February 2010

The Mitchell Daily Republic reports that the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is fighting plans to rebuild the KPLO-TV/FM tower on Medicine Butte near Reliance. The tower collapsed during an ice storm last month. The tribe regards Medicine Butte as a sacred site, and provided the newspaper a copy of a letter to the FCC stating that laws protecting Native American historic and cultural resources and traditional cultural properties have been enacted since the original tower was built in 1957. Medicine Butte is also home to a South Dakota Public Broadcasting tower carrying KTSD-TV/FM, which is about a half-mile from the KPLO site.

The tower was owned by Young Broadcasting, the owner of KPLO-TV/6. KPLO-TV and KPLO/94.5, owned by James River Broadcasting, are expected to return to the air within days from a temporary, shorter tower on Medicine Butte. The radio station's Country format has been heard on a translator at 100.5 in Pierre for the past several weeks. KPLO-TV is a satellite of Sioux Falls CBS affiliate KELO-TV/11, which has continued to be available on satellite and most cable systems in the area. (2/26/2010)

KCTY/104.9 (Wayne, NE) has applied to move into the Sioux City market. The station would change its community of license to Emerson, NE, and transmit from near Hubbard, NE, using 25kW/100m (class C3). KCTY is owned by Wayne Radio Works and currently carries a broad mix of Classic Hits, Adult Contemporary, Rock, and Country as "Super Hits, Y104." It's co-owned with KTCH/1590 (Wayne). (2/26/2010)

A number of stations have tweaked or change their formats following the recent demise of Citadel's "Timeless" satellite format, which had carried Soft Oldies. Here are the known changes:

  • KMRY/1450 (Cedar Rapids, IA) switched to local automation with a format similar to what Timeless had offered.
  • KCHA/1580 (Charles City, IA) switched to a locally-automated Oldies format.
  • KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown, IA) switched to Oldies using Citadel's True Oldies Channel.
  • KWLO/1330 (Waterloo, IA) switched to Oldies using Dial Global's "Kool Gold" format. KWLO had carried an Oldies format before switching to Adult Standards in the 1990's when sister station KOKZ/105.7 switched to Oldies. Waterloo hadn't had a local Oldies station since KOKZ transitioned to Classic Hits several years ago.
  • KYMN/1080 (Northfield, MN) switched to a locally-automated mix of Standards, Classic Country, and Oldies.
  • WSPT/1010 (Stevens Point, WI) switched its 7 p.m. - 4 a.m. and weekend programming to Citadel's True Oldies Channel, which is also heard on WSPT-FM/97.9. 1010 carries a News/Talk format by day.
  • WFDL/1170 (Waupun-Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam, WI) switched to Oldies from Earthworks Entertainment's "Hit Parade Radio," and continues to carry CBS News on the hour. (2/25/2010)

    It turns out the longtime KCRG-TV/9 building won't be the site of the new Cedar Rapids Library after all. Though the library board recently selected the block containing KCRG and the co-owned Gazette newspaper as its preferred site, KCRG reports the city council decided Thursday night (Feb. 24) to instead go with the True North site, a block away from the Gazette building. KCRG has been in the building at 501 2nd Ave. SE since the mid-1970's and is on the verge of a major technology upgrade. (2/25/2010)

    Extreme Grace Media is buying three Eastern Iowa FM translators from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $40,000. They are K227BL/93.3 (Anamosa), K292FR/106.3 (Dyersville), and K292FZ/106.3 (Mount Vernon). The translators already carry EGM's "The Spirit" (KXGM-FM/89.1 Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids). (2/25/2010)

    The FCC has granted Langer Broadcasting Group, LLC a construction permit for a new AM station in the southwest Twin Cities suburbs. The new station will be licensed to Chanhassen and broadcast on 1200 from near Hazeltine Golf Course in Chaska. It'll use 1.3kW nondirectional during the day and 1kW directional at night. Langer Broadcasting Group is owned by Alexander G. Langer of Boston. (2/24/2010)

    Clear Channel appears poised to get a sixth FM station in the Twin Cities: translator K279AZ/103.7 (Cottage Grove), which is owned by the Educational Media Foundation.

    EMF has applied to move K279AZ's transmitter to the IDS Center in Minneapolis, using 170 Watts, enough to provide a good signal to Minneapolis, most of St. Paul, and many suburbs.

    K279AZ's application states the translator will rebroadcast Clear Channel's KTLK-FM/100.3. FCC rules would allow the translator to carry KTLK's HD2 channel, which carries a Classic Rock format, but the application does not specify which of KTLK's channels would be carried.

    No application has been filed to transfer K279AZ's actual license. Clear Channel is at the market cap of five FM stations, but translators are not included in ownership caps.

    K279AZ currently transmits from Inver Grove Heights, carrying EMF's "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network by relaying translator K214DF/90.7 (Golden Valley). 90.7 also transmits from Minneapolis, along with K273BH/102.5 (Fridley), which carries EMF's Christian Rock network "Air1." (2/21/2010)

    Translator W247AC/97.3 (Green Bay) has moved to 96.9 as W245BS following the sign-on of WTAQ-FM/97.5 (Glenmore). The translator remains 120 Watts. It's owned by Del Reynolds and relays the Smooth Jazz format of Magnum Radio's WAUN/92.7 (Kewaunee). (2/21/2010)

    The FCC has identified tentative selectees for five new non-commercial stations in Iowa and Minnesota, including one in the Twin Cities metro area. Competing applications were based on a point system, with three points for local ownership, two points for state networks or diversity in ownership (not having another station in the area), and one to two points for having the largest proposed coverage area. The tentative selectees, followed by the proposed facilities, are as follows:

  • Algona, IA: Iowa Lakes Community College defeats Refuge Media Group on the basis of local ownership. 91.9, 210W/144m (A).

  • Sioux City, IA: Iowa State University, one of the three universities that make up Iowa Public Radio, defeats American Family Assocation on the basis of local ownership and having a larger proposed coverage area. It would be the farthest west station for IPR, which has no station in the Sioux City area. 88.9, 15kW/106m (C3), transmitter south of Sioux City in Nebraska.

  • Grand Rapids/Virginia, MN: Minnesota Public Radio (Grand Rapids) defeats VCY America (Virginia) on the basis of having a larger proposed coverage area. MPR has two existing translators in Grand Rapids. 89.7, 9.7kW/147m (C3).

  • Hawley, MN: Pioneer Public Broadcasting defeats Alliance for the Arts and Humanities on the basis of having a larger proposed coverage area. We Have This Hope Christian Radio had also applied for a station licensed to Barnesville, but the FCC's fair distribution rules eliminated the application since Barnesville already has a radio license (KBVB/95.1), while Hawley does not. 89.1, 100kW/81m (C1), rimshot signal to Moorhead and Fargo.

  • Newport/Rosemount/St. Paul Park, MN: Religious Information Network (Newport) defeats Pensacola Christian College (Rosemount) and Smooth Tones Radio (St. Paul Park) on the basis of local ownership, diversity in ownership, and largest proposed coverage area. The latter two applicants had claimed points for diversity in ownership, but the FCC threw them out because the organizations did not provide corporate documents showing that the diversity will be maintained. 88.1, 1.58kW/58m (A). Coverage of the southeast metro area, with a fringe signal likely mixing with KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud) in the central and northwest metro.

    The FCC will not begin issuing construction permits until after a 30-day filing window for petitions to deny. (2/18/2010)

    The FCC has denied a petition for reconsideration from Quad Cities Television Acquisition Licensing, LLC, challenging whether Northwest Television should have been granted a construction permit for a new TV station licensed to Galesburg, IL. The petitioner is the licensee of FOX 18 (KLJB Davenport).

    The FCC deemed the petition for reconsideration a "rehash" of the original petition, which alleged Northwest would never had been able to reach a settlement agreement with other applicants if it hadn't been for a loan from Second Generation of Iowa and that construction of the new station began before the construction permit was granted. The FCC determined that Northwest had other financing and would've been able to cover its expenses without the Second Generation loan and that the premature construction was done by Second Generation without Northwest's knowledge.

    Second Generation of Iowa is the licensee of FOX 28 (KFXA Cedar Rapids), which is operated by Sinclair Broadcasting.

    The current construction permit for the new Galesburg station calls for 1,000kW on channel 53 from a tower in the Orion area, near the towers for most of the other Quad Cities stations. The CP expires July 20, 2010. The new station will eventually have to move to a different channel because 52-69 are being discontinued. (2/18/2010)

    Cup O Dirt, LLC is buying KSQB/1520 (Sioux Falls) from Backyard Broadcasting for $250,000. Backyard retains its other seven stations in the Sioux Falls market. KSQB is a 500-Watt daytimer and currently rebroadcasts the Oldies format of Backyard's "KOOL 107.9" (KXQL Flandreau-Sioux Falls). Cup O Dirt, LLC is owned by John E. Small (90%) and Heidi Small (10%) of Brandon. They do not have any other broadcast interests. (2/16/2010)

    Shaw Communications has agreed to buy a controlling interest in a restructured Canwest Global. The Winnipeg-based company owns or controls 23 Canadian cable channels and the Global TV network, including CKND-TV/9 (Winnipeg). Canwest's 13 daily newspapers are not included in the deal. Shaw will own at least 20 percent of Restructured Canwest, but have 80 percent voting interest. Shaw, based in Calgary, owns cable systems and the Shaw Direct satellite service. (2/13/2010)

    WYTE/106.5 (Marshfield-Stevens Point-Wausau) has rebranded its Country format as "Y106.5." WisconsinBroadcasting.com has posted audio of the transition. The 100kW station is owned by NRG Media. (2/13/2010)

    There've been some recent changes at "Cow 97" (WCOW/97.1 Sparta-La Crosse), where Ric Franke is now morning co-host and program director. Franke had last been the afternoon announcer at crosstown "Classic Rock 100.1" (WKBH-FM West Salem-La Crosse). Meanwhile, former "Cow 97" morning co-host Mike Burns Gilbert has moved to middays. (2/13/2010)

    WGEE/970 (Superior-Duluth) is bringing back NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from the Motor Racing Network, starting with the Daytona 500 this Sunday, Feb. 14. The station had carried NASCAR until late 2008, when it switched to a Nostalgia format, which otherwise continues. (2/13/2010)

    Minnesota Public Radio has moved translator K264AR/100.7 (Roseau) to a site near Warroad, bringing MPR's Classical network to Warroad. It uses 200 Watts and is still licensed to Roseau, since FCC rules don't require translators to have coverage of their community of license. In Roseau, the translator had relayed MPR News station KNTN/102.7 (Thief River Falls), which was no longer needed in Roseau once KRXW/103.5 (Roseau) signed on in fall 2008 carrying the News network. Prior to KRXW's sign on, Warroad did not have regular reception of any MPR station. KRXW also carries Classical MPR on its HD2 signal. (2/13/2010)

    After decades with a News/Talk format, Hubbard Broadcsting's KSTP/1500 (St. Paul) is set to become "AM1500 The SportsTalk Station" and eventually "1500 ESPN Twin Cities."

    KSTP will begin transition next Monday, Feb. 15, picking up ESPN's Colin Cowherd from 9-Noon. Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse, who have hosted weekly "SportsTalk" shows on the station for decades, will fill the afternoon lineup. Reusse will host a show from Noon-2, followed by two hours with both Reusse and Soucheray, and then Soucheray's long-running "Garage Logic" from 4-6.

    "Garage Logic" is currently syndicated to stations across the region from 2-5 p.m., and the Hubbard Radio Network will offer KSTP's 2-6 p.m. programming to affiliates.

    Eventually, KSTP will pick up "Mike and Mike In The Morning" and other ESPN programming, some of which is currently heard on Clear Channel's KFAN/1130 and "The Score 690" (KFXN). MinnPost reports five people will lose their jobs as a result of the format change.

    KSTP is a 50,000-Watt station and has been the flagship for Minnesota Twins baseball since 2007. Hubbard also owns Personality Talk station KTMY/107.1, which recently changed its name to "myTalk 107.1."

    KSTP pioneered the modern-day Talk Radio format in the Twin Cities during the 1980's, but faced more competition over the years as WCCO/830 adjusted its format and other stations switched to Talk. In 2006, KSTP lost Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity when Clear Channel launched KTLK-FM/100.3. (2/11/2010)

    Sault Ste. Marie-based Sovereign Communications is buying eleven stations in the Upper Peninsula from Northern Star Broadcasting for $3.5 million, according to MichiGuide.com, and the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News reports a half-dozen people have lost their jobs as a result.

    Sovereign Communications already owns three stations in the Sault Ste. Marie market and will buy another three stations in that market, as well as five stations in the Marquette market and three in the Iron Mountain market. Stations included in the deal are WKNW/1400 and WYSS/99.5 (Sault Ste. Marie), WMKD/105.5 (Pickford-Sault Ste. Marie), WMIQ/1450 and WIMK/93.1 (Iron Mountain), WZNL/94.3 (Norway-Iron Mountain), WIAN/1240 and WJPD/92.3 (Ishpeming-Marquette), WDMJ/1320 and WUPK/94.1 (Marquette), and WNGE/99.5 (Negaunee-Marquette).

    The Evening News reports the layoffs include station manager Doug Laprade, program director Paul "Junior" VanWagoner, news director Scott Nason, and announcers Jason Mapes and Melissa Krahnke. Sovereign president Bill Gleich tells the paper there were no layoffs in Marquette or Iron Mountain.

    Northern Star Broadcasting retains ownership of WIHC/97.9 (Newberry-Sault Ste. Marie); two Canadian commercial stations also serve Sault Ste. Marie. (2/11/2010)

    The CRTC has approved a new radio station for 5777152 Manitoba Ltd. in Winnipeg Beach with a secondary transmitter in Arborg. Riding Mountain Broadcasting had also applied for a new station in Gimli, but the CRTC determined the area could only support one radio station and that 5777152 Manitoba, headed by William Gade, had the better proposal. 5777152 Manitoba plans a format of Country, Pop, and Rock with a minimum of 115 hours of local programming and 8 hours and 8 minutes of news each week. It had proposed using 1.64kW on 93.7, but the CRTC agreed with Golden West Broadcasting and Nostalgia Broadcasting Cooperative that 93.7 should be set aside for future use in Winnipeg, where the dial is more crowded, and that 5777152 Manitoba should instead find a new frequency for the Winnipeg Beach station. The Arborg rebroadcaster will use 119 Watts on 99.5. (2/11/2010)

    WTAQ-FM/97.5 (Glenmore-Green Bay) has signed on relaying the News/Talk format of sister Midwest Communications station WTAQ/1360 (Green Bay). The station reports 97.5 signed on at 4:10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5. The new station uses 3kW/143m from the former WFRV/5 tower on Scray's Hill south of Green Bay. It was originally licensed to Two Rivers on 97.1. WTAQ-FM's sign-on may force translator W247AC/97.3 (Green Bay), which relays WAUN/92.7 (Kewaunee), to change frequency or leave the air. (2/9/2010)

    Truth Broadcasting Corp. is proposing a dial shuffle that would move KFFF-FM/99.3 (Boone) into the Des Moines market.

    KFFF-FM, which currently carries a Christian Talk format, would change its community of license to Johnston and transmit from a tower owned by Clear Channel in Saylorville, using 6kW at 88m. The move would give the station city-grade coverage of most of the Des Moines metro area. (The tower is also used by Clear Channel's KPTL/106.3 Ankeny.)

    To make way for the move, Truth Broadcasting proposes that KPUL/99.5 (Winterset) be moved to 101.7 with no change to its coverage area. The FCC will generally order stations to make frequency changes that don't involve a change in coverage area to allow other stations to upgrade. KPUL-FM's potential move would likely force KUNI translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) to change frequency or leave the air.

    KFFF-FM would be the only broadcast station licensed to Johnston, while three other radio stations would remain licensed to Boone. However, FCC rules would not prevent KFFF-FM from targeting its programming to listeners in Des Moines.

    North Carolina-based Truth Broadcasting recently bought KFFF-FM and KFFF/1260 from Faith & Freedom Communications in exchange for paying a $20,000 FCC fine for public file violations. (2/8/2010)

    Augustana College's WVIK/90.3 (Rock Island, IL) has improved its signal in Dubuque. The station's Dubuque translator has moved from 95.7 to 95.9 as K240DZ, moved is transmitter from southwest of town to Finley Hospital, and upgraded from 115W to 153W. A map showing the change is on page 18 of this document. WVIK carries a format of NPR News and Classical music. (2/8/2010)

    For $10, Willmar Assembly of God Church has sold K28IF (Willmar) to UHF TV, Inc., which operates ten other low-power/translator stations in Willmar. The church determined it no longer has the resources to operate the station, which had carried TBN and is currently off the air. As part of the deal, UHF TV must return K28IF to the air by May 22, when special temporary authority to remain silent expires. Meanwhile, UHF TV recently converted its stations to digital, but programming is unknown. (2/8/2010)

    The programming of KPLO/94.5 (Reliance-Pierre) is now being heard on a 250-Watt translator at 100.5 in Pierre after the collapse of the KPLO-TV/FM tower on Jan. 22 took the station off the air. FCC rules allow fill-in translators to stay on the air for limited periods when the primary station is off the air; Jeffrey G. Dress' 2008 application to purchase K261CF had stated that he intended to use it as a translator for KPLO. The translator, formerly K261CF/100.1, had previously relayed KWYR-FM/93.7 (Winner) and was forced to change frequency by the sign-on of KJBI/100.1 (Fort Pierre). (2/8/2010)

    KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) reports that its own building, along with the larger Gazette newspaper building next door, could be the site for the new Cedar Rapids Public Library. The library board voted Thursday (Feb. 4) in favor of moving to the Gazette block. The move still requires approval from the city council and FEMA. The old library was flooded in the 2008 floods, which did not reach the Gazette block. KCRG has been located in the three-story building at 501 2nd Ave. SE since it was built in the 1970's. (2/4/2010)

    More than a decade after the applications were filed, new stations on 92.9 in New Holstein and 98.9 in Two Rivers will be awarded in a closed auction beginning July 12. The auction will be limited to organizations which applied for the frequencies in 1996 and 1997 filing windows. The competing applicants were unable to reach settlement agreements, and the applications have sat at the FCC ever since. (The FCC later switched to auctions rather than the filing of competing applications for new commercial FM stations.) Evangel Ministries and Michael R. Walton, Jr., applied for both frequencies; KM Communications and Metro North Commuications both also applied for the New Holstein station, while Tri-County Radio and BBK Broadcasting filed for the Two Rivers station. Minimum bids will be $25,000 for New Holstein and $35,000 for Two Rivers. Both stations are alloted as class A (6kW/100m). The Two Rivers station has possible rimshot coverage of Sheboygan, while New Holstein has possible rimshot coverage of Appleton and Oshkosh. (2/4/2010)

    Hubbard Broadcasting's WFMP/107.1 (Coon Rapids-St. Paul-Minneapolis) has rebranded as "myTalk 107.1" and changed its callsign to KTMY. The Personality Talk station had been known as "FM 107" since it moved into the Twin Cities market in 2002. (2/3/2010)

    UPDATE: ABC affiliate WBAY-TV/2 (Green Bay) and Wisconsin Public Televison station WPNE-TV/38 (Green Bay) returned to the air Saturday evening (1/30) after suffering what the Green Bay Press Gazette reports was a problem with the transmission line. The stations are at low power for now. WBAY continued to deliver its programming to some cable systems during the outage. (2/1/2010)

    The CRTC has approved a frequency change for CKQV-FM-3 (Sioux Lookout) from 104.5 to 104.1. Owner Norwesto Broadcasting said the 49-Watt station was interfering with CKQV-FM-1/104.5 (Dryden). Both are rebroadcasters of CKQV-FM/103.3 (Vermilion Bay), which is also heard on CKQV-FM-2/104.5 (Kenora) and carries a Hot Adult Contemporary format as "Q104." (2/1/2010)

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