The owner of three Santa Barbara County radio stations died in a paragliding accident in eastern Ventura County as colleagues remembered the man known for his love of broadcasting, aviation and adventure.
Shawn Knight, a Santa Ynez Valley resident in his 50s, owned Knight Broadcasting, including KRAZy Country 105.9-FM, Mix96, adult contemporary at 96.7-FM, and KUHL, a talk radio station at 1440 AM and 106.3 FM.
Members of the Ventura County Fire Department responded to a report around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday of a paraglider north of Highway 33, west of Reyes Peak and near Pine Mountain Lodge, according to Capt. Brian McGrath .
One death resulted from the accident, McGrath told Noozhawk, adding that the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office was leading the investigation.
In addition to Knight Broadcasting, Knight has been involved with Cloud 9 Advertising.
“He stressed the importance of bringing local radio to the airwaves, including running a live morning show,” Ben Heighes, KUHL’s news director, wrote on Facebook. “We mourn the passing of Shawn but assure our listeners that our mission remains to keep local radio on AM 1440 and FM 106.3 KUHL.”
Employees, who called Knight a big boss, and their friends were shocked to learn of Knight’s death on Thursday.
“To him, radio was very important in the lives of the locals,” said Jeff Williams, who met Knight when they both worked for Clear Channel radio in Santa Barbara before Knight became the owner.
Along with being passionate about radio stations, Knight has started other businesses including Cloud 9 for banner towing with an airplane, a computer repair business and more.
“He was a hell of an entrepreneur. He really liked business. He loved people. He wasn’t one stuck in the office,” Williams said.
Knight grew up in Santa Barbara County and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. He then reportedly attended California State University, Fresno, and Cal Poly.
“He was sucked into the broadcast industry and never came out of it,” Williams added.
Friends recalled Knight being a bit of an adrenaline junkie, including a skateboarding incident that left him shaken a few years ago.
Knight, a licensed pilot, also enjoyed aviation and was active at Santa Ynez Airport.