Two AM-on-FM translators are likely for central Nebraska as the result of sales:
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying K295BI/106.9 (Kearney) from Radio 74 Internationale for $22,500 to relay KRVN/880 (Lexington). K295BI is licensed for 250 Watts from a tower north of Kearney.
MWB Broadcasting II, LLC is buying K255BV/98.9 (O'Neill) from Edgewater Broadasting for $12,000. The translator could relay MWB's KBRX/1350 (O'Neill), though a non-commercial station is specified in the application. K255BV is currently licensed for 10 Watts from O'Neill. The deal does not include any equipment, suggesting a new facility may be needed. (10/9/2015)
The Des Moines Register and WHO-DT report that KBGG/1700 (Des Moines) plans to modify its format on Monday (10/12), picking up some of the Talk programming left homeless when sister Cumulus Media station KWQW/98.3 (Boone-Des Moines) flipped to Classic Hip-Hop as "The Vibe." "1700 The Champ" will become "Big 1700," carrying News/Talk programming from Midnight to Noon weekdays and Sports at other times. The current local morning show, hosted by Jim Brinson and Trent Condon, will move into the 12 to 3 p.m. slot, followed by the existing local afternoon show hosted by Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller from 3 to 6. CBS Sports Radio will continue in evenings and on weekends. The News/Talk lineup was not reported. (10/8/2015)
KBGY/107.5 (Faribault) has switched to a simulcast of co-owned Country outlet "Bob FM" (KLCI/106.1 Elk River-Minneapolis), displacing what had been the oldest spanish-language format on FM in Minnesota. KLCI's signal is strong in the northwest metro, while KBGY delivers a rimshot signal to the far southern suburbs and both stations have fringe signals to the central Twin Cities. "La Mera Buena" had launched with a Regional Mexican/Tropical format on KBGY in 2004 and continues online and on KLCI-HD4. However, many listeners gone on La Mera Buena's Facebook page to complain about not being able to receive the station -- HD Radio signals do not travel as far as analog signals, and KLCI-HD only reaches the far northwest metro. The "Bob FM" simulcast competes with two core Country signals in the Twin Cities, as well as two local Country stations in the Faribault-Owatonna area. (10/7/2015)
After six days of stunting, Townsquare Media has debuted "Sasquatch 106.5, Real Classic Rock for the Northland" on W293CT/106.5 (Duluth) and WEBC/560 (Duluth). The new format debuted Tuesday (10/6) at 1 p.m. with an announcement taking swipes at heritage Red Rock Radio Classic Rocker KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). The lineup will include the syndicated Alice Cooper and Bob & Tom shows, the latter of which was previously heard on two Midwest Communications stations before being dropped last year. WEBC had dropped ESPN Radio last Wednesday as it added the W293CT simulcast, first running all-Christmas and then switching to a repeat of Bro Smith's 1976 "Bigfoot" on Monday afternoon. (10/6/2015)
Cumulus Media has brought Classic Hip-Hop to Des Moines, replacing the longtime News/Talk format on KWQW/98.3 (Boone-Des Moines) with "The Vibe." Like Minneapolis, where Cumulus also recently launched "Vibe," Des Moines has no current Hip-Hop outlet; the city didn't even have a Top 40 station for most of the 1990's, meaning this is the first time many songs on the "Vibe" playlist have run on commercial radio in central Iowa. 98.3 had launched its Talk format as "Wow FM" in 2003 and changed its name to "The Torch" last year. Its departure leaves iHeartMedia blowtorch WHO/1040 (Des Moines) as the only secular News/Talker in the capital city. (10/5/2015)
Leighton Enterprises has flipped KHME/101.1 (Winona) from Light Adult Contemporary to Classic Hits as KRIV-FM following its purchase of the station from Jerry Papenfuss. "101.1 The River, Winona's Greatest Hits" debuted Monday (10/5) after a weekend of stunting with "river" songs. KHME had carried Light AC since it launched in 1992, first as "Home 101" and then "Soft Rock 101.1." The Leighton group in Winona also has FM Hot AC, FM Country, AM Classic Country, and AM News/Talk formats and competes with La Crosse stations for listenership. (10/5/2015)
NBC/FOX affiliate WLUC/6 (Marquette) is getting a new owner as part of a swap between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Gray TV. Gray announced Thursday that it will get WLUC in exchange for WSBT/22 (South Bend, IN), which Gray is receiving as part of its purchase of Schurz Communications. Gray already owns WNDU/16 (South Bend) and will keep WNDU, with Sinclair taking over WSBT. Though the South Bend market has nearly four times the population of the Marqette market, Gray says WSBT and WLUC are roughly equal in terms of cash flow due to WLUC's dominance of the Upper Peninsula TV market. WLUC carries NBC on 6.1, FOX on 6.2, and Grit TV on 6.3. (10/1/2015)
The Black Hills' oldest TV station, KOTA-TV/3 (Rapid City), is being sold off for $1 as part of Gray TV's purchase of KOTA-TV owner Schurz Communications. Gray owns FOX affiliate KEVN/7 (Rapid City) and had already announced that it would divest KOTA-TV and move its ABC programming to KEVN, which could carry ABC on a subchannel and/or a new low-power TV station. The company announced Thursday that the KOTA-TV license, along with the rights to its MeTV and This TV channels and some property, will be sold to Legacy Broadcasting for $1. Gray and Legacy have done business in similar situations before, with Legacy taking Gray's divestiture castaways in the Bismarck and Lincoln markets last year. Gray anticipates the transactions will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year. (10/1/2015)
Townsquare Media's WEBC/560 (Duluth) has dropped ESPN Radio and is stunting with an All-Christmas format, coinciding with the launch of FM translator W293CT/106.5 (Duluth). "Ho Ho 106.5, The Northland's only year-round Christmas music superstation" launched at 6 p.m. Wednesday (9/30). Townsquare recently bought W293CT from Refuge Media and moved it in from Moose Lake; the translator had been testing with a loop of a legal ID and production music for the past two weeks. WEBC, the market's oldest station, was the Twin Ports' only all-Sports format in the mid-2000's but had three competitors more recently. W293CT transmits from the Duluth hillside with 99 Watts, enough to cover the Twin Ports, while WEBC's low-frequency 5kW signal stretches from the northern Twin Cities suburbs to nearly the Canadian border on car radios. (9/30/2015)
Kleven Broadcasting is selling KKOJ/1190 and KRAQ/105.7 (Jackson) to Community First Broadcasting, LLC for $735,000. The deal also includes the construction permit for translator K249EO/97.7 (Spirit Lake, IA), which is slated to broadcast from the KRAQ tower near Jackson and relay KKOJ. Kleven Broadcasting has operated KKOJ since it signed on in 1980 and is owned by Marguerite Kleven of Sturgis, SD (73%), Leslie Kleven of Onida, SD (22%), and Doug Johnson of Jackson (5%). Community First Broadcasting owns nine stations in northwestern Iowa, including three just south of Jackson in the Spirit Lake/Spencer area: KUOO/103.9 (Spirit Lake), KUQQ/102.1 (Milford), and KUYY/100.1 (Emmetsburg). The buyer is a subsidiary of Dakota Broadcasting, LLC and is owned by Neil Lipetzy of Sioux Falls (40%), Dean Sorenson of Sioux Falls (30%), and Duane Butt of Pierre (30%). KKOJ carries Country music and ESPN Radio while KRAQ carries Classic Hits. (9/29/2015m updated with sale price 10/1)
Rugby Broadcasters is buying an FM station that it hopes to move to Rugby to pair with its KZZJ/1450. It'll pay Edward Paul "Butch" De La Hunt $80,000 for KKWZ/95.3 (Crary), which is currently off the air. KKWZ went silent for financial reasons last December on the same day it received its license. The station is licensed for 200 Watts from Crary, but the deal is contingent upon FCC approval to move KKWZ 65 miles to the west to KZZJ's tower in Rugby. The facility change application has not yet been filed and it's not clear how the move will be accomplished since FCC generally does not approve moves that remove a community's only license; KKWZ is the only station licensed to Crary. (9/28/2015)
Saga Communications' third HD2-fed FM translator station in Des Moines is also the capital city's fourth Country outlet. "93.7 The Outlaw" launched Thursday (9/24) on translator K229CC/93.7 (Des Moines), which recently moved in from Winterset and originates on the HD2 signal of KSTZ/102.5 (Des Moines). Saga also operates two other HD2/translator combos in addition to its four full-power FM stations and two AM stations. "The Outlaw" competes with Cumulus' "97.3 Nash FM" (KHKI Des Moines) and "92.5 Nash Icon" (KJJY West Des Moines), along with iHeartMedia's five-month-old "96.5 Country" simulcast of K243CA/96.5 (Millman-Des Moines) and the HD2 signal of KDRB/100.3 (Des Moines). (9/24/2015)
A station that has sat quietly on the Twin Cities FM dial for decades is about to go commercial as Northern Lights Broadcasting buys KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul). The locally-owned company, owned by the Pohlad family, is buying KNOF from Praise Broadcasting for $7.95 million.
Northern Lights' only other broadcast holding is Adult Alternative outlet and Twins flagship "Go 96.3" (KTWN-FM Edina-Minneapolis). The deal specifies that Praise will be able to program the HD2 channel of KTWN-FM.
The deal also includes several provisions that you don't usually see in a broadcast sale: Northern Lights will work with the Twins to continue one "Faith Night" in each of the next five seasons, help arrange a concert for Praise at Target Field in each of the next two years, give Praise group hospitality and banquet space at Target Field once per year for the next five years, pay a web developer up to $50,000 to rebuild the Praise website and launch a mobile app, buy a $50,000 video software system to give to the seller, and pay to syndicate Praise programming to ten stations.
Revs. Fred and Grace Adam launched KNOF in 1960. It operated quietly from Selby Avenue with a traditional Christian format for decades while the FM dial grew more crowded. Grace Adam donated the station to North Central University in 2008, which had Praise Broadcasting program the station until Praise purchased it outright for $5 million last year. Praise Broadcasting is a sister organization to Christian Heritage Broadcasting, which owns three stations in western Minnesota that simulcast "Praise FM" programming with KNOF.
KNOF upgraded its coverage of the metro in 2013, moving from its longtime transmitter site to the IDS Center, where it transmits with 900 Watts/253m, enough to provide a good signal to most of the metro. (9/24/2015)
WFON/107.1 (Fond du Lac) has dropped its longtime "K107.1" Adult Contemporary format for Country as "The Bull," making it the only Country station immediately targetting the Fond du Lac area. The change, first reported by RadioInsight, happened at Noon on Monday (9/21). Former state Senator Randy Hopper owns WFON and News/Talker KFIZ/1450. "K107.1" had been in a long-running competition with Radio Plus' "Sunny 97.7" (WFDL-FM Lomira-Fond du Lac), with Country fans previously forced to listen to out-of-town stations. (9/22/2015)
Midwest Communications Adult Contemporary outlet KDAL-FM/95.7 (Duluth) has subtly rebranded as "My 95-7." The change coincides with Monday's flip by sister station KDWZ/102.5 (Superior-Duluth) from Contemporary Hits to Classic Country, with the former 1025kdwz.com domain now redirecting to my957.com. KDAL-FM's current AC format, which includes Classic Hits going back to the `70s, had gone by "FM 95.7" since debuting early last year. However, its web URL has always been my957.com. The station's new lineup includes the "Jake and Tanner Morning Show," formerly heard on KDWZ, along with former 95.7 morning host Corey Carter in afternoons and former KDWZ midday host Otis Day in evenings. All three originate from Green Bay. (9/21/2015)
KCWV/27 (Duluth) returned to the air over the weekend after a year-long silence for tower reconstruction. The station is again carrying AMG TV, a general-interest network with lesser-known programming. KCWV signed on in 2009 and has never sold local advertising. It had been broadcasting from the original KDAL-TV tower on Duluth's Observation Road until the tower was dismantled last year; a new, shorter tower was erected last month in its place. KCWV was transferred within the Flinn family while the station was off the air, going from George S. Flinn III to the family's JSD Properties LLC for $210,000. (9/21/2015)
The FCC has denied Hill Broadcasting's attempt to revive the former KTVG/17 (Grand Island). The FCC's Video Division deleted KTVG's license in April 2014 because it had been silent for more than one year in violation of federal law. In December, Hill Broadcasting filed a petition for reconsideration, but the FCC says the petition should have been filed within thirty days. KTVG was once a FOX affiliate, but Pappas Telecasting -- which had previously operated KTVG -- moved the affiliation to KFXL-TV/51 (Lincoln) and subchannels of two other stations several years ago. (9/21/2015)
KZIA, Inc. is buying a second FM translator in the Iowa City area. It's will pay Edgewater Broadcasting $40,000 for K253BE/98.5 (Iowa City), which has a construction permit to build K253BE with 170 Watts from a tower north of Iowa City. KZIA, Inc. also owns K292FZ/106.3 (Iowa City), which relays the KGYM Sports Radio format from the HD3 signal of KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids). The format is also heard on KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids) and K298BM/107.5 (Cedar Rapids), the latter of which is fed by KZIA-HD4 -- the separate HD feeds allow the stations to carry different play-by-play. (9/20/2015)
DX-midAMerica reports that WFER/1230 (Iron River) has dropped "Freedom Talk" for Classic Hits. The change took place earlier this month following the station's sale to Stephen Marks' Iron River Community Broadcasting. (9/20/2015)
ASCAP has lost another round in its efforts to undo the sale of KXMZ/102.7 (Box Elder-Rapid City) to Pandora Media. ASCAP had filed petitions for reconsideration of the FCC's decisions to declare Pandora a qualified license holder and to approve the sale to Pandora. In the latest order, the Commission reiterates that ASCAP did not have standing to file a petition to deny because the circumstances of the court case ASCAP cites do not apply in this case. The Commission also says ASCAP is wrong when it alleges that the FCC changed the date required for changes to Pandora's certificate of incorporation. When it comes to Pandora serving the public interest as a licensee, the Commission says "ASCAP has failed to identify any substantial and material question about Pandora's ability to provide such service in the public interest." ASCAP has been fighting the sale because of Pandora's stated intention of using its ownership of KXMZ to seek lower online music streaming rates. KXMZ carries an Adult Top 40 format called "Hits 102.7." (9/20/2015)
Bustos Media is buying an FM translator that could've potentially interfered with its WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee) in northern part of the metro area. Bustos will pay Cornerstone Community Broadcasting $155,000 for W284CI/104.7 (Milwaukee), which is not yet on the air. The translator's current construction permit calls for 16 Watts serving the northern part of the metro but it has applied to move to 93.9 with 250 Watts, serving most of the metro. Cornerstone was able to obtain the initial CP for 104.7 because WDDW's rimshot signal is not strong enough in the north metro to block a translator CP, but the translator would've still been subject to interference complaints from WDDW listeners. (9/20/2015)
DTV America Corp. is buying low-power TV station W08CK (Madison) from the Science of Identity Foundation for $75,000. The station's current programming is unclear; it's licensed for 36 Watts on analog channel 8 and has a construction permit to operate digitally on channel 36 with 15kW, the maximum allowed for LPTV stations. (9/20/2015)
Gray TV intends to divest the license of KOTA-TV/3 (Rapid City), move its programming to another station, and switch the source of programming on KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE) as part of its purchase of Schurz Communications, according to a document filed with the FCC.
Gray announced the $442.5 million purchase earlier this week (see below). Gray already owns FOX affiliate KEVN/7 (Rapid City) and to comply with ownership caps, it intends to move KOTA-TV's ABC affiliation to KEVN-LD/23 (Rapid City, formerly KIVN-LD), which would continue to be relayed on KOTA-TV satellites KHSD/11 (Lead, SD) and KSGW/12 (Sheridan, WY). The KOTA-TV license will then either be sold or returned to the FCC.
Current KOTA-TV satellite KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE) will instead become a satellite of Gray NBC affiliate KNOP/2 (North Platte, NE), a move Gray says will improve the availability of Nebraska news to "orphan counties" in the panhandle that are in the Denver market.
Gray would retain KEVN satellite KIVV/5 (Lead, SD) as well as KSTF/10 (Scottsbluff, NE), which is a satellite of CBS affiliate KGWN/5 (Cheyenne, WY). The company says it should be allowed to own two full-power stations in both of those cities because the stations would be operated as satellites. (9/18/2015)
The TV consolidation spree continues with Nexstar Broadcasting buying the CBS affiliates in western North Dakota from locally-owned Reiten Television for $44 million. KXMC/13 (Minot), KXMC/12 (Bismarck), KXMA/2 (Dickinson), and KXMD/11 (Williston) are all in the same market, though the Minot and Bismarck stations run separate newscasts. The deal also includes Reiten's shared services agreement with Forum Communications to sell ads on ABC affiliates KBMY/17 (Bismarck) and KMCY/14 (Minot); FCC rules mean Nexstar will not be able to sell more than 15 percent of the advertising on KBMY/KMCY after the end of 2016. The oil industry has helped the region become one of the fastest-growing markets in the country, having risen 21 spots to market #139 in Nielsen Media rankings over the past decade. The market's NBC and FOX affiliations are held by Gray TV. (9/17/2015)
Midwest Communications plans to drop Contemporary Hits from KDWZ/102.5 (Superior-Duluth) on Monday (9/21) and flip the station to the company's "Duke FM" Classic Country format. KDWZ, which runs morning and midday shows voice-tracked from Green Bay, hasn't been able to overtake Townsquare Media's "Mix 108" (KBMX/107.7 Proctor-Duluth) in its five years on the air. The new format will work in tandem with Midwest's "Kat Country 98.9" (KTCO Duluth) to compete with Townsquare's "B105" (KKCB Duluth). "Duke FM," which focuses on Country hits from the 1980s to 2000s, is named after company head "Duke" Wright and is also heard on Midwest stations in Green Bay, Fargo, and several other markets. The "Jake and Tanner Morning Show" will move from KDWZ to Adult Contemporary/Classic Hits outlet "95.7 FM" (KDAL-FM Duluth), with market veteran Corey Carter moving to afternoon drive. (9/17/2015)
The FCC has approved a TV sale that will result in the Duluth CBS affiliation moving to a subchannel of the NBC affiliate. The approval of Quincy Newspapers' purchase of KBJR-TV/6.1 (Superior-Duluth) from Granite Broadcasting comes less than two months after Quincy submitted its third plan for the sale. KBJR will unwind its agreement to run CBS affiliate KDLH/3.1 (Duluth) within nine months of the deal closing to comply with new FCC rules that ban one top-four station from selling more than 15 percent of the advertising on another top-four station. The CBS affiliation will then move to a KBJR subchannel and KDLH will be spun off as a separately-operated CW affiliate run by SagamoreHill Broadcasting. KBJR will also retain its "My9" subchannel. KDLH has been co-located with KBJR under a shared services agreement for ten years but will now form its own management, operations, and sales staffs. Quincy's purchase also includes KBJR satellite KRII/11 (Chisholm) and stations in the Peoria, Fort Wayne, and Binghamton markets. (9/16/2015)
After more than a year on the market, Disney has found a buyer for KDIZ/1440 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis). The Radio Disney station is being sold to Salem Media, which owns three other AM stations in the Twin Cities, for $375,000.
KDIZ, one of the original Radio Disney stations, is being sold off as Disney cuts the network back to just one broadcast signal. RadioInsight reports it's among the last five stations to sell -- all are going to Salem in separate transactions.
Salem also owns Christian talker KKMS/980 (Richfield-Minneapolis), Conservative talker WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis), and Business talker KYCR/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis). In other markets where Salem owns four AM stations, the company runs multiple versions of Christian talk or a Spanish-language Christian format on one of the stations.
KDIZ's 5kW daytime signal has roughly the same coverage as KKMS and WWTC but its 500-Watt directional nighttime signal misses parts of the metro. All three stations have better coverage than KYCR. (9/15/2015)
Big Radio is buying an FM translator to use for its WEKZ/1260 (Monroe). It'll pay Edgewater Broadcasting $9,500 for W238CB/95.5 (Darlington), which is seeking a waiver to move its transmitter to Monroe so it can relay WEKZ. W238CB would transmit from WEKZ's tower with 250 Watts. WEKZ carries an information-heavy Classic Country format. (9/15/2015)
Change is likely coming to the Black Hills TV dial as a result of Gray TV's purchase of Schurz Communications' TV and radio holdings nationwide for $442.5 million.
Gray already owns FOX affiliate KEVN/7 (Rapid City) and Schurz owns ABC affiliate KOTA-TV/3 (Rapid City). FCC rules do not allow one company to own more than one of the top four full-power stations in a market, and KOTA-TV and KEVN are the top two stations in town; they are the market's two oldest stations and each has its own news operation.
Gray's press release says it anticipates combining KOTA-TV's operations with KEVN but does not specify exactly what will happen. In several other markets, including Bismarck and Fargo, Gray has moved a purchased station's programming to a subchannel of its existing station and divested the purchased station to another group. It also simulcasts the Bismarck subchannel on low-power stations, and Gray recently purchased a low-power station in Rapid City.
The deal also includes "KOTA Territory" satellites KHSD/11 (Lead, SD), KSGW/12 (Sheridan, WY), and KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE). Gray already has holdings in the Cheyenne-Scottsbluff market, but it's not immediately clear how KDUH might be affected since it's a satellite station. KEVN also has one satellite, KIVV/5 Lead.
Gray's buying spree over the last few years has netted it stations in every South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming-based market, including multiple big-four network affiliations in the Fargo, Bismarck, Lincoln, North Platte, and Cheyenne markets. It will have stations in 49 markets nationwide once this and other transactions are completed.
The purchase also includes Schurz's Rushmore Media radio properties: Contemporary Hits-formatted KRCS/93.1 (Sturgis-Rapid City), Adult Contemporary outlet "The Mix" (KKMK Rapid City), "Kat Country 98.7" (KOUT Rapid City), and Classic Rocker "100.3 The Fox" (KFXS Rapid City). (9/14/2015)
KCFS/94.5 (Sioux Falls) has gone silent following a pawn shop complex owner's $1.5 million purchase of the station from the University of Sioux Falls, a deal which closed on Sept. 1.
New owner Badlands Airtime LLC, headed by Charles Brennan, has changed the callsign to KBAD-FM and converted the license to commercial. He tells the FCC the station will return to the air on Thanksgiving Day. Brennan is planning a Rock radio network that'll broadcast from the new Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry complex when it opens on Thanksgiving.
KBAD-FM has a construction permit to upgrade from its present 2kW/60m to 25kW/88m and tells the FCC it hopes to have the new facility constructed by Thanksgiving, but says it will use the old facility if the new one isn't ready.
Brennan also has FCC approval to buy KZOY/1520 and K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls) from Cup O' Dirt LLC, but the deal hasn't closed. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported in July that Cup O' Dirt LLC had filed suit against Brennan's company. Cup O' Dirt also filed a notice with the FCC around the same time indicating that the deal could still close. (9/14/2015)
MeTV returned to Sioux Falls on channel 13.3 of Gray TV's KSFY-DT on Sept. 1. The network was previously seen on J.F. Broadcasting's KWSD/36.1 (Sioux Falls), which went silent last November citing transmitter problems. KSFY also carries ABC on 13.1 and CW+ on 13.2, the latter of which was carried on KWSD up until 2012. (9/10/2015)
In a move first reported by the Des Moines Register, Saga Broadcasting's KRNT/1350 (Des Moines) switched to ESPN Radio on Thursday (9/10). The station's longtime Soft Oldies format moved to translator K283CC/104.5 (Des Moines) and the HD2 signal of Saga's KAZR/103.3 (Pella-Des Moines). K283CC previously relayed Saga's KPSZ/940 (Des Moines). As a Sports station, KRNT will compete directly with Clear Channel FOX Sports Radio affiliate KXNO/1460 (Des Moines) and Cumulus CBS Sports Radio affiliate KBGG/1700 (Des Moines). KBGG had carried ESPN up until 2013; rimshot signal KXLQ/1490 (Indianola) had then begun carrying ESPN but is no longer listed as an affiliate on the network's website. (9/9/2015, updated 9/12)
For the second time, WRIT-FM/95.7 (Milwaukee) is dropping "Oldies" from its name. The iHeartMedia station changed its Facebook name to "95.7 BIG FM" on Wednesday afternoon and later announced that it would switch to the new slogan at midnight, while retaining its `70s-based Classic Hits/Oldies format. WRIT, which has carried formats in the Oldies/Classic Hits genre for more than a quarter-century, had first dropped "Oldies" from its name in 2003 but resurrected the slogan in 2010. It is one of the top-rated stations in the market. WRIT's rebranding comes two weeks after Milwaukee Community Radio Alliance's WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee) and FM translator W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee) began carrying Scott Shannon's "True Oldies Channel" format. (9/9/2015)
A belated note that KNHL-TV/5 (Hastings), formerly NBC affiliate KHAS-TV, returned to the air this summer carrying the SonLife Broadcast Network. Legacy Broadcasting acquired the station, along with two in North Dakota, after Gray TV bought the stations' former programming and moved it to its own stations. (The stations in Bismarck and Minot, ND, are carrying H&I TV.) KNHL is being carried on DirecTV channel 55 instead of the station's licensed channel 5 position. Hastings is part of the sprawling Lincoln-Tri Cities market. (9/8/2015)
There are tweaks at several stations after WestwoodOne discontinued the syndicated "Sam FM" Variety Hits format. WRHN/100.1 (Rhinelander) and KFGI/101.5 (Crosby-Brainerd) switched to WW1's similar "Jack FM" format. Meanwhile, KNUJ-FM/107.3 (Sleepy Eye-New Ulm) continues to use the "Sam FM" branding with what appears to be a locally-originated Classic Hits format. KNUJ-FM also simulcasts the morning show from sister station KNUJ/860 (New Ulm) and carries Twins baseball. (9/5/2015)
NEW NIELSEN MARKET RANKINGS:
The new Nielsen Media Local Television Market Universe Estimates show the decline in oil prices hasn't stopped western North Dakota's growth, at least when it comes to TV households. Bismarck continues to be the fastest-growing market in the Upper Midwest, and the tenth-fastest-growing nationwide, with a 1.5 percent increase in TV households over the past year. It rose three spots in the rankings to become market #139. Bismarck's rise comes as the number of TV households falls 0.4 percent nationally, signifying that some households may have dropped their cable or satellite but not bothered to hook up an antenna to continue watching live TV. North Platte, Duluth, the Quad Cities, and Lincoln-Tri Cities showed the largest losses in households in the region. The Quad Cities fell one spot in the rankings and Duluth fell two. Meanwhile, Fargo, Madison, and Rapid City each rose one spot in the rankings -- their number of households also declined, but not as much as the national average. Other Upper Midwest markets remain in the same spot. (9/4/2015)
Another three new low-power FM stations recently signed on in the Madison area, while one existing station has temporarily fallen silent. WIDE-LP/99.1 (Madison) went off the air in late July, saying its tower was moved to Monona for new LPFM station WALK-LP/103.7, which signed on in August carrying Christian programming that had previously aired part-time on WIDE-LP. WIDE-LP, which will continue to air a Community/Variety format, has received a construction permit to move its transmitter to a new site about a mile to the east of its former location on the west side of Madison. Meanwhile, the First Unitarian Society of Madison has signed on WMUU-LP/102.9 (Madison) from a tower downtown, carrying Christian music and programming covering social, moral, spiritual and ethical topics, including one program from the Pacifica network. And WVMO-LP/98.7 (Monona), owned by the City of Monona, is on the air carrying a variety of community programming. (9/3/2015)
OTHER NEW LOW-POWER FM STATION SIGN-ONS:
-Fairmont, MN: KYEJ-LP/90.1, owned by Fairmont Area Catholic Radio.
-St. Cloud, MN: KZYS-LP/105.1, owned by the St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization.
-Black Earth, WI: WISY-LP/92.5, owned by Mazomanie Music Conservatory Limited.
-Rice Lake, WI: WYRL-LP/105.5, owned by the Barron County Law Enforcement Association and carrying a Variety/Community format.
-Wisconsin Rapids, WI: WRBP-LP/92.5, owned by the Calvary Chapel of Wisconsin Rapids as "Wisconsin Rapids Bible Perspective." (9/3/2015)
Mid-West Management is buying an FM translator to use for its WAYY/790 (Eau Claire). The company will pay Edgewater Broadcasting $26,000 for the construction permit for W286CK/105.1 (Eau Claire). The current CP for W286CK calls for 250 Watts from Hallie, but a coverage map submitted with the license transfer application suggests it will apply to move the transmitter into Eau Claire. It's one of several new translators coming to town, as the owner of WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) is also buying an FM translator and iHeartMedia has two permits of its own. (9/2/2015)
Iowa's last locally-owned commercial TV station is getting out-of-state owners as Gray TV buys KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) for $100 million. The sellers retain The Gazette newspaper, which will continue a news partnership with KCRG.
Gray has already closed on its purchase of most of KCRG's non-license assets and is operating the station while it awaits FCC approval of the license transfer. KCRG is Gray's first station in Iowa; the company has been on a buying spree in recent years and now owns stations in all of the markets in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, as well as stations in three of Wisconsin's five markets.
KCRG had been locally-owned since it signed on in 1953, but it's become increasingly difficult for standalone TV stations to operate in an industry where group ownership has become the standard. In a press release, Gazette President and CEO Chuck Peters said, "We realized that we have done all we can do as a single television station with the business and for the people of KCRG TV9."
Gazette sold the former KCRG radio, now KGYM/1600, to KZIA, Inc. about a decade ago.
KCRG is a primary ABC affiliate and also carries syndicated programming and AntennaTV on its subchannels. It is the top-rated station in the mid-sized market, which also includes Waterloo, Iowa City, and Dubuque, and competes with a Quincy NBC affiliate and a Sinclair CBS/FOX virtual duopoly. (9/1/2015)
La Crosse's Family Radio is buying translator K222AG/92.3 (La Crosse), which has already been heard carrying the company's WIZM/1410. Family Radio is paying William E. Bruring $80,000 for the translator. It had relayed KNXR/97.5 (Rochester, MN) prior to its change from Easy Listening to Hot Adult Contemporary. WIZM carries a News/Talk format. (9/1/2015)
Twin Cities Business: MPR's Florida Boondoggle (9/30)
West Central Tribune: Celebrating 75 years of local radio (9/29)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Twin Cities Public Television's Lowertown studios take on new dimension (9/28)
Sioux City Journal: From punk to Christian to 'dad rock,' Morningside College radio is making waves on the FM dial (9/26)
Current: With Keillor moving on, stations ponder future with a changing 'Prairie Home' (9/22)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WTMJ-TV to drop 3 p.m. newscast, add syndicated talk show (9/10)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Paul Douglas among Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees (9/8)
Milwaukee Business Journal: Bill Hurwitz retiring from Milwaukee Radio Alliance, says stations still not for sale (9/3)
The Dudek Abides: Milwaukee radio ratings for August (9/3)
Star Tribune: WCCO news anchor Mike Binkley bowing out of TV after 34 years (9/2)