Shawn Knight, owner of Knight Broadcasting, which owns the Santa Ynez Valley-based radio stations KSYV (Mix 96.7) and KRAZ (KRAZy Country 105.9), died Wednesday, June 15, in a paragliding accident, according to the company’s news director and KUHL talk-show host Ben Heighes.
KUHL, based out of Santa Maria, is also owned by Knight Broadcasting.
Heighes said in an email Thursday that the company’s employees were informed of Knight’s death that morning. Knight’s father, Art, said that Shawn’s sail had collapsed, but other than that did not have details, Heighes said.
Knight was a Santa Barbara native who moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in the 1970s and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. He then went to Fresno State University and worked in the Central Valley and then Sacramento.
In a 2017 Santa Ynez Valley Star story, Knight said he started his career in radio broadcasting in high school as a way of supporting his love of flying.
“They were doing a career day at Santa Ynez High and station 96.7 wanted students to help go around and sell ads, so that’s how I got my start in radio,” Knight said in the story. “I continued throughout college in radio and television to pay for my flying habit, thinking I was going to be a pilot, when I really found my niche in broadcasting.”
Knight was working for Jacor Communication in a big market when the company was bought by Clear Channel in 1998, and Knight saw his opportunity to come back to the Valley. He bought 96.7 KSYV, the station he started at in high school.
He then started Knight Broadcasting, which includes KSYV 96.7 FM; KRAZ 105.9 FM; and KUHL 1440 AM.
This a developing story. We will have more information when it becomes available.