WXCO/1230 (Wausau) has debuted a News/Talk format as "The Voice." The station's previous ESPN Radio format was moved to new station WDTX/100.5 (Rothschild-Wausau) in January. The new lineup includes Don Imus, Michael Smernicosh, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Dennis Miller, Phil Hendrie, and CBS News on the hour. (3/31/2010)
IOWA/MINNESOTA/NORTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN: (UPDATED)
The Trinity Broadcasting Network has turned off several of its analog low-power TV stations and sold several others. The station in Muscatine, IA (K42HI) left the air Tuesday afternoon, while stations in Duluth (K58CM) and Rochester, MN (K56HW) left the air this month and the Dickinson, ND station (K28EP) left the air several months ago. Meanwhile, TBN has reached an agreement to sell 17 LPTV stations, including three in Wisconsin, to Word of God Fellowship, which operates the Daystar network. The allocated values for the stations are $18,153 for Green Bay (W49CB), $5,201 for Janesville (W65EE), and $14,127 for Madison (W38CT). (3/30/2010)
The FCC has ordered UW-Parkside in Kenosha to turn off an unlicensed radio station operating on 88.5. The station uses the "WIPZ" callsign and has a range of about five miles, according to an article last fall in The Ranger News. FCC inspectors found the station far exceeded the power output allowed for unlicensed Part 15 stations. (Update: the Journal Sentinel has picked up the story.) (3/30/2010)
WIHC/97.9 (Newberry-Sault Ste. Marie) has gone silent. The station is owned by Northern Star Broadcasting, which recently sold all of its other Upper Peninsula stations to Sovereign Communications. WIHC was not included in the deal because of ownership cap limits. In a notification of suspension of operations, Northern Star Broadcasting tells the FCC, "Due to the depressed economy in northern Michigan, WIHC has been operating at a loss and the licensee has decided to take the station silent while it considers whether it is possible to make the station economically viable." The 50kW station had carried a Classic Rock format as part of Northern Star's "The Bear" network. (3/25/2010)
KLCX/103.9 (Eyota-Rochester) has dropped its Classic Hits format and is now simulcasting the "Z-Rock" format of sister Cumulus Media station KDZZ/107.7 (St. Charles-Rochester). 103.9's callsign has also changed to KDCZ. Both stations transmit from the same tower north of Eyota and are both class A, though 103.9's signal is slightly stronger in Rochester (here's 103.9 and here's 107.7). The KLCX Classic Hits format aired on 107.7 from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2003 until 2008, when it was moved to 103.9. Prior to 103.9's sign-on as a full-power station, the frequency had been occupied by a translator relaying 107.7. (3/25/2010)
The Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and KARE 11 report that longtime WCCO/830 host Dark Star (George Chapple) has taken a buyout and left the station. The CBS station did not make an announcement on its own website, where, in fact, Dark Star's page was still active as of Tuesday evening. Star had been with the station since 1986 and hosted "Sports Tonight" from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Steve Thomson hosted the show Tuesday night. (3/24/2010)
Employee and Family Resources is donating KFMG-LP/99.1 (Des Moines) to The Des Moines Community Radio Foundation, which consists partly of station staffers. EFR took KFMG-LP off the air in January for financial reasons. The 95-Watt station signed on in 2007 with a Progressive/Adult Alternative format. (3/23/2010)
KQDJ/1400 (Jamestown) has dropped FOX Sports for Classic Hits following the recent addition of FM translator K246AM/97.1 (Jamestown). K246AM is currently licensed for 170 Watts from a tower west of town, delivering only a fringe signal to Jamestown, but has applied to move its transmitter to the south end of town using 250 Watts. The logo on KQDJ's website is that of Dial Global's Classic Hits format. The station is owned by Janice Ingstad's Two Rivers Broadcasting. (3/20/2010)
The FCC has dismissed two Twin Cities-area applications:
The FCC has denied a petition to deny license renewal of CBS affiliate KGAN/2.1 (Cedar Rapids) filed by Iowans for Better Local Television. The group alleged KGAN violated multiple ownership rules and did not meet obligations for children's programming, public files, and digital conversion, and was particularily upset with conservative commentaries presented on the newscasts of KGAN and other Sinclair Broadcasting stations. The FCC found that IBLT's allegations were without merit and noted there is no federal law requiring commentary to be balanced or that specific public affairs programming be presented. The Commission concluded, "The vast majority of IBLT's allegations, even if true, indicate no violation of any FCC rule or regulation." (3/17/2010)
Detroit Lakes' two radio licenses are coming under common ownership with Leighton Broadcasting's purchase of KRCQ/102.3 from Lake Lida Broadcasting for $887,500. Lake Lida, using financing from Leighton, recently purchased KRCQ from Ken Buehler's Head of the Lakes Broadcasting for $850,000. Leighton has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement since Lake Lida took ownership on March 1. Leighton also owns KDLM/1340 (Detroit Lakes) and KBOT/104.1 (Pelican Rapids), along with eight stations in the Grand Forks and St. Cloud markets. Both KRCQ and KBOT carry Country formats. (3/15/2010)
KMA-FM (Clarinda) has completed an upgrade from 50kW to 100kW, which involved switching from 99.3 to 99.1 and a transmitter move from Missouri to a tower northwest of Clarinda. The upgrade extends KMA-FM's main coverage area to Atlantic and Creston, and improves its fringe signal to Omaha. (The old and new coverage areas are compared on page four of this document.) The station reports the move took place just after 7 a.m. Thursday (March 11) in a ceremony attended by the mayors of Shenandoah and Clarinda and the Taylor County Board of Supervisors. Gov. Chet Culver even issued the station a congratulatory letter. (3/12/2010)
KBJR-TV/6.4 (Superior-Duluth) and KRII/11.4 (Chisholm) have switched from "NewsCenter Now" to "Weather Now" using the AccuWeather Channel. The channels had been airing repeats of KBJR/6 and KDLH/3 newscasts with weather graphics since NBC Weather+ left the air at the end of 2008. The launch of "Weather Now" coincided with a change in the weather graphics on the KBJR and KDLH newscasts. (3/12/2010)
In a unique deal, Clear Channel is buying translator K279AZ/103.7 (Cottage Grove, MN) from Educational Media Foundation, which has already applied to move the translator to Minneapolis. There is no purchase price; rather, the deal calls for EMF to get the rights to program the HD2 signal of Clear Channel's WMXD/92.3 (Detroit) for a five-year period. WMXD-HD2 would then be relayed on a number of EMF translators in the Detroit area.
The application indicates K279AZ would relay Clear Channel's KTLK-FM/100.3, as did the earlier application to move the translator to the IDS Center with 170 Watts. That should be enough to provide a good signal to Minneapolis, most of St. Paul, and many suburbs.
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. 103.7 will be Clear Channel's sixth FM signal in the market.
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." (3/12/2010)
DX-midAMerica reports that 99-Watt translator W273AT/102.5 (Milwaukee) is back on the air, once again relaying the R&B format of WNOV/860 (Milwaukee). It's now known as "Majic 102.5." (3/12/2010)
KCSR/610 (Chadron) is getting an FM sister: The station's owner, Chadrad Communications, is buying a construction permit for a new station on 107.7 licensed to Hay Springs from Big Cat Broadcasting, LLC for $85,000. The new station will broadcast with 100kW at 150m. Jody McCoy of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker and represented the seller. Chadrad is owned by Kathleen R. Brown. (3/12/2010)
Community First Broadcasting is buying nine stations in northwestern Iowa from Sorenson Broadcasting and Jim Dandy Broadcasting for a combined $10.2 million. As previously reported, the buyer has been operating the stations under a time brokerage agreement since the beginning of the year. NRG Media had previously operated the stations. They are KUOO/103.9 (Spirit Lake), KUQQ/102.1 (Milford-Spirit Lake), KUYY/100.1 (Emmetsburg-Spencer), KAYL/990 and KAYL-FM/101.7 (Storm Lake), KKIA/92.9 (Ida Grove-Storm Lake), KSOU/1090 and KSOU-FM/93.9 (Sioux Center), and KIHK/106.9 (Rock Valley-Sioux Center).
Community First Broadcasting will pay Jim Dandy Broadcasting $2,258,700 for KKIA and KUYY, and Sorenson Broadcasting $7,941,300 for the other seven stations. Community First Broadcasting is a subsidiary of Dakota Broadcasting, LLC, which owns two stations in South Dakota. Dakota Broadcasting is owned by Neil Lipetzky of Aberdeen (40%), Dean Sorenson of Sioux Falls (30%), and Duane D. Butt of Pierre (30%). Sorenson owns 100 percent of Sorenson Broadcasting, while Jim Dandy Broadcasting is a partnership between Sorenson and Richard Chapin of Lincoln, Neb. (3/10/2010)
Northwestern College's KDNW/97.3 (Duluth) has completed its ugprade from 40kW to 72kW, improving its signal in Duluth. The non-commercial station carries an Adult Contemporary Christian format. (3/10/2010)
KDAL/610 (Duluth) is adding the last hour of Joe Soucheray's "Garage Logic," meaning the show will now air from 4-6 p.m. on KDAL. The move pushes Jason Lewis back to 6-9 p.m. and cuts an hour of Dave Ramsey, who continues from 9-11 p.m. The change follows the conversion of Soucheray's flagship, KSTP/1500 (St. Paul), to a (mostly) Sports format that bumped him out of his 2-5 p.m. slot. Soucheray and Patrick Reusse now host "SportsTalk" from 2-4, which is syndicated to stations including KDAL. (3/8/2010)
Jack Gennaro, former General Manager of WFHR/1320 and WWRW/103.3 (Wisconsin Rapids), died Thursday, March 4. He served as General Manager of WFHR/WWRW (now WGLX) from 1964 to 1989 and was responsible for starting the Wisconsin Network, bringing Wisconsin Badger football games to radio stations statewide. He also was GM form 1957 to 1961 at WOBT/1240 (Rhinelander). He was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters hall of fame in 1990. Jack served as president of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in 1981. His 37-year broadcasting career began in 1953 at WREX-TV Rockford serving as a sales representative before moving to WFRV-TV Green Bay, beginning in sales and quickly moving up to General Manager. The family is asking people to donate to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Foundation for college scholarships in lieu of sending flowers, as Gennaro wished. Services are planned for Tuesday (3/9) in Wisconsin Rapids. (3/8/2010)
WCCO-TV reports that well-known reporter Darcy Pohland has died at the age of 48. Pohland, a Twin Cities native, was paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident in 1983. She had been an intern at WCCO's Washington bureau at the time of the accident. The station hired Pohland for a part-time job in 1986, and she rose through the ranks to become one of the nation's only quadrapalegic reporters. Pohland's station biography lists her favorite word as "perseverence" and her least favorite word as "cripple." The station says a cause of death has not been determined. (3/6/2010)
Austin is the latest city to get Minnesota Public Radio's Adult Alternative network "The Current." It's being heard on 9-Watt translator K280EF/103.9, which relays the network's primary station, KCMP/89.3 (Northfield). MPR recently bought K280EF from Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls for $8,000. It had sold the translator to Calvary Chapel for $1 in 2004 as part of a settlement agreement resolving competing applications for a new station, which allowed MPR to sign on KNSE/90.1 (Austin). "The Current" is now heard on two full-power stations, five translators, and one HD2 channel. (3/6/2010)
Alan Quarnstrom's Q Media Group, LLC is exercising its option to buy KCUE/1250 and KWNG/105.9 (Red Wing) from Sorenson Broadcasting for $1.55 million. Q Media Group has been operating the stations under a local programming and marketing agreement since 2007. Q Media Group also owns KLCH/94.9 (Lake City). (3/6/2010)
The Forum of Fargo reports that its sister station, WDAY/970, has laid off Al Aamodt and Ben Ziegler. Aamodt was a 35-year veteran of the station who anchored news, while Ziegler was morning co-host and program manager. Beginning Monday, WDAY will simulcast WDAY-TV's newscast from 6-7 a.m. (3/6/2010)
Sister Grace, Inc. is selling translator W270BC/101.9 (Peshtigo) to AMDG, Inc for $2,500. The application indicates W270BC will continue to relay WLCJ-LP/92.5 (Marinette). AMDG also owns WLJC-LP translator W221BM/92.1 (Peshtigo). (3/6/2010)
It now appears both of Thunder Bay's commercial TV stations will lose their longtime network affiliations. CKPR-TV/2 has applied to the CRTC to remove a condition of its license that it be affiliated with CBC, saying it has been unable to reach a new agreement with the government-owned network. The station tells the CRTC it is not economically viable to operate as a CBC affiliate without receiving payment from the network. It seeks to end its affiliation on Aug. 31, 2010.
CKPR-TV is owned by Dougall Media along with CHFD/4, which recently lost its CTV affiliation. CHFD is now carrying more programming from the Global network, and CKPR's application indicates it will carry local and syndicated programming. CBC and CTV affiliates from other cities will continue to be available through cable and satellite. (3/4/2010, added details 3/5)
"Pulse 99.5" (KPUL-FM Winterset-Des Moines) is telling listeners the station could be sold if it doesn't double its community support during the month of March. The non-profit Christian Hits station was able to fulfill a "survival pledge" late last year, but is now 33 percent short on revenues. (3/3/2010)
Minnesota Public Radio has expanded its Adult Alternative network "The Current" into the St. Cloud market on the HD2 signal of KNSR/88.9 (Collegeville), which continues to carry MPR's News network on its primary channel. "The Current" has included KNSR in its legal ID for a few months, but the launch didn't become official until Tuesday (March 2). Funding from the 3/8% Legacy Amendment sales tax approved by Minnesota voters in November 2008 helped pay for the expansion. (3/3/2010)
KGRR/97.3 (Epworth-Dubuque) has moved from Classic Rock to Mainstream Rock. The new format is streaming at kgrr.com. The station, owned by Radio Dubuque, primarily competes with Cumulus Media's "Eagle 102" (KXGE/102.3 Dubuque), which carries a Classic Rock-leaning format. The change comes about two months after KGRR founder and morning host Paul Hemmer retired from the station. (3/2/2010)
Regent Communications, which owns six radio stations in the St. Cloud market, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The company announced Monday it's reached a restructuring agreement with its lenders that will eliminate about $87 million in debt and said the reorganization would have no effect on day-to-day operations. Regent's stations include WJON/1240 (St. Cloud), KXSS/1390 (Waite Park), KMXK/94.9 (Cold Spring), KZRV/96.7 (Sartell), WWJO/98.1 (St. Cloud), and KLZZ/103.7 (Waite Park). The Cincinnati-based company owns 62 radio stations in 13 markets nationwide. (3/1/2010)
The Lincoln Journal Star reports KLMS/1480 is poised to flip back to Sports, just over a month after changing to Oldies. General manager Joy Patten tells the paper the change comes as a result of public input. KLMS is expected to return to its former schedule, including ESPN Radio and Jim Rome, by March 8. (3/1/2010)
More changes following the end of Citadel's Timeless syndicated format: WCCN/1370 (Neillsville), WBDK/96.7 (Algoma), and WSBW/105.1 (Sister Bay) have all flipped to Dial Global's Adult Standards format. Meanwhile, WRDB/1400 (Reedsburg) is using Dial Global Local's "The Lounge" format. (3/1/2010)
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