Linda and Dennis Fenton of Westlake Village have donated $1 million to the news department of radio station KCLU.
The Linda and Dennis Fenton KCLU Radio News Endowment will be used to hire personnel and enhance equipment, programming and production. The National Public Radio station serves Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
The Fentons have contributed to KCLU since it debuted in 1994, with Linda becoming a member during its inaugural fundraising drive. She joined the KCLU Advisory Board in March.
The New York natives moved to California in 1982 to become two of the early employees of Amgen when it was a biotechnology startup. Dennis retired in 2008 as executive vice president of operations. He currently serves on several corporate boards and is vice chair of the board of the Keck Graduate Institute.
A community service of California Lutheran University, the station began broadcasting to Ventura County from a tiny studio in a residence hall on the Thousand Oaks campus. The signal was expanded to include Santa Barbara and part of Montecito four years later. The purchase of a station in 2008 increased KCLU’s signal strength in the Santa Barbara area and expanded its reach to Goleta, Isla Vista and Ventura County’s Rincon. A new KCLU Broadcast Center, with the station’s first dedicated newsroom, opened in 2011. Two years later, KCLU purchased a Santa Maria station to expand its range to northern Santa Barbara County and southern San Luis Obispo County. KCLU now has more than 100,000 weekly listeners.
KCLU members provide the financial resources for news coverage of the tri-county region. About 65 percent of the budget comes from listener pledges, and another 15 percent comes from business sponsors.
The station provides NPR and local news programming in Ventura County at 88.3 FM, in southern Santa Barbara County at 102.3 FM and 1340 AM, on the Central Coast at 89.7 FM, in San Luis Obispo at 92.1 FM, and online at kclu.org.