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Jon Ellis' Resume

Longtime broadcaster Pat Kelly has announced his departure from KDAL/610 (Duluth). Kelly has co-hosted the morning show on the station since 2013 and has worked on radio and TV in the market for decades. His last day will be May 13, and another market veteran, Tom Hansen, will take his place on May 16. Hansen had worked as a sports anchor at KBJR-TV for decades. Hansen will join longtime KDAL personalities Pat Cadigan, Dave Strandberg, and Mark Fleischer on the morning shift and will also work in the newsroom. KDAL is owned by Midwest Communications and carries a News/Talk format. (5/3/2016)

Christian broadcaster VCY America has upgraded WQRM/850 (Duluth) to a daytime power to
50kW, making it the strongest AM radio signal in northeastern Minnesota. However, the station is limited to 14kW during critical hours (the hours after sunrise and before sunset). The daytime boost to 50kW improves WQRM's signal to parts of northeastern and east-central Minnesota where VCY's regional FM stations can't be heard. WQRM formerly used 10kW daytime and was known as WWJC until its sale to VCY two years ago. (5/1/2016)

Armada Media announced Friday that it's buying Eagle Radio's four stations in the Marquette and Escanaba markets. The stations are licensed to Radioactive LLC and have been operated by Eagle Radio; the press release did not say whether Armada was buying the licenses from Radioactive or assuming Eagle Radio's agreement to run the stations. They include "94.9 The Bay" (WUPZ Chocolay Township-Marquette), "96.7 Yooper Country" (WUPG Republic-Marquette), "100.3 The Point" (WUPT Gwinn-Marquette), and "107.3 The Eagle" (WUPF Powers-Escanaba). WUPZ carries Contemporary Hits, WUPG carries Classic Country, and WUPT and WUPF carry Classic Hits. Armada Media also owns five stations in the Escanaba/Manistique area that do business as Radio Results Network and five stations in the Menominee/Marinette area that do business as Bay Cities Radio. The Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based company also runs three groups in Nebraska and one on the Minnesota/South Dakota border. (5/1/2016)

The FCC announced Friday that it has received committments from TV broadcast owners to sell off 126 MHz, or 21 TV channels, to wireless companies as part of the spectrum auction. The move would mean the TV band would run from channels 2 to 29, with a nationwide repacking that would result in channel changes for most stations (though they can continue to remap to their legacy analog channel numbers on receivers). The 28 channels left would amount to one-third of the original 83. The FCC is not releasing information on which TV stations have offered to surrender their spectrum or move to VHF channels to make way for more cellular data. The FCC says the next phase of the auction, in which wireless companies will bid for the spectrum, will begin May 29. This is actually the third time the FCC has sliced off a portion of the TV band for wireless use: channels 70 to 83 were eliminated in the 1980's and channels 52 to 69 were eliminated following the 2009 digital transition. (4/29/2016)

Wisconsin Public Radio has signed on W265DC/100.9 (Marshfield) carrying the Ideas Network via WLBL/930 (Auburndale). W265DC uses 160 Watts from the WLBL site southwest of Auburndale, with a directional antenna pattern pointed towards Marshfield. The Wisconsin Educational Communications Board bought the fill-in translator, formerly W262AX, from Edgewater Broadcasting prior to the AM revitalization window. The WECB also has a construction permit for W256CZ/99.1 (Stevens Point), which will relay WLBL after moving from Ashland under the AM revitalization window. (4/28/2016)

Bad Lands Broadcasting is adding a third FM station in the Black Hills with the purchase of KXZT/107.9 (Newell) from JER Licenses. The purchase price was not included in the initial filing with the FCC. KXZT first received its license in 2012 but has filed a series of requests for special temporary authority to remain silent since then, most recently citing transmitter problems. The station is currently licensed to transmit from Terry Peak near Lead with a main coverage area ending just outside Rapid City. Bad Lands Broadcasting also owns Classic Country outlet "99.5 The Range" (KRKI Keystone-Rapid City) and Oldies-formatted "Kool 101.9" (KFMH Belle Fourche-Rapid City). JER retains ownership of KXZS/107.5 (Wall), which originally had a construction permit for a facility rimshotting Rapid City but is currently licensed for a facility mainly reaching Badlands National Park. (4/27/2016)

Classic Rocker WKLK-FM/96.5 (Cloquet) has increased its power from 25kW to 36kW, maintaining its existing 96m antenna height above average terrain and its tower near Cloquet. The boost only adds a few miles to WKLK-FM's main coverage area but does help the station better reach Duluth, where topography and intermodulation interference limit reception of out-of-town stations. WKLK-FM is owned by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, which also own one other commercial FM, one non-commercial FM, and one commercial AM in Carlton County. (4/26/2016)

Greg Borgen's 630 Radio Inc. is buying a second FM translator to use for WREY/630 (St. Paul). Regular readers may recall that the company already purchased K288GR/105.5 (Bayport) and received a construction permit to move its transmitter to a site near Hudson, WI, with stated intentions of relaying WREY. Now, 630 Radio is buying K247BO (Blue Earth, MN) from Minnesota Public Radio for $25,000, with the stated intention of moving it to the "St. Paul radio market" under the FCC's AM revitalization window. The Twin Cities FM dial is getting packed, but the FCC AM revitalization channel finder suggests there may still be room for translators serving a portion of the metro. An application to move K247BO to relay WREY can't be filed until July 29, when the window expands to include class B stations. (Legal trivia: K288GR is not legally bound to relaying WREY since no waiver was needed for its facility change.) The construction deadline for K247BO is this Friday (4/29) but the application says the buyer will seek an extension. Borgen's WRPX Inc. separately purchased a Blue Earth translator from MPR for $32,500 and has already successfully moved its construction permit to Hudson to relay WDGY/740 (Hudson). (4/25/2016)

Cozi TV has come to Minneapolis on channel 43.4 of DTV America's KMBD-LD. Minneapolis had been the largest market without a Cozi TV affiliate. It's the fifth general-interest subchannel to launch in Minneapolis in the last month or so, on top of Bounce TV, Escape, and Laff on KMBD, and the addition of Comet TV on Sinclair's WUCW/23.2. (4/25/2016)

About a month after beginning test broadcasts, K&M Broadcasting has applied to move K250BO/97.9 (Hastings) to 97.7, where it would remain 250 Watts. The reason for the move is not specified in the application, but as noted here earlier, the existence of KEFE-LP/97.9 (Lakeville) limits the translator's fringe coverage to the south-central Twin Cities metro area. K250BO relays K&M's KDWA/1460 (Hastings). (4/25/2016)

Cup O'Dirt, LLC has signed on K246CJ/97.1 (Sioux City), relaying its `80s Hits "Sunny Radio" format via KZOI/1250 (Dakota City-Sioux City). (4/25/2016)

iHeartMedia has signed on W292EG/106.3 (Eau Claire) and reception reports indicate it's relaying the syndicated Conservative Talk format of WMEQ/880 (Menomonie-Eau Claire). W292EG's main coverage area actually doesn't include Eau Claire since its transmitter is located between Eau Claire and Menomonie. The translator had faced a May 2 construction deadline. (4/25/2016)

Pritchard Broadcasting is buying two FM translators to use for its AM stations in the Burlington area. In separate transactions totalling $40,000, Pritchard is buying K265EQ/100.9 (Burlington) and K282BG/104.3 (Clinton) from the American Family Association. Neither translator is yet on the air; both face May 2 construction deadlines but Pritchard plans to seek an extension. Applications state that K265EQ will relay KBUR/1490 (Burlington) and K282BG, once moved south, will relay KBKB/1360 (Fort Madison). KBUR carries News/Talk and reception reports indicate KBKB recently switched from Classic Country to FOX Sports Radio. Pritchard also owns four FM stations in the market. (4/22/2016)

Family Radio's KDFR/91.3 (Des Moines) is back on the air at reduced power. The station had left the air earlier this month due to weather-related damage. A tower crew determined that there was no damage to KDFR's antenna, but its transmitter needs to be replaced. The coverage area is currently estimated at 40 to 50 miles. (4/22/2016)

The surprising news of the death of Minnesota music legend Prince led many Twin Cities radio stations to ditch their normal formats Thursday, with announcers sharing their interactions with Prince and his influence on their lives. When the news first broke, two of Minnesota Public Radio's networks devoted all programming to Prince, with a special report airing on MPR News and a chronological history of Prince's music catalog airing on "The Current." KMOJ/89.9, which says it was the first radio station to play Prince's music, also went to all-Prince for a time following his death. On the commercial side, Northern Lights Broadcasting's "Go 95.3" and "Go 96.3" both ditched their regular formats for different all-Prince playlists. Hubbard Broadcasting's "KS95" also went all-Prince from about 2 to 7 p.m., and several other commercial stations added Prince songs to their playlists. On TV, local news outlets were in and out of special report mode for the entire afternoon. (4/21/2016)

Woodward Communications is buying an FM translator that will eventually relay News/Talker WHBY/1150 (Kimberly-Appleton), according to a document filed with the FCC. Woodward is buying W246AY (Park Falls) from WRVM, Inc. for $35,000. The asset purchase agreement states that the seller and buyer will work together to move the translator to WHBY's coverage area. Such a move will be possible under the FCC's AM revitalization window for 250-mile translator moves, but not until the window expands to include class B AM stations later this year, since WHBY is class B. (4/20/2016)

The Educational Media Foundation is buying potential Omaha rimshot station KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA) from Vic Michael's Kona Coast Radio for $100,000. EMF says it intends to carry its "Air-1" Christian Hits network on KIMI. Regular readers will recall the long saga associated with the 107.7 frequency in the region, which is currently limited from covering the Omaha area because of interference to airplane navigation communications on an adjacent frequency at Offutt Air Force Base. KIMI is currently licensed for 13kW/124m (class C3) from a tower south of Glenwood, rimshotting Omaha, but cannot use the facility until the frequency at Offutt is changed. KIMI has been keeping its license alive with a temporary 110-Watt facility. The asset purchase agreement states that Kona Coast Radio will cooperate with EMF's efforts to resolve the Offutt interference issue. (4/19/2016)

R.P. Broadcasting is buying translator K237FJ/95.3 (Thief River Falls) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $25,000. The application states R.P. Broadcasting, owned by Roger Paskvan, intends to relay Troy Paskvan's WMIS-FM/92.1 (Blackduck-Bemidji) on K237FJ. K237FJ received its license last fall but it's not clear what station its currently relaying. (4/19/2016)

QueenB Radio has surrendered the license of WGLR/1280 (Lancaster). The station had begun broadcasting in 1977 and used 500 Watts daytime and 22 Watts nighttime. QueenB took 1280 off the air a year ago, saying at that time that "the current economic climate has made it difficult to keep WGLR on the air." It had most recently carried ESPN Radio in a simulcast with WPVL/1590 (Platteville), which remains on the air. QueenB also owns three FM stations in the area, including WGLR-FM/97.7 (Lancaster), which is unaffected. (4/17/2016)

Midwest Communications has signed on new FM translator W268BR/101.5 (Sheboygan), relaying the News/Talk format of WHBL/1330. The translator was granted prior to the current AM revitalization window, and Midwest bought the construction permit from Edgewater Broadcasting for $34,000. Sheboygan has an unusually large amount of FM translators -- W268BR is the eighth, though it is only the second to be used commercially and the first to relay an AM station. (4/17/2016)

The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying K288GL/105.5 (Lead, SD) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $15,000. The application states the NRRA will seek to move the translator to Scottsbluff, NE, to relay its KNEB/960 under the current AM revitalization window. The NRRA has signed on three other AM-on-FM translators in recent months. However, the application to move K288GL will have to wait until later this year because KNEB is a class B license, and the filing window for 250-mile moves is limited to class C and D AM stations until July 29. K288GL is not yet on the air and faced an April 22 deadline to sign on, but the asset purchase agreement states that NRRA will seek an extension due to the sale. (4/17/2016)

Mid-Minnesota Media, LLC is buying W269DA/101.7 (Ironwood, MI) from Refuge Media for $40,000. The sale was expected since W269DA has already received approval to move to Litchfield, MN, to relay the buyer's KLFD/1410 on 95.9. The move was approved under the FCC's AM revitalization effort that allows translators to move up to 250 miles to relay AM stations. W269DA originally signed on as "Refuge Radio" translator W215BR/90.9 in 2005, but Wisconsin Public Radio's WUWS/90.9 (Ashland) signed on using that frequency in the region six years later, and the transator's license was moved to 101.7 earlier this year. (4/17/2016)

Cup O' Dirt LLC's KZOY/1520 (Sioux Falls) has filed a third extension of consummation with the FCC, saying it's still possible the station's sale to Chuck Brennan's Badlands Airtime, LLC might close. It's unusual for so many extensions to be filed for a license transfer, but the sale has been delayed due to litigation between the buyer and the seller. KZOY's most recent FCC filing says the litigation is ongoing and could result in either a closing of the sale or a cancellation of the transaction. The $1.5 million deal would also include KZOY translator K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls). Brennan had originally announced plans to carry a Rock format from his new pawn shop complex on KZOY and K221FO, but the format instead launched on KBAD-FM/94.5 (Sioux Falls) last Thanksgiving after Brennan's company bought 94.5 from the University of Sioux Falls. Meanwhile, the owners of KZOY have begun to syndicate the `80s Hits "Sunny Radio" format carried on KZOY. (4/17/2016)

Sinclair Broadcast Group's WUCW (Minneapolis) has added sci-fi network Comet TV on channel 23.2, displacing Get TV to 23.4. In taking over 23.2, Comet TV also assumes the cable positions formerly occupied by Get TV. WUCW is a primary CW affiliate and also carries Grit on 23.3. (4/16/2016)

Family Radio's KDFR/91.3 (Des Moines) is temporarily off the air due to weather-related damage to its antenna. The station says its transmitter was also impacted and needs to be replaced. A tower crew is due to visit the site next week. Family Radio is encouraging listeners to stream its programming online. (4/16/2016)

DSN Radio, LLC is creating an AM-FM combo in Beulah with the purchase of KLTQ/97.9 from Synergy Broadcast North Dakota LLC for $70,000. DSN is already operating KLTQ under a local marketing agreement, rebroadcasting the Sports format of its KDKT/1410. As previously reported here, Synergy had a construction permit to move KLTQ into the Dickinson market, but it expired in December, and Synergy told the FCC earlier this year that it planned to sell to DSN. KLTQ is licensed for 6kW/96m from Beulah but is currently using just 100 Watts under special temporary authority. (4/14/2016)

Tegna NBC affiliate KARE/11 (Minneapolis) has announced the impending retirement of longtime anchor Diana Pierce. She's been with the station since 1983, helping define KARE as a leading news outlet in the 1980's as part of a legendary anchor team that also included Paul Magers, Paul Douglas, and Tom Ryther. Pierce currently anchors the 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. newscasts. Her last show will be on Friday, April 22. (4/13/2016)

Quincy Newspapers NBC affiliate KWWL/7 (Waterloo-Cedar Rapids) says it will add CW on channel 7.2 this fall, replacing ThisTV. CW is currently carried as the primary affiliation on KM Broadcasting's KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids), which has carried the network since its inception ten years ago. The change will take place on Sept. 12. The CW network only provides 20 hours of programming per week, and KWWL says it will fill the rest of the schedule with syndicated programming including Access Hollywood, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, and Judge Alex. (Readers may be familiar with a 24-hour service called CW+, which is carried on a number of subchannels but is only available for small markets.) Quincy also carries the CW on subchannels in a half-dozen other Upper Midwest markets. KWWL will continue to carry Me-TV on 7.3. (4/12/2016)

Translator K250BO/97.9 (Hastings) has signed on, relaying the local News/Talk/Sports format of KDWA/1460 (Hastings). Posts on the station's social media feeds indicate K250BO signed on March 25. The 250-Watt translator's main coverage area is along the Mississippi River southeast of St. Paul, with fringe coverage of some southeastern suburbs - but fringe coverage of the south-central metro is limited by KEFE-LP/97.9 (Lakeville). KDWA owner K&M Broadcasting bought the translator, formerly W280AA/103.9 (Silver Bay), from Refuge Media and moved it to Hastings under the FCC's AM revitalization window. The addition of KDWA's FM signal comes at a cost for Silver Bay: W280AA had been the only city-grade signal in the mining town of about 1,800 people on Lake Superior's North Shore, and had been on the air for several decades. (4/11/2016)

DTV America's KMNB-LD (Minneapolis) has returned to the air carrying four channels. The lineup includes Bounce on 43.1, Escape on 43.2, Laff on 43.3, and QVC on 43.5. This is the first time a digital low-power TV station in Minneapolis has carried English-language general interest programming. DTV America also operates KJNK-LD/25, which carries Telemundo, SBN, Hmong TV Network, and Liquidation Channel. KMNB-LD had carried HSN2 prior to its sale to DTV America. (4/9/2016)

WRPN/1600 (Ripon) has dropped Classic Rock for Oldies/Classic Hits and Talk as "AM 1600, Your Hometown Station." The station is in the process of beiung sold from Radio One Communications, LLC to Hometown Broadcasting, LLC. Hometown also owns News/Talker WISS/1100 (Berlin), which had been running a promo suggesting that it was moving to AM 1600, but it now appears they were only referring to local news and a few syndicated elements of the format. FOX News, Pam Jahnke's Wisconsin Farm Report, and Dave Ramsey are now being broadcast by both stations. WISS' FM translator, W247AZ/97.3 (Berlin), has a construction permit to move to Oshkosh as W254CS/98.7, which could allow WISS to change its target market. (4/7/2016)

Educational Media Foundation has signed on new translator K237GC/95.3 (Des Moines) carrying its non-commercial "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network. The 250-Watt translator serves the west metro, complementing the east metro signal of longtime "K-Love" translator K213DV/90.5 (Pleasant Hill). (4/7/2016)

Iowa Public Radio's KICL/96.3 (Pleasantville) is operating at reduced power due to weather-related damage to its antenna. In a request for special temporary authorization, KICL states that it's operating at about 50 percent of its usual 6kW ERP. KICL carries IPR Classical and serves the far southeast Des Moines metro area. The reduction is likely most noticeable in Pella, which is on the edge of KICL's main coverage area and has no alternate frequency for the IPR Classical network. (4/6/2016)

iHeartMedia's KASI/1430 (Ames) has dropped Dennis Prager, who had aired in middays, and made other changes to its lineup resulting in an extra hour of local content. The local Mel in the Morning has been extended until 10, followed by Charlie Rose at 10 and The Bloomberg Advantage at 11. The local Trent Rice Show, which had aired from 9 to 11 a.m., is now heard from 12 to 2 p.m. Dave Ramsey remains in the 2 to 5 p.m. slot, followed by an hour of local news. (4/6/2016)

R&J Broadcasting is buying translator K300AS/107.9 (Thief River Falls) for $17,000. R&J plans to move the translator to Fosston to relay its KKCQ/1480. K300AS currently relays the Contemporary Christian format of Pine to Prairie Broadcasting's KKEQ/107.1 (Fosston). (4/6/2016)

The FCC has granted Sinclair Broadcast Group's purchase of Pappas Liquidating Trust's TV stations in Nebraska, allowing it to own both the ABC and FOX affiliates serving the Tri-Cities area. The $31.25 million deal includes FOX affiliate KFXL-TV/51.1 (Lincoln) and the "Nebraska TV" ABC affiliates including KHGI-TV/13.1 (Kearney), satellite KWNB-TV/6.1 (Hayes Center), and KHGI-CD (North Platte). KFXL's FOX programming is also relayed on KHGI/KWNB subchannels. (KFXL is not mentioned in the FCC letter but its license transfer shows up as granted in the FCC database.) Even though Kearney and Lincoln are in the same market, and the market does not have enough ownership voices for a duopoly, Sinclair argued it should be allowed to own both KFXL-TV and KHGI-TV because the stations' coverage areas do not overlap. (4/4/2016)

New translator K281CJ/104.1 (Omaha) is on the air testing, relaying the "Boomer 1490" Oldies format of KOMJ/1490. The station is seeking reception reports on its Facebook page in a post that uses the hashtag #boomer1041. KOMJ owner Walnut Radio is buying the translator from VSS Catholic Communications for $7,500 and moved it in from Atlantic, Iowa, during the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. (4/4/2016)

The Nebraska Rural Radio Association has signed on translator K261BT/100.1 (Lexington), which relays the Classic Country format of KAMI/1580 (Cozad). The stations now go by "Country Legends 100.1 and Kami 1580." The NRRA got its start in Lexington 65 years ago and bought KAMI at the end of 2014, adding it to KRVN/880 and KRVN-FM/93.1 (Lexington). (4/4/2016)

New low-power TV station KWBE-LD/21 (Beatrice) is due to sign on Monday (4/4) at 6 p.m., according to an article on the station's website. It'll be the third independent local TV news station operated by Flood Communications under the News Channel Nebraska branding. Other NCN stations, in Norfolk and Columbus, fill most of their schedule with a loop of local news, weather, and sports, with some broadcasts of community events. WeatherNation TV runs on subchannels. In the Beatrice area, Flood also owns KWBE/1450 (Beatrice), KGMT/1310 (Fairbury), and KUTT/99.5 (Fairbury). The company also has construction permits for new low-power TV stations in Grand Island and Hastings/Kearney, in addition to its other radio holdings in Omaha, Nebraska City, and Norfolk. (4/3/2016)

WQDC/97.7 (Sturgeon Bay) has flipped to `70s and `80s Classic Hits as "Rewind 97.7," dropping an eight-year-old Country format known most recently as "Door Country 97.7." Case Communications, which has owned WQDC for the past three years, also owns Adult Alternative "The Lodge" (WLGE/106.9 Baileys Harbor). (4/1/2016)

Salem Media's K233CO/94.5 (Omaha) and KOTK/1420 (Omaha) are due to flip to a Conservative Talk format as "The Answer" on Monday (4/4). The lineup will include Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Clint Bellows, Larry Elder, and Steve Deace. The new format will mean an end to the Spanish Christian format that's aired on KOTK since 2008. K233CO has relayed Salem Christian Teaching/Talk outlet KCRO/660 (Omaha) since signing on in late 2014; new translator K293CJ/106.5 (Omaha) is expected to relay KCRO in the future. (KCRO was able to obtain a waiver for an FM translator move due to its class D status; KOTK is class B and wouldn't have been eligible to move a translator until later this year. K233CO isn't legally bound to either station since it was not obtained through a waiver.) (3/31/2016)

In a move foreshadowed here last week, WISS/1100 (Berlin) is running an on-air announcement saying that its News/Talk lineup will soon move to a different station, a change that comes as WISS' FM translator prepares to move to Oshkosh. The announcement that WISS' format will move to WRPN/1600 (Ripon) in "a few weeks" was first reported by Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin. WRPN currently carries a Classic Rock format and is being sold to WISS owner Hometown Broadcasting, LLC in a $325,000 deal. Hometown recently received a construction permit to move WISS translator W247AZ/97.3 (Berlin) to Oshkosh as W254CS/98.7, which could allow the station to change its target market. The current WISS format will have a stronger, 24-hour AM signal when it moves to 1600. (3/28/2016)

Red Rock Radio's WCMP/1350 (Pine City) has reverted to Soft Oldies, dropping NBC Sports Radio after a year and a half. WCMP was one of four Red Rock stations to Sports under the "Red Zone Sports Radio" name in the summer of 2014. Then last summer, sister station WXCX/105.7 (Siren, WI) switched to a Sports format that includes NBC Sports Radio nights and weekends. The change at WCMP, which happened March 1, restores a format that had been heard on the station for decades. (3/28/2016)

The FCC has now taken action on all but two Upper Midwest FM translator applications filed so far under the AM revitalization window, which allows translators to be moved up to 250 miles to relay an AM station. This week's grants included a translator for WDGY/740 (Hudson, WI) on 103.7 and one for KBIZ/1240 (Ottumwa, IA) on 102.7. Meanwhile, one of the applications that hasn't been acted on yet was just filed this week: NRG Media is seeking to move a translator to Kearney, NE to relay KGFW/1340 on 99.3. The only remaining application in the region with no action is one from K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls, SD) to move to 93.3; the translator would continue to relay KZOY/1520 from its current site. It's unclear why no action has been taken. More applications are likely later this year when the window opens to allow FM translator moves for class A and B AM stations. (3/25/2016)

Hometown Broadcasting, LLC is buying WRPN/1600 (Ripon) from Radio One Communications, LLC for $325,000. Hometown also owns WISS/1100 (Berlin) and WAUH/102.3 (Wautoma). WRPN's 5kW signal overlaps with much of WISS' coverage area, using different day and night antenna patterns. WISS also has an FM translator with a construction permit to move to Oshkosh. The deal to sell WRPN calls for Radio One to "fix all transmitter and phasor issues" before the closing date, or the sale price will be reduced by $125,000. WRPN has been on the air since 1957, when it was known as WCWC, and currently carries a Classic Rock format and the syndicated Lex & Terry morning show. Radio One is owned by Michael Enfelt of Ripon, who has owned the station since 2005. Hometown is owned by Thomas G. Boyson of Oshkosh. (3/23/2016)

Scott Thompson's Big Radio is fighting a proposal for David R. Magnum to buy a future Beloit FM translator. In a petition to deny, Big Radio says it has an Oct. 28, 2015 contract to buy W239CD/95.7 from Sister Grace, Inc. In January, Sister Grace filed an application seeking FCC approval to transfer the license to Magnum in a $3,000 deal. In February, Big Radio obtained a temporary restraining order preventing W239CD from being sold to anyone else. A court hearing on an injuction was to have taken place March 17, but was rescheduled to April 14. Big Radio owns eight stations along the Wisconsin/Illinois border, including two AM stations in the Beloit area that could potentially be relayed on W239CD. The translator is not yet on the air. (3/17/2016)

Canadian regulators have approved Native Communications' plan to downgrade its NCI-FM station in Brandon. CIWM-FM will move from its 100kW/326m facilty on 91.5 to 107.5, where it will use 2.7kW/14m. The network plans to work with six First Nations communities that will lose CIWM's signal to establish low-power FM stations. NCI-FM carries a predominately Country format. The network said the downgrade would save money and allow the possible sale of the 91.5 facility to Westman Communications Group, which could use it as a rebroadcaster of Country-formatted CKLQ/880. The new use of 91.5 would require approval in a separate proceeding. (3/16/2016)

The FCC recently granted Paskvan Media a new commercial FM station to serve the Lake of the Woods area. The new station will be licensed to Baudette and will broadcast on 94.5 with 100kW/120m (class C1) from a tower between Baudette and Warroad, with a main coverage area also including Roseau. There are currently just three commercial radio stations in the isolated region. Paskvan Media won the new station in a 2012 FCC auction with a $55,000 bid. The company is owned by Troy Paskvan, who also owns an AM-FM combo in the Bemidji market that's operated alongside Roger Paskvan's three stations. (3/15/2016)

The FCC has granted WREY/630 (St. Paul) an upgrade after the station modified its application in response to an informal objection from WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee). WREY plans to construct a three-tower array near the oil refinery in Rosemount and originally proposed using 5kW daytime and 2.8kW nighttime with the same northward directional antenna pattern day and night. After WTMJ objected that the nighttime facility would cause interference in the Green Bay area, WREY dropped the nighttime power to 1.6kW. The FCC has now granted the new facility. WREY currently uses 1kW day and 2.5kW night from the WCTS/1030 (Maplewood) site in Woodbury, the latest in a series of facilities since 630's longtime site on Radio Drive in Woodbury was sold for development in 1994. The station is owned by Greg Borgen's 630 Radio Inc. and runs a Regional Mexican/Tropical format as "Radio Rey."

In separate action, the FCC has approved a move for an FM translator that's slated to relay WREY. K288GR/105.5 will transmit from the WDGY/740 tower site east of Hudson, with a directional antenna pattern and coverage limited to the immediate Hudson area. WDGY, also owned by Borgen and carrying an Oldies format, is awaiting approval for its own translator, which would broadcast on 103.7 with a non-directional pattern. (3/14/2016)

In what appears to be the first activation of a new FM translator in the Upper Midwest under the FCC's AM revitalization plan, the Nebraska Rural Radio Association has signed on K278CI/103.5 (York). The 250-Watt translator signed on Monday, March 7, just 20 days after the FCC approved the move of the translator from Hastings. K278CI relays KAWL/1370 with a Classic Hits/Oldies format that's been rebranded as "Kool 103.5." KAWL/K278CI also carries FOX News Radio, local sports, the Husker Sports Network, and Kansas City Royals baseball. (3/13/2016)

The FCC has granted a new FM translator in the Twin Cities, denying an objection from a suburban station that fears interference. Santamaria Broadcasting's K239CJ/95.7 (St. Paul) will transmit with 160 Watts from the IDS Center in Minneapolis, relaying the Spanish-language format of KMNV/1400 (St. Paul). It will use a directional antenna pattern to limit the signal towards WLKX/95.9 (Forest Lake) and WDMO/95.7 (Baldwin, WI). WLKX had filed an informal objection saying there would be prohibited overlap between the new translator and WLKX. Santamaria responded with a filing saying that WLKX's analysis was incorrect, and the FCC agreed. However, like all translators, K239CJ will be subject to interference complaints from listeners of full-power stations such as WLKX. Santamaria Broadcasting, the owner of KMNV, is buying the translator from the Educational Media Foundation for $40,000 and moving it from Des Moines under the filing window for 250-mile moves for AM-on-FM translators. With the band becoming crowded, 95.7 may be the last FM translator with significant coverage granted in the Twin Cities area. (3/12/2016)

The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, have been approved:
•St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN: KMNV/1400, 95.7, 160W
•Grafton, ND: KXPO/1340, 93.9, 250W
•Black River Falls, WI: WWIS/1260, 105.3, 250W

A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (3/12/2016)

Ear Falls, a community of about 1,000 people that's approximately 100 miles northeast of Kenora by air, is poised to get its first FM signal. The CRTC has granted an application by Acadia Broadcasting to convert CKDR-4 from AM 1450 to FM 97.5, using 50 Watts. CKDR-4 is one of several rebroadcasters of Acadia's CKDR-FM/92.7 (Dryden), which carries an Adult Contemporary format. Currently, Ear Falls is outside of the range of any regular FM reception. The only other station in town is CBC Radio One's CBOI/690. Both AM stations use 40 Watts. (3/12/2016)

Mid-West Management is trading out one of the stations in its Eau Claire radio group, donating a rimshot FM signal to a group associated with UW-Eau Claire so it can add a core-market signal.

Mid-West is donating WDRK/99.9 (Cornell-Eau Claire) to Blugold Radio, LLC, a group held by members of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Meanwhile, Mid-West will buy WISM-FM/98.1 (Altoona-Eau Claire) from the Aloha Station Trust for $970,000. The trust has held WISM-FM's license since 2008 after a change in FCC rules from contour-based to market-based definitions required Clear Channel, now known as iHeartMedia, to divest a station in the market.

WISM-FM is currently operated as part of iHeartMedia's group and carries an Adult Contemporary format as "Mix 98.1." WDRK recently changed to Classic Hits "Greatest Hits 99.9," having switched from Variety Hits as "Bob FM." Mid-West says the Classic Hits format will move to 98.1, giving it a stronger signal and removing "Mix" as a competitor to Mid-West's "I94" (WIAL/94.1 Eau Claire).

Blugold Radio appears to be unique in Wisconsin, since other radio licenses associated with UW campuses are held by the Board of Regents. Those licenses include WUEC/89.7 (Eau Claire), which is located in the UWEC campus and carries a student-produced show called "Blugold Radio" on Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m.

UWEC says 99.9 will be operated non-commercially with a format including student programming, Blugold athletics, and programming from WPR's NPR News and Classical Music network during the day. The News and Music network is already heard on WUEC, but WDRK's more northerly transmitter location would expand the network's coverage to include Barron County. (3/8/2016)

KNXR/97.5 (Rochester) has debuted a Classic Hits format as "Minnesota 97.5" after a weekend of stunting with Rolf Harris' "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport." The new format launched at Noon on Monday, March 7, with the Eagles' "Hotel California." As a Classic Hits station, KNXR competes with Townsquare Media's KVGO/104.3 (Spring Valley), which targets Rochester but delivers a rimshot signal to the city. The change follows KNXR's sale to Lynn Ketelsen and John Linder's Blooming Prairie Farm Radio, which does not own any other stations in Rochester but does own several in the Owatonna area. "Minnesota 97.5" replaces a Hot Adult Contemporary format called "The Pulse," which lasted just 13 months. Gregory Jensen's Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester had launched "The Pulse" after buying KNXR, the strongest commercial FM signal in Rochester, from longtime owner Tom Jones/United Audio Corp. Jones retained the station's vast Easy Listening music library and relaunched the format online at a few months ago. (3/4/2016, updated 3/7)

Jan Charles Gray's Mount Rushmore Broadcasting has filed new requests with the FCC for special temporary authority to keep its four radio stations on the southern end of the Black Hills off the air. KZMX/580 (Hot Springs), KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs), KFCR/1490 (Custer), and KAWK/105.1 (Custer) have been off the air for much of the past decade, with brief resumptions to keep the licenses active. The company writes in its STA requests, "MRBI has historically experienced difficulty attracting qualified candidates to employ, and, once employed, maintaining those staff members for any length of time. This has become an issue once again. The station's location coupled with harsh winter weather have caused MRBI to lose its staff. Thus, it has no choice but to take the station off the air." The stations have each made ten or more STA requests in the past decade, citing staffing and technical problems. (3/7/2016)

WWEN/88.1 (Wentworth-Duluth) has switched from American Family Radio to Real Presence Radio following the station's $200,000 sale to Real Presence Radio. WWEN is the first Wisconsin-licensed station for the North Dakota-based Catholic network, which carries some programming from EWTN Radio. (3/7/2016)

The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, have been approved:
•Waukon, IA: KMRV/1160, 96.7, 250W (added Tues.)
•Albany, MN: KASM/1150, 107.7, 250W
•Winona, MN: KWNO/1230, 98.7, 250W
•North Platte, NE: KJLT/970, 95.7, 250W (added Tues.)
•Beloit, WI: WGEZ/1490, 101.9, 250W (added Tues.)
•Madison, WI: WHIT/1550, 97.7, 225W (added Sat.)
•Middleton, WI: WHFA/1240 (Poynette), 97.3, 40W (added Sat.)

A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/29, 3/1, and 3/5/2016)

Wisconsin Public Radio has announced plans to end production of Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya Know?" at the end of June after a 31-year-run. The comedy quiz show airs live from 10 to Noon on Saturday mornings on WPR's Ideas Network and is syndicated nationally by Public Radio International, with distribution on more than 300 stations at one time. A condensed hour-long edition of the show also airs on WPR's News and Music network. No reason was given for the cancellation, and the show's replacement has not yet been announced. (3/3/2016)

A notice running on Forum Communications ABC affiliate KBMY/17 (Bismarck) says the station's programming will no longer be carried on channel 2.2 of Nexstar CBS affiliate KXMA (Dickinson) beginning March 4. The change follows the sale of KXMA and the other western North Dakota CBS affiliates from Reiten Television to Nexstar, which was required by FCC rules to give up a joint sales agreement with KBMY. The ABC affiliate also has a satellite in Minot, KMCY/14, but relied on KXMA and channel 11.2 of KXMD (Williston) to reach the western cities of the vast market; KXMD is presumably dropping the KBMY/KMCY feed as well. KBMY/KMCY had operated analog translators in Dickinson and Williston prior to the subchannel simulcasts. An announcement running on the station says cable and satellite providers will still offer KBMY/KMCY in Dickinson and Williston, and they are exploring opportunities for restoring over-the-air coverage of the cities. However, Nielsen Media statistics posted by TVB show just a small fraction of viewers in the market rely on over-the-air signals. (3/1/2016)

News archive...

Newspaper/Web Articles

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: George Mallet to rejoin WTMJ-TV, news anchor lineup (4/19)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WTMJ-AM promotes 2, shifts roles in bid to boost local content (4/18)
KARE: Allen Costantini calls it a career (4/15)
KARE: Anchor Diana Pierce announces retirement (4/13)
St. Cloud Times: SCSU athletics signs 5-year radio deal with Townsquare (4/14)
Star Tribune: Fox 9's 'Jason Show' getting national tryout and it's not even a year old (4/13)
Star Tribune: C.J.: Long-time KQ sidekick Terri Traen is in negotiations to do her own show (4/12)
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UW-Platteville Exponent: WSUP plays more classic rock to please faculty (4/7)
Star Tribune: Another media era ends as CBS puts radio stations up for sale (3/20)
Star Tribune: After 43 years on the air, Twin Cities DJ John Hines hasn't run out of things to say (3/15)
Des Moines Register: KCCI adds 9 p.m. newscast (3/7)
Duane Dudek: Milwaukee February Sweeps Ratings: Who Won, Who Lost (3/3)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WITI-TV meteorologist Vince Condella to retire in May (3/3)
Star Tribune: Met Council to pay MPR $3.5 million over LRT vibrations (3/1)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: James E. Causey - Progressives want to even the score on Milwaukee talk radio (2/19)
Star Tribune: St. Paul low-power radio station WEQY seeks to give East Side a voice (2/12)
The Forum: The Fox surges to Fargo's top FM station (1/31)
Rapid City Journal: Radio host helps listeners 'walk with the Lord' (1/30)
KARE: Perk has a tour of the new KARE 11 set (1/25)
Duane Dudek: All Christmas Music WRIT Gets Ratings Gift (1/22)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: With Brian Oake on board, are better days surfacing at the Current? (1/20)
Duane Dudek: New Broom Sweeps Clean at Milwaukee Radio Alliance (1/14)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Wolfman Jack's old Twin Cities station adopts 'health and wellness' format (1/8)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Two familiar KARE faces leading the new 'Breaking the News' (1/6)
Star Tribune: Radio vet Brian Oake to return as 89.3 the Current's morning host (1/6)
Pioneer Press: 'On The Fly' TV show canceled due to low ratings (1/5)
Star Tribune: TV director defends show's call for 'Caucasian' candidates only (1/5)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WKTI-FM adds new afternoon drive-time host (1/5)
Older articles...