Burton announced Tuesday that it will shift premium snowboard production from its small, Vermont-based Burton Manufacturing Center (BMC) to Austria, where the company has been building snowboards for over 25 years. Product design and development will still be home-grown in Vermont, where the company will relocate its snowboard prototyping resources from BMC into a new, purely R&D-driven prototype facility at its global headquarters in Burlington. Burton said 43 jobs will be lost, leaving 377 in Vermont and 900 worldwide.BMC, located in South Burlington, Vermont is slated to close in June of this year. Burton’s premium factory in Austria already has the high-end technology and capacity to increase its production. Forty-three employees will be affected by BMC’s closure, and Burton is working closely with the Vermont Department of Labor’s Rapid Response program to assist these employees with unemployment and re-employment resources. “When I started Burton Snowboards in 1977, all we did was make snowboards in Vermont,” says Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman, Burton Snowboards. “Thanks to the BMC staff, we’ve excelled at prototyping and developing product in Vermont, which is why all four Burton Olympic halfpipe medals were won on snowboards coming out of our local factory. But simply put, it costs us significantly more to produce a board in Vermont than we are capable of selling it for, and sadly, this is not sustainable in the current economy.”Carpenter started the company in Londonderry after seeing someone riding a homemade board.Carpenter cited several factors for closing the South Burlington facility in a Burlington Free Press story, including labor, real estate, utility and health care benefits. The cost is significantly less in Austria, he said.The relocated BMC R&D facility will continue to turn riders’ ideas into the most advanced prototypes on snow, with the added benefit of having all prototyping resources under one roof at Burton’s global headquarters, Burton said in a statement.”Our biggest priority at Burton is to make the best product for snowboarders, and we do that by listening to riders and investing more in research and development than anyone in our industry,” says Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin. “It makes the most economic sense to produce all of our high-end snowboards in Austria. Here in Vermont, we will continue to focus on advanced product development, which will allow us to bring the latest snowboard technology to riders faster than ever before.”Burton is the world’s leading snowboard company and owns other top boardsports brands, including Channel Islands Surfboards, DNA Distribution (Alien Workshop and Habitat Skateboards), The Program (Forum, Special Blend and FOURSQUARE) Analog, Gravis, ANON and R.E.D. After the BMC manufacturing changes, Burton and its family of brands will employ over 900 people worldwide.Source: Burton. 3.16.2010
On Wednesday, it was announced that Classical KUSC will soon be operating Santa Barbara’s classical music station KDB, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.USC Radio President Brenda Barnes announced the new venture. With the acquisition, classical KUSC will become the only classical station in Santa Barbara, Calif.KUSC’s operation of KDB solidifies the transition that KUSC has been undergoing for the last 10 years. KUSC has become the only classical service in all of Southern California as well as in the Bay Area.KDB, the commercial classical music station owned by the Santa Barbara Foundation, has been around since the late 1920s. It was announced several months ago that the KDB station would be sold. In the announcement, the Santa Barbara Foundation stated that the KDB must continue to run as a classical station.Classical KUSC, a nonprofit public station, already operates a radio station in Santa Barbara, KQSC.Barnes noted in a press release that the Santa Barbara Foundation could no longer fund the KDB station.“This is not their fault,” she said. “Classical music just does not work as a commercial radio format anymore, even in a place as unique and special as Santa Barbara.”The real difference between a commercial radio format and a nonprofit radio format is selling commercials, Barnes said.“The audience for classical music on the radio is more like 50 [years-old] plus,” she said. “And most advertisers are looking for 18 [year-olds] to 24 [years-olds]. So, we [as a nonprofit radio station] do not [have] the audience that is the ideal target for most advertisers.”Barnes added, however, that the model can survive through donations.“If your model is asking people to donate for the service, people who are 50 [years-old] and older, generally, especially classical music listeners who are educated, have disposable income that they are able to donate,” Barnes said. “That business plan and structure works a lot better than trying to sell ads.”KDB was known as the local classical music station and was the station to broadcast the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Music Academy of the West. KUSC will now take over this coverage.The letters KDB and the frequency 93.7 FM will remain the same as Classical KUSC takes over. KDB, however, will now have USC advertising at the top of each hour, something all other KUSC radio stations have.Barnes noted the station should receive an announcement regarding the FCC’s decision in a couple months.“We figure sometime in May is a reasonable estimate,” Barnes said. “It could be longer or it could be shorter, but that is about the amount of time it takes the FCC to look at a transaction like this.”Update: In an earlier version of this article, the Daily Trojan wrote that KUSC purchased KDB. KUSC will operate KDB, but did not purchase it as money was not exchanged. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.