Local broadcasting executive Alexander W. Sheftell soon will be shifting his signals westward.

Sheftell, who once owned WAVA-FM here, and a group of partners have purchased two radio stations, KMGQ-FM and KIST-AM in Santa Barbara, Calif. Both acquisitions are subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

KMGQ-FM was purchased for $2.35 million in cash from Goleta Communications in Santa Barbara. Sheftell would not disclose the price for KIST-AM, which he bought from Cross Creek Communications in Santa Barbara.

"I don't want to get into the financing of the deals," Sheftell said. The two stations will be merged into Sheftell's new corporation, Radio Santa Barbara Inc.

Sheftell, a Washington native, said he acquired the two Santa Barbara stations because the city is a prime area for development. Oil companies recently scored a victory there after spending $1.1 million to defeat a referendum that would have imposed tough new restrictions on offshore drilling.

"Santa Barbara is an excellent market and, of course, a superbly wealthy community," Sheftell said. "By 1990, 650,000 barrels of oil a day will be pumped out of Santa Barbara."

Sheftell was formerly a senior producer on the Jack Anderson Confidential File weekly program, which he said was syndicated to 80 stations. For the past two years, he has worked at New Venture Broadcasting Corp., advising radio and television stations on programming and sales of broadcast properties.

In 1977, Sheftell bought WAVA-FM for approximately $2 million and transformed the former all-news station into a popular album rock station among the top 10 stations here. Four years later Sheftell sold the radio station to Doubleday Broadcasting for $8 million -- a record price at that time for an individual radio property in the Washington area.

Sheftell plans no changes at KMGQ-FM; he said the soft-rock station is a top-rated one in the market. However, he will add sports and talk shows to KIST-AM, primarily an adult contemporary-music and news station.