KEYT-TV, the ABC-affiliated television station serving Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, has been sold to Missouri-based News-Press & Gazette Co., or NPG. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We have greatly valued the opportunity to serve the communities of California’s Central Coast,” KEYT’s general manager, Michael Granados, said in a statement. “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, NPG said.
A related digital television asset, MyRTV, was included in the sale. The seller was Smith Media, which has operated the station since 1987. The sale marks the departure from the Santa Barbara market for Smith Media, called Smith Television until the death of Bob Smith in 2005.
“My late husband 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. 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,” Anne Smith Towbes, who sits on the Smith Media board, said in a news release. “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.”
The transaction, which still needs Federal Communications Commission Approval, is expected to close by the end of the year, Smith and NPG said in a statement on Sept. 6.
“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,” NPG Chairman and CEO David Bradley said in a statement.
KEYT has a potential market reach of 230,000 households in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, according to the news release. The deal, along with a pending purchase in Columbia, Mo., will give NPG a presence in 10 television markets in the United States, including stations in smaller, regional markets in Palm Springs, Calif., Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Texas. The company’s newspaper unit owns a dozen smaller publications in Kansas and Missouri.