January 2009

KBZR/102.7 (Lincoln) is now simulcasting KVSS/88.9 (Omaha), which ultimately plans to move its Catholic format to 102.7 following its move to a site midway between the two cities. The simulcast began Thursday (Jan. 29) at 2:30 p.m. The station plans to move in April to a tower near Gretna, where it will transmit with 46.1kW/409m. 102.7's community of license will be changed to Papillion as part of the move. As previously reported, KVSS has sold the 88.9 license to Bible Broadcasting Network, but continues to look for a buyer for the construction permit for KOLB/93.7 (Firth-Lincoln). (1/30/2009)

There are several more developments regarding move-ins to the Omaha market:

  • Chapin Enterprises' KRKR/95.1 (Lincoln), which has a construction permit to become an Omaha rimshot on 94.9 licensed to Valley, has applied to remain licensed to Lincoln but reduce power from its current 50kW/87m (class C2) to 6kW/56m (A).
  • Hawkeye Communications' KCSI/95.3 (Red Oak, IA), which has a construction permit to become an Omaha rimshot licensed to Treynor, has applied to remain licensed to Red Oak and increase from its current 20.5kW/111m (C3) to 35kW/178m (C2) from a tower midway between Red Oak and Council Bluffs.
  • NRG Media's KOOO/101.9 (Lincoln-Omaha) has applied to change its community of license to the Omaha suburb of La Vista and move its transmitter from near Gretna, where it's currently 100kW/365m (C0), to Omaha with 100kW/301m (C0). (1/30/2009)

    Extreme Grace Media is buying translators K214EJ/90.7 (Iowa Falls) and K246BE/97.1 (Williamsburg) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $18,000. Extreme Grace Media owns KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha) and has been growing a network of translators. (1/30/2009)

    Minnesota Public Radio has announced a new Saturday afternoon lineup for its News/Talk network to reflect the departure of Weekend America, which airs from Noon-2 and is ending production. "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" will air at Noon, followed by "This American Life" at 1, which moves from 3. A show highlighting the best of the weekday show "Midmorning" will air in the 3:00 hour. The change is effective Feb. 7. (1/30/2009)

    All Access reports the St. Louis Park City Council has denied Northern Lights Broadcasting's request to build a tower at Salem Broadcasting's WWTC/KYCR (AM) site, replacing a shorter tower. The new tower would have been used by KTTB "B96.3," which has applied to change its community of license from Glencoe to Edina. KTTB has not yet modified its application with the FCC to reflect any change in the proposed facility after the city council's action. (1/29/2009)

    DirecTV has added HD locals in the Wausau/Rhinelander market, including WAOW-ABC, WSAW-CBS, WFXS-FOX, WJFW-NBC, and WHRM-PBS. The HD feed of WFXS/55 (Wittenberg) is not yet available over the air, since WFXS was not granted a digital companion channel and will flash-cut to digital around Feb. 17. Incidentally, WFXS' broadcast signal went to test pattern on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 27) after a problem with its studio-transmitter link. Satellite and larger cable systems receive a direct feed and were not affected. (1/29/2009)

    The Rhinelander Daily News reports that NRG Media has eliminated two on-air positions at WRLO/105.3 (Antigo-Rhinelander): morning host Nick Summers and news director John Burton. The station now carries the syndicated Bob & Tom show in the morning. Meanwhile, updating the earlier report about layoffs at Clear Channel in Madison, The Capital Times reports a total of eight positions were affected. (1/23/2009)

    All Access and the Star Tribune report the following cuts as part of national layoffs at Clear Channel:
    Des Moines: KPTL program director Deeya
    Madison: WXXM program director Brian Turany, WMAD assistant program director/music director Tyler Reese
    Minneapolis: Kool 108 program director Derek Moran, Kool 108 host Dan Riggs, K102 music director/host Mary McKay (Gallas), KFAN host Chad Hartman and producer Darren "Doogie" Wolfson. (1/21/2009)

    A page on the KOLN/KGIN website indicates FOX is about to find a new home in Lincoln and the Tri-Cities, on Gray Television's KOLN-DT/10.2 (Lincoln) and satellite KGIN-DT/11.2 (Grand Island). The market's current FOX affiliates are KTVG/17 (Grand Island) and satellite KSNB/4 (Superior), which are operated by Pappas Telecasting. No date for the new station's launch is listed. The website says "FOX 10/11" local and syndicated programming will include 10/11 News, Husker Basketball, Nebraska Wesleyan football, Mike & Juliet, Scrubs, Millionaire, George Lopez, Oprah, Access Hollywood, and Cheers. "MyTV" will move to 10.3 and 11.3, but listings on the "FOX 10/11" page indicate FOX will replace MyTV on cable and satellite providers. KOLN/KGIN is a primary CBS affiliate; Pappas also runs ABC affiliates KHGI/13 (Kearney) and KWNB/6 (Hayes Center) and CW+ affiliate KCWL/51 (Lincoln). Update: access to the page has now been blocked, but Google has a cached version. (1/20/2009)

    Mid-West Management's WTUX/1550 (Madison) reverted to its former WHIT callsign on Monday, Jan. 19 and dropped Nostalgia for `50s and `60s Oldies. Shows hosted by Carol Koby and Ben Bendetti are moving to the Saturday lineup at sister station WTDY/1670. WHIT is a 5kW daytimer. (1/20/2009)

    As Congress considers new legislation to push back the end of analog full-power TV, currently set for Feb. 17, the FCC has released a report and order allowing some stations to keep their analog signals on the air until March 19, if they apply for special temporary authority to do so. The "analog nightlight" allows the transmitters to remain on the air only to broadcast emergency messages and information about how to receive digital TV. Generally, eligible stations are those not planning to convert their current analog channel to digital and those not located on channels 52-69, which are being discontinued. However, the only stations in the Upper Midwest which the FCC lists as having indicated an interest in participating are KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul) and KSTC/45 (Minneapolis). Some stations listed as eligible have already announced plans to terminate analog broadcasting ahead of the required date. (1/17/2009)

    At least 13 full-power TV stations in the Upper Midwest have now terminated analog broadcasting in favor of digital-only. NBC affiliate KMOT/10 (Minot, ND) plans to end analog broadcasts this Tuesday (1/20) and begin digital broadcasts on channel 10 the next day. Red River Broadcast Corp. plans to end analog broadcasts on six FOX and NBC stations in the Duluth, Fargo, and Sioux Falls markets on Feb. 1. Click here for a complete list. (1/17/2009)

    In the analog era, VHF channels were seen as desirable, with UHF stations dismissed for being weak and hard to receive. But with the digital transition looming, most VHF Low stations (channels 2-6) are choosing to keep their digital broadcasts on UHF and abandon VHF, while most VHF High stations (7-13) are converting their analog VHF channel to digital. Here's a look at the changes in the Upper Midwest:

  • The most dramatic change is in Omaha, where all three VHF stations will leave the air, leaving only UHF stations (though several VHF stations will be on the air in neighboring Lincoln).
  • Among markets with at least four stations, Madison will be the only other all-UHF market in the region, with the city's only analog VHF station moving to UHF, and another station that had been operating digitally on VHF moving back to UHF.
  • Besides the two markets above, Fargo, Marquette, and Milwaukee will have all of their "big four" network affiliates on UHF. (PBS stations remain on VHF in the latter three cities.)
  • No market will have all "big four" networks on VHF, except except Quincy-Keokuk, where two of the "big four" are actually subchannels.
  • Sioux Falls is the only area to gain a VHF channel, with FOX affiliate KTTW moving from channel 17 to 7, joining the CBS and ABC affiliates on VHF. (1/15/2009)

    Armada Media's WSFQ/96.3 (Peshtigo-Marinette-Menominee) has transitioned from Classic Rock to `70s-`80s Hits as "Hits 96.3" (1/13/2009)

    The owners of KCOG/1400 and KMGO/98.7 (Centerville) are buying KELR-FM/105.3 (Chariton). Honey Creek Broadcasting, owned by Fredric and Carolyn Jenkins, will pay FMC Broadcasting, owned by Thomas Palen, $349,000 for KELR. KMGO and KELR have similar coverage areas; KMGO has a construction permit for an upgrade that would give it a rimshot signal to Des Moines. (1/11/2009)

    Cumulus Media will continue to operate its Green Bay market stations through a local marketing agreement after trading five of them to Clear Channel in exchange for two stations in the Cincinnati market (see 1/1 item). To comply with market ownership caps, Cumulus is transferring WZNN/106.7 (Allouez-Green Bay) and WWWX/96.9 (Oshkosh) to WI Radio, LLC, controlled by Scott Knoblauch of Greenville, SC. Cumulus will continue to operate WZNN/WWWX through a facilities and services agreement. (1/11/2009)

    CBS affiliate KXJB/4 (Valley City-Fargo) is the latest station to be affected by a retransmission consent dispute. The station left DirecTV on Thursday (1/8). (1/9/2009)

    The number of digital TV channels available on the Iron Range has ballooned from 2 to 11 with the sign-on of WRPT-DT/31 (Hibbing) and the flash-cut of KRII/11 (Chisholm) from analog to digital. WRPT-DT signed on around the new year, relaying the four channels of PBS member station WDSE-DT (Duluth). WRPT is operating at 35.2kW under a special temporary authority and plans to get up to 250kW after Feb. 17, using equipment WIRT-DT (Hibbing) no longer needs after it moves digital broadcasts from channel 36 to 13. Meanwhile, KRII-DT began digital broadcasts on Jan. 6. The station had signed on as a satellite of NBC affiliate KBJR/6 (Superior-Duluth) in 2002 and did not have a digital companion channel. It now carries NBC HD on 11.1, CW+ on 11.2, CBS in 16:9 SD on 11.3, "News Now" on 11.4, and My Network TV on 11.9. The KRII-DT channels simulcast with the digital channels of KBJR-DT and KDLH-DT (Duluth).

    Meanwhile, in Duluth, KBJR-DT is now simulcasting KDLH's CBS programming in 16:9 SD on channel 6.3 since KBJR's signal is stronger than KDLH's. The stations are both operating at lower power since their shared digital antenna was damaged last March. It may not be replaced until this June, according to a FCC filing. (1/8/2009)

    VSS Catholic Communications has found a buyer for KVSS/88.9 (Omaha): Bible Broadcasting Network. VSS is selling 88.9 to BBN for $825,000 because its buying KBZR/102.7 (Lincoln), which has a construction permit to add coverage of Omaha. 102.7 will change its change its community of license to Papillion and transmit with 54kW/386m from near Gretna, covering both the Omaha and Lincoln areas. KVSS' website states that it may begin simulcasting on 102.7 this month while its still in Lincoln, with a move to the new tower expected in spring. The sale to BBN also includes translator K276FB/103.1 (Schuyler). BBN owns dozens of stations, mostly in the South. Meanwhile, VSS is still looking for a buyer for its construction permit for KOLB/93.7 (Firth), which would cover Lincoln. (1/7/2009)

    The Green Bay Press Gazette reports that about 40 people are out of work after Sovereign City Radio Services in Allouez shut down. Sovereign City had created "The Oasis" syndicated Adult Contemporary format including evening host Wendy Templeton, whose show had aired on 104.3 "The Breeze" (WECB Seymour-Green Bay). Other "Oasis" programming aired on WOVM/91.1 (Appleton), which appears to still be airing automated music. (1/7/2009)

    WisconsinBroadcasting.com reports that WLKD/1570 (Minocqua) has reverted to Nostalgia, using the "Music of Your Life" network. WLKD had dropped that same network for ESPN Radio in fall 2004. (1/7/2009)

    Ten former Dial Global and Jones Radio Networks syndicated formats have merged into five:

  • Classic Rock: JRN's Rock Classics + Dial Global's Adult Rock & Roll
  • Hot AC: JRN's Hot AC + Dial Global's Bright AC
  • Hot Country: JRN's CD Country + Dial Global's Hot Country
  • Kool Gold: JRN's Oldies Station/Good Time Oldies + Dial Global's Kool Gold
  • Mainstream Country: JRN's US Country + Dial Global's Mainstream Country
    The networks merged on Dec. 29. In addition, JRN's Nostalgia network merged into Dial Global's Adult Standards network last fall. JRN's Adult Contemporary, Classic Country, Classic Hits, and True Country networks continue under the Dial Global name, which now offers fifteen syndicated formats. (1/7/2009)

    Minnesota Public Radio is adding a two-hour block of "Radio Heartland" to its News/Talk network's Saturday night lineup effective this weekend. "Radio Heartland" is a 24-hour service airing on KNOW-HD2 and the web, featuring acoustic and Americana music and a morning show hosted by longtime MPR personality Dale Connelly. The 9-11 p.m. Saturday night show displaces "The Jazz Connection with Maryann Sullivan." (1/7/2009)

    CBS affiliate KIMT-DT2 (Mason City, IA-Austin-Rochester, MN) has launched a My Network TV affiliate on channel 3.2. The channel carries syndicated programming and repeats of KIMT newscasts during the day and late evening, and weather radar overnight. (1/6/2009)

    A number of "Retro Television Network" affiliates lost programming Sunday (1/4) amid an apparent dispute or lack of communication between former RTN owner Equity Media and new owner Luken Communications. Former RTN feeds, which had originated at Equity's Little Rock headquarters, were disrupted by a slate saying Equity had received no response from Luken about efforts to coordinate a seamless transition from one owner to the other. (TV Newsday has an update.) RTN affiliates include KLKN-DT2 (Lincoln), WOI-DT2 (Ames-Des Moines), KWWL-DT3 (Waterloo), WHBF-DT2 (Rock Island-Quad Cities), WBAY-DT3 (Green Bay), KAUN-LP/KWSD-DT2 (Sioux Falls), and KKRA-LP (Rapid City). Equity-owned KTUW-DT (Scottsbluff, NE), which carried RTN, is now showing other syndicated programming. (1/5/2009)

    KWWL-DT2 (Waterloo-Cedar Rapids) is running a slate saying it plans to add ThisTV on channel 7.2, previously occupied by NBC WeatherPlus. ThisTV, which launched in November, features movies from the MGM library and a few classic TV shows. (1/5/2009)

    KRKI/99.5 (Newcastle, WY-Rapid City) has dropped Country for ESPN Radio. It's the only all-Sports station in the market, which has five remaining Country stations. KRKI transmits with 100kW from a site southwest of Hill City and has a 550-Watt booster in Rapid City; it also has a pending application to change its community of license to Keystone, though the transmitter location would not change. KRKI and "Oldies 101.9" (KFMH Belle Fourche-Rapid City) are owned by Bad Lands Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Oregon Trail Broadcasting. (1/5/2009)

    South Dakota Public Broadcasting has added PBS World and Create on digital subchannels of its statewide TV network effective Monday. SDPB has nine digital TV transmitters around the state. (1/5/2009)

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Time Warner Cable has dropped Wisconsin Public Television from its systems in southeastern Wisconsin, saying WPT duplicates what's already available on Milwaukee Public Television's stations. The Milwaukee area joins the Superior area as places where the state-funded network cannot be seen. (1/5/2009)

    Cumulus Media is transferring five stations in the Green Bay market to Clear Channel and one to WI Radio, LLC, along with an Oshkosh station. Clear Channel will get WDUZ/1400 (Green Bay), WQLH/98.5 (Green Bay), WOGB/103.1 (Kaukauna), WPCK/104.9 (Denmark), and WDUZ-FM/107.5 (Brillion) in exchange for two stations in Cincinnati. Documents filed as part of the Clear Channel deal indicate WZNN/106.7 (Allouez-Green Bay) and WWWX/96.9 (Oshkosh) will be transferred to WI Radio, LLC, but that deal has not yet been filed with the FCC. Another document references WZNN and WWWX being placed into an independent trust. Cumulus will apparently retain control of four other stations in the Appleton-Oshosh area. Clear Channel also has groups in the Milwaukee, Madison, and Eau Claire markets. (1/1/2009, updated 1/11)

    Many former NBC WeatherPlus affiliates continue to carry weather programming, despite the national shutdown of the network on Dec. 31, 2008. KARE-DT2 Minneapolis, WTMJ-DT2 Milwaukee, and WHO-DT2 Des Moines continue to locally automate the WeatherPlus graphics, while KBJR-DT4 Superior-Duluth launched a "NewsCenter Now" channel using the WeatherPlus graphics alongside simulcasts and repeats of newscasts. (1/1/2009) Note: WMTV-DT2 Madison was previously listed here in error. The station has always carried the AccuWeather Channel.

    KSMQ-DT (Austin) has added MHz WorldView on channel 15.2. The channel airs english-language newscasts from around the world. KSMQ also carries Create on 15.3 and the MN Channel on 15.4. (1/1/2009)

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