Duluth's oldest Christian radio station, WWJC/850, is being sold to Milwaukee-based Christian broadcaster VCY America for $400,000. WWJC has carried Christian programming since its 1959 sign-on and is operated by WWJC, Inc. on a non-profit basis, though the station is commercially licensed. VCY plans to convert the license to non-commercial status. WWJC uses 10kW nondirectional daytime but has no nighttime authorization. VCY owns 21 other radio stations, including WEGZ/105.9 (Washburn, WI), which has a fringe signal to Duluth. WWJC, Inc. is headed by president Albert Elm. (1/31/2014)
The Janesville Gazette reports that Scott Thompson's Big Radio is buying WTJK/1380 (South Beloit, IL) and WWHG/105.9 (Evansville, WI) from Good Karma Broadcasting and will take over the stations Saturday. The purchase price was not disclosed but will likely be revealed once documents are filed with the FCC. Big Radio owns five stations with locally-intensive formats in Monroe, WI and Freeport, IL; Thompson tells the paper WWHG's "Hog" Classic Rock format won't change but WTJK is likely to have "less ESPN and more local news." (1/30/2014, corrected WWHG callsign 2/1)
The former WDKM/106.1 (Adams) launched an Adult Contemporary format as "Wisconsin 106" at 1:06 p.m. Wednesday (1/29) with the new callsign WCWI. Click here to listen to the launch. The change follows the station's sale to Casper Communications, owned by Joseph C. Deschler, Jr. of Spring Grove, MN. Mornings are hosted by regional radio veteran Bob Goff and Joe Casper will host afternoons. The station also plans to carry local news, farm programming, and Adams-Friendship high school sports. (1/29/2014)
WNLI/88.5 and WPFF/90.5 (Sturgeon) have switched to national networks while their sale to the Educational Media Foundation awaits final FCC approval. WNLI is now carrying EMF's Christian Rock "Air-1" network while WPFF carries the Christian Adult Contemporary "K-Love" network. The changeover came last Friday night (1/24). EMF is in the process of buing the stations from Bethesda Christian Broadcasting, which has owned them since 2007, for $825,000. The deal also included two translators in Sheboygan and one apiece in Appleton, WI and Escanaba, Iron Mountain, Ishpeming, and Marquette, MI. (1/29/2014)
A possible future AM station in Nebraska is the only one to be included in a closed auction of 22 construction permits to be conducted by the FCC beginning May 6. Christian broadcaster Bott Communications applied for a new station on 1130 in Ravenna, which would use 12kW daytime and 600 Watts nighttime from a tower site west of Grand Island. The station would use a directional antenna pattern shooting east and west, delivering a strong signal to Grand Island and Kearney with fringe coverage as far as Omaha. The nighttime signal would theoretically provide interference-free service to Grand Island. Bott's application is in competition with one from Advanced Modulation Broadcasting for the same frequency in Eaton, CO. Only Bott and Advanced Modulation Broadcasting will be allowed to compete in the bidding during Auction No. 84; the FCC has set a $3,500 minimum bid. (1/28/2014)
Minnesota Public Radio's WIRR/90.9 (Virginia-Hibbing) tells the FCC its operating at about 15 percent of normal power due to a transmitter failure. The station, which carries Classical MPR, normally uses 21kW/168m (class C2). Its request for special temporary authority says parts have been ordered and repairs will be made as soon as possible. (1/28/2014)
Three applicants for new low-power FM stations on 98.9 in the Twin Cities have asked the FCC to reinstate their applications, saying the FCC incorrectly dismissed them for being too close on the dial to a radio reading service. The FCC dismissed the applications from The Main Street Project, The Organizing Apprenticeship Project, and Pillsbury United Communities on the grounds that the proposed facilities were too close to a radio reading service supposedly carried on an analog subcarrier of Minnesota Public Radio's KSJN/99.5 (Minneapolis). However, the groups jointly submitted a petition for reconsideration containing an email from MPR's chief engineer stating that KSJN doesn't carry the service -- it's instead on KNOW/91.1 (Minneapolis-St. Paul). (1/27/2014, corrected 3/2 to remove South Minniapolis Community Radio, whose petition was filed separately)
CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR NEW LOW-POWER FM STATIONS GRANTED:
The following are the first low-power FM stations granted from last year's round of applications. The stations will operate on a non-commercial basis with 100 Watts or less:
CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED:
Flood Broadcasting is buying a second translator in Nebraska City, with applications indicating both will relay KNCY/1600. Flood will pay VSS Catholic Communications $20,000 for K236BY/95.1, which has a construction permit for a 250-Watt signal. As reported earlier, Flood is also in the process of buying the CP for K288GS/105.5 from Community Broadcasting for $5,000. (1/24/2014)
The FCC has reversed its earlier decision denying an application from Truth Broadcasting's KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) to move closer to Des Moines.
In December, commission staff rejected KTIA's application to change its community of license to Huxley and transmit from a tower near Sheldahl, using 5.3kW/95m (class A), on the stance that the station could theoretically then apply for a facility covering more than half of the Ames Urbanized Area. That would've run afoul of rules intended to preserve rural radio service.
However, KTIA, a Christian Talk station, pointed out that the FCC failed to consider that any future change to KTIA would have to protect adjacent-channel KDAO-FM/99.5 (Eldora-Marshalltown). The FCC agreed it had erred and reinstated the application to pending status.
This is KTIA's second attempt to move closer to Des Moines. The original application would've changed the community of license to Johnston and given the station city-grade coverage of most of the capital city, but it was rejected due to the rural radio rules.
KTIA's move would require KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) to move to 101.7 which, in turn, would displace Iowa Public Radio translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines). The translator already has a construction permit to move to 97.7. (1/23/2014)
NRG Media's WLKD/1570 (Minocqua) has reverted to its previous Soft Oldies format as "The Lake," a little less than two years after flipping to News/Talk. The change back to "The Lake" was first reported by DX-midAMerica. Nine hours of the station's previous Talk lineup had consisted of the now-defunct America's Radio News Network, along with Jerry Doyle, Rustie Humphries, and Phil Hendrie. (1/22/2014)
The FCC has proposed a $10,000 fine against the owner of KZMX/580 (Hot Springs) for alleged violations of tower lighting rules. The FCC says KZMX's tower lights were out on several occasions in early 2013 and that proper FAA notification was not initially made. KZMX owner Jan Charles Gray has 30 days to either pay the fine or seek a reduction or cancellation. The FCC had also proposed a $21,500 fine against Gray's Mount Rushmore Broadcasting in 2012 for numerous alleged violations at KZMX and KZMX-FM/96.7, including "failing to maintain a management or staff presence at the Stations' main studio." Filings indicate KZMX and KZMX-FM have been mostly off the air since 2011, with filings first citing technical issues and then staffing problems. KZMX's most recent special temporary authority to remain silent expired on Jan. 14. Gray also owns two stations in Custer, which filings indicate have been off the air for most of the past several years. (1/22/2014)
Leighton Enterprises is buying the construction permit for K226CA/93.1 (Detroit Lakes) from Shine the Light, Inc. for $12,520. The translator will be used to relay Leighton's KDLM/1340, which had already been indicated as the primary station in a recent application to move K226CA to KDLM's tower. Shine the Light operates a number of translators relaying the Contemporary Christian format of KKEQ/107.1 (Fosston). (1/22/2014)
The owner of a new FM station once poised to provide a rimshot signal to Omaha has asked the FCC for a downgrade following concerns over interference to airplane communications systems.
Kona Coast Radio's KIMI/107.7 (Sidney) has a construction permit for 50kW/124m (class C2) from a tower south of Glenwood, Iowa. However, the FAA asked KIMI to halt program tests because of intermodulation interference to a frequency used at Offutt Air Force Base. (The situation doesn't come as a surprise to those who recall Connoisseur Media's failed attempt to launch a similar station licensed to Pacific Junction, Iowa, in the mid-2000's, which ended with the FCC refunding Connoisseur money it had spent at auction and deleting the allotment after hearing FAA concerns.)
Now, KIMI has applied to drop power to 13kW and change its community of license to Malvern, Iowa, since the station would not provide Sidney a city-grade signal at the lower wattage. The 13kW signal would still reach some, but not all, listeners in Omaha. Kona Coast Radio, headed by Victor Michael, is asking the FCC not to consider the proposal a move into an urbanized area because the airplane interference concerns would prevent the station from upgrading to reach any more of Omaha.
KIMI was originally constructed at Humboldt, NE, and remains licensed there, though filings indicate it was only on the air in Humboldt for a few days and cannot return to the air there because the original facility has already been dismantled. (1/21/2014)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED:
The FCC has granted KNCY-FM/103.1 (Auburn-Nebraska City) an upgrade from 14kW to 50kW, with a slight reduction in antenna height from 133m to 124m above average terrain. The station's class will upgrade from C3 to C2 with the change. KNCY-FM and KNCY/1600 (Nebraska City) were recently sold to Flood Broadcasting; the FM side carries a Country format while the AM carries Classic Country and is in the process of launching an FM translator. (1/20/2014)
Duluth's FOX 21 (KQDS-TV) began broadcasting its newscasts in HD on Sunday (1/19), upgrading from 4:3 SD. The other stations in the market have been offering their newscasts in widescreen SD for several years. (1/20/2014)
CBS and CW affiliate KDLH/3.1 (Duluth) returned to the air Saturday (1/18) after a six-day outage due to transmitter problems. CBS programming had been carried on channel 6.3 of NBC affiliate KBJR (Superior-Duluth), which manages KDLH through a shared services agreement, since Wednesday and continued as of Sunday. DirecTV and DISH Network customers also lost KDLH programming for the first several days of the outage, but the satellite providers restored service from 6.3 when it became available. KDLH programming was uninterrupted on KRII/11 (Chisholm), which relays 3.1 (CBS) on 11.3 and 3.2 (CW) on 11.2. KBJR was also off the air for much of the day Sunday (1/12) due to a separate transmitter issue. (1/14/2014, updated 1/19)
Contemporary Christian "Life 97.3" (KDNW Duluth) has returned to full power. Station Manager says Scott Michaels says KDNW, a University of Northwestern-St. Paul station, returned to 72kW Saturday (1/11). A request for special temporary authority filed with the FCC just a few days earlier said KDNW's transmission line was damaged in a Nov. 29 ice storm and it had dropped to 475 Watts. (1/13/2014)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED:
Educational Media Foundation, operator of the "K-Love" and "Air-1" Christian music networks, is getting construction permits for five translators in Iowa and Wisconsin as part of deals with Radio Assist Ministry and Edgewater Broadcasting. EMF will get a total of 14 translators nationwide from RAM and Edgwater in exchange for settling a $462,834.67 debt. The translators going to EMF include K250BC/97.9 (Ames), K238BM/95.5 (Des Moines), K279BX/103.7 (Knoxville), W291CM/106.1 (Appleton), and W287BZ/105.3 (Oshkosh). Applications to transfer the CP's indicate all five translators will carry "K-Love" stations. (1/13/2014)
A non-commercial Classic Country network is buying a second station in Nebraska. Whiplash Radio, which runs the "Cat Country" network, is buying KNIT/90.1 (Humboldt) from Cedar Cove Broadcasting for $500. KNIT is licensed for 6.1kW/63m. It received its license in June 2013, but had earlier informed the commission that it had gone silent in December 2012. The FCC denied a request to extend special temporary authority to remain silent last month. According to the asset purchase agreement, the sale only includes the license, antenna, and transmission line - not a transmitter or studio equipment. Victor Michael heads Cedar Cove and Kona Coast Radio; Cedar Cove established KNIT as Kona Coast sought to move KIMI from Humboldt to Sidney, IA (the FCC generally doesn't allow stations to move if they leave a community without a radio license). Whiplash was already in the process of buying KVAM/88.3 (Kimball) from Cedar Cove for $3,500 and also has stations in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The network's website says KVAM and KNIT will begin carrying its programming later this year. (1/8/2014)
Clear Channel's KTCN/1130 (Minneapolis) has changed its callsign to KTLK after a sister station in Los Angeles dropped the callsign. The official Minneapolis changeover apparently came Monday (1/6). 1130's News/Talk format had been KTLK-FM prior to the move to AM in 2011, which required a callsign change because the LA station was already using KTLK. Though 1130 was identified as "Twin Cities News/Talk," many people continued to refer to it as "K-Talk" after the move to AM and the Star Tribune has listed an incorrect callsign for the station for the past two years. (1/6/2014)
ABC affiliate KLKN/8 (Lincoln) returned to DirecTV at the start of the new year after the satellite company and KLKN's owner, Citadel Communications, reached a new agreement. KLKN had been off DirecTV since October. The provider didn't lose ABC programming because the market has two ABC affiliates, and KHGI/13 (Kearney) was still carried. (1/5/2014)
A belated mention that the newscasts from ABC affiliate WDAZ/8 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks) are now in HD. The station's news had been in widescreen SD prior to the Oct. 15 switch. (1/5/2014)
Another Canadian AM signal went silent for good at midnight Friday night (1/3) as CBC/Radio-Canada completed the move of Première Chaîne Manitoba flagship CKSB from its 10kW facility at AM 1050 (St. Boniface) to its new 100kW facility at 88.1 FM (Winnipeg). CKSB-10-FM/90.5 (Winnipeg), which had rebroadcast 1050's programming with 2.8kW, also went silent. It's unclear what 88.1's new callsign will be since CKSB-FM is already used for the Espace musique station at 89.9. The sign-on of a major new station at 88.1 was possible because CBC-TV station CBWT/6 moved to channel 27 with the digital transition (it remaps to channel 6.1 on receivers).
According to the Canadian Communications Foundation, CKSB signed on at 1250 in 1946 as an independently-owned French-language station. It moved to 1050 in the 1960's and ownership was transferred to CBC/Radio-Canada in 1973.
In the past decade, a half-dozen other AM stations in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario have gone off the air, replaced by FM frequencies. Only four AM signals remain on the air in Winnipeg, including CBC Radio One's CBW/990, which is rebroadcast on 89.3 FM. (1/3/2014)
Iowa Public Radio's KNSH/91.1 (Fort Dodge) has changed its callsign to KNSK, allowing Cumulus Media to pick up the KNSH callsign. Cumulus operates a number of Country stations using the "Nash" moniker and has, for now, parked the callsign on an AM station in Texas. (WNSH is used for the format's New York outlet and was briefly parked in Minnesota in late 2012.) The Fort Dodge change took place Dec. 24. The station had been KTPR until changing to a KNS_ callsign along with several other IPR News/Talk/Adult Alternative stations in 2012. (1/3/2014)
The following AM-on-FM translators are planned, according to recent applications:
Salem Communications is buying the construction permit for translator K233CO/94.5 (Omaha) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $225,000. The deal was expected since K233CO's previous application had listed Salem's KCRO/660 (Omaha) as the station to be rebroadcast. K233CO will use 250 Watts with a main coverage area including most of Omaha and Council Bluffs. (1/2/2014)
A few months after tweaking its format to a more Light Adult Contemporary direction, CFJL-FM/100.7 (Winnipeg) has changed its slogan to "Jewel 101." The station was known as "The Breeze" before the format tweak but had been known simply as "100.7 Lite & Refreshing" since the change, and continues to use "Lite & Refreshing" as a positioner. CFJL owner Evanov Communications uses the "Jewel" slogan in several markets. (1/1/2014)
KCWV/27 (Duluth) has changed its network affiliation to AMG TV, the third network it's carried since signing on in 2009. KCWV first carried My Family TV and later switched to Legacy TV, which became The Walk TV. The switchover to AMG, which carries a mixture of family-friendly shows and Christian programming, happened sometime late last year. The station is owned by George S. Flinn III of Memphis and carries no local advertising. (1/1/2014)
NBC affiliate WMTV (Madison) switched its 15.2 subchannel from the AccuWeather Channel to WeatherNationTV at the start of the new year. WeatherNation TV's programming originates in suburban Minneapolis, with opportunities for affiliates to insert local forecasts. (1/1/2014)
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