Townsquare Media is buying an FM translator to use for its WEBC/560 (Duluth). It'll pay Refuge Media Group $55,000 for W293CT/106.5 (Moose Lake), which the asset purchase agreement says will apply for a move to the Duluth antenna farm. The Moose Lake translator is one of the first established by WNCB, now Refuge Radio (WJRF/89.5 Duluth). WEBC, the oldest station in the Northland, carries ESPN Radio and is in a battle with three other all-Sports stations. (4/24/2015)
Bustos Media is buying back WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee), paying Adelante Media $1 million for the station. Bustos, which will begin running the station on May 1 through a local marketing agreement, launched WDDW's current Regional Mexican format after its first purchase of the station in 2005. It then sold WDDW and WBWT-LP/38 (Milwaukee) to Adelante in 2010. Adelante recently filed documents to sell WBWT-LP and a low-power TV station in Utah to DTV America for $425,000. WDDW delivers a rimshot signal to Milwaukee with a 4.2kW/103m facility. (4/22/2015)
MPR's Adult Alternative network, "The Current," has expanded to Ely on the HD2 signal of WIRC/89.3 and translator W267BV/101.3. W267BV, formerly on 101.7, had previously carried MPR News but was no longer needed for that network once WIRC signed on in 2011. In its announcement of the change, The Current acknowledged that it's competing with locally-programmed Adult Alternative station WELY-FM/94.5. Ely is the tenth community where The Current is available, benefitting from situations where MPR has ended up with a third signal not needed for its News or Classical services. However, The Current is missing from many larger communities where MPR only has two signals. (4/22/2015)
DirecTV customers in ten Midwest markets unexpectedly lost one or more of their local network affiliates Tuesday due to a brief retransmission consent dispute with Quincy Newspapers. The outage began at midnight and ended in mid-afternoon when the two sides reached a new deal, according to posts on Quincy's Facebook page. The brief outage affected ABC affiliates in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Wausau, NBC affiliates in Quincy, Rochester, Rockford, Sioux City, and Waterloo-Cedar Rapids, and FOX affiliates in Quincy, Rochester, and South Bend. Unlike most disputes of this nature, there was no saber-rattling in advance to warn viewers of the impending outage. An article on the Sioux City station's website says even that station's regional vice president was surprised. (4/21/2015)
ABC affiliate KCRG-DT/9 (Cedar Rapids) has returned to DirecTV following a retransmission consent dispute that lasted more than three months. Terms of the new agreement were not released. KCRG had previously said that DirecTV was demanding contract language that would've violated its agreements with ABC and other program providers regarding online streaming. (4/20/2015)
Pioneer Public Televison (KWCM/10 Appleton) is now being carried on DirecTV and DISH Network throughout the Minneapolis TV market, adding an estimated 1.3 million potential new viewers. The addition also helps retain viewers within the station's west-central Minnesota coverage area who use satellite TV.
The move was possible because Appleton is in the Minneapolis market and KWCM can invoke must-carry status, but the station had to provide a signal to the satellite providers' Twin Cities headends since KWCM's signal cannot be received there. Pioneer was already seen on satellite providers across the Sioux Falls market since its other station, KSMN/20 (Worthington), is in the Sioux Falls market. The combination of Minneapolis and Sioux Falls satellite coverage means Pioneer is now reaching about 114 counties in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska via satellite, plus over-the-air coverage of several more counties in northwestern Minnesota.
Pioneer joins Lakeland Public Television (KAWE/9 Bemidji) and Twin Cities Public Television's TPT2 (KTCA/2 St. Paul) and TPT Life (KTCI/2.3 St. Paul) on the Minneapolis market satellite lineup. The stations carry many of the same PBS programs, but KWCM also has locally-produced shows and syndicated agricultural programming not seen on the other stations. (4/20/2015)
DISH Network has added the "My9" subchannel from KBJR/6.2 (Superior-Duluth) to its Duluth-market package. The move is unusual since satellite providers typically opt not to carry subchannels unless they are big-four network affiliates. Both DISH and DirecTV also carry the "CW2" subchannel (KDLH/3.2 Duluth) in the market. KBJR estimates the DISH addition means another 32,000 homes can receive "My9," which carries syndicated programming and local sports. (4/20/2015)
Heartland Communications is selling its AM-FM combos in Iron River, MI, and Park Falls, WI, to companies headed by Stephen Marks for $488,000. Stations included in the deal are WPFP/980 and WCQM/98.3 (Park Falls) and WFER/1230 and WIKB-FM/99.1 (Iron River, MI). Both AM stations carry Conservative Talk formats, while the FM's carry Country. Marks also owns the Upper Peninsula's ABC-TV and CW affiliates, three radio stations in Houghton, MI, and three other TV stations and eleven other radio stations, mostly in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. The deal does not include Heartland's group of four radio stations in Ashland, WI, or its AM-FM combo in Eagle River, WI. (4/16/2015, corrected to reflect Iron River as city of license for WFER/WIKB)
The new LAFF digital TV subchannel network launched on Tax Day with affiliates including KLKN/8.4 (Lincoln). The network features sitcoms from the 1990's and movie comedies from the past several decades and is run by Katz Broadcasting, which operates the Grit and Escape subchannels that KLKN also carries. LAFF joins a crowded field of subchannel offerings but is the only one focused specifically on comedy. (4/15/2015)
A four-station FM facility shift in the Des Moines area got underway Tuesday (4/14) as "Pulse" Contemporary Christian station KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) moved to 101.7. The move had to be delayed from the original April 7 date due to bad weather that prevented a crew from climbing a tower. Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) left the air Tuesday and returned Wednesday afternoon on 97.7 as K249EJ. KPUL-FM's move off 99.5 clears the way for Christian Talker KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone), owned by Truth Broadcasting, to move its transmitter to a tower near Sheldahl with 5.3kW/95m, improving its signal to Des Moines and changing its community of license to Huxley in the process. In a late addition to the shuffle, the FCC has approved a move of KFMG-LP/99.1 (Des Moines) to 98.9 to avoid interference from KTIA-FM. KFMG-LP is owned by the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation and carries an eclectic Adult Alternative format. (4/14/2015, updated K269EJ move 4/15)
Wisconsin Public Radio's news director, Michael Leland, is crossing the Mississippi River to take the same position at Iowa Public Radio. IPR announced Monday that Leland will start his new job on July 1. The news release quoted Leland as saying he looks forward to building on IPR's current news coverage to be "the best news source it can be for Iowa." IPR is a young network, having been formed a decade ago as a merger of public radio groups that had previously operated separately at the state's three universities. (4/13/2015)
Production of Global TV's local 10 p.m. and weekend newscasts in Winnipeg (CKND-DT/9) and half dozen other cities is moving to Toronto, the network reported last week. Weekday morning and 6 p.m. newscasts will continue to originate in local markets, but a single team in Toronto will anchor late-evening newscasts in all markets east of Alberta and one in British Columbia. Locally-produced newscasts will also begin to carry the same national and world news segments. The article said there would be a net loss of up to 30 jobs nationwide as a result of the change. It's the latest in a series of recent cuts affecting Winnipeg's TV news industry, including Citytv Winnipeg's cancellation of its only newscast in January and the CBC's announcement that Manitoba's only 5 p.m. TV newscast will end this fall. (4/12/2015)
Gray TV has consolidated operations of its TV stations in North Platte, joining NBC affiliate KNOP/2, FOX affiliate KIIT-CA/11, and CBS affiliate KNPL-LD/10.1 at a newly-renovated facility south of downtown. The KNOP building north of town will be maintained as a transmitter site. The newly-rebranded "NBC Nebraska News 2" says the new studio facility utilizes robotic cameras that will be operated from Gray's master control in Lincoln and a "handful of behind-the-scenes" positions will be moved to Lincoln. At the same time, news and other departments are being expanded and a 9 p.m. newscast will be launched on the FOX affiliate later this month. KNOP is the only full-power commercial station in North Platte, which is the second-smallest market in the country. Gray launched KNPL in September 2013 and began the process of buying KNOP/KIIT a few months later. (4/12/2015)
NET Television's KTNE/13 (Alliance), which serves Scottsbluff and the panhandle, is off the air due to antenna damage. The statewide PBS network says KTNE's antenna is on the ground, though the press release doesn't mention how it got there. The outage also affects translators K06KR Crawford and K08LN Harrison. KCSR Radio reports NET1 is still being seen on cable. Meanwhile, NET Radio's Facebook page says KTNE/91.1 (Alliance) was also off the air for a time but is now back on. (4/12/2015)
A belated note that WUPM/106.9 (Ironwood) is already back on the air following last week's tower collapse. The station returned to the air last Friday after apparently re-tuning the transmitter for translator W225AV/92.9 (Ironwood) to 106.9, where it's using 170 Watts. In a request for special temporary authority filed with the FCC, WUPM states that the 170-Watt facility may only be in place for one to two weeks until different equipment arrives. WHRY/1450 (Hurley), which briefly carried WUPM's Adult Top 40 format following the collapse, has returned to its Oldies format. W225AV, which normally relays WHRY, is off the air. (4/9/2015)
NRG Media's "Rock 101.5" (KROR Hastings) is operating at reduced power from an alternate site after a storm damaged its licensed facility. The station says in an FCC filing that a wind storm on April 4 damaged the antenna system, and it's now using 2.5kW/237m from a nearby tower. KROR normally uses 100kW/306m. The auxiliary facility delivers a good signal to Kearney, with rimshot coverage of Hastings and a fringe signal to Grand Island. (4/9/2015)
Leighton Enterprises is buying Jerry Papenfuss' radio stations in the Fergus Falls and Winona areas for $9.5 million. Stations included in the deal are KJJK/1020, KBRF/1250, KJJK-FM/96.5, and KZCR/103.3 (Fergus Falls); KPRW/99.5 (Perham); KWNO/1230, KAGE/1380, KAGE-FM/95.3, and KHME/101.1 (Winona); and KWNO-FM/99.3 (Rushford-Winona). Leighton owns an existing group in the Detroit Lakes area, which borders on the Fergus Falls coverage area, as well as groups in the St. Cloud and Grand Forks markets. The deal includes a five-year non-compete clause for the Fergus Falls and Winona areas. The sale does not include Papenfuss' AM-FM combos in Blue Earth and Windom. (4/7/2015)
After one group stepped aside, the FCC has granted a new non-commercial FM station in eastern Iowa to a different group. Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based Catholic group, has received a construction permit for a new station on 88.7 licensed to Coggon, which will use 5kW/95m (class A). The new station will have a city-grade signal in the Manchester area and possible fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids. New Bohemia Group had originally been granted the frequency, but returned its CP earlier this year. (4/5/2015)
WUPM/106.9 (Ironwood) says high winds toppled its tower late Wednesday or early Thursday. FCC records indicate the 300-foot tower near Bessemer had stood since 1961. WUPM's Adult Top 40 format has been moved to sister station WHRY/1450 (Hurley) and FM translator W225AV/92.9 (Ironwood), displacing the Oldies format normally heard on WHRY. The stations are licensed to Big G Little O Inc., a company owned by 11 local residents. (4/2/2015)
The Milwaukee Community Radio Alliance's WLDB/93.3 (Milwaukee) has become "Trending Radio," ditching its eight-year-old "B93.3" slogan. RadioInsight.com notes the change coincides with a transition of the station's playlist from Adult Contemporary to Hot AC. "Trending Radio" is positioned as "Today's Best Music." (4/1/2015)
DTV America is buying MundoFOX affiliate WBWT-LP/38 (Milwaukee) and a low-power TV station in Utah from Adelante Media for $425,000. WBWT is the last analog channel on Milwaukee's TV dial and has a construction permit to flash-cut to digital. DTV America has CP's for 11 new LPTV stations in Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Wausau. Adelante retains ownership of Regional Mexican-formatted WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee). (3/31/2015)
Tuesday, April 7, is the scheduled date for a frequency shift of two FM stations in Des Moines. Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) will move to 97.7 as K249EJ, remaining 250 Watts. Then, "Pulse" Contemporary Christian station KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) will move to 101.7, retaining its 6kW/100m facility. The moves make way for Truth Broadcasting's KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) to move its transmitter from Boone to a tower near Sheldahl with 5.3kW/95m, improving its signal to Des Moines and changing its community of license to Huxley in the process. KTIA-FM says it will make the move "shortly after" the IPR and KPUL moves. (3/31/2015)
The FCC has deleted the license of KIMB/1260 (Kimball), which had been off the air for a year and had limited operations for more than a decade.
Laramie Mountain Broadcasting owner Vic Michael emailed the FCC to inform them that KIMB went off the air March 21, 2014, due to technical difficulties and did not come back on the air within one year as required under federal law. FCC records show KIMB has had a series of special temporary authorities to remain silent dating back to 2002, but the station had come back on the air at least once per year to keep its license.
KIMB went through five owners in a ten-year period: David Young sold it to G&L Investments/Steckline Communications in 2002, followed by sales to Legacy Communications in 2004, Main Street Communications in 2008, and Laramie Mountain Broadcasting in 2012. At one point, Legacy obtained a construction permit to move KIMB to Ogallala with 50kW day and 110 Watts night, but it was never built.
Michael's Cedar Cove Broadcasting owns 510-Watt KVAM/88.3 (Kimball), while his Mountain Community Translators owns K296GQ/107.1 (Pine Springs-Kimball). KVAM is off the air after losing its tower site lease and has a construction permit to move to a new site, also changing frequency to 89.5 with 140 Watts.
Kimball is a community of about 2,500 people in the southwestern corner of Nebraska's panhandle. (3/30/2015)
The FCC has nixed Townsquare Media's proposal to pull three Waterloo-market radio stations out of trust, at least for now. Audio Division Chief Peter H. Doyle says Townsquare does not qualify for a waiver of a two-year waiting period required when a market's boundaries change.
KKHQ/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo), KCRR/97.7 (Grundy Center-Waterloo), and KOEL-FM/98.5 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) were assigned to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market until 2012, when the market was dissolved due to a lack of Arbitron subscribers. The stations were reassigned, at least on paper, to the nearby Cedar Rapids market, creating a problem when Townsquare wanted to buy the former Cumulus groups in the two cities. The Waterloo FM's were placed into the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust, headed by Allen Blum, while Townsquare asked Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) to re-establish the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market.
Though the three stations were reassigned back to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market in early 2014, the FCC says they'll have to remain in trust until at least early 2016.
It's worth noting that the three stations are all licensed outside of the Cedar Rapids market, target their programming to Waterloo, and don't deliver city-grade signals to Cedar Rapids (though KKHQ is listenable on car radios there). (3/27/2015)
The CRTC has approved an upgrade for one of Thunder Bay's tourist/information stations. Robert Seed's CKSI-FM/90.5 will get a boost from 50 to 250 Watts and an upgrade in class from LP to A1. CKSI is currently volunteer-run but hopes to have one full-time and two part-time positions after the upgrade. It carries a ten-minute loop of local information and weather forecasts as part of the "Information Radio" chain, which also has four stations in southern Ontario. The station said in its application that one of its frustrations is that the 50-Watt signal is unable to reach listeners on the edges of the city. Indeed, your reporter has observed that the station is nearly impossible to receive at some of the highway signs on the edge of the city advising visitors to tune to 90.5. CKSI competes with Dougall Media's CITB-FM/97.1 (Thunder Bay). (3/27/2015)
Grand View University has returned the license for KGVC-LP/94.1 (Des Moines). The station had gone off the air last fall, saying in an FCC filing that the private university was experiencing "major budget problems." KGVC-LP had shared 94.1 with Drake University's KDRA-LP, which can now use the frequency full-time. Grand View still has a radio outlet, since its students provide evening and weekend programming on Des Moines Public Schools' KDPS/88.1. (3/24/2015)
Calvary Chapel Minot has signed on new low-power FM station KFLK-LP/95.9 (Minot). "The Flock" carries a program by a Minot pastor and shows from other Calvary Chapels around the country. (3/24/2015)
A new low-power station at 104.3 in Sioux Falls is on the air carrying "The Lamb Catholic Radio." The FCC database does not show a callsign for the station, but the network lists it as KSTJ-LP. "The Lamb" also includes KSJP/88.9 (Ipswich-Aberdeen) and KSTJ/91.3 (Hartford), the latter of which provides a rimshot signal to Sioux Falls. The low-power station is owned by Juan Diego Radio of Sioux Falls and signed on in mid-February. (3/24/2015)
UW-Parkside has signed on new low-power FM station WIPZ-LP/101.5 (Kenosha). The station is a broadcast outlet for a student radio operation that's been around since 1991. (3/24/2015)
A frequency change for a future low-power FM station in the northwestern Twin Cities metro could clear the way for iHeartMedia to move another translator to the IDS Center.
MG Community Broadcasting has a construction permit for a new 40-Watt LPFM station in Maple Grove, which blocks iHeartMedia's application to move W244CS/96.7 from its present site in West St. Paul to IDS. Now, MG Community Broadcasting -- in an application prepared by an iHeartMedia engineer -- is seeking a move to 99.1, citing potential interference in Brooklyn Park, New Hope, and Plymouth from W244CS' existing facility if the new LPFM operates on 96.7.
The application does not mention that the frequency change could also allow W244CS to upgrade. W244CS is seeking to use 170 Watts from IDS, where iHeartMedia operates "Alt 93.3" (W227BF) and KTLK relayer K278BP/103.5.
W244CS, which is currently licensed to Hudson, WI, has operated from the West St. Paul site since last fall relaying the HD3 signal of KQQL/107.9 (Anoka-Minneapolis), which briefly carried iHeartMedia's "Pride Radio" format before switching to `80s Hits. It would change its community of license to Calhoun Beach, a Minneapolis neighborhood, if the application is approved.
Meanwhile, Refuge Radio is also seeking a translator on 99.1 in the northeast metro, which is apparently not in conflict with the Maple Grove application. MG Community Broadcasting plans a Christian format for its new station. (3/23/2015)
Updating last week's story about the "Drive" and "Duke" shuffle on the northeastern Wisconsin FM dial, it turns out "Duke" actually has four frequencies instead of the three originally announced. When WZDR/99.7 (Sturgeon Bay-Green Bay) became WDKF and began simulcasting "Duke FM" Classic Country with WGEE-FM/93.5 (New London-Appleton), former simulcast partner WYDR/94.3 (Neenah-Menasha-Appleton) had announced that translator W270AJ/101.9 (Green Bay) would continue to carry the "Drive" Classic Hits format. However, it turns out W270AJ is now carrying "Duke," along with original "Duke" translator W226BD/93.1 (Green Bay). Both translators broadcast from the same site, so it's not clear if this will continue in the long run. The stations are owned by Midwest Communications. (3/23/2015)
New network Decades recently launched on channel 4.2 of WCCO-TV (Minneapolis), along with subchannels of satellite stations KCCO/7 (Alexandria) and KCCW/12 (Walker). The stations are primary CBS owned-and-operated affiliates. Decades is currently in soft-launch mode carrying binge marathons, with regular programming scheduled to begin May 25. WCCO-TV is the last full-power station in the Twin Cities to add a second channel of programming. (3/21/2015)
Gray TV is buying a low-power TV station to add to its full-power station in Wausau. The deal calls for Gray to pay Spirit of Prayer Ministries $32,500 for the construction permit for a new LPTV station on channel 33. It'll use 5kW/299m from a tower in Wausau. Gray also owns WSAW/7, which carries CBS on 7.1, MyNetworkTV and syndicated programming on 7.2, and H&I TV on 7.3. (3/21/2015)
Midwest Communications' WGEE/970 (Superior-Duluth) has changed its callsign to WDUL but retains its CBS Sports Radio format. Midwest had parked WGEE, a heritage Green Bay-market callsign, in the Twin Ports more than a decade ago but recently brought the callsign back to northeastern Wisconsin on WGEE-FM/93.5 (New London). (3/21/2015)
Midwest Communications has doubled down on its "Duke" format in northeastern Wisconsin, flipping WZDR/99.7 (Sturgeon Bay-Green Bay) to a simulcast of the Classic Country format already heard on WGEE-FM/93.5 (New London-Appleton) and translator W226BD/93.1 (Green Bay). WZDR also changed its callsign to WDKF. Both 93.5 and 99.7 have rimshot signals to Green Bay, though 99.7's is slightly stronger. The switchover came at midnight Monday morning (3/16). WDKF had previously simulcast with WYDR/94.3 (Neenah-Menasha-Appleton), which continues a "Drive" Classic Hits format also heard on translator W270AJ/101.9 (Green Bay). 99.7 had carried a Country format as WGEE-FM for several years in the 1990's. (3/16/2015)
James Ingstad's Radio F-M Media has signed on "96.9 Hits FM" (W245CM Moorhead-Fargo), flanking sister Adult Top 40 station "Big 98-7" (KLTA-FM Moorhead) in its battle with Midwest Radio Fargo-Moorhead heritage Contemporary Hits outlet "Y94" (WDAY-FM/93.7 Fargo). W245CM transmits from Radio F-M Media's facility on 7th Ave. South with 250 Watts and has applied to move its transmitter to a taller tower downtown with the same wattage. Programming originates on KLTA-FM's HD2 channel. It's the second HD2-translator combo for Radio F-M Media, which also runs Adult Alternative "The City" on K233CY/94.5 (Wahpeton-Fargo) and the HD2 signal of KBVB/95.1 (Barnesville-Fargo). W245CM is owned by Brooke Ingstad and K233CY is owned by James Ingstad's North Dakota Free Airwaves. (3/16/2015)
The developer of a massive Sioux Falls pawn shop is paying $1.5 million for a radio station to put in the complex. Cup O'Dirt LLC filed the deal to sell KZOY/1520 and K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls) Badlands Airtime, LLC this week. Badlands Airtime, LLC is headed by Chuck Brennan, who is planning to build Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry. The shop's website says "Badlands Radio" is scheduled to launch at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving 2015 with DJ's broadcasting live from a studio in the pawn shop complex, which will also include a live performance stage, gun shooting range, tattoo parlor, and deli. The website says the shop intends to syndicate "Badlands Radio" to more than 30 stations across the Midwest. Meanwhile, Cup O'Dirt owner John Small will retain the "Sunny Radio" brand, an `80s Hits format that originally launched as a web-only station. Cup O'Dirt also owns KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE-Sioux City, IA) and is buying a Sioux City FM translator. (3/13/2015)
Low-power FM station KCRD-LP/98.3 (Dubuque) is on the air carrying Catholic programming. A report from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque states that KCRD-LP signed on Feb. 24 and is carrying Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio, with plans for some local programming in the future. The 98-Watt station is licensed to St. Columbkille Church and operated by Aquinas Communications. (3/12/2015)
The FCC has tentatively selected Canton (Illinois) Seventh-Day Adventist Church for a new non-commercial station in the Dubuque area. The new class A station on 98.7 will be licensed to Asbury, and the tentative selectee proposes a 3.5kW/133m station transmitting from southeast of Dubuque. In reserving the frequency for non-commercial use, the FCC required that whatever station uses the frequency provide the first or second non-commercial service to at least 10 percent of the population in its coverage area. The FCC said three other applicants -- Aquinas Communications, Family Life Broadcasting, and Grace Community Church of Amarillo -- failed to meet the 10 percent threshold. The losing applicants have 30 days to submit petitions to deny the construction permit to Canton Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The tentative selectee operates an existing station near Peoria.
Meanwhile, in southeastern Iowa, the FCC recently granted a CP to Fairfield Youth Advocacy for a new non-commercial station on 102.1 licensed to Keosauqua. It'll use 25kW/100m (class C3) from a tower between Keosauqua and Fairfield. The grant comes after St. Mary Radio dba Radio Apostolate for the Heartland withdrew its application for the frequency. St. Mary Radio recently signed on KHFR-LP/103.5 (Keosauqua). (3/10/2015)
The "Cruisin" Oldies format of KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) is now being relayed on K286CI/105.1, which recently began transmitting from a tower near Hudson. The 250-Watt FM signal remains licensed to Waverly provides rimshot coverage of Waterloo. (3/10/2015)
The owner of KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE-Sioux City) is buying an FM translator to use for the `80s Hits station. Cup O'Dirt Communications, LLC will pay First Ventures Capital Partners $50,000 for K248AY/97.5 (Sioux City). K248AY is currently licensed for 17 Watts from a tower in northwestern Sioux City and has applied to upgrade to 145 Watts from that site, rebroadcasting KZOI. (3/9/2015)
The price of the previously-announced sale of two York radio stations to the Nebraska Rural Radio Association is $1.335 million, according to a document filed with the FCC. The NRRA is buying KAWL/1370 and KTMX/104.9 (York) from Mark Jensen's MWB Broadcasting, which will retain ownership of the 1,000-foot tower southeast of York used by KTMX and Gray TV's KSNB-TV/4 (Superior). The buyer is a non-profit group owned by farmers and ranchers that owns seven other commercially-operated radio stations. (3/5/2015)
Onetime plans for a new non-commercial radio station to serve Cedar Rapids' New Bohemia neighborhood have been dropped. New Bohemia Group has returned the construction permit for KNBO/88.7 (Coggon), saying, "NBG's board has decided to direct time and resources elsewhere." KNBO would've actually only had a fringe signal to the neighborhood, with its city-grade coverage area ending north of Cedar Rapids.
The move could open the way for Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based Catholic group, to be granted a construction permit for a new station. Plus Charities also applied for 88.7 in 2007 but its application was dismissed due to a typo; the FCC decided to reinstate the application late last year. Plus Charities proposes a 5kW/95m (class A) station licensed to Coggon, providing a city-grade signal to the Manchester area and possible fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids. (3/4/2015)
Two FM translators that have been on a chain-link move from Hinckley for a few years have received construction permits for what may be their final destination. W293CS/106.5 and W297BO/107.3 will move their transmitters to Sauk Rapids, where they will transmit with 250 Watts from the "Red House That Rocks," home of WHMH/101.7 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) and four AM stations. WHMH-HD3, which relays the Classic Country format of WVAL/800 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud), is specified as the primary station for W293CS. WHMH-HD2, which relays the Classic Album Rock format of WXYG/540 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud), is specified as the primary station for W297BO. W297BO is owned by Herbert Hoppe, who is the majority owner of WHMH and the AM stations, while W293CS is headed by Mark Hoppe. They would actually be the second and third FM translators simulcasting AM programming in St. Cloud, since K277BS/103.3 has already been relaying the News/Talk format of Leighton Enterprises' KNSI/1450 (St. Cloud) for several years. (3/3/2015)
Riverfront Broadcasting has applied to move its newly-acquired Huron station into the Mitchell market. KZKK went silent after moving from 105.1 to 92.1 and has now applied to transmit from Mitchell with 100kW/80m, changing its community of license to Parkston in the process. By first moving KZKK to 92.1 and then applying to move the station to Parkston-Mitchell, Riverfront avoids the years-long allotment and auction process that's usually necessary to get a new commercial FM station. Riverfront also owns KORN/1490 (Mitchell) and KQRN/107.3 (Mitchell). (3/2/2015)
ESPN Radio has returned to the Wausau market with a schedule spread across two stations. "Sports Fan 100.5" (WDTX Rothschild-Wausau) is carrying Mike and Mike from 5 to 9 a.m., while sister station WXCO/1230 (Wausau) carries the rest of the ESPN lineup after a local morning show. WXCO had previously carried a Soft Oldies/Nostalgia format as "Sunny 1230." WDTX dropped ESPN for NBC Sports Radio in January, saying at the time that it was unable to reach an agreement with ESPN. WXCO had also carried ESPN Radio prior to WDTX's signon in 2010. (2/28/2015)
Powell Broadcasting News/Talker KSCJ/1360 (Sioux City) has signed on FM translator K235CA/94.9 (Sioux City). The translator's 250-Watt signal is enough to cover the immediate metro area. KSCJ's lineup includes local programming from 6 to 11 a.m. and syndicated talkers including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. (2/25/2015)
Several weeks after its longtime Easy Listening format came to an end, KNXR/97.5 (Rochester) has returned to the air as "Pulse FM" under the ownership of Gregory Jensen's Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester. The official launch came Tuesday afternoon (2/24) after stunting with a variety of music. The new Hot Adult Contemporary format will feature the "Med City Morning Show" with Tom Garrett, the former longtime morning host at Townsquare Media's "Y105" (KYBA/105.3 Stewartville-Rochester). ("Pulse" and the morning show names are apparently references to Rochester's most famous institution, the Mayo Clinic.) "Pulse FM" falls formatically between two Townsquare stations, the Adult Contemporary format on "Y105" and Contemporary Hits on KROC-FM/106.9 (Rochester). KNXR's 100kW/317m signal is the strongest in Rochester and is also easy to receive in Austin/Albert Lea, where Jensen owns two other stations. It also has fringe coverage to the southern Twin Cities suburbs, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Mason City. (2/24/2015)
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association has announced plans to buy another pair of stations, KAWL/1370 and KTMX/104.9 (York). The price for the purchase from Mark Jensen's MWB Broadcasting was not immediately announced. The NRRA, owned by farmers and ranchers, has seven existing stations known for local programming. KAWL carries a Classic Hits format, while KTMX carries Adult Contemporary. (2/23/2015)
A much belated note that Red Rock Radio shifted two formats in the Brainerd area last year, moving its News/Talk format from WWWI/1270 (Baxter-Brainerd) to KLKS/100.1 (Pequot Lakes-Brainerd), which now goes by the slogan "Talk 100." WWWI/1270 is now carrying NBC Sports Radio under the "Red Zone Sports Radio" banner used by other Red Rock stations. It appears the change happened around Labor Day, a month before WWWI-FM/95.9 (Pillager-Brainerd) dropped a satellite-fed Classic Rock format in favor of a rebroadcast of Red Rock Classic Rock outlet KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). The News/Talk format on KLKS displaces a satellite-fed Classic Hits format that had aired for about a year following Red Rock's purchase of the station from a noncommercial broadcaster. WWWI-FM had also once carried a News/Talk format in tandem with the AM station. (2/23/2015)
Legacy Broadcasting tells the FCC its newly-acquired stations in Nebraska and North Dakota aren't yet ready to come back on the air. KNHL/5 (Hastings, NE; formerly KHAS-TV), KNDB/26 (Bismarck, ND; formerly KNDX), and KNDM/24 (Minot, ND; formerly KXND) went silent last June after Gray TV moved their former affiliations to its own stations. Legacy then bought the licenses. The new owners tell the FCC in requests for special temporary authority to remain silent that "equipment that Legacy acquired was insufficient for immediate resumption of broadcast operations" and that it expects to return the stations to the air in advance of the statutory one-year deadline for the licenses to remain valid.
Incidentally, it is worth noting that Legacy shares ownership with Commonwealth Broadcasting Group, which operates the Mississippi stations seen in the truTV docu-comedy "Breaking Greenville." The series portrays two stations as full competitors, when, in fact, Commonwealth owns one of the stations and operates the other through a shared services agreement. (2/20/2015)
Red Rock Radio has set Monday, March 2, as the launch date for Duluth's first FM sports outlet. WWAX/92.1 (Hermantown-Duluth) will become "92.1 The Fan," simulcasting the Sports talk format already heard on KQDS/1490 (Duluth). The lineup will include FAN network programming from KFXN-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis) from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog men's hockey and football, Minnesota Wild hockey, and high school sports. "The Fan" competes with Townsquare Media's "ESPN 560" (WEBC Duluth) and Midwest Communications' CBS Sports Radio affiliate WGEE/970 (Superior-Duluth). 92.1's flip displaces a Hot Adult Contemporary format called "Nu 92," leaving pop music in the Twin Ports to Townsquare's "Mix 108" (KBMX/107.7 Proctor-Duluth) and Midwest's KDWZ/102.5 (Superior-Duluth). "Nu 92" had launched in 2010, three days after KDWZ's Contemporary Hits format. 92.1 has carried several different variations of AC and Contemporary Hits over its 19-year history. (2/19/2015)
The National Association of Broadcasters released a study Wednesday showing that at least half of the UHF stations in the Milwaukee market would have to be voluntarily relinquished in order for the FCC to recover 120 MHz of spectrum in next year's reverse auction. The NAB's study, based on data from FCC simulations released last year, found that between 7 and 11 of the Milwaukee market's 13 UHF full-power and Class A stations would have to go off the air. The study says Milwaukee is the only Upper Midwest market that would definitely have to lose a UHF station in order for the auction to work, though the loss of at least one UHF station may be needed in some other markets in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa depending on which stations choose to participate. Stations that voluntarily relinquish their UHF spectrum could move to VHF, agree to share a channel with another station, or go off the air completely. Most digital TV stations broadcast on UHF, which is easier to receive with an indoor antenna. Many remap to their former VHF broadcast channel numbers on receivers. (2/18/2015)
Iowa State University, one of the parent groups of Iowa Public Radio, has surrendered the permit for a new station in the Sioux City area. KNSX/97.1 (Moville) had faced a Jan. 31 construction deadline and was to have used 5.2kW/109m, which would have provided a rimshot signal to eastern Sioux City. The FCC denied an upgrade for the would-be station in 2013 over a legal technicality of how the frequency was reserved for non-commercial use. IPR also once had a CP for KHGM/88.9 (Sioux City), which it sold to a group that didn't get it on the air by the CP deadline. The network's only coverage of far western Iowa is the fringe daytime signal of WOI/640 (Ames). Sioux City has one existing public radio station, Western Iowa Tech Community College's KWIT/90.3. (2/18/2015)
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul's "Faith Radio" (KTIS/900) is now available on FM in the Twin Cities on translator K214DF/90.7, which formerly carried the "K-Love" network.
The switchover came on Friday, Feb. 6, as "K-Love" translator K260BA/99.9 upgraded to cover more of the metro area. K214DF and K260BA, along with "Air1" station W225AP/92.9, are now all transmitting from the Wells Fargo building in Minneapolis, with K260BA using 250 Watts and the other two using 99 Watts. K260BA moved its transmitter from Plymouth, and W225AP moved from St. Paul. All are owned by "K-Love/Air-1" parent Educational Media Foundation.
"We at Faith Radio deeply appreciate the kindness of the EMF board and trustees," Faith Radio’s Senior Vice President for Media, Dr. Paul Virts, said in a press release. "This 99-watt translator will have a potential audience of 1.5 million people and give Faith Radio listeners an opportunity to listen to a FM quality signal in the Twin Cities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." KTIS/900 broadcasts with 50kW during the day, but its 500-Watt nighttime signal is limited to a portion of the east metro. "Faith Radio," which features Christian talk and preaching, is also relayed on the HD2 signal of KTIS-FM/98.5.
Meanwhile, W225AP's move to Minneapolis to carry "Air1" opens the door for future changes at K273BH/102.5, which also carries "Air1." K273BH transmits from the IDS Center along with two other translators programmed by iHeartMedia, W227BF/93.3 and K278BP/103.5. (2/16/2015)
NBC affiliate KTTC (Rochester) is promoting a March 1 launch for Heroes & Icons network on channel 10.3. The relatively new network from Weigel Broadcasting carries mostly classic westerns and crime dramas and has also found affiliates in Minneapolis, Des Moines, Milwaukee, and Wausau. KTTC also carries CW+ on channel 10.2. (2/16/2015)
New low-power FM station KNIL-LP/95.9 (Creighton) is on the air carrying Catholic and community programming. The 100-Watt station is owned by St. Ludgerus Catholic Church. (2/16/2015)
Christian Heritage Broadcasting is donating K261CH/100.1 (Carpenter) to the Moody Bible Institute. K261CH will carry Moody Radio via K213CL/90.5 (Huron). (2/16/2015)
Winnipeg pop radio listeners could be forgiven for being a bit confused Friday as two stations changed their names three hours apart. At 9 a.m., Rogers Hot Adult Contemporary outlet CKY-FM/102.3 changed its name from "Clear FM" to "Kiss FM," matching the brand used by numerous other Rogers stations. Then at Noon, Corus Entertainment's CJGV-FM/99.1 tweaked its name from "Fresh FM" to "Fresh Radio" with an Alternative-leaning Hot AC mix. The Corus change came as part of a national rebranding of "Fresh" stations. (2/13/2015)
"Go 96.3" (KTWN-FM Edina-Minneapolis) has hired two bona fide Alternative radio veterans for its new format. Barb Abney, whose recent firing from Minnesota Public Radio's "The Current" sparked listener backlash, will join "Go" for the 8 a.m. to Noon shift. Meanwhile, "REV 105" and "Current" veteran Thorn will co-host the 4 to 8 p.m. shift with local musician Linnea Mohn. All three start at the station Monday, joining Brian "BT" Turner and Jason Nagel. "Go 96.3" is owned by the Pohlad family's Northern Lights Broadcasting and is the flagship of the Minnesota Twins. (2/12/2015)
In an unusual situation, the owner of now-deleted translator K238AN/95.5 (Ames) is asking the FCC to give back its license. The FCC sent K238AN licensee Fourthstream Media a letter in November indicating that the translator's license would be deleted since records indicated it had been off the air since 2012. After the formal cancellation last month, Fourthstream filed a petition for reconsideration, stating that K238AN had never actually been off the air and the misinformation resulted from an error on a 2012 application. Fourthstream is also separately seeking special temporary authority to keep the translator on the air. K238AN was last known to rebroadcast the "Pulse 99.5" Christian Hits format of KPUL (Winterset-Des Moines). (2/11/2015)
NRG Media is buying an FM translator to relay ESPN Radio affiliate KWLO/1330 (Waterloo). NRG will pay E-String Wireless, Ltd. $50,635 for the construction permit for K295CF/106.9 (Waterloo). The current CP calls for 250 Watts from a tower just outside the eastern Waterloo city limits. (2/11/2015)
University of Nebraska Cornhuskers broadcasts in the Omaha market are moving from iHeartMedia's KFAB/1110 to Journal Broadcasting's KXSP/590 this summer, the team and distributor IMG announced Tuesday. KXSP, an ESPN affiliate, will carry Huskers football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and baseball games, in addition to the Monday-Friday "Sports Nightly" program. Journal's "Z92" (KEZO/92.3) will simulcast football games, and "CD105.9" (KKCD) will carry any women's basketball, volleyball, or baseball games that conflict with other games on KXSP. KXSP is currently an affiliate of the Iowa Hawkeyes network and it's not immediately clear what will become of that deal. KFAB and KXSP have similar daytime coverage areas, but KFAB also enjoys extensive nighttime skywave service across the Upper Midwest. (2/10/2015)
WBKV/1470 (West Bend) has dropped syndicated Talk from its lineup, replacing it with Classic Hits, following the station's sale to Magnum Broadcasting. Magnum recently made a similar move at WRJN/1400 (Racine), dropping Talk for Adult Contemporary. Both stations provide a heavy dose of local news and information for their exurban Milwaukee coverage areas. Meanwhile, Magnum's WBWI-FM/92.5 (West Bend) has rebranded its format as "Buzz Country." 92.5 provides a rimshot signal to the northern part of the Milwaukee metro area, while Magnum's recently-launched "Q92" (WMKQ/92.1 Racine) covers the southern Milwaukee metro. (2/9/2015)
Former CBS affiliate KRDK-TV/4 (Valley City-Fargo) is apparently going with a multicast strategy under its new owner, Ravi Kapur's Major Market Broadcasting. KRDK continues to carry the previously-reported infomercials on channel 4.1 and has also added Cozi TV on 4.2, Grit on 4.5, and Escape on 4.6. Movies! Network is also listing KRDK as a future affiliate on either 4.2 or 4.4. The most recent reports indicate channels 4.3 and 4.4 are blank for now. (2/6/2015)
WMKE-CA (Milwaukee), which formerly broadcast in analog on channel 7, as activated its new digital facility on channel 21. The station is now the northernmost affiliate of the Soul of the South Network, a channel serving the African American community. Owner KM LPTV of Milwaukee has FCC approval to sell WMKE-CD to Locuspoint, but the sale has not been consummated. (2/5/2015)
The FCC has deleted the license of WZRK/1550 (Lake Geneva) at the request of its new owner, WGLB LLC. The move is not a surprise since WGLB/1560 (Elm Grove-Milwaukee) applied for an upgrade in November and stated at that time that WZRK would either move or turn in its license to make way for WGLB's expanded coverage area. In a Jan. 26 letter to the FCC, WGLB LLC said it had deemed it "economically undesirable to operate a station at Lake Geneva" and asked that the license be canceled. WZRK has had a rocky recent history, starting with a period of silence in 2001. Starboard Broadcasting purchased the station and returned it to the air with Catholic programming in 2003. Five years later, Starboard transferred WZRK to Sovereign City Radio Services, which used it as an affiliate of its "Avenue" Swing/Standards/Jazz format. WZRK obtained a construction permit to move into the Chicago network in 2010, but the CP was never built and the station went silent in 2013. WGLB LLC bought the license last year for $100,000. (2/4/2015)
The FCC has deleted the license of K238AN/95.5 (Ames), which at one time rebroadcast the "Pulse 99.5" Christian Hits format of KPUL (Winterset-Des Moines). A website set up for the translator indicated it would go off the air in 2012 unless fundraising goals were met, and FCC records indicate K238AN went off the air that year. (2/3/2015)
Mankato Free Press: Z99 DJ's World record attempt over (4/23)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Former WCCO-TV sports personality Ralph Jon Fritz has cancer (4/23)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WMIL-FM still No. 1, but WTMJ-AM shows big gains in winter radio ratings (4/16)
Star Tribune: Jimmy Kimmel gets an upgrade in Twin Cities (4/16)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Dan Barreiro, Ron Rosenbaum to host Fox 9 talk show (4/16)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: WCCO reporter Ashley Roberts gets engaged on air (4/15)
NET Nebraska: NET's Ron Hull Wins 2015 Charnley Award (4/15)
KARE: Twin Cities radio DJ takes leave because of stalker (4/8)
Iowa City Press-Citizen: KCJJ's Tommy Lang gets some love at fundraiser to cover medical bills (4/4)
TVSpy: CBS Moves Minneapolis GM to Philadelphia Station (4/2)
KAAL-TV: Radio Legend Returns to Rochester (4/1)
Star Tribune: Jason Matheson lands a big new assignment at Fox 9 (4/1)
Star Tribune: KFAI Radio works to stay scrappy, remain relevant (3/31)
Winnipeg Free Press: Winnipeg's Nostalgia Radio finds supporters and success as non-profit co-op (3/28)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Anchor Tom Halden leaving Fox 9 (3/30)
Duluth News Tribune: Familiar face returning to KBJR-TV news team (3/26)
Dudek Abides: WTMJ’s Mike Jacobs, longest serving anchor in market, to retire in May (3/25)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: New KARE-TV morning anchor is Minnesota native (3/23)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Restored Amery, Wis., theater hosts live radio broadcasts (3/21)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WDJT-TV adds newscasts at 4 p.m. weekdays, Sunday mornings (3/23)
Aberdeen News: Radio station bomb threat thought to be a hoax (3/21)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Eric Von to host morning show on WNOV-AM (3/23)
KARE 11: KFAI Radio hopes community can help them (3/14)
Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Nancy Naeve to leave KSFY-TV (3/19)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WMIL back on top of Milwaukee radio ratings (3/19)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Victor Tedesco, former St. Paul city council member (and radio station owner), dies at 92 (3/17)
Wisconsin State Journal: The Mic adapts, perseveres in difficult progressive talk radio landscape (3/8)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Four episodes of 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' coming to TPT (3/12)
WLUC-TV: 'Finland Calling' coming to a close (3/6)
Quad City Times: WHBF gets 'Local' makeover (3/5)
Wisconsin State Journal: Two Minutes with Mitch Henck will stretch to 3 hours on radio (3/4)
WXOW-TV: DJ duo marks 25 years together (3/3)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV names Melinda Davenport morning news co-anchor (3/3)
Wisconsin State Journal: Popular radio personality Sly returns to morning time slot (3/2)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Former KARE-11 anchor Kirsten Lindquist, famous for 1986 tornado broadcast, dies (3/1)
KARE: Former KARE anchor passes away after cancer battle (3/1)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV leads in ratings at 5, 6 p.m.; WITI-TV leads at 10 p.m. (2/27)
WCCO: Veteran WCCO Radio Broadcaster Dick Chapman Dies (2/27)
The Forum: Earl Williams, longtime WDAY radio host, voice of the Bison, dead at 79 (2/25)
Bloomberg Politics: These Radio Hosts Are Some of the Most Powerful Republicans You've Never Heard Of (2/24)
St. Cloud Times: Boon or bust, HD Radio alters Minnesota airwaves (2/22)
Twin Cities Business: Ginny Morris Making Waves In Radio (2/18)
The Buffalo News: Raguse, Guggenmos latest leaving Ch.4 as they head to Minneapolis (2/20)
Pioneer Press: WCCO-TV adds 'Midmorning' show (2/19)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: McGinnis leaving WDJT-TV; Green Bay native Burgoyne to be chief meteorologist (2/19)
Pioneer Press: Donna Valentine joins myTalk 107.1 (2/18)
Star Tribune: Jason Matheson leaves WCCO-TV for Fox 9 — again (2/18)
Rochester Post-Bulletin: KNXR to return to the airwaves next week (2/16)
MinnPost: In latest local radio battle, Go 96.3 goes after 89.3 The Current (2/11)
Mason City Globe Gazette: Mason City radio personality to avoid deportation to Canada (2/10)
Wisconsin State Journal: Public broadcasting braces for possible cuts under Scott Walker's budget plan (2/8)
Des Moines Register: Radio Station KXNO shuffles lineup (2/6)
Des Moines Register: 'Marty & Miller' has found a home on the radio dial (2/6)
The Forum: Thornberg leaving KVRR to raise child (2/3)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Donna Valentine off the air after 20 years at K102 (2/2)
KTTC-TV: 97.5 FM bids farewell to radio, founder reflects on nearly 50 years (1/30)
Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Gene Hetland retiring from KSOO Radio (1/23)
KELO-TV: Signing-Off On Retirement (1/30)
Milwaukee Business Journal: Journal Communications-Scripps deal likely to close by mid-April (1/30)
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Brooks, state Hall of Fame broadcaster, dies at 88
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Amy Hockert returning to local TV news with job at KMSP (1/28)
Star Tribune: How 89.3 the Current can stay vital after a troubled week (1/29)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: MPR loses some support over firing of Current DJ Barb Abney (1/28)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Barb Abney out as 89.3 The Current DJ (1/27)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: 89.3 The Current celebrates 10 years on the air (1/13)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Patrick Hammer temporarily delivers weather on KARE-TV (1/12)
Jamestown Sun: AM 600’s Bob Sands dies Thursday at 73 (1/10)
The Forum: Veteran local broadcaster known as “Captain Jim” dies at 88 (1/7)
Milwaukee Business Journal: WTMJ-AM back in the ag-news business (1/7)
Duane Dudek: WKLH, WHQG owner Saga reaches agreement with Nielsen (1/7)
KCCI-TV: KXNO radio host abruptly resigns (1/7)