question has been raised about what constitutes "ownership," though program content is determined by another company's employee. After all, it could be spelled out in the LMA or time brokerage agreement.

One can hope to find it in the station's public file, which among a list of required items, contains:

Radio Time Brokerage Agreements. A time brokerage agreement is a type of contract that generally involves a station's sale of discrete blocks of air time to a broker, who then supplies the programming to fill that time and sells the commercial spot announcements to support the programming.

Commercial radio stations must keep a copy of every agreement involving: (1) time brokerage of that station; or (2) time brokerage by any other station owned by the same licensee.

This documentation would be available to the public, during regular business hours.

12/28/2007 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So which is it, News-Press lovers?

A natural link, a lease?

If it's no big deal, let's hear it!

What's the difference between owning a newspaper while running but NOT OWNING a radio station and owning a newspaper while running AND OWNING a radio station?

Perhaps enough, legally speaking. But effectively, not much. The public is served essentially the same by either scenario.

Yet our nation's laws seem to champion the first notion and guard against the second.


1. Who paid for the station?
2. Whose name is on the title?
3. From who, what or where did the money derive?

Let's just clear the air here once and for all ...

12/29/2007 3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like many of Wendy's other interests, there are clouds surrounding the station and have been since the beginning. Wendy may not "own" the station in the strict sense of the word, but I bet she is a major investor.

8:33 am - As far as bias is concerned, anybody who is unwilling to consider alternate points of view, especially when the facts point to their being misinformed, is an extremely biased and and narrow minded person. It is true that you cannot eliminate 100% of all bias. We are all human after all. The problem is, what you get now in the NP is all bias, Wendy's bias and her views are not based on facts but rather her emotions and opinions. This has been documented over and over again, including in front of the NLRB judge. Nice that you agree with her opinions, but what does that have to do with providing you a quality news product. Quality news is not about catering to liberals or conservatives but rather to give the facts as impartially as possible and allow people to form their own opinions. You also have it very wrong about the newsroom staff. I didn't work in that department, but knew many of them. The newsroom was a blend of journalists from all sides of the political spectrum from conservative to liberal. I think it was structured that way on purpose to keep a good balance in the writing. I laughed when I saw your reference to the newsroom employees being socialists. Here is just one example that proves you wrong. the managing editor of the copy desk for most of the NYT years and after, was a very conservative free market Republican. He kept his personal politics out of the paper, but he is about the last person I would call a socialist!

You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but please do not confuse them with facts!

12/30/2007 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:12 a.m.

O.K. so wendy is biased. so are you. So am I.
We all are!
Including those reporters who were dismissed.

And they often wrote their stories with a slant towards their bias.

Now lets look at the facts, not my opinions.
It is a indisputable fact that over the last 20 years that, as a whole, most of the nationwide newspapers and their journalists, have been biased toward the liberal left. The news press was no different before wendy took over.

She decided to force the removal of this left leaning bias and the local liberal journalists and the local liberals freaked out because it was not going to be business as normal.

The ONLY difference now is that it is slanted toward the right and you liberals just can't stand it. If Wendy was biased toward the left you would all be happy as little clams.


12/31/2007 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/03/2008 8:28 AM  

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