January 2004

WFHR/1320 (Wisconsin Rapids) reports that it and sister station WGLX/103.3 are being sold to NewRadioGroup, which will operate the stations under a local marketing agreement until the sale is closed. Bliss Communications is the current owner. NewRadioGroup also owns three stations in the Marshfield area and one station in Stevens Point. No sale price was disclosed, and the FCC filing is not yet available. (1/30/2004)

There could be as many as eight organizations sharing one low-power frequency in Madison, and two sharing another.

The FCC has identified "tentative selectees" for low-power FM applications that compete with others, but their point system has not ended the competition in some cases. The applicants received points for established community presence, a pledge to be on the air for at least twelve hours per day, and a pledge to air at least eight hours of local programming per day. All eight applicants for 99.1 in Madison each received the maximum three points. Two applicants for 97.1 in the Madison area also received three points each.

The FCC has given the competing applicants 30 days to submit time-sharing agreements; an organization's station would have to be on the air for at least ten hours per week to participate. If competing applicants do not reach a time-share agreement, the FCC may end up granting each applicant a license to operate continously for a portion of an eight-year period. One group would get to operate for a year or more, and then be required to sign off and let another group use the frequency.

Meanwhile, the point system has selected only one applicant in a number of other cases. The following organizations will likely receive construction permits:

  • La Crosse, WI: 101.5, School District of La Crosse
  • Manitowac, WI: 104.1, Calvary Chapel of Manitowac
  • Menomonie, WI: 105.3, Menomonie Area Christian Radio
  • Mukwonago, WI: 92.9, Kettle Moraine Community Radio
  • Racine, WI: 99.9, Racine Family Radio
  • Rochester, MN: 98.9, New Life Worship Center (1/29/2004)

    Lifetalk Broadcasting, which operates a Christian radio network, has received a construction permit for a class C1 station on 89.3 in Sebeka, MN. The station will use 100kW at 266m from a tower near Nimrod, providing a strong signal to Park Rapids and Wadena, a good signal to Brainerd, and a fair signal to Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, and Little Falls. (1/29/2004)

    A dozen new translator construction permits have been issued in Iowa and Nebraska, including 9 in Iowa which will likely carry the Calvary Satellite Network (KAWZ). Those are 99.7 Boone, 95.7 Burlington, 98.5 Burlington, 99.3 Centerville, 95.5 Dyersville, 93.3 Ida Grove, 95.9 Storm Lake, 96.9 Williamsburg, and 104.7 Winterset. Also, David M. Stout received CP's for translators on 95.1 in Clear Lake, IA, and 103.1 in Fort Dodge, IA, and Marc Lehmuth received a CP for a translator on 101.3 in Imperial, NE. (1/29/2004)

    Several low-power TV construction permits have been issued:

  • Jackson: K19FO, 2kW, Cooperative TV Association of Southern Minnesota
  • Olivia: K47JE, 30kW, Three Angels Broadcasting Network
  • Wadena: K47JC, 5.3kW, Three Angels Broadcasting Network (1/29/2004)

    Red River Broadcasting is buying Trinity Broadcasting Network's construction permit for a low-power station in Watertown on channel 42 for $4,985. The 10kW K42FI will carry NBC affiliate KDLT/46 (Sioux Falls). TBN also has CP's for stations on channels 40 and 48 in Watertown. (1/29/2004)

    Sioux Falls CBS affiliate KELO-TV has launched a secondary UPN channel called "UTV," which is carried on digital stations KELO-DT Sioux Falls, KDLO-DT Florence, and KPLO-DT Pierre. UTV and high-definition KELO programming are seen simultaneously on the digital signals. KELO is also in talks for cable coverage of UTV. Former UPN affiliate KCPO-LP/26 is no longer showing UPN programming, but is asking viewers to call UPN and ask that its programming be returned to KCPO. (1/28/2004, updated KCPO 1/29)

    One year after dropping Nostalgia for Hot Talk, Midwest Communications' WRIG/1390 (Schofield-Wausau) has reverted to its previous format. The change apparently took place on Monday, January 26. (1/28/2004)

    Pleasantville Baptist Church has received a construction permit for a low-power FM (100W) station on 94.1. The church plans coverage of civic events, besides religious programming. (1/27/2004)

    KLCI/106.1 (Elk River-Minneapolis-St. Paul) is now carrying brokered spanish-language programming overnights, beginning at 11 p.m. "Que Buena 106.1" is a live mix of news and Latin music. It's the first time that a Minnesota FM station has offered spanish-language programming on a daily basis. KLCI continues its Country format as "Bob 106" during the day and evening. (1/25/2004)

    Following the station's sale to Three Eagles Broadcasting, KRBI/1310 (St. Peter) has flipped the music portion of its format from Country to Adult Contemporary. (1/24/2004)

    Several jock moves to report:

  • Brian Gilberts leaves the morning show at Q94 (WQPC Prairie du Chien), and will be replaced by Ed Brady starting Monday.
  • Crystal Fox is no longer with the morning show at COW 97 (WCOW Sparta-La Crosse).
  • Jennifer Powers leaves WJVL/99.9 (Janesville, WI) to co-host mornings at KQ98 (KQYB Spring Grove, MN). (1/24/2004)

    The latest low-power FM construction permit: 100.9 Merrill to The New Testament Church. (1/24/2004)

    Saga Broadcasting is buying the Minnesota News Network for $3.25 million. Currently, MNN is a subsidiary of the Greenspring Company, a subsidiary of the American Public Media Group, which also owns Minnesota Public Radio. MNN has 74 news affiliates around the state, and also distributes the Twins, Timberwolves, Wild, Gopher Football, Gopher Basketball, and Lynx. Saga says it intends to hire "many or most" of MNN's 32 employees. Saga has no other broadcast holdings in Minnesota.

    Meanwhile, MPR also confirmed that it is selling WMNN/1330 (Minneapolis) to a subsidiary of Starboard Media for $6.75 million. The WMNN sale was leaked in an FCC filing for another station sale earlier this month. Starboard operates the Catholic "Relevant Radio" network; some of the network's programming originates from Golden Valley. MPR will retain ownership of KLBB/1400 (St. Paul) and KLBP/1470 (Brooklyn Park), which simulcast a Nostalgia format. (1/23/2004)

    CKY-FM/102.3 (Winnipeg) formally signed on this morning (Wednesday 1/21) at 9 a.m., with a mainstream Adult Contemporary format as "102 Clear FM," signaling an end to the longtime "KY58" oldies format at AM580. The new format is `90s-based, with songs from the `80s and today and an upbeat presentation. 102 Clear FM will be running without announcers for 3-4 weeks. The new FM station is the result of the "conversion" of CKY/580 to FM, which means Rogers will have to return the 50kW AM580 license to the CRTC. 580 will simulcast with 102.3 for three months, and then leave the air. It would be possible for another station to purchase the 580 transmitter and apply to the CRTC to move to that frequency, but station management said no offers have been made for the transmitter. (1/21/2004)

    Arbitron ratings aren't usually reported here, but the Minneapolis-St. Paul Fall 2003 book shows an item that deserves a note: spanish-language "Radio Rey" (WDGY/630 Hudson, WI) has soared to a 2.1 share in the 12+ category, despite the station's relative obscurity and poor nighttime signal. It's the highest audience share ever achieved by a spanish-language format in Minnesota. WDGY is #4 on the AM dial, and ranks 15th in the market, ahead of KLBB, FM107, Drive 105, WWTC, WMNN, and others. The last time 630 had such a large audience was ten years ago, when it carried a Nostalgia format from a more powerful facility. (1/16/2004)

    James Ingstad is selling his five southern Minnesota stations to a new group called Ingstad Brothers Broadcasting. The new company is owned by Thomas Ingstad (49%), Tor Ingstad (49%), and Randy Holland (2%). No purchase price is available. James Ingstad currently owns 100% of KYMN/1080 (Northfield), 80% of KNUJ/860 (New Ulm) and KNUJ-FM/107.3 (Sleepy Eye), and 51% of KCHK/1350 (New Prague) and KRDS/95.5 (New Prague). (1/14/2004)

    The FCC has granted Radio Assist Ministry a construction permit for 20W translator K237CS/95.3 (Anamosah), which will likely carry KAWZ's Calvary Satellite Network. (1/14/2004)

    Chelsey Broadcasting is selling CBS affiliate KHQA/7 (Hannibal-Quincy) to Barrington Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Pilot Group TV. Barrington is also buying a Peoria, IL, station from Chelsey. (1/14/2004)

    WQOQ/1430 (Durand) has applied for an upgrade to improve its daytime signal to Menomonie and Eau Claire. The Zoe Communications station would be 15kW day and 138W night, using a two-tower array northeast of Durand, replacing a current 2kW/152W nondirectional facility. The station's main coverage area would include southeastern Menomonie, with a good signal to Eau Claire and the rest of Menomonie. 1430 had historically rebroadcast Durand's 95.9 FM, now WDMO, but has been reported to be either off the air or at low power on several occasions in recent years. (1/13/2004)

    The Educational Media Foundation has completed its purchase of KDJZ/100.7 (Harwood-Fargo), and the station is now carrying EMF's non-commercial Contemporary Christian "K-Love" network. (1/13/2004)

    Radio Assist Ministry has received several more construction permits for new translators: K276EH/103.1 (Blue Earth), K229AG/93.7 (Brainerd), and K270AJ/101.9 (Montevideo). The translators will likely relay KAWZ Twin Falls, Idaho, the flagship of the Calvary Satellite Network. (1/13/2004)

    R&J Broadcasting's KRJB/106.3 (Ada) has applied to upgrade from its current 6kW (class A) to 50kW (class C2). The station would retain its current transmitter site near Ada, but increase antenna height from 87m to 114m. KRJB's expanded city grade coverage area would reach the far northern portions of Fargo, and stretch from Hillsboro, ND, to Mahnomen, MN. (1/10/2004)

    DirecTV has announced another batch of markets that will receive local-into-local service in 2004, including Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Davenport, Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney, and Sioux Falls. These markets will be launched in addition to Duluth, Fargo, Madison, and Omaha, which were previously announced by DirecTV. Check the Local-into-Local Scorecard to keep up with the race as DirecTV and DISH Network launch local channels across the region. (1/10/2004)

    Wausau's FOX55 (WFXS) has received a construction permit for a 150kW translator in Rhinelander on channel 52. W52DV will transmit from the WJFW/12 tower east of Rhinelander, and will improve WFXS' signal in northwestern Oneida County. 150kW is the maximum power for UHF low-power/translator stations. (1/8/2004)

    Is the end near for the All News (and some Talk) format on WMNN/1330? A filing with the FCC about the sale of an Illinois station (WAUR/930 Sandwich-Chicago) to Advance Acquisitions mentions that the company will also file an application for assignment of WMNN's license. Advance Acquisitions is a subsidiary of Starboard Media, which operates the "Relevant Radio" network, currently heard in the Twin Cities on WMIN/740 (Hudson) and KSMM/1530 (Shakopee). WMNN is operated by the Minnesota News Network, a subsidiary of Minnesota Public Radio parent American Public Media Group. MPR management told the St. Paul Pioneer Press it had no comment. MNN also operates the Nostalgia simulcast of KLBB/1400 and KLBP/1470. (1/7/2004)

    Bruce Linder's KMHL Broadcasting group has been operating KNSG/94.7 (Springfield) since last summer, and now the station's purchase from Radio Bismarck-Mandan has been filed with the FCC. Last year, Radio Bismarck-Mandan received KNSG, along with KNUJ and KNUJ-FM, from Clear Channel, which got KXMR/710 (Bismarck, ND) in return. Now, KMHL Broadcasting will pay Radio Bismarck-Mandan $525,000 for KNSG. The station ended its Country format in June 2003 for a simulcast with Linder's KARZ/107.5 (Marshall), then split off for Christmas music in November, and debuted an Adult Contemporary format a few weeks ago. (1/7/2004)

    Minnesota Public Radio has signed on its new 6kW KNSE/90.1 (Austin), which carries MPR's News/Talk network. The new station uses a directional antenna to prevent interference to WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames). KNSE delivers a good signal to Austin and Albert Lea. Translators at 103.3 in Austin and 103.9 in Albert Lea which had previously carried the News/Talk network have switched to the Classical network, and a translator at 103.9 in Austin that previously broadcast the Classical network has gone off the air. (1/6/2004, updated translator info 1/9)

    Leo Axdahl has turned over the management of his Sioux Falls stations to Feller Broadcasting, according to the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader. The stations are Soft Oldies KSQB/1520 (Sioux Falls), `60s-`80s Oldies KSQB-FM/95.7 (Dell Rapids), and Country KKHG/107.9 (Flandreau). Feller Broadcasting is a partnership of brothers Rob and Nick Feller. (1/6/2004)

    WisconsinBroadcasting.com reports that WCLB/950 (Sheboygan) dropped Oldies for Sports, using ESPN Radio, on Saturday morning. (1/3/2004)

    WEXT/104.7 (Sturtevant) has received a construction permit to move its transmitter to the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, with 4.2kW at 103m. The Nextmedia station currently targets Racine and Kenosha as "Extreme Country," but after the transmitter move, 104.7 will have a good signal to most of the Milwaukee area. (1/3/2004)

    WisconsinBroadcasting.com reports that a format changed heralded the end of 2003 in Madison. Clear Channel's WCJZ/96.3 dropped Smooth Jazz for a ticking clock, and then debuted a Hard Rock format as "Mad Radio 96.3" on New Year's Eve. The Smooth Jazz format had begun in March 2002. The "Mad" identity was last used by Clear Channel's WMAD/92.1, which transitioned to "Mix 92.1" in October 2002. The new Hard Rock format works in tandem with Clear Channel's Classic Rock WIBA-FM/101.5 to compete with Mid-West Management's WJJO/94.1. (1/1/2004)

    WM Broadcasting is buying KWOM/1600 (Watertown) from Minnesota Valley Broadcasting for $600,000. WM is headed by Pedro Zamora of Brownstown, Michigan. KWOM currently carries ABC's Oldies Radio format and has a good signal in the western Twin Cities metro. The station broadcasts from just west of Lake Minnetonka, with a 5kW directional signal day and night. (1/1/2004)

    Upper Midwest Broadcasting: News/Main | IA | MN | NE | ND | SD | WI | MI