"KOTA Territory" is about to get geographically smaller after FCC approval of Gray TV's purchase of Schurz Communications Friday. Gray will operate both the ABC and FOX affiliations in the Black Hills, but with fewer transmitters and less coverage of neighboring states. Though the FCC is requiring some concessions from Gray in other markets, the Rapid City portion of the sale was approved as Gray requested. The elements of the sale, already reported here, include:
- Gray will operate a full-power station on channel 7 and a low-power station on channel 20 in Rapid City with the ABC and FOX affiliations, the KOTA-TV and KEVN-LD callsigns, and the rights to virtual channel 3.1. Gray will also retain longtime KEVN satellite KIVV/5 (Lead).
- Legacy Broadcasting will buy the former KOTA-TV license on RF channel 2, which is now KHME, along with longtime KOTA-TV satellite KHSD/11 (Lead). Legacy will retain the MeTV and This TV affiliations.
- Longtime KOTA-TV satellite KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE) will instead become a satellite of Gray NBC affiliate KNOP/2 (North Platte, NE) and is petitioning to change its community of license to Sidney, NE, to remove a conflict with two stations Gray already owns in the Cheyenne-Scottsbluff market. The FCC approved a temporary waiver of the duopoly rule to allow co-ownership of the stations while the community of license change is pending.
- Longtime KOTA-TV satellite KSGW/12 (Sheridan, WY) will become a satellite of Gray NBC affiliate KCWY/13 (Casper, WY).
Gray and the Rapid City stations have apparently not yet made any public announcement about the changes, which were detailed in an asset purchase agreement and a comprehensive exhibit. (2/12/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR MOVES GRANTED:
The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, were approved Friday:
•Boone, IA: KDLF/1260, 101.5, 250W
•Duluth, MN: WDUL/970 (Superior), 98.1, 250W
•Red Wing, MN: KCUE/1250, 98.9, 250W
•New Richmond, WI: WIXK/1590, 103.3, 250W (from site east of Hudson)
A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/12/2016)
Lakes Broadcasting, the licensee of WLKX/95.9 (Forest Lake-north metro), is fighting plans for a new translator on an adjacent frequency in the Twin Cities metro area. Santamaria Broadcasting is seeking to move an FM translator to the IDS Center, using 160 Watts on 95.7 with a directional antenna pattern pointed away from WLKX. However, Lakes Broadcasting has filed an informal objection saying there is prohibited overlap between the proposed translator and WLKX. The overlap would result in interference for about 2,800 potential WLKX listeners in several northeastern suburbs. Santamaria, the operator of KMNV/1400 (St. Paul), is seeking to move the translator north from Des Moines under a filing window for AM stations to get FM translators. (2/10/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR MOVES GRANTED:
The FCC is moving quickly to process applications for FM translators to move up to 250 miles to relay AM stations. The following are new translator facilities granted on Wednesday (2/10):
•Waterloo, IA: KNWS/1090, 92.7, 250W
•McCook, NE: KBRL/1300, 97.5, 250W
•North Platte, NE: KODY/1240, 92.5, 250W
•Omaha, NE: KOMJ/1490, 104.1, 99W
•Omaha, NE: KCRO/660, 106.5, 110W (modified from original app. for 104.1)
•Madison, WI: WNWC/1190 (Sun Prairie), 104.7, 250W
•Stevens Point, WI: WLBL/930 (Auburndale), 99.1, 29W
A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/10/2016)
The FCC has announced that it will take public comments on Gray TV's plan to change the community of license of KDUH/4 from Scottsbluff to Sidney. Gray is awaiting FCC approval to buy KDUH and wants to legally remove it from the Scottsbluff market because it already owns a pair of stations there; Sidney is in the Denver market. KDUH is a longtime satellite of ABC affiliate KOTA-TV/3 (Rapid City) and Gray has said it plans to convert it to a satellite of NBC affiliate KNOP/2 (North Platte), bringing more Nebraska news to the panhandle region. Though there has been a freeze on channel substitutions since 2011, the FCC says this proposal can be considered because KDUH would not change its technical parameters. (2/9/2016)
Gray TV has quietly swapped some longtime Rapid City callsigns as it awaits FCC approval of its Black Hills TV merger and spinoff. The deal will result in Gray running both the ABC and FOX affiliations but only having one full-power TV license. The KOTA-TV callsign has been moved to Gray's channel 7, which was formerly KEVN. The station formerly known as KOTA-TV (RF channel 2, virtual channel 3) is now KHME, possibly referring to the MeTV affiliation that Legacy Broadcasting will retain when it takes over the station. The KEVN callsign continues on new low-power TV station KEVN-LD, channel 20. The FCC database says changes were official on Feb. 1. The deal, if approved by the FCC, calls for Gray to continue using virtual channel 3.1 for ABC programming under the KOTA-TV name despite selling the KHME license. As previously reported, Gray is divesting KHME and KHSD/11 (Lead) to Legacy for $1 and plans to switch longtime KOTA-TV satellites KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE) and KSGW/12 (Sheridan, WY) to feeds of in-state Gray NBC affiliates. (2/8/2016)
Jim Pattinson Group's CHIQ-FM/94.3 (Winnipeg) has rebranded its Classic Hits format as "The Drive," dropping "Fab 94.3." The change happened Friday (2/5). The change marks the station's move away from "Fab" 1960's hits since the format's debut in 2010. (2/7/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR SALES TO AM OWNERS:
A few more sales of FM translators to the owners of AM stations trickled in this week as the filing window for 250-mile moves opened. Applications have already been filed for all of the translators below to move to relay the AM stations in question, as detailed on this summary of FM translator applications.
•Jacobson Broadcasting (KILR/1070 Estherville, IA) is buying K257DM (Glencoe, MN) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Community First Broadcasting (KSOU/1090 Sioux Center, IA) is buying K254CK (Clara City, MN) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Mid-Minnesota Media, LLC (KLFD/1410 Litchfield) is buying W269DA (Ironwood, MI) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Santamaria Broadcasting (KMNV/1400 St.Paul) is buying K284BZ (Des Moines) from Educational Media Foundation for $40,000.
•Leighton Radio Holdings (KWNO/1230 Winona, MN) is buying W274BW (Medford, WI) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $35,000. (2/5/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR MOVES FOR AM:
The first round of applications for AM stations to gain FM translators through a filing window for 250-mile moves became public Monday, with more than 400 applications nationwide. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai noted that this amounts to applications from almost ten percent of AM stations on the first day alone. For now, the filing is limited to AM class C and D stations, which generally have smaller coverage areas.
The most notable application so far in the Upper Midwest is for KMNV/1400 (St. Paul) to be relayed on 95.7 from the IDS Center, using 160 Watts with a directional antenna pattern to limit the signal towards two existing stations. The translator to be moved is currently K284BZ/104.7 (Des Moines), which KMNV owner Santamaria Broadcasting is buying from Educational Media Foundation for $40,000. KMNV carries a Spanish-language format, and there's no other Spanish-language station on the FM dial in the Twin Cities.
Other notable applications include:
•WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI) seeks a translator on 103.3, reaching part of the eastern Twin Cities metro area from a site near Hudson.
•In Omaha, KCRO/660 and KOMJ/1490 filed competing applications for translators on 104.1.
•In Milwaukee, WJYI/1340 seeks a translator on 98.7.
•WISS/1100 (Berlin) seeks to move its existing Berlin FM translator east to Oshkosh, changing to 98.7.
Click here for the full list of Upper Midwest applications filed on the first day. A national list is posted at RadioInsight. (2/1/2016)
A belated note that KWNO-FM/99.3 (Rushford-Winona) has changed its name to "Wild Country 99," dropping the unique "K-Dub Country" moniker. The change follows the station's sale to Leighton Enterprises, which uses the same branding and logo at KZPK/98.9 (Paynesville-St. Cloud). (2/1/2016)
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association's KRVN/880 (Lexington) is now being relayed on FM translator K295BI/106.9 (Kearney), filling in a gap in KRVN's west-shooting nighttime antenna pattern. Meanwhile, the Association has applied to move K261BT/100.1 (Holdrege) to Lexington to relay KAMI/1580 (Cozad). KRVN is celebrating its 65th anniversary on Feb. 1 and has posted some station history on its website. (2/1/2016)
David R. Magnum has applied to relocate two FM translators in southeastern Wisconsin. W286CO/105.1 (Port Washington) would instead transmit on 104.5 with 250 Watts from the northern Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg, relaying WMBZ/92.5 (West Bend). Meanwhile, W251BU/98.1 (Racine) would move to Kenosha and transmit with 250 Watts, relaying WRJN/1400 (Racine). Neither translator is yet on the air. (2/1/2016)
The only news-producing TV station in Thunder Bay and all of northwestern Ontario could fold this year, the station's general manager revealed during a regulatory hearing last week.
Dougall Media's Thunder Bay Television consists of CTV affiliate CKPR-DT/2 and Global affiliate CHFD-DT/4, which are the only news-producing TV stations between Winnipeg and Sault Ste. Marie. Current news offerings include a flagship hour-long broadcast at 6 p.m. on CKPR, a half-hour broadcast that airs at 11 p.m. on CHFD and at 11:30 on CKPR, and a half-hour morning show at 9 a.m. on CHFD.
During a hearing about the state of local TV, GM Don Caron told the CRTC that the TV stations are operating off the proceeds of life insurance policies following the deaths of the station's owner and general manager last year, as well as profits from its sister radio stations. "We're the most desperate of the stations sitting here before you," Caron told regulators, saying the TV stations could shut down in September.
CKPR and CHFD, known jointly as TBT, are among 29 stations that the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting say could shut down this year unless regulators restore the Local Program Improvement Fund, which existed from 2009 to 2014. The group says small Canadian stations are suffering from a combination of economic challenges, audience behavior changes, the removal of regulatory protections, and the loss of public subsidies.
Canadian stations can't negotiate for retransmission consent fees and don't have as many programming protections as their U.S. counterparts. Multiple out-of-market feeds of each Canadian and U.S. network are available on cable and satellite, with CKPR and CHFD carried on three-digit satellite channels buried among dozens of out-of-market stations. On cable, TBT competes with the major Minneapolis stations, five other CTV affiliates, and two other Global affiliates.
CKPR has been able to benefit from Canada's "simultaneous substitution" rule since switching from CBC to CTV, which simulcasts a lot of American programming, in 2014. Sim-sub requires cable companies to substitute the local station (including its local commercials) over the top of an American station showing the same program at the same time. This week, it appears about half of the prime-time programming on TBT's two stations will override Minneapolis feeds, as well as six hours of weekday programming in other timeslots.
If CKPR and CHFD do go off the air, the city of 108,000 would be left with just one broadcast TV signal -- the non-commercial TV Ontario network. The city had four TV signals until the CBC shut down a transmitter carrying the French-language Radio-Canada network in 2011. The CBC also chose not to place a TV transmitter in Thunder Bay after CKPR dropped the network, citing a high cable/satellite penetration rate. (1/31/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR SALES AHEAD OF POTENTIAL MOVES:
As the filing window opens for FM translators to move up to 250 miles to relay AM stations, there were several more translator sales filed with the FCC this week:
•O Town Communications (KBIZ/1240 and KLEE/1480 Ottumwa, IA) is buying K267BC (Eagle Grove, IA) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $37,500.
•Milestone Radio LLC (WQPM/1300 Princeton, MN) is buying W217CE (Black River Falls, WI) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $21,950. WQPM is currently relayed on an FM translator owned by Educational Media Foundation.
•Custer County Broadcasting (KCNI/1280 Broken Bow, NE) is buying K250AP (Pierre, SD) from Radio 74 Internationale for $20,000.
•Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, LLC (WCLO/1230 Janesville, WI) is buying W288CZ (Beaver Dam, WI) from Radio 74 Internationale for $28,000. (1/29/2016)
Covenant Network is selling the construction permits for two new FM translators in eastern Iowa to local Catholic broadcasters. Davenport Educational Assoication, owner of KTJT-LP/102.7 (Davenport), is buying K237FP/95.3 (Davenport) for $20,000. Meanwhile, Divine Mercy Educational Association, owner of KDME-LP/98.3 (Fort Madison), is buying K249EP/97.7 (Fort Madison) for $10,000. Both translators face May 10 construction deadlines. (1/29/2016)
Heartland Christian Broadcasters and Refuge Media are trading FM translators in northern Minnesota. Refuge will get W267AO/101.3 (Chisholm) in exchange for K212FM/90.3 (Warroad) and K253CB/98.5 (Roseau). The Chisholm station has already switched to Refuge's Christian Hits format, while the application states the other two will carry separate Heartland stations. The Warroad station will carry KXBR/91.9 (International Falls) and the Roseau station, which is not yet on the air, will carry KBHW/99.5 (International Falls). Heartland has an existing translator in Warroad carrying KBHW. It no longer needs the Chisholm translator since the area is now served by KBHW satellite KADU/90.1 (Hibbing). (1/29/2016)
Meredith could end up being the next owner of ABC affiliate WBAY-TV/2.1 (Green Bay) and NBC affiliate KWQC/6.1 (Davenport) in the wake of a national sale. WBAY and KWQC owner Media General spurned a merger with Meredith in favor of a sale to Nexstar, which already owns the CBS affiliates in both markets. FCC rules prohibit one company from owning more than one of the top four stations in a market. In Wednesday's announcement, Media General and Nexstar said, "Meredith will receive an opportunity to negotiate for the purchase of certain broadcast and digital assets currently owned by Media General." However, Meredith cautioned that there is no guarantee that it will be able to buy any assets. (1/27/2016)
The Ingstad family has apparently decided that it'd rather have the only FM radio station targetting Breckenridge-Wahpeton rather than the 13th commercial FM station in the Fargo-Moorhead market. In a move first reported by RadioInsight, KZDR/92.7 (Kindred-Fargo) has applied to move south to Breckenridge using 6kW/46m (class A), with KPFX/107.9 changing its community of license from Fargo to Kindred to "backfill" (to comply with an FCC rule that prohibits station moves that leave a community without a license). Meanwhile, Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge is buying KZDR from Robert Ingstad's Mediactive, LLC for $275,000. As previously reported, Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge is also in the process of buying KBMW/1450 (Breckenridge) and a future FM translator from the Ingstad family's Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which does business as Radio F-M Media. Ironically, there are two other FM stations already licensed to Breckenridge and Wahpeton that target the Fargo market. This would actually be the second time the station currently known as KZDR has changed its market; it was originally KDDR-FM/92.3 (Oakes) and moved into the Fargo market in the early 1990's. KZDR currently carries a Classic Hits format. (1/27/2016)
Flood Communictions' "News Channel Nebraska" TV brand has expanded to Columbus on KMJF-LD/48, joining KNEN-LD/35 (Norfolk). "NCN35" and "NCN48" each feature a separate loop of local news packages, sports, weather, and community interviews, along with local sports broadcasts and Mike'l Severe's afternoon show from the Omaha World Herald. "NCN35" also has carriage on most cable systems in Norfolk and surrounding areas; "NCN48" is launching on Eagle Communications cable systems in communities surrounding Columbus on Tuesday (1/26) but is still working to gain carriage on the Columbus system. The channels are also available via Roku. Both stations also carry Weather Nation TV on subchannels, and KNEN-LD also carries Antenna TV. Flood Communications, headed by longtime broadcaster and former state legislator Mike Flood, also has construction permits for new low-power TV stations in Beatrice, Grand Island, and Hastings. It has radio stations using the "News Channel Nebraska" brand in Norfolk, Beatrice, and Fairbury, as well as radio stations in Omaha and Nebraska City. (1/25/2016)
FM TRANSLATOR SALES AHEAD OF POTENTIAL MOVES:
Sales of FM translators continue to pour in to the FCC ahead of a filing window that will allow FM translators to be moved up to 250 miles to relay AM stations. Here are the most recent license transfer applications:
•Latin World Broadcasting (KDLF/1260 Boone-Des Moines) is buying K234BB (Harlan, IA) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $35,000.
•StarCom, LLC (KASM/1150 Albany, MN) is buying K236BB (Fort Dodge, IA) for $39,450
•K&M Broadcasting (KDWA/1460 Hastings, MN) is buying W280AA (Silver Bay, MN) from Refuge Media for $60,000.
•Q Media Group, LLC (KCUE/1250 Red Wing, MN) is buying K263AL (Madison, MN) from Refuge Media for $75,000.
•Mid-West Management (WAYY/790 Eau Claire and WEAQ/1150 Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire) is buying W221DK (Neillsville, WI) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $35,000.
•Fruit Broadcasting, LLC (WRCO/1450 Richland Center, WI) is buying W269CQ from David M. Stout for $40,000.
•David R. Magnum is buying 11 translators from Sister Grace for $3,000 apiece. They are: W300CM (Appleton, WI), W239CD (Beloit, WI), W286CH (Coleman, WI), W276CO (Fond du Lac, WI), W258CM (Madison, WI), W278BQ (Manitowoc, WI), W286CO (Port Washington, WI), W251BU (Racine, WI), W241BQ (Watertown, WI), W280EN (Rockford, IL), and K287BI (Dumas, AR). Magnum owns six AM stations in Wisconsin through different licensee names. (1/22/2016)
The FCC has approved a plan for two non-commercial stations in the Bismarck area to swap frequencies, allowing each to upgrade. KPHA/91.3 (Mandan) will move to 91.7, upgrading to 25kW/199m (class C2), while KXRP/91.7 (Bismarck) will move to 91.3 and upgrade to 4.2kW/199m (class C3). Both stations will transmit from sites south of Bismarck. Normally, second-adjacent stations (0.4 MHz apart) wouldn't be allowed to have sites that close together, but the stations successfully sought a "Raleigh Waiver" that allows the overlap when "the benefit of increased [non-commercial] service outweighs the potential for interference in small areas" (FCC). The stations are owned by Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio, though it remains to be seen whether both will carry the same programming once their coverage areas are aligned. (1/21/2016)
Minnesota Public Radio has announced plans to launch "The Current" in Duluth on Feb. 1. The Adult Alternative network will be heard on translator W215CG/90.9 (Duluth), which MPR bought from Family Stations last year and upgraded, and the HD2 signal of WSCN/100.5 (Cloquet-Duluth). The stations are already on the air carrying a mix of local music; a launch party is being planned for March. "The Current" will be the sixth public radio format in the Twin Ports, competing primarily with the University of Minnesota Duluth's KUMD/103.3. MPR and Wisconsin Public Radio each offer two other services in the area. (1/20/2016)
SPECTRUM AUCTION: WHO'S (MAYBE) IN, WHO'S OUT:
Filing to potentially participate in the upcoming TV spectrum auction closed last week, and while the filings are confidential, some organizations have revealed their plans. Stations that sell spectrum will be able to remain on the air either by moving to an inferior channel or through channel sharing.
Groups that own dozens of stations on the list of stations to be potentially sold have said they may participate in some form. Those groups include:
•Gray TV, 18 stations in the Upper Midwest (Bloomberg)
•Sinclair, 12 stations in the region (TV Technology, Variety)
•Nexstar, 7 stations in the region (TV Technology)
•Media General, 5 stations in the region (TV Technology, Variety)
•Ion, 5 stations in the region (TVNewsCheck)
•Tribune, 3 stations in the region (TVNewsCheck)
•CBS, owns WCCO-TV Minneapolis & 2 satellites (Bloomberg, Variety, WSJ)
•FOX, owns KMSP & WFTC Minneapolis (Bloomberg, TVNewsCheck, WSJ)
•Marquette PBS station WNMU (Mining Journal)
Groups that will not participate include:
•Wisconsin Public Television, which operates six PBS stations
•NET Nebraska, which operates nine PBS stations
•Pioneer Public Television, which operates two PBS stations in southwestern Minnesota (though its statement only mentions one of them) (1/18/2016)
Native Communications, operator of the NCI-FM network, is seeking permission to replace its Brandon FM station with a smaller facility, and says in its application that the current facility might be sold to a commercial broadcaster. NCI has operated CIWM-FM/91.5 since 2002, but tells the CRTC it has been unable to find enough advertising support in the Westman region to cover the $70,000 annual expense of running the 100kW (class C1) station. It's proposing moving CIWM-FM to 107.5 with 2.7kW (class A). Six First Nations communities would lose CIWM-FM's signal as a result of the downgrade, but NCI says it's committed to helping them establish low-power FM signals to carry its programming. The application also says that NCI is interested in selling the existing 91.5 facility to Westman Communications Group, which would use it as a rebroadcaster of Country-formatted CKLQ/880. That plan would require a separate application with the CRTC. (1/18/2016)
The FCC has approved a plan to move an FM station into Rugby to be paired with existing station KZZJ/1450. KKWZ/95.3 (Crary), which is currently off the air, will moves 65 miles west and change its community of license to Rugby with 6kW/45m (class A). To replace KKWZ as the Crary-licensed radio station, Two Rivers Broadcasting's KQZZ/96.7 (Devils Lake) will change its community of license to Crary. Separately, the FCC also approved the sale of KKWZ from Edward "Butch" De La Hunt to KZZJ owner Rugby Broadcasters. (1/18/2016)
New station WQUD/105.5 (Erie, IL) has signed on east of the Quad Cities. The 6kW/100m (class A) station provides a rimshot signal to Clinton and fringe coverage of the Quad Cities. WQUD signed on last August, and Around P-Town reports that it began local programming on Jan. 11, carrying a mix of Oldies and Classic Country as "Vintage Radio." It's owned by Texas-based JMRW, LLC. (1/17/2016)
WQKQ/92.1 (Dallas City, IL-Burlington) has flipped from Active Rock to Classic Rock, retaining its "KQ92" slogan and the syndicated "Bob & Tom" morning show. It appears the change happened around the beginning of the year. WQKQ is one of six stations owned by Pritchard Broadcasting in the Burlington area. (1/17/2016)
Mid-West Management's WAYY/790 (Eau Claire) is seeking FCC permission for a nighttime downgrade. The station currently uses 5kW day and night from a three-tower array near U.S. Highway 53 in the far northeastern part of the city, with a non-directional signal during the day and a directional pattern at night. It's proposing to drop two towers at the site and operate nondirectionally day and night, retaining 5kW day but dropping to 123 Watts at night. The 123 Watts would still be enough to provide interference-free reception to Eau Claire. Mid-West also holds a construction permit for FM translator W286CK/105.1, which will transmit from the remaining tower. (1/16/2016)
Translator W238CB/95.5 (Monroe) has signed on relaying the "Big Country" format of WEKZ/1260 (Monroe). "Big Oldies" WEKZ-FM/93.7 (Monroe) has changed its callsign to WBGR-FM, possibly to avoid confusion. The stations are among eight owned by Big Radio along the Wisconsin/Illinois border. (1/16/2016)
The FCC recently granted these construction permits for new FM translators:
•Davenport, IA: K250BM/97.9, Starboard Media Foundation, 250W
•Iowa City, IA: K233DD/94.5, University of Northern Iowa, 80W
•Iowa City, IA: K237GD/95.7, University of Northern Iowa, 80W
•Parkersburg, IA: K296GV/107.1, Family Stations, 250W
•Waterloo, IA: K293CH/106.5, Starboard Media Foundation, 250W (1/16/2016)
Black Hills NBC affiliate KNBN/21 (Rapid City) has been off DISH Network since the beginning of the year amid a retransmission consent dispute. The sprawling Rapid City TV market covers the western third of South Dakota, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The Rapid City Journal reported that the same type of dispute also temporarily removed KNBN, owned by Rapid Broadcasting, from DISH four years ago. (1/15/2016)
Hmong Radio Broadcast LLC, the owner of WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI-St. Paul), is buying an FM translator that could potentially be moved into the Twin Cities during a filing window later this year. The deal calls for Hmong Radio Broadcast to pay Edgewater Broadcasting $35,000 for W242BB/96.3 (Medford, WI). The deal is contingent on FCC approval of a move to a tower to be designated by the buyer. (Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Hmong Radio Broadcast as the owner of KFXN/690 Minneapolis, which is co-located with WIXK in St. Paul.) (1/14/2016, corrected 1/15)
KZIA, Inc. is picking up another FM translator in Cedar Rapids with the purchase of K236AA/95.1 from Family Stations for $60,000. K236AA had carried Family Radio for about 16 years, receiving the signal via a translator in the Amana Colonies, but the feed ended when the translator was forced to move to a new frequency a few years ago. K236AA had more recently been heard relaying Educational Media Foundation's KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha). KZIA, Inc. also owns K298BM/107.5 (Cedar Rapids), which carries the Sports format of KGYM/1600 via an HD subchannel of KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids), as well as two translators in Iowa City. (1/14/2016)
How's this for a first: A radio station moving out of the Twin Cities area? It could happen with Main Street Broadcasting's purchase of K256CO/99.1 (St. Paul) from Refuge Media for $100,000. K256CO was just granted a few months ago and is not yet on the air; its current construction permit calls for 38 Watts from a water tower in Vadnais Heights. Main Street Broadcasting, part of the Linder group, owns KOWZ/1170 (Waseca-Owatonna) and could potentially seek to move the translator south during a filing window for AM-on-FM translators later this year. (1/13/2016)
Midwest Communications is buying several translators from Edgewater Broadcasting that could potentially be moved to become AM-on-FM translators for Midwest stations during a filing window later this year. The $82,500 deal includes K226BF/93.1 (Moose Lake, MN), W227BB/93.3 (Fremont, MI), and W238AX/95.5 (Savanna, IL). The deal values the Fremont and Savanna licenses at $30,000 apiece and the Moose Lake license at $22,500. Midwest also has eight existing translators in Wisconsin, some of which are not yet on the air. (1/13/2016)
The latest media merger in Canada means all of Manitoba's commercial TV stations will soon be co-owned with a Winnipeg radio group. Corus Entertainment is buying Shaw Media from Shaw Communications for $2.65 million. Shaw Media's holdings include the Global Television Network, more than a dozen cable/satellite channels, and 13 local stations, including CKND-TV/9 (Winnipeg). It will be co-owned with the Corus group consisting of CJOB/680, CJKR-FM/97.5, and CJGV-FM/99.1. Bell Media, Rogers Broadcasting, and CBC/Radio-Canada also own TV-radio combinations in the city. (1/13/2016)
A Spanish-language Christian music format called "La Nueva Vida" has launched on the HD4 signals of KLCI/106.1 (Elk River-Minneapolis) and KDDG/105.5 (Albany-St. Cloud). The HD4 signals had briefly carried the secular "Mera Buena" format last fall following its exit from sister station KBGY/107.5 (Owatonna-south metro); that format's Facebook page continues to be updated with generic posts though the format itself appears to have ended. (1/12/2016)
Courier Communications' WNOV/860 (Milwaukee) could end up with two different FM translators on 103.3 in different parts of the metro area. The first one already has FCC approval: Gateway Technical College's W277BM/103.3 (Lake Geneva) has received a construction permit to move to Waukesha to relay WNOV. It will use 200 Watts with a highly directional antenna, serving the southwestern Milwaukee metro area. The move was approved using a Mattoon Waiver, which requires the translator to relay the specified AM station for at least four years.
The other WNOV translator would move up from Illinois. In an application first reported on by RadioInsight, Frank McCoy's W277CV/103.3 (Waukegan) has applied to change its community of license to South Milwaukee. It would use 120 Watts from a tower in Oak Creek, using a directional antenna serving part of the area between Milwaukee and Racine. A Mattoon Waiver is also being sought in this case. Besides the two translators needing to protect each other, they both need to protect a future low-power FM station on the same frequency in Whitefish Bay, which will be heard in much of Milwaukee and its northern suburbs.
Regular readers may recall that WNOV was briefly relayed by a translator on 102.5 several years ago, when the station was being rented to a different operator, but interference complaints forced that translator off the air. (1/11/2016)
In another Milwaukee FM translator development, Bustos Media is seeking to move future translator W230CI/93.9 downtown to the Wisconsin Center. The FCC has already approved Bustos' purchase of the translator from Cornerstone Community Radio and its move from 104.7 to 93.9, but the current construction permit calls for a site in Wauwatosa, which would use 250 Watts. Bustos has now applied to move the translator downtown with 200 Watts. Bustos also owns WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee). (1/11/2016)
The FCC recently granted these construction permits for new FM translators:
•Janesville, WI: W242CM/96.3, Board of Regents of the UW System, 170W
•Neenah, WI: W251CB/98.1, Midwest Communications, 250W (1/11/2016)
NEW LOW-POWER FM STATIONS ON THE AIR:
•Marshalltown, IA: KDNH-LP/101.5, owned by K. of C. Building Inc. and carrying Spanish Catholic programming from EWTN's Radio Catolica Mundial.
•Fargo, ND: KPPP-LP/88.1, owned by the People's Press Project and focused on serving minority communities.
•Black Earth, WI: WISY-LP/92.5, owned by the Mazomanie Music Conservatory and carrying a Community/Variety format for the rural area west of Madison.
•Milwaukee, WI: WXRW-LP/104.1, owned by the Riverwest Artists Assocation and carrying a Community/Variety format as "Riverwest Radio." The lineup includes local talk shows, Democracy Now! at 11 p.m. and an hour with former Wisconsin Public Radio host Ben Merens on Saturday afternoon. (1/11/2016)
The Educational Media Foundation, operator of "K-Love" and other Christian networks, is buying two FM stations in Keokuk that have rimshot signals to Quincy. EMF is buying KOKX-FM/95.3 and KRNQ/96.3 from Withers Broadcasting and David Lister for a $500,000 purchase price, less $30,000 for needed repairs at the transmitter site. EMF said it plans to convert both stations to non-commercial status, with KOKX-FM switching from Classic Hits to the Contemporary Christian "K-Love" network and KRNQ dropping Classic Rock for Spanish Christian from "Radio Nueva Vida." (This report has been updated to correct the stated network plans for KRNQ.) They're currently part of the four-station Keokuk Radio Group; as previously reported, Riverfront Broadcasting is buying KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage-Keokuk) for $100,000. (1/11/2016)
Wennes Communications is buying an FM translator in Missouri, presumably to move north to relay its KFXE/1160 (Waukon) when an FCC window for long-distance moves opens up later this year. Wennes is buying K260BJ/99.9 (Kahoka, MO) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $28,000. KFXE currently carries FOX Sports Radio. (1/11/2016)
Fourth time's the charm? The 9 p.m. newscast on FOX 18 (KLJB Davenport) is now being produced by CBS affiliate WHBF, which is the fourth organization to produce the newscast. Davenport-based Independent News Network first began producing the newscast in 1999, but KLJB switched to ABC affiliate WQAD in 2010 and then to NBC affiliate KWQC two years later. The switch to a WHBF-produced newscast follows WHBF's sale to Nexstar and a shared services agreement between WHBF and KLJB. Meanwhile, WQAD has launched a 9 p.m. newscast on its MyNetworkTV subchannel. (1/7/2016)
Just over a year after Antenna TV debuted in Omaha on channel 3.2 of Scripps' KMTV, the network is moving to channel 6.3 of Gray's WOWT. The station is running promos saying Antenna TV will debut on Jan. 18. KMTV will apparently replace Antenna with Escape, since it was announced last year that the station would carry the network. KMTV is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries Laff on 3.3; WOWT is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries weather on 6.2. (1/7/2016)
DTV America is planning to add Laff on a number of its low-power TV stations in the region, according to listings on the network's website. They show Laff being carried on channel 43.3 of KMBD-LD (Minneapolis), channel 36.4 of W08CK-D (Madison), channel 14.2 of K14PR-D (Cedar Falls), and channel 28.2 of K28NF-D (Fort Dodge). It's not clear if any of the stations are currently on the air. There's no indication what might be carried on the other channels of the stations. (1/7/2016)
The tentative deal for Nexstar to buy Media General means another divestiture is ahead for Green Bay. Media General currently owns ABC affiliate WBAY-TV/2.1, while Nexstar owns CBS affiliate WFRV/5.1. FCC rules prohibit one company from owning both stations, and Nexstar said Thursday that it will divest stations necessary to gain regulatory approval of the Media General purchase. There was no indication which station would be divested, or who would buy it. Green Bay was home to a divestiture just over a year ago, when Media General sold FOX affiliate WLUK/11.1 and CW affiliate WCWF/14.1 to Sinclair as part of its purchase of LIN TV. The Nexstar-Media General deal is still contingent with a previous deal for a Media General-Meredith merger to be terminated or voted down by Media General shareholders. (1/7/2016)
Christian broadcaster Dove Broadcasting is buying KDMI/19.1 (Des Moines) from Pappas Liquidating Trust for $1 million. KDMI currently carries ThisTV, while Dove Broadcasting and its sister companies own stations that carry the TCT network. The deal includes a provision saying that if the new owners earn more than $2 million selling any of KDMI's spectrum during the upcoming auction, Pappas Liquidating Trust will get a portion of the proceeds. Pappas also owns CW affiliate KCWI/23.1 (Ames-Des Moines) and is awaiting a bankruptcy court's approval to sell KCWI to Nexstar Broadcasting, which owns ABC affiliate WOI-DT/5.1 (Ames-Des Moines). A court hearing on the KCWI sale, which already has FCC approval, is set for Jan. 20. (1/7/2016)
Birach Broadcasting is selling Des Moines rimshot signal KXLQ/1490 (Indianola) to 62 and Even II LLC for $300,000. The buyer is owned by Jeff Rasmussen (68%) and Wayne Nyberg (32%) of Des Moines, while Kurt Rasmussen serves as president but has no ownership interest. The three work for Rasmussen Group, which owns a group of construction companies. KXLQ currently runs a Sports format as "The Jock." (1/6/2016)
Salem Media plans to launch "Wellness Radio" on KDIZ/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) next Monday (1/11). The lineup will include the syndicated Dr. Asa show from 12 to 3 p.m. and sponsored programming from local health businesses. 1570's former Business Talk format and KYCR callsign moved to Salem's newly-purchased 1440 signal last month. They're among four AM stations Salem owns in the Twin Cities. (1/6/2016)
Northern Lights Broadcasting has brought Hip-Hop back to the Twin Cities' commercial airwaves, six years after the company dropped the format on a different station. "Go 95.3" (KZGO St. Paul-Minneapolis) launched at 3 p.m. Tuesday (1/5), sharing branding with sister Adult Alternative/Twins baseball outlet "Go 96.3" (KTWN-FM Edina-Minneapolis). The Twin Cities has not had a commercial Hip-Hop outlet since Northern Lights ended "B96" in 2010. The new launch follows Northern Lights' $7.95 million purchase of 95.3, formerly KNOF, from Praise Broadcasting, a deal which includes "Praise" programming continuing on KTWN-FM's HD2 signal. KNOF, a 900-Watt (class A) station that moved to the IDS Center a few years ago, had carried a Christian format for more than a half-century. "Go 95.3" has no direct commercial competition, though non-commercial KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis) has played Hip-Hop for decades. iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media both launched Classic Hip-Hop outlets last summer. (1/4/2016, updated 1/5)
Bethesda Christian Broadcasting's KTPT/97.9 (Rapid City) has switched from "The Point" Christian Hits to Worship music as "The Breeze." A note on the station's old website says the "Point" format "was never able to achieve a level of funding necessary to cover its expenses." The station referred listeners to sister Contemporary Christian outlet KSLT/107.1 (Spearfish-Rapid City). Bethesda also owns Teaching/Preaching outlet KLMP/88.3 (Rapid City), a format which was originally on 97.9 and moved to 88.3 in 2004. (1/4/2016)
Leighton Enterprises has rebranded Adult Contemporary outlet KCML/99.9 (St. Joseph-St. Cloud) as "More FM," dropping the "Lite" slogan the station had used since its 1998 sign-on. The change happened Monday (1/4). KCML says the change was made "to reflect our dedication in giving you more of what you told us you care about. More music, with less talk, and more of the songs you really enjoy." (1/4/2016)
Classical Iowa Public Radio station KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City) is broadcasting at reduced power. The network says the 1300-foot transmission line at KSUI's main site near West Branch broke down in mid-December and the station had to switch to its backup site just outside Iowa City. The backup uses only 8.6kW, compared with the usual 100kW, providing only a rimshot signal to Cedar Rapids and essentially taking the Quad Cities out of its coverage area. The backup is also not powerful enough to feed translator K269EK/101.7 (Dubuque). IPR is awaiting a tower crew to make repairs. (1/3/2016)
Red Rock Radio's WHSM-FM/101.1 (Hayward) has dropped Adult Contemporary for "Muskie Country," making it the only Country outlet in the immediate Hayward area. Hans Evins continues to host mornings on the new format, which is named for a fish common in Hayward-area lakes. It appears the switch happened on Dec. 27. The change takes WHSM-FM out of direct competition with the city's only other commercial FM station, Adult Contemporary-formatted WRLS/92.3. Country fans in Hayward previously had to tune into fringe signals from Rice Lake or other cities.
Meanwhile, sister station WHSM/910 will begin carrying the Minnesota Twins this season. A belated note that WHSM began carrying programming from iHeartMedia's Minneapolis-based Fan Network last summer, with NBC Sports Radio filling evenings and overnights. (1/2/2016)
Midwest Communications has rearranged the formats on two of its Green Bay translators. The FM relay of Sports talker WNFL/1440 has moved from W221DA/92.1 to W270AJ/101.9; W270AJ had been one of two translators relaying Midwest's "Duke FM" format in Green Bay. Meanwhile, W221DA is now relaying mainstream Country outlet "Y100" (WNCY/100.3 Neenah-Menasha). The translators broadcast from the same site and have essentially the same coverage areas, though W221DA battles interference from the fringe signal of WLTU/92.1 (Manitowoc). (1/2/2016)
The iconic Easy Listening format heard on KNXR/97.5 (Rochester) until last year has been reincarnated at 97Five.com. The web stream formally launched on Jan. 1 and is also available through the TuneIn app. The playlist includes vintage Easy Listening standards that had been heard on KNXR for decades, including repeats of the John Doremus Show in the evening. (It's worth noting that the KNXR Easy Listening format didn't have a web stream when it was still on FM.) Meanwhile, Blooming Prairie Farm Radio is awaiting FCC approval to buy the terrestrial KNXR from Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester, which bought it from Tom Jones' United Audio Corporation last year and changed the format to Hot Adult Contemporary. (1/1/2016)
WXCO/1230 (Wausau) has flipped to "Cool Oldies," dropping a short-lived reincarnation as an ESPN affiliate. The new format includes a local morning show, high school sports, and a Saturday morning polka show. WXCO, which had also carried ESPN prior to 2010, dropped Soft Oldies for ESPN in February. That arrangement included sister station "Sports Fan 100.5" (WDTX Rothschild-Wausau) carrying ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning, with WXCO clearing the rest of the ESPN lineup. The station says on its Facebook page that WDTX will carry more ESPN programming starting Feb. 1. (12/30/2015)
Riverfront Broadcasting is expanding to the southeast with the purchase of an AM-FM combo in the Keokuk market, a sale which foreshadows the breakup of the current four-station Keokuk Radio group. Riverfront, which owns 15 stations in northwestern Iowa and South Dakota, will pay Withers Broadcasting $100,000 for KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage, IL-Keokuk). The sale follows the death of W. Russell Withers, Jr., and the transfer of his stations to his daughter, Dana Withers. Not included in the sale are KOKX-FM/95.3 (Keokuk) or KRNQ/96.3 (Keokuk), the latter of which Withers had been running under a time brokerage agreement with David Lister. The asset purchase agreement does say that KOKX-FM, KRNQ, and a Withers station in southeastern Illinois will be sold to an unnamed buyer. KOKX-FM, which carries Classic Hits/Oldies, and Classic Rocker KRNQ both have rimshot signals to Quincy, Illinois. KOKX/1310 was last known to carry Soft Oldies and WCEZ Adult Contemporary, though the Keokuk Radio group's website is down and its social media pages haven't been updated in months. (12/29/2015)
Townsquare Media's "B100" (KBEA-FM/99.7 Muscatine-Quad Cities) tells the FCC it's operating at greatly reduced power after a lightning strike. A post on the station's website says the strike happened Nov. 12. In a request for special temporary authority, KBEA says it's operating at 815 Watts ERP, far short of the usual 100,000 Watts (class C1). With its 265m antenna height, the 815-Watt signal roughly approximates the coverage area of a class A station, enough to rimshot Davenport from KBEA's tower site north of Muscatine. The filing says replacement parts have been ordered. (12/24/2015)
KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) is apparently operating with reduced facilities after a partial tower collapse on Dec. 15. The Marshall Radio group temporarily shifted programming on its stations for a day until KKCK could be brought back on the air. It's not immediately clear what facilities the station, which carries Contemporary Hits, is currently using. KKCK normally transmits with 100kW/282m from a tower near Lake Benton, reaching Brookings, South Dakota, and providing a fringe signal to Sioux Falls. (12/24/2015)
The "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network may be getting a second signal in Appleton as the result of a deal between Edgewater Broadcasting and "K-Love" owner Educational Media Foundation. Edgewater is trading the construction permit W264CN/100.7 (Appleton) and a translator in North Carolina to EMF in exchange for EMF relinquishing its option to purchase Edgewater translators in Illinois and Florida. The application says W264CN will carry "K-Love" via WPFF/90.5 (Sturgeon Bay). Another translator, W271AC/102.1 (Appleton), already relays WPFF, but its signal only covers the western half of the city. W264CN's CP calls for covering the eastern part of the city. (12/24/2015)
Absolute Communications II is buying translator K262AR/100.3 (Worthington) from Refuge Media for $35,000. The application states K262AR will relay Absolute's KWOA/730, which carries a Soft Oldies format. The translator has separately applied to move its transmitter to the KWOA site with 250 Watts. K262AR currently carries Refuge's Christian Hits format. (12/23/2015)
Robinson Corporation is buying the construction permit for translator W269CN/101.7 (Manitowoc) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $28,000. Robinson owns WVRQ/1360 (Viroqua) and could potentially move the translator to Viroqua during a filing window next year. (12/21/2015)
The Minnesota Twins announced Friday that their new Spanish-language broadcast partner for the 2016 season will be Santamaria Broadcasting's "La Raza" (KMNV/1400 St. Paul and KMNQ/1470 Brooklyn Park). The 50 broadcasts will air primarily on Sundays and Tuesdays and will feature Twins Hall of Famer and color analyst Tony Oliva and play-by-play announcer Alfonso Fernandez. The Twins' previous Spanish-language partners, "La Mera Buena" (KBGY/107.5 Faribault-south metro) and "La Neta" (WLKX/95.9 Forest Lake), both switched to English-language formats in October. KMNV has better coverage of the core metro area than the previous partners, while KMNQ serves the northern suburbs. (12/18/2015)
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying another FM translator: this time, it's K261BT/100.1 (Holdrege) being bought from My Bridge Radio for $25,000. My Bridge Radio no longer needed the 205-Watt Holdrege translator after the sign-on of KHZY/99.3 (Overton) a few years ago. The Nebraska Rural Radio Association also recently bought translators in Hastings and Kearney from Radio 74 Internationale. They could potentially be moved to relay some of the association's five AM stations. (12/18/2015)
Radio Fargo-Moorhead is buying translator K288FF/105.5 (Bismarck) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $40,000. The translator could potentially be moved east to relay Radio Fargo-Moorhead's KQWB/1660 (West Fargo) during a filing window for 250-mile moves for AM-on-FM translators planned for next year. (12/18/2015)
Mid-West Management is buying translator W227BL/93.3 (Galena, IL) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $35,000. The translator could potentially be moved to Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Rockford, Springfield, or southwestern Michigan to relay one of Mid-West's AM stations during next year's filing window for 250-mile moves. (12/18/2015)
Salem Media has moved the Business Talk format of KYCR/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) to KDIZ/1440 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) after purchasing KDIZ from Radio Disney. The switch apparently happened on Wednesday (12/16). 1440 has a stronger signal than 1570, especially at night, though its nighttime signal lacks coverage of the northwest and southeast metro area. KYCR is running a looped announcement advising listeners to turn to 1440 and Salem announced Dec. 21 that the frequency would debut a new format in January. Salem also owns Christian Talk station KKMS/980 (Richfield-Minneapolis) and Conservative Talk station WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis). (12/16/2015, updated 12/21)
Gray TV announced Tuesday that it's taking the CW affiliations in the Madison and Fargo markets next year. The network will move from a competitor's full-power primary affiliation in Madison and from a competitor's subchannel in Fargo.
In Madison, Gray's WMTV will carry CW on channel 15.2, replacing weather programming. WMTV is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries Antenna TV on 15.3. The move will leave Byrne Acquisition Group's WBUW/57.1 (Janesville-Madison), the current CW affiliate, without a primary affiliation.
In Fargo, Gray said CW will air on "KXJB-D2" but would not provide additional details; the KXJB callsign is currently parked on a Gray translator in Wyoming. KXJB is the former callsign of KRDK/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo), which carried CBS until Gray moved it to a subchannel of NBC affiliate KVLY-TV (Fargo) last year to comply with ownership rules. Gray is in the process of buying three low-power TV stations in the Fargo market. The CW affiliation is currently seen on Forum's WDAY-DT2 (Fargo) and WDAZ-DT2 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks).
The new CW affiliations take effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 TV season. (12/15/2015)
WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) has signed on FM translator W276CP/103.1 (Bloomer), which rimshots Eau Claire from a tower near Lake Hallie. WOGO carries a Conservative Talk format and is owned by Stewards of Sound. (12/12/2015)
North Dakota-based Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio is buying WWEN/88.1 (Wentworth, WI-Duluth) from the American Family Association for $200,000. WWEN will be Real Presence Radio's ninth full-power station, its farthest east, and its first licensed in Wisconsin. The station transmits from the Four Corners area south of Superior and rimshots the Twin Ports with a 850W/139m (class A) signal. It signed on in 2010 carrying American Family Radio and is one of a half-dozen Christian radio signals serving the Twin Ports. (12/11/2015)
Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge LLC is buying an FM translator that could potentially be moved to the Breckenridge area to relay KBMW/1450. Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge will pay First Ventures Capital Partners $35,000 for K264AY/100.7 (Chamberlain, SD); Breckenridge is within the 250-mile zone for K264AY to potentially move during an FCC filing window next year. Meanwhile, Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge is in the process of buying KBMW from Radio Fargo-Moorhead for $300,000 in what amounts to an inter-family transfer. Radio Fargo-Moorhead is controlled by Brooke Ingstad's father, Jim, and Brooke owns 11 percent of Radio Fargo-Moorhead. (12/9/2015)
Similar to the transaction described above, Double Z Broadcasting is buying an FM translator that could potentially be moved to Devils Lake to relay KDLR/1240. Double Z will pay First Ventures Capitol Partners $35,000 for K207EB/89.3 (Redfield, SD), which is within the 250-mile zone for translators to be moved to Devils Lake in an FCC filing window next year. (12/9/2015)
Community First Broadcasting has announced plans to essentially swap the formats of the two stations it just bought in Jackson. On January 4, KRAQ/105.7 will drop Classic Hits for Country as KUXX "Xtreme Country 105.7." Meanwhile, KKOJ/1190 will drop Country for Classic Hits and add a simulcast on new FM translator K249EO/97.7. Both stations will also carry local news and sports, and KKOJ will continue to carry the Linder Farm Network. (12/8/2015)
KELO-TV (Sioux Falls) has added ION on channel 11.3, joining the growing list of Media General stations carrying ION on a subchannel. KELO is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries syndicated programming and MyNetworkTV on 11.2. ION is not being carried on KELO satellites KDLO (Watertown) or KPLO (Reliance-Pierre), but KELO Vice-President and General Manager Jay Huizenga says they do plan to add it on a subchannel of KCLO (Rapid City). KCLO is a semi-satellite of KELO's main channel, carrying separate syndicated programming in some time slots. (12/8/2015)
Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 has announced that its new 6:30 p.m. newscast will launch on Jan. 11. "Breaking the News" will be hosted by Rena Sarigianopoulos and Jana Shortal and promises to focus on stories people are talking about, "no fires or car crashes." It'll compete with an established newscast in the timeslot on ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5. KARE's new show displaces "Entertainment Tonight" from the timeslot it has occupied on the station for several decades. (12/7/2015)
For the second time in a year, the strongest FM signal in Rochester is being sold. Gregory Jenson's Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester is selling KNXR/97.5 to Blooming Prairie Farm Radio for $3.2 million. Jenson had closed on his purchase of KNXR from Tom Jones' United Audio Corporation in late January and relaunched the station with a Hot Adult Contemporary format as "Pulse FM" in Februrary. In the meantime, Jones has been working to resurrect KNXR's longtime Easy Listening format online at 97Five.com, but there has been no update posted in two months. Blooming Prairie Farm Radio is owned by John Linder of Mankato and Lynn Ketelsen of Owatonna, who own three stations in the Owatonna area. The Linder family also owns thirteen radio stations in Mankato and southwestern Minnesota and operates the Linder Farm Network. Jenson also owns an AM-FM combo in the Austin/Albert Lea area. (12/7/2015)
Riverfront Broadcasting has announced plans to launch "KORN Country 92.1" in the Mitchell market on Dec. 21. Current KORN/1490 morning host Clint Greenway will move over to the new FM station, which will also provide news updates from J.P. Skelly and sports from Steve Morgan.
"KORN Country" will take on legacy Country outlet KMIT/105.9, which Saga Broadcasting owns alongside one other full-power FM station and two HD-fed translators. Besides KORN and the future KORN-FM, Riverfront's Mitchell group also includes Hot Adult Contemporary outlet "Q107.3" (KQRN).
92.1 will be licensed to Parkston but transmit from Mitchell with 100kW/106m (class C1). It is the former KZKK/105.1 (Huron), which Riverfront bought, moved to 92.1 in Huron, and recently received FCC approval to move to Parkston. The maneuver avoided the usual years-long process of adding an allotment and holding an auction for the open frequency.
Regular readers may recall that Riverfront sued a Minnesota company over use of the "KORN Country 92.1" name; that station (KRUE/92.1 Waseca) switched its name to "Krue Country 92.1." The KORN callsign is a reference to Mitchell's most famous attraction, the Corn Palace. (12/7/2015)
VCY America founder Vic Eliason has died at the age of 79. The network reports that Eliason died Saturday (12/5) after a battle with cancer. Eliason first launched a Milwaukee Christian radio show in 1961 and it grew to a full-time station, WVCY/107.7, in 1970. WVCY-TV/30 was launched in 1983 and VCY America radio has grown to 21 full-power stations and 12 FM translators in the Midwest. Eliason hosted shows on both radio and TV. VCY's board recently approved Eliason's recommendation that longtime colleage Jim Schneider take over his role as executive director. (12/7/2015)
FM TRANSLATOR AUCTION:
When you hear about an auction for new licenses, it's usually an FCC auction -- but FM translator speculator First Ventures Capital Partners is holding an auction of its own for 30 translators, including several in the Upper Midwest. Nine are already listed as sold before the auction at fmtranslatorauction.com even begins. Regionally, those still up for auction are licensed to Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, IA, Galena, IL, and Black River Falls and Neillsville, WI. First Ventures notes that the FCC is going to allow translators to move up to 250 miles in a filing window next year, putting Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and other cities potentially within reach -- assuming there is an open frequency. First Ventures' auction will begin Dec. 2 and run for one week. (12/1/2015)
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)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Riverwest Radio goes from the web to the airwaves (12/31)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WRIT-FM stays No. 1, but without a big Christmas music bump (12/28)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WTMJ-TV decides on Sims, Benson for 6 p.m. newscast (12/23)
The Forum (Fargo): McFeely: Valley News Live gets story wrong, fans Islamophobic flames (12/20)
Star Tribune: Radio host Brian Oake announces departure from Cities 97 (12/18)
West Central Tribune: Pioneer Public Television to move headquarters, studio to Granite Falls (12/15)
The Forum (Fargo): Goetz leaving Valley News Live to start speaking business (12/16)
Star Tribune: TPT wins supersized grant for new kids science show (12/14)
Star Tribune: Country music superstars salute retiring KFAN/WCCO exec Mick Anselmo (12/9)
Star Tribune: KSTP's Hubbard as free with political opinions as he is with campaign donations (12/6)
Detroit Free Press: In a small U.P. town, AM radio is still king (12/7)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: WCCO weekend anchor Mike Binkley retires this week (12/1)
Northfield News: Legendary KDHL sports broadcaster Morrissey passes away (12/1)