WGGL/91.1 (Houghton) has dropped five hours of midday Classical music in favor of News and Talk programs. It's now carrying BBC Newshour at 9 and 3, On Point from 10 to Noon, and Talk of the Nation from 2 to 3. Two hours of Classical music remain at Noon and WGGL also continues to carry Classical music from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The changes took effect Dec. 3, along with the addition of more national programs on the weekend. Click here for the complete schedule. WGGL is operated by Minnesota Public Radio but carries national versions of programs rather than MPR's feed. Thanks to help from Lake Superior, its fringe signal can be heard on many radios in Thunder Bay, Ont., and parts of Cook County, Minn. (which is in a different time zone than Houghton). (1/31/2013)
Cumulus Media continues to use Cambridge as its callsign parking lot. WGVY/105.3 (Cambridge), part of the Adult Contemporary "Love 105" trimulcast, had switched to WNSH in November as Cumulus prepared the launch of a "Nash" Country format in the New York market on WRXP/94.7 (Newark, NJ). FCC records indicate the Cambridge and Newark stations formally swapped callsigns on Tuesday (1/29). Radio Insight has reported that Cumulus registered a number of domain names indicating possible plans to revive the WRXP callsign on a suburban New York station. (1/30/2013)
Classic TV network Me-TV is apparently the first subchannel to be regarded as a national network by ratings service Nielsen Media. Network operator Weigel Broadcasting, based in Chicago, announced Tuesday (1/29) that Nielsen will begin national TV audience measurement of Me-TV starting this spring. Me-TV entered national distribution just two years ago and now reaches 87 percent of households nationwide through 141 affiliates, including 28 in the top 30 markets, enough to meet Nielsen's policies for reporting as a national TV network. Me-TV has affiliates in 16 Upper Midwest markets, including a full-power primary affiliate in Sioux Falls. Neal Sabin, Weigel's President of Content and Networks, said in a press release that the ratings Nielsen has shown the network so far "were above our expectations and certainly grabbed our attention." The move will allow the network to seek larger advertisers. Me-TV features classic TV hits around the clock from the 1950's to 1970s and is known for its unique promotions and stunts. The lineup includes M*A*S*H, Perry Mason, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy -- and no paid programming. (1/29/2013)
Broadcasting & Cable reports FOX and Weigel Broadcasting are partnering to create a new subchannel called Movies!, which will launch this spring in Minneapolis and 16 other markets where FOX owns TV stations. Unlike most other subchannel networks, Movies! will broadcast in 16:9 format. It will presumably be carried on a subchannel of FOX 9 (KMSP); co-owned My 29 (WFTC) carries Bounce TV on a subchannel. Weigel, based in Chicago, also operates movie-based network This TV (which it co-owns with MGM) and classic TV network Me-TV. Movies! will also compete with Tribune's Antenna TV and NBC's Cozi TV, which both mix classic TV and movies. (1/28/2013)
A belated note that KDLT/46.2 (Sioux Falls) and satellite KDLV/5.2 (Mitchell) are carrying Cozi TV, NBC's new subchannel network of classic TV shows, movies, and entertainment programming. The subchannels had apparently been empty since Universal Sports ended broadcast distribution a year earlier. KDLT, which is a primary NBC affiliate, is the first Upper Midwest affiliate of Cozi TV. (1/28/2013)
KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) has returned to DISH Network after a retransmission consent dispute that kept the ABC affiliate off the satellite TV provider for more than a month. KCRG returned to DISH on Friday (1/25). The station did not say whether its subchannel would be carried on DISH, which was one of the issues cited by the station last month. (1/27/2013)
Duluth's FOX 21 (KQDS-DT) is poised to add an hour-long morning newscast, according to several job postings on its website. The station is seeking a news anchor who will also produce and report, a meteorologist, and a director. The Red River Broadcast Co. station began its 9 p.m. newscast in 2007 and added a 6 p.m. newscast in 2010. No launch date or time is mentioned for the morning newscast, but FOX affiliates typically focus their efforts on the 7 a.m. hour when ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates are airing national morning programs. (1/25/2013)
Herbert M. Hoppe is buying translator W296CH/107.1 (Hinckley-Mora), which is apparently on a path to St. Cloud through a series of "hops" and could be used to relay one of Hoppe's AM stations once it reaches its destination. Hoppe will pay Blue Wing, Inc., headed by Mark Hoppe, $36,000 for the translator, according to an agreement filed with the FCC which also states, "Any or all disputes will be settled at the park bench overlooking the Mississippi River at Hester Park." W296CH was originally Minnesota Public Radio translator W293AV/106.5. MPR sold Blue Wing W293AV and another Hinckley translator after signing on a full-power station in the area; Blue Wing then sought a waiver to move both translators directly to St. Cloud to relay Hoppe-owned AM stations. When the FCC didn't act on the applications, they were modified to specify a move to tower west of Hinckley. They then applied for and received construction permits to move to a tower near Mora, where license to cover applications remain pending. The sale agreement only includes one of the translators. Further complicating matters, the sale agreement itself refers to the callsign of the other translator (W286CC) but was filed under the W296CH facility ID. (1/24/2013)
The FCC has deleted the license of VCY America translator K239BD/95.7 (Aberdeen), which was to have carried VCY's non-commercial Christian programming. The commission says it sent the station a letter last November, asking it to explain why it appeared it had been off the air for more than a year in violation of federal law. The station did not reply within the required thirty days, so its license was cancelled. K239BD had informed the FCC that it went silent on Sept. 2, 2011, and filed for a six-month extension to its special temporary authority to remain silent in March 2012. It then applied for a license to cover a construction permit in November, two months after the STA expired. (1/23/2013)
Golden West Broadcasting has modified its application for a new station in Steinbach to remove it from competition with the CBC. Golden West had originally applied for a new Country station on 88.5 which was mutually exclusive with the CBC's application to move Première Chaîne station CKSB/1050 (St-Boniface) to 88.1 with 100kW/223m. (A CKSB rebroadcaster on 90.5 would be turned off along with 1050.) Now, Golden West has modified its application to specify 107.7 as the frequency for the new Steinbach station using 30kW/117m, which is less than the 61kW/117m that had been sought for 88.5. Golden West has two existing stations in Steinbach, Easy Listening CHSM/1250 and Adult Contemporary CILT-FM/96.7, and also promotes its CHVN-FM/95.1 (Winnipeg) in Steinbach. The Steinbach application is scheduled to be considered at a March 20 hearing in Gatineau, Quebec. The CKSB application was considered at a Nov. 7 hearing but no decision has been issued.
Meahwhile, the CRTC recently approved a different FM frequency as the new home for Golden West's CKMW/1570 (Winkler). The Country station was originally slated to move to 103.7 with a directional 61kW signal; now it'll be on 88.9 with 100kW nondirectional. Besides giving the station wider coverage, the change has the added benefit of allowing Golden West to add CKMW into the antenna already used by CJEL-FM/93.5. (For confused U.S. readers, 88-92 MHz is not reserved for non-commercial broadcasting in Canada like it is in the U.S.) (1/22/2013)
The Easy Listening sounds of KNXR/97.5 (Rochester) could soon be soothing the capital city. The FCC has approved an application to move KNXR translator W244CS/96.7 (Hudson, WI) to a water tower in West St. Paul, using 71 Watts to deliver a good signal to much of St. Paul. The translator's callsign will change to K244EQ with the move. It was originally on 95.7 in Hudson and then moved to 96.7 from a residence in Woodbury when the sign-on of WDMO/95.7 (Baldwin, WI) forced it to move, but the translator left the air shortly after the move to Woodbury. The water tower to be used by K244EQ is also the home of 170-Watt KFAI translator K294AM/106.7. W244CS/K244EQ is owned by William Cornwall's United Broadcasting System, LLC, while KNXR is owned by United Audio Corp, headed by Tom Jones of Rochester. (1/21/2013)
The Des Moines Register reports that KXLQ/1490 (Indianola) is now carrying ESPN Radio after former affiliate KBGG/1700 (Des Moines) switched to CBS Sports. KBGG is owned by Cumulus Media, which distributes CBS. KXLQ is owned by Birach Broadcasting and is being operated by longtime central Iowa sports broadcaster Marty Tirell, who relaunched "The Jock" format on the station last year with his own show and Yahoo! Sports Radio. The 1kW station has a rimshot signal to Des Moines but is somewhat difficult to hear in the capital city some nights since 1490 is a crowded frequency. (1/19/2013)
An FM station's plan to move into the Sioux City market is apparently on hold. In 2010, the FCC granted KCTY/104.9 (Wayne) a construction permit to change its community of license to Emerson and move its transmitter to a site near Hubbard, giving it a strong signal to Sioux City. The CP is due to expire in June and KCTY has now applied to remain at its current transmitter site but still change its community of license to Emerson, saying, "Due to financial restrictions, the authorized Construction Permit site location is no longer feasible." The station could re-apply for the Sioux City move-in, assuming no other station in the region files a competing proposal. (1/18/2013)
Minnesota Public Radio will adjust the weekend schedule on its News/Talk network staring Jan. 19. American Routes and the third airings of several programs will be dropped and many other shows will get new time slots. Among the new offerings are Ask Me Another, Wits, and The Strand on Saturday nights and The TED Radio Hour and Snap Judgement on Sunday nights. Here's the complete schedule. American Routes also airs on MPR HD2 service "Radio Heartland" in the Twin Cities. (1/18/2013)
New station KNNZ/89.1 (Hawley, MN-Fargo) is on the air carrying a Modern Rock format that was already streaming at radiofargo.com. "Ken's FM" has a rimshot/fringe signal to Fargo, using 100kW/81m from a tower near Barnesville. Its Facebook page says the station signed on Dec. 31. (1/16/2013)
Longtime Madison radio host "Sly" (John Sylvester) has found a new home, but it's a little out of town. He's announced plans to move to WEKZ-FM/93.7 (Monroe), where he will start a 3-6:30 p.m. talk show on Feb. 4. WEKZ-FM has a rimshot signal to Madison and Rockford, IL and otherwise carries a mix of local information and Oldies. "Sly" lost his last home when WTDY/1670 (Madison) dropped its longtime News/Talk format in November. Before that, he hosted mornings at Classic Rock-formatted WIBA-FM/101.5 (Madison). (1/16/2013)
Michael J. Mesic is adding a second station in Door County with the purchase of WSRG/97.7 (Sturgeon Bay) from Al Johnson Broadcasting, LLC. Case Communications LLC, owned by Michael and Carrie Mesic, will pay $410,000 for WSRG, which currently carries a Country format as "The Big Dawg." Michael Mesic, who went by "Justin Case" in previous radio jobs, signed on Adult Alternative-formatted 106.9 "The Lodge" (WLGE Baileys Harbor-Ephraim) in 2008. (1/16/2013)
The FCC says Cumulus Media will have to pay $1,337,000 for an FM station in the Bismarck market that it never put on the air. In a 2004 auction, Cumulus was the provisionally winning bidder for both 103.3 Hazelton and 107.5 Cannon Ball. It kept the $1,207,000 Hazleton bid (and built that station, KUSB) but withdrew the $1,461,000 Cannon Ball bid, and the frequency ended up going to World Radio Link in a 2006 auction for $124,000. FCC rules say when a provisionally winning bidder withdraws, the bidder has to pay the difference between its bid and the price the frequency ultimately goes for. That leaves a balance of $1,337,000 for Cumulus to pay, and this week the FCC denied a petition for reconsideration from Cumulus and other companies in similar situations.
Another Bismarck-market allotment, 105.9 Flasher, is also included in the denial, but the situation is slightly different. Connoisseur Media, LLC (formerly Bigglesworth Broadcasting, LLC) withdrew its $893,750 bid for the Flasher station in 2004, but then commonly-owned Mini Me Media, LLC won the frequency in the 2006 auction with a $284,000 bid. The FCC decided Connoisseur still had to make up the $609,750 difference, essentially meaning it will pay the original price. Both the Flasher and Cannon Ball stations (KKBO/105.9 and KXRV/107.5) are now owned by Radio Bismarck Mandan. (Cumulus' Bismarck group is now owned by Townsquare Media.) (1/16/2013)
New station KXDI/93.9 (Belfield-Dickinson) is on the air with a Country format as "I-94." The station's Facebook page says it signed on last Thursday (1/10) featuring market veteran "Wild Bill" Palanuk. KXDI is owned by Steven Marks, who also owns one radio station in Williston and seven radio stations and one TV station in eastern Montana, and competes primarily with Clear Channel's "Roughrider Country 99.1" (KCAD Dickinson). KXDI uses 100kW/254m from a tower southwest of Dickinson. It is the third standalone station in the market of six commercial stations. (It would've been the seventh commercial station but KZZQ/101.9 Richardton, which signed on last year, was sold to a non-commercial Catholic broadcaster last fall.) (1/14/2013)
Family Radio is asking the FCC for a waiver to return its Duluth translator to the air. W203AL/88.5 was forced off the air last year by the Wisconsin Public Radio's sign-on of WSSU/88.5 (Superior). Translators are normally only allowed to change to frequencies that are within 0.6 MHz (first, second, and third-adjacent channels) or 10.6/10.8 MHz away (IF frequency). W203AL can't move to any adjacent channel due to other stations and is asking for a waiver to move to 90.9 instead, with a slight power bump from 7 Watts to 10 Watts. The application does not mention the possibility of moving to an IF frequency, such as 99.3, but such a move would not legally allow the translator to continue receiving its feed of Family Radio's KEAR-FM (Sacramento, CA) via satellite. Translators in the commercial portion of the band (92-108 MHz) which are not "fill-in" translators (within the primary station's main coverage area) must receive their feed over the air. (1/14/2013)
WKLK-FM/96.5 (Cloquet) has applied for an upgrade that could slightly improve its signal to Duluth. The station would increase from 25kW to 36kW while remaining at its current transmitter site near Cloquet with an antenna 96m above average terrain. The upgrade would bump WKLK-FM up from class C3 to C2, but the station is prohibited from going to full power for class C2 (50kW/150m) due to its proximity to WJJH/96.7 (Ashland, WI). The Twin Ports are already within WKLK-FM's protected service area but it's difficult to receive the station in the city due to mountainous topography and intermodulation interference. WKLK-FM is owned by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, which bought it and two other stations last year, and runs a Classic Rock format as "K96.5." (1/14/2013)
KMCS/93.1 (Muscatine) dropped its "MaC FM" Variety Hits format for a broad Classic-based Rock format as "Vintage Sound 93.1" on Monday (1/14). The Quad City Times reports personalities include two alums of Contemporary Hits-formatted "B100" (KBEA/99.7 Muscatine-Quad Cities): Anthony "Tony Tone" Loconsole in the mornings and "Pippa" in the afternoons. The "MaC FM" format will continue on sister station KMCN/94.7 (Clinton), which launched it simultaneously with KMCS in 2005 ("MaC" standing for "Muscatine and Clinton). Both stations have fringe signals to the Quad Cities. (1/12/2013, updated 1/14)
WZRK/1550 (Lake Geneva, WI) has gone silent pending a move into the Chicago market. The station tells the FCC it went off the air Thursday (1/10) and is seeking permission to remain silent until it constructs its new facility in Highland Park, IL. The station, owned by GS Radio of Illinois, will be licensed to Northbrook and use 1.5kW nondirectional, daytime-only. The CP for the move expires on Nov. 15. A message posted on the station's website says it "has ceased operations at this time due to repeated theft at our transmitter." WZRK was also silent for a time last summer after copper thieves struck its Lyons Township, WI tower site. It had carred "The Avenue," a syndicated mix of Jazz, Rock, Swing, and Blues. (1/11/2013)
A company that's trying to build a broadband network distributed by TV stations says uncertainty about federal regulations is preventing it from getting some low-power TV stations on the air by the deadline. CTB Spectrum Services has construction permits for hundreds of LPTV stations nationwide. Its website states plans to create a broadband network based on joint ventures with full-power stations in major markets and chains of LPTV stations along interstates in rural areas. Some of the LPTV CP's, including CP's for stations in La Crosse, Winona, and Eau Claire, were nearing the three-year deadline and recently received extensions from the FCC. In the applications, CTB states that uncertainty about the future of LPTV stations in a possible repacking of the TV spectrum has made investors leery of putting money into the stations. Though the repacking proposal did not come about until years after the CP's were first granted, CTB implies it did not build the LPTV's in the first few years because the FCC has not acted to extend an experiment with LPTV broadband service. The CP's have only been extended by six months for now, but CTB is asking that they be extended until at least Sept. 1, 2015, or eighteen months after the FCC makes a decision on repacking. (1/9/2013)
Wisconsin Public Radio says it will add an hour to "All Things Considered" on Monday, Jan. 14, dropping an hour of Classical music to make way. The afternoon NPR News program will air from 3 to 6:30 on WPR's News and Classical network, pushing other programming back an hour. Marketplace will air at 6:30, Fresh Air at 7, Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin at 8, and Classical music at 9. WPR will then have six hours of Classical programming during the day and seven hours in the late evening and overnight. (Longtime readers may recall that WPR also cut two hours of Classical programming in 2006 to expand Morning Edition and All Things Considered.) The network also offers 24-hour Classical music on HD2 signals and its website, in addition to the News/Talk-formatted Ideas Network. WPR is also adding an hour to Jonathan Overby's Saturday night Higher Ground show, pushing Jazz back to 11. (1/9/2013)
Embattled online TV streaming service Aereo announced Tuesday that it's expanding from New York to 22 additional cities, including Minneapolis and Madison. The service streams signals of broadcast TV stations to users for $8/month without consent from the stations, which has prompted a lawsuit that's still pending. Aereo assigns each user an individual dime-sized antenna within an array of tiny antennas and therefore argues that it is merely offering an antenna service allowed under federal law. Aereo did not announce which geographic areas would be eligible to subscribe to its service; currently, its New York City channels are only available in the city itself. (1/8/2013)
The Twin Cities' Univision affiliate is getting new owners. Media Vista Group, LLC is buying WUMN-LP/13 (Minneapolis) and stations in Kansas City, Fort Meyers, and Naples from SP Television LLC for $3.5 million. Media Vista Group, LLC is headed by Orlando Rosales and also owns a low-power Azteca America affiliate in Naples. WUMN first became an Univision affiliate under the ownership of Equity Media and was sold to Silver Point Capital L.P. in 2009 as part of Equity's bankruptcy. It is the last analog signal on the air in Minneapolis and has no construction permit to convert to digital. Current FCC plans are for all LPTV stations to convert to digital by 2015. (1/8/2013)
Duluth TV and radio veteran Pat Kelly has returned to the airwaves on KDAL/610. Kelly began co-hosting the News/Talk station's morning show on Monday. He has a long history on both radio and TV in the market. On the radio side, he hosted mornings on "96Lite" (KDAL-FM/95.7) from 1985 to 2000. On TV, he worked at CBS affiliate KDLH/3 as a news and weather anchor in the 1980s and again from 1992 until his 2008 retirement, plus a few years at KBJR/6 in the late 1980s. Now, he's co-hosting KDAL's morning show with longtime host Pat Cadigan and newscaster Ken Buehler. (1/7/2013)
On Jan. 8, Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul) will become the first Minnesota station to offer an hour-long newscast at 10 p.m. The change coincides with ABC's national swap of Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel, moving Kimmel to 10:35 p.m. Central time and Nightline to 11:38. KSTP had carried a local newscast at 11 p.m. Now, it'll carry Kimmel at 11 followed by Nightline.
In Milwaukee, Hearst ABC affiliate WISN-TV/12 already has an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast and will delay carry Kimmel to 11 followed by Nightline. Hourlong newscasts at 10 p.m. are the standard for FOX affiliates in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, where prime time runs an hour later and ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates run their local news at 11. (1/7/2013)
The Quad Cities are poised to get a second Spanish-language FM signal as "La Jefa" (WKBF/1270 Rock Island) adds an FM translator. K289BI/105.7 Davenport, owned by First Ventures Capital Partners, says in an application with the FCC that it'll carry WKBF if it gets permission to move its transmitter to the WKBF site in Moline and upgrade to 250 Watts. K289BI is currently licensed to transmit from northwest Davenport with 10 Watts. WKBF is owned by La Jefa Latino Broadcasting, LLC. The FM home of "La Jefa" would be right next door to another Spanish-language FM signal, K291BP/106.1 (Bettendorf). That station transmits with 250 Watts from Davenport and carries the non-commercial "Radio Bilingüe" network via the HD2 channel of KALA/88.5 (Davenport). (1/4/2013)
WBKK/820 (Wilton-Bemidji) has added a simulcast on FM translator K276EP/103.1 (Bemidji), which had previously rebroadcast WBKK's FM sister, "Coyote 102.5" (KKWB Kelliher-Bemidji). WBKK signed on in October with Talk and locally-originated Oldies. The lineup includes a regional morning show simulcast on several De La Hunt Broadcasting stations, Scott Hennen, Laura Ingraham, Jason Lewis, and CBS News. WBKK and KKWB are owned by Edward Paul De La Hunt and operated from downtown Bemidji. (1/4/2013)
The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee reports that WOKY/920 will drop its Classic Country format next Monday (1/7) in favor of Sports. "The Big 920" will simulcast programming with sister Clear Channel station "The Big 1070" (WTSO Madison) in morning and afternoon drive and will also carry some programming from FOX Sports and NBC Sports, according to the Journal Sentinel. The station's lineup already includes some NFL games, NASCAR, and UW Men's and Women's Basketball. WOKY will be the third English-language all-Sports station in Milwaukee, not counting the heavy amount of Sports programming on Journal News/Talker WTMJ/620. Milwaukee had two Classic Country outlets up until recently, but WOKY's FM competitor (Saga's WZBK/106.9) flipped to Contemporary Hits last year. (1/2/2013)
After a month of Christmas music followed by several days rotating two songs hinting at its new format, the former WTDY/1670 (Madison) and WTDY-FM/106.7 (Mount Horeb) relaunched as affiliates of the new CBS Sports Radio network on Wednesday (1/2). The AM side switched to WOZN to go along with the new "Zone" slogan, but the FCC database still listed the FM as WTDY-FM as of Thursday. Mid-West Family Broadcasting ended WTDY's long-running News/Talk format just before Thanksgiving. "The Zone" competes with Clear Channel FOX Sports Radio affiliate WTSO/1070 (Madison) and Good Karma Broadcasting's "ESPN 100.5" (WTLX Monona-Madison). (1/2/2013)
As first reported here in November, WGBW/1590 (Denmark-Green Bay) started the year with a switch from Oldies to ESPN Radio. The station, owned by Mark Heller, upgraded to cover Titletown last year. WGBW's switch comes as former ESPN affiliates WDUZ/1400 (Green Bay) and WDUZ-FM/107.5 (Green Bay) switch to the new CBS Sports Radio Network distributed by WDUZ operator Cumulus Media. (1/2/2012)
Three Eagles Communications started the year by launching "Hippie Radio" on at least two of its stations. The syndicated format targets baby boomers with Rock hits from 1964 to 1973.
In Iowa, Hippie Radio is on KTLB/105.9 (Twin Lakes-Fort Dodge), which dumped its brief-lived Oldies format a month ago for Christmas music and then stunted with loops of several songs between Christmas and New Year's. Three Eagles also owns "Classic Hits 92.1 The Eagle" (KZLB Fort Dodge), which focuses mainly on `70s and `80s Rock hits. "The Eagle" was originally on 105.9 and moved to 92.1 when "The Blaze" was extinguished last year; 105.9 revived its previous "Beach" branding for what turned out to only be eight months.
In South Dakota, Hippie Radio is on KKSD/104.3 (Milbank-Watertown), which previously carried a Classic Hits format as "The Fox." KKSD had carried an Oldies format prior to becoming "The Fox" in the mid-2000's. (1/1/2013)
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