February 2016

New 250-Watt translator K254CC/98.7 (Grand Rapids) has signed on relaying the "Life 97.3" Contemporary Christian format of KDNW/97.3 (Duluth). It's the sixth translator for KDNW. The stations are owned by the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. (2/29/2016)

Low-power FM station KDAK-LP/102.5 (Bismarck) has signed on with a Community/Variety format. The station is owned by Dakota Media Access and carries a variety of music, including Alternative, Jazz, and Folk, along with audio of government meetings. (2/29/2016)

Another two FM translators for AM stations are being planned in the eastern Twin Cities metro, covering Hudson and parts of Washington County, MN.

Greg Borgen's WRPX Inc. is buying a translator in Blue Earth from Minnesota Public Radio from $32,500. It's applied to move the translator to the WDGY/740 site east of Hudson to relay WDGY's Oldies format on 103.7 with 250W.

Separately, Borgen's 630 Radio Inc. is buying the construction permit for K288GR/105.5 (Bayport) from United Broadcasting System, LLC for $54,500. It's applied to move K288GR to the WDGY tower with 250W to relay WREY/630 (St. Paul), which carries a Regional Mexican format.

Regular readers will recall that a different station in the area, Hmong Radio Broadcast's WIXK/1590 (New Richmond), had received a construction permit to operate a translator from WDGY's tower, but Borgen filed an informal objection with the FCC saying they'd never asked for permission to use of the tower. Hmong Radio Broadcast then applied to move the translator to its own tower. (2/26/2016)

United Communications' KEYC/12 (Mankato) has filed a petition for special relief with the FCC that could result in some out-of-market stations being dropped from cable systems in Mankato and several other cities. KEYC is the only station in the small four-county Mankato market. It carries CBS and FOX, but has to compete with the Minneapolis CBS and FOX affiliates on cable systems. United's filing says a Nielsen Media study found WCCO-CBS (Minneapolis), KMSP-FOX (Minneapolis), and KAAL-ABC (Austin-Rochester) no longer meet the "significantly viewed" threshold of over-the-air viewing in Mankato, North Mankato, and some other communities, and that MyNetworkTV affiliate WFTC (Minneapolis) no longer meets the threshold in North Mankato. "Significantly viewed" status is generally required for cable systems to carry out-of-market stations. If the petition is approved, cable systems in Mankato and other communities could be forced to drop the stations from their lineups. ABC and NBC feeds from Minneapolis would continue to be available. (2/25/2016)

The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, have been approved:
•Estherville, IA: KILR/1070, 97.3, 250W (added Weds.)
•Sioux Center, IA: KSOU/1090, 101.5, 250W
•Devils Lake, ND: KDLR/1240, 99.7, 250W
•Litchfield, MN: KLFD/1410, 95.9, 250W
•Milwaukee, WI: WJYI/1340, 98.7, 99W

A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/23 and 2/24/2016)

The current and future licensees of the AM-FM combo in Cherokee will pay $8,000 as part of a consent decree to resolve concerns over a local marketing agreement. Simon Fuller's Better Broadcasting Inc. had been operating KCHE/1440 and KCHE-FM/92.1 since late 2011 under an LMA with station licensee J&J Radio Corporation, which is owned by the buyer's father Jeff Fuller. The details of the LMA came to the FCC's attention last summer when J&J filed an application to officially transfer the licenses to Better Broadcasting for $1.35 million. Specifically, the consent decree says, "JJRC improperly delegated core licensee responsibilities by allowing BBI to make direct payments of the Stations' operational expenses and debts, including the salaries of two Licensee employees." The FCC's Media Bureau found that the Fullers are still qualified licensees and said it will grant the application to transfer the licenses. (2/23/2016)

The Ingstad family is adding three more radio stations in the Fargo-Moorhead market in deals that could ultimately give family members a total of six full-power FM signals in the market. In one transaction, i3G Radio LLC is buying KQLX/890 (Lisbon) and KQLX-FM/106.1 (Lisbon-Fargo) from Dakota Broadcasting LLC for $250,000. i3G Radio is headed by Robert J. Ingstad and is owned equally by him, Tallie Colville, Tanya Ingstad Knudson, and Todd Ingstad. Separately, Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge LLC is buying KEGK/106.9 (Wahpeton-Fargo) from Dakota Broadcasting for $600,000. Brooke Ingstad is also a minority partner with her father, James D. Ingstad, in Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which does business as Radio F-M Media and owns four full-power FM stations and one AM station targetting Fargo-Moorhead. The two also own two FM translators that relay programming from HD2 signals of Radio F-M Media. Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge is also in the process of buying KBMW/1450 (Breckenridge) from Radio Fargo-Moorhead and KZDR/92.7 (Kindred-Fargo) from Robert J. Ingstad's Mediactive LLC, with stated plans to move KZDR from the Fargo market to Breckenridge. (2/23/2016)

There are still more twists to Gray TV's purchase of KDUH/4.1 (Scottsbluff), which is part of the company's recently-approved purchase of Schurz Communications. Though Gray told the FCC it would convert KDUH "from a satellite of Schurz's Rapid City, South Dakota station to a satellite of Gray’s NBC affiliate, KNOP-TV, North Platte," a press release from the company says it will actually continue to relay the Rapid City ABC affiliate and will carry KNOP on a subchannel. The station will change its callsign to KNEP-TV, and its general manager told KNEB radio (no relation) that KNEP-TV will carry locally-produced newscasts. Gray is seeking a community of license change from Scottsbluff to Sidney to comply with ownership caps, since it already owns another pair of stations (KGWN/KSTF) in the Cheyenne-Scottsbluff market, but KNEP-TV would apparently retain its facility in Scottsbluff. The station says it will no longer carry MeTV and ThisTV. (2/22/2016)

Pappas Telecasting of Central Nebraska, the licensee of KWNB/6 (Hayes Center), is fighting an application by Tri-States Broadcasting Association's KJTF/89.3 (North Platte) to upgrade. KJTF currently uses 690W/164m (class A) and is seeking 80kW/230m (class C1). Stations in the non-commercial portion of the FM band (88-92 MHz) normally have to protect TV stations on channel 6, but KJTF argues that the protection only applies to analog stations. Pappas responded with a petition to deny stating that the rule applies to any station broadcasting on channel 6, not just analog stations. (Most longtime channel 6 stations moved to UHF during the digital transition, but KWNB stayed on channel 6.) Pappas also argues that Tri-States' interference analysis uses an outdated ATSC standard. KJTF filed a motion for extension of time to respond to Pappas' allegations. Tri-States is a Christian broadcaster which also owns two other stations in North Platte. KWNB is a satellite of ABC/FOX affiliate KHGI/13 (Kearney). (2/22/2016)

Synergy Broadcast North Dakota has abandoned efforts to swap the communities of license of its two FM stations in southwestern North Dakota to serve Bismarck and Dickinson. The plan had been to move KQLZ/95.7 (New England) to Beulah, rimshotting Bismarck, and to move KLTQ/97.9 (Beulah) to New England on 98.1, covering Dickinson. However, the construction permits expired in December. Synergy Broadcast now tells the FCC that it's dropping the previous plan and intends to sell KQLZ to Dickinson Belfield Broadcast Corp., which also owns "I94" (KXDI/93.9 Belfield-Dickinson). A subsequent filing revealed the sale price to be $70,000. In a separate filing, Synergy Broadcast said it intends to sell KLTQ to DSN Radio LLC, which owns KDKT/1410 (Beulah). (2/22/2016, updated 2/23 and 2/27)

A plan for a new FM translator in the far eastern Twin Cities metro area has hit a snag. The FCC has already approved an application by Edgewater Broadcasting to relocate an FM translator from Medford, WI, to a tower east of Hudson, WI, to relay Hmong Radio Broadcast's WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI) on 103.3 FM. However, Greg Borgen, the owner of the tower specified in the application, submitted an informal objection saying he was never asked for permission to use the tower and would have said no if he had been asked. Borgen's informal objection was submitted on Feb. 11 but the FCC still approved the application on Feb. 12. Six days later, Edgewater submitted a new application to instead transmit from the WIXK transmitter site southwest of New Richmond, but that facility would reach far fewer people due to its more remote location and slightly shorter tower height. (2/21/2016)

Educational Media Foundation has signed on new translator K281BS/104.1 (Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids) carrying its "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network. The feed comes from EMF's WLKU/98.9 (Rock Island, IL). K281BS transmits with 170 Watts from the same tower used by EMF's KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha), which carries the "Air-1" Christian Hits network. (2/21/2016)

Saga Broadcasting is buying K201IU/88.1 (Fairmont, MN) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $35,000. K201IU has a construction permit to become K255CY/98.9 (Spirit Lake, IA) after a series of moves along the state border. (The deal was actually reached a year ago and not filed until the Spirit Lake construction permit was granted.) The application states the translator will relay Saga's KICD-FM/107.7 (Spencer). (2/21/2016)

The Wisconsin Rapids Seventh-Day Adventist Church has upgraded the signal of WRAO/91.7 (Wisconsin Rapids) from 200 Watts to 30kW, expanding its reach around Wisconsin Rapids and adding fringe coverage of Stevens Point. The station originally signed on in 2014 and carries Radio 74 Internationale. (2/21/2016)

The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, were approved Friday:
•Ames, IA: KASI/1430, 94.1, 250W
•Hastings, MN: KDWA/1460, 97.9, 250W
•Chippewa Falls, WI: WEAQ/1150, 95.9, 250W
•Janesville, WI: WCLO/1230, 92.7, 250W
•Richland Center, WI: WRCO/1450, 107.7, 250W

The following applications were approved Thursday:
•Iowa City, IA: KXIC/800, 92.1, 250W
•Breckenridge, MN: KBMW/1450, 94.3, 250W
•Waseca, MN: KOWZ/1170, 106.3, 250W
•Ord, NE: KNLV/1060, 93.9, 250W
•Oshkosh, WI: WISS/1100 (Berlin), 98.7, 250W (relocating existing translator from Berlin)

The following applications were approved Wednesday:
•Cedar Rapids, IA: KMJM/1360, 101.5, 250W
•Big Lake, MN: WQPM/1300 (Princeton), 106.9, 170W from Princeton (frequency change for existing WQPM translator)
•Racine, WI: WRJN/1400, 99.9, 250W

The following applications were approved Tuesday:
•Davenport, IA: WFXN/1230 (Moline), 92.1, 250W
•Broken Bow, NE: KCNI/1280, 96.3, 250W
•York, NE: KAWL/1370, 103.5, 250W
•Eau Claire, WI: WBIZ/1400, 98.7, 250W

A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/16, 2/17, 2/18, and 2/19/2016)

Woodward Communications has switched the station relayed on WKZY/92.9 (Chilton-Appleton-Oshkosh). Instead of relaying `80s-`90s Hits "KZ Radio" from WKZG/104.3 (Seymour-Green Bay), WKZY is now relaying Contemporary Hits "Kiss FM" from WKSZ/95.9 (De Pere-Green Bay). 95.9 already rimshots Appleton, but the addition of 92.9 adds stronger coverage in Oshkosh. At the same time, the Doug and Mary morning show is moving from "KZ" back to "Kiss," with current "Kiss" morning co-hosts Precious and Nikki moving to nights and sales, respectively. "Kiss" primarily competes with Midwest's WIXX/101.1 (Green Bay), which delivers a strong signal to all three cities. This is the third format for 92.9 in its five-year history; it signed on in 2011 with a Country format as WXMM before flipping to the WKZG simulcast in 2013. (2/15/2016)

Forum Communications has added Justice Network on its North Dakota TV stations. Justice is being carried on WDAY-TV/6.4 (Fargo), WDAZ/8.4 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks), KBMY/17.2 (Bismarck), and KMCY/14.2 (Minot). All of the stations are primary ABC affiliates. (2/14/2016)

Gray Television has brought the KXJB callsign back to the Fargo market. The FCC says low-power station K30LT-D (Horace), which is not yet on the air, became KXJB-LD on Jan. 27. KXJB was the callsign associated with the CBS affiliation in the market for decades until Gray moved "KX4" to channel 11.2 of KVLY-TV in 2014. The KXJB callsign had been parked on a Gray translator in Wyoming. Gray announced last year that it would carry the CW on KXJB-D2 in Fargo, though that announcement was made before the callsign was changed. Gray is taking the CW affiliation from Forum's WDAY-DT2 (Fargo) and WDAZ-DT2 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks) this fall. (2/14/2016)

"KOTA Territory" is about to get geographically smaller after FCC approval of Gray TV's purchase of Schurz Communications Friday. Gray will operate both the ABC and FOX affiliations in the Black Hills, but with fewer transmitters and less coverage of neighboring states. Though the FCC is requiring some concessions from Gray in other markets, the Rapid City portion of the sale was approved as Gray requested. The elements of the sale, already reported here, include:

Gray and the Rapid City stations have apparently not yet made any public announcement about the changes, which were detailed in an asset purchase agreement and a comprehensive exhibit. (2/12/2016)

The following new FM translator facilities, under the window for moves of up to 250 miles for FM translators to relay AM stations, were approved Friday:
•Boone, IA: KDLF/1260, 101.5, 250W
•Duluth, MN: WDUL/970 (Superior), 98.1, 250W
•Red Wing, MN: KCUE/1250, 98.9, 250W
•New Richmond, WI: WIXK/1590, 103.3, 250W (from site east of Hudson)
A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/12/2016)

Lakes Broadcasting, the licensee of WLKX/95.9 (Forest Lake-north metro), is fighting plans for a new translator on an adjacent frequency in the Twin Cities metro area. Santamaria Broadcasting is seeking to move an FM translator to the IDS Center, using 160 Watts on 95.7 with a directional antenna pattern pointed away from WLKX. However, Lakes Broadcasting has filed an informal objection saying there is prohibited overlap between the proposed translator and WLKX. The overlap would result in interference for about 2,800 potential WLKX listeners in several northeastern suburbs. Santamaria, the operator of KMNV/1400 (St. Paul), is seeking to move the translator north from Des Moines under a filing window for AM stations to get FM translators. (2/10/2016)

The FCC is moving quickly to process applications for FM translators to move up to 250 miles to relay AM stations. The following are new translator facilities granted on Wednesday (2/10):
•Waterloo, IA: KNWS/1090, 92.7, 250W
•McCook, NE: KBRL/1300, 97.5, 250W
•North Platte, NE: KODY/1240, 92.5, 250W
•Omaha, NE: KOMJ/1490, 104.1, 99W
•Omaha, NE: KCRO/660, 106.5, 110W (modified from original app. for 104.1)
•Madison, WI: WNWC/1190 (Sun Prairie), 104.7, 250W
•Stevens Point, WI: WLBL/930 (Auburndale), 99.1, 29W
A running list of proposed new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. (2/10/2016)

The FCC has announced that it will take public comments on Gray TV's plan to change the community of license of KDUH/4 from Scottsbluff to Sidney. Gray is awaiting FCC approval to buy KDUH and wants to legally remove it from the Scottsbluff market because it already owns a pair of stations there; Sidney is in the Denver market. KDUH is a longtime satellite of ABC affiliate KOTA-TV/3 (Rapid City) and Gray has said it plans to convert it to a satellite of NBC affiliate KNOP/2 (North Platte), bringing more Nebraska news to the panhandle region. Though there has been a freeze on channel substitutions since 2011, the FCC says this proposal can be considered because KDUH would not change its technical parameters. (2/9/2016)

Gray TV has quietly swapped some longtime Rapid City callsigns as it awaits FCC approval of its Black Hills TV merger and spinoff. The deal will result in Gray running both the ABC and FOX affiliations but only having one full-power TV license. The KOTA-TV callsign has been moved to Gray's channel 7, which was formerly KEVN. The station formerly known as KOTA-TV (RF channel 2, virtual channel 3) is now KHME, possibly referring to the MeTV affiliation that Legacy Broadcasting will retain when it takes over the station. The KEVN callsign continues on new low-power TV station KEVN-LD, channel 20. The FCC database says changes were official on Feb. 1. The deal, if approved by the FCC, calls for Gray to continue using virtual channel 3.1 for ABC programming under the KOTA-TV name despite selling the KHME license. As previously reported, Gray is divesting KHME and KHSD/11 (Lead) to Legacy for $1 and plans to switch longtime KOTA-TV satellites KDUH/4 (Scottsbluff, NE) and KSGW/12 (Sheridan, WY) to feeds of in-state Gray NBC affiliates. (2/8/2016)

Jim Pattinson Group's CHIQ-FM/94.3 (Winnipeg) has rebranded its Classic Hits format as "The Drive," dropping "Fab 94.3." The change happened Friday (2/5). The change marks the station's move away from "Fab" 1960's hits since the format's debut in 2010. (2/7/2016)

A few more sales of FM translators to the owners of AM stations trickled in this week as the filing window for 250-mile moves opened. Applications have already been filed for all of the translators below to move to relay the AM stations in question, as detailed on this summary of FM translator applications.
•Jacobson Broadcasting (KILR/1070 Estherville, IA) is buying K257DM (Glencoe, MN) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Community First Broadcasting (KSOU/1090 Sioux Center, IA) is buying K254CK (Clara City, MN) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Mid-Minnesota Media, LLC (KLFD/1410 Litchfield) is buying W269DA (Ironwood, MI) from Refuge Media for $40,000.
•Santamaria Broadcasting (KMNV/1400 St.Paul) is buying K284BZ (Des Moines) from Educational Media Foundation for $40,000.
•Leighton Radio Holdings (KWNO/1230 Winona, MN) is buying W274BW (Medford, WI) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $35,000. (2/5/2016)

The first round of applications for AM stations to gain FM translators through a filing window for 250-mile moves became public Monday, with more than 400 applications nationwide. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai noted that this amounts to applications from almost ten percent of AM stations on the first day alone. For now, the filing is limited to AM class C and D stations, which generally have smaller coverage areas.

The most notable application so far in the Upper Midwest is for KMNV/1400 (St. Paul) to be relayed on 95.7 from the IDS Center, using 160 Watts with a directional antenna pattern to limit the signal towards two existing stations. The translator to be moved is currently K284BZ/104.7 (Des Moines), which KMNV owner Santamaria Broadcasting is buying from Educational Media Foundation for $40,000. KMNV carries a Spanish-language format, and there's no other Spanish-language station on the FM dial in the Twin Cities.

Other notable applications include:
•WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI) seeks a translator on 103.3, reaching part of the eastern Twin Cities metro area from a site near Hudson.
•In Omaha, KCRO/660 and KOMJ/1490 filed competing applications for translators on 104.1.
•In Milwaukee, WJYI/1340 seeks a translator on 98.7.
•WISS/1100 (Berlin) seeks to move its existing Berlin FM translator east to Oshkosh, changing to 98.7.

Click here for the full list of Upper Midwest applications filed on the first day. A national list is posted at RadioInsight. (2/1/2016)

A belated note that KWNO-FM/99.3 (Rushford-Winona) has changed its name to "Wild Country 99," dropping the unique "K-Dub Country" moniker. The change follows the station's sale to Leighton Enterprises, which uses the same branding and logo at KZPK/98.9 (Paynesville-St. Cloud). (2/1/2016)

The Nebraska Rural Radio Association's KRVN/880 (Lexington) is now being relayed on FM translator K295BI/106.9 (Kearney), filling in a gap in KRVN's west-shooting nighttime antenna pattern. Meanwhile, the Association has applied to move K261BT/100.1 (Holdrege) to Lexington to relay KAMI/1580 (Cozad). KRVN is celebrating its 65th anniversary on Feb. 1 and has posted some station history on its website. (2/1/2016)

David R. Magnum has applied to relocate two FM translators in southeastern Wisconsin. W286CO/105.1 (Port Washington) would instead transmit on 104.5 with 250 Watts from the northern Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg, relaying WMBZ/92.5 (West Bend). Meanwhile, W251BU/98.1 (Racine) would move to Kenosha and transmit with 250 Watts, relaying WRJN/1400 (Racine). Neither translator is yet on the air. (2/1/2016)

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