March 2017

MINNESOTA:
Riverfront Broadcasting is buying four radio stations in southern Minnesota from Jerry Papenfuss. The $2.225 million deal includes KBEW/1560 and KBEW-FM/98.1 (Blue Earth), along with KDOM/1580 and KDOM-FM/94.3 (Windom). KBEW reports Papenfuss is only the station's second owner, having purchased it from station founder Paul Hedberg in 1980. Papenfuss, who has been in radio since 1962, sold his groups in Winona and Fergus Falls to Leighton Enterprises two years ago. Riverfront owns more than a dozen radio stations in Iowa and South Dakota. (3/29/2017, updated with FCC filing 3/30)

MINNESOTA:
After just six months airing Decades network, the DT3 channel of KBJR/6 (Superior-Duluth) has switched the daytime and overnight programming to Heroes & Icons network. The channel, branded "My9" for its cable and satellite position, continues to carry the MyNetworkTV lineup and some syndicated programming in the evening, pre-empting H&I's evening lineup of all five Star Trek series. Both Decades and H&I are operated by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. (3/29/2017)

MINNESOTA:
In an unusual move, a storied northern Minnesota radio station has shown up for sale on a real estate website. 133 East Chapman Street in Ely, the home of WELY AM-FM, is listed for $300,000 by Z'Up North Realty. The listing says you can "own your own radio station" and "all the equipment, radio tower, building, and much more." In response to a question from NorthPine.com about whether the deal includes the FCC license, the listing agent said "it includes all." It's a rare listing for an industry in which businesses are usually marketed confidentially by brokers. WELY/1450 and WELY-FM/94.5 are currently owned by the Bois Forte Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, which bought them in 2005 for $445,000. The stations were more famously owned by newsman Charles Kuralt for a few years in the 1990's. WELY-FM now carries mostly Classic Rock, having switched from a longtime Adult Alternative/Folk format a few years ago, while the AM side carries syndicated talk and sports programming. Ely is literally at the end of the road (State Highway 169), sitting on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The area's mix of mining and outdoor activities has led to heightened conflict amid discussion of copper-nickel mining in recent years. WELY's only local commercial competitor is KAOD/106.7 (Babbitt), which relays the Classic Rock format of Duluth's KQDS-FM. The Bois Forte Band also owns non-commercial outlet KBFT/89.9 (Nett Lake). (3/28/2017, updated 3/29)

MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Public Radio has indicated in an FCC filing that it plans to carry its "Current" Adult Alternative network on KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth). MPR is in the process of buying KZIO from Red Rock Radio and recently filed a main studio waiver request seeking to make KZIO a satellite of KCMP/89.3 (Northfield-Minneapolis), which is the flagship station of "The Current" network. KZIO will be the third primary full-power station carrying "The Current," which is also heard on several translators and HD2 signals. The filing does not indicate whether KZIO will continue to be relayed on K231BI/94.1 (Duluth), or whether "The Current" will continue to be heard on W215CG/90.9 (Duluth) and the HD2 signal of WSCN/100.5 (Cloquet). It is worth noting that W215CG seems to suffer from more interference than Duluth's other FM translators. (3/27/2017)

MICHIGAN:
The price for Armada Media's purchase of a fourth FM station in the Escanaba market is $325,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC is buying WMXG/106.3 (Stephenson-Escanaba) from Escanaba License Corp., which is held by the Estate of Lyle Evans. Though there are only a handful of city-grade signals in Escanaba, Armada argues that it should be allowed to own four FM signals in the market because overlap with out-of-town stations brings the market above the 30 stations needed to allow ownership of four stations on one band. The buyer is already operating WMXG through a local marketing agreement. (3/21/2017)

MINNESOTA:
A quick note that the FCC has approved a change reported here earlier this month that will allow a Twin Cities FM translator to return to the air. Educational Media Foundation's W225AP/92.9, which had carried the "Air-1" Christian Rock network, will move its transmitter to St. Paul in an effort to resolve an interference complaint from a central Minnesota station. See the earlier report for details. (3/19/2017)

NEBRASKA:
NRG Media's K258DC/99.5 (Omaha) has signed on relaying the Regional Mexican format of KMMQ/1020 (Plattsmouth-Omaha). The new 250-Watt FM signal reaches a portion of the Omaha area with a directional signal transmitting from a tower near the intersection of I-80 and I-480 in South Omaha. K258DC was moved west from Iowa City under last year's AM revitalization filing window and is the sixth commercial FM translator in the Omaha area. "La Nueva 99.5 y 1020" competes with Flood Communications' "Lobo 97-7" (KBBX-FM Nebraska City-Omaha) and iHeartMedia's recently-launched "102.3 El Patron" (K272FE Council Bluffs-Omaha and KFFF-HD2 Bennington).

In other recent Omaha translator news, Bott Radio Network has signed on K277CP/103.3 covering West Omaha, complementing the signal of K229BI/93.7, which transmits Bott from downtown Omaha. Former Bott translator K224DJ/92.7 has switched to My Bridge Radio. (3/19/2017)

WISCONSIN:
Mid-West Family Broadcasting has launched Rythmic Top 40 format "95.9 Jamz" on newly-launched translator W240DC/95.9 (Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire), with programming officially originating on WEAQ/1150 (Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire). W240DC transmits with 250 Watts from WEAQ's tower site in the Town of Seymour, just outside of northeastern Eau Claire. The AM station had carried an Oldies format for the past several years. The new format apparently doesn't yet have a website, but it does have Facebook and Twitter accounts that have no posts. "95.9 Jamz," which is the first-ever Rhythmic Top 40 format for Eau Claire, mostly competes with iHeartRadio heritage Top 40 outlet "Z100" (WBIZ-FM/100.7), acting as a flanker protecting Mid-West heritage Hot Adult Contemporary outlet "I94" (WIAL/94.1). Mid-West also uses the "Jamz" slogan and format on a station in Madison.

The launch of W240DC means all five commercial AM radio stations in the Chippewa Valley now have FM translators. Three of them primarily identify by their FM frequency, including Mid-West's "Sports Talk 105.1" (WAYY/790). (3/19/2017)

ONTARIO:
Canadian regulators have approved a new FM signal for CBC Radio One in White River, a town on the Trans-Canada Highway and Lake Superior Circle Tour that's known as the home of Winnie the Pooh. The new low-power FM signal will transmit with 50 Watts on 97.7, replacing a 40-Watt AM station, CBLW/1010. It'll be just the second FM station receivable in the town of about 600 people. As reported here recently, the CBC is also proposing a larger FM signal to replace its low-power AM stations in Marathon and Terrace Bay. (3/16/2017)

IOWA:
Traditional Oldies are back on the Des Moines dial on K283CC/104.5 and the HD2 signal of KAZR/103.3. Saga Broadcasting has flipped the pair to "Pure Oldies 104.5" after just seven months with a News/Talk format that had featured Mike Gallagher, Laura Ingraham, Clark Howard, and ESPN Radio on the weekends. Saga also owns KIOA/93.3, which had carried Oldies for decades before segueing to Classic Hits. RadioInsight reports that Saga has recently launched "Pure Oldies" formats in two other markets. (3/14/2017)

MINNESOTA:
Western Minnesota's Pioneer Public Television has announced plans to add PBS Kids on its DT5 channels starting April 3. Pioneer consists of KWCM/10 (Appleton), KSMN/20 (Worthington), and translators in Fergus Falls, Alexandria, Granite Falls, Olivia, and Willmar. The stations also carry PBS, Create, the Minnesota Channel, and World Channel. The main PBS channel is carried on satellite across the large Minneapolis and Sioux Falls markets. (3/14/2017)

IOWA/MICHIGAN/MINNESOTA/N. DAKOTA/S. DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Edge Spectrum is buying 71 low-power TV stations from Three Angels Broadcasting Network, including 18 in the Upper Midwest. The deal totals $3.2 million. The buyer's website says it "is addressing the growing demand for wireless mobile broadband Internet services and for low-cost and high-quality Over-The-Top content delivery alternatives to broadband cable and satellite unicast Internet service providers." Regional stations included in the deal are: K20KF-D Davenport, IA; W28DY-D Sault Ste. Marie, MI; K44GH-D Alexandria, MN; W39DD-D Dodge Center, MN; K21KZ-D Duluth, MN; K48NP-D Duluth, MN; K48KJ-D Geneva, MN; K38MM-D International Falls, MN; K43JE-D Lake Crystal, MN; K18GF-D Little Falls, MN; K47JE-D Olivia, MN; K43MH-D Vesta, MN; K47JC-D Wadena, MN; K17HG Grand Forks, ND; K32FW Pierre, SD; W30BU Green Bay, WI; W02CF Minocqua, WI; and W39CV-D Minocqua, WI. Some of the stations are construction permits that are not yet on the air. (3/14/2017)

MICHIGAN:
Armada Media has announced the purchase of WMXG/106.3 (Stephenson-Escanaba) to add to its Radio Results Network. The purchase price was not immediately disclosed and the deal had not hit the FCC database as of Monday morning. WMXG is currently owned by Escanaba License Corp., which is held by the Estate of Lyle Evans. The company's announcement says the buyers have "exciting plans" for WMXG that will be announced in the coming months; DX-midAMerica recently reported that WMXG had been simulcasting the News/Talk format of Armada's WCHT/600 (Escanaba). WMXG had run a Classic Hits format but has been off the air or at reduced power for much of the past five years, according to FCC filings that cited transmitter and financial problems. Armada's companies own or operate 14 other radio stations in the central Upper Peninsula, including four other FM's with good signals to Escanaba; it appears the addition of WMXG could be allowed under ownership caps because its city-grade contour has little to no overlap with one of the group's existing stations, WCMM/102.5 Gulliver. (3/13/2017)

IOWA/MICHIGAN/NEBRASKA:
Gray TV has appointed new general managers in four Upper Midwest markets:

ONTARIO:
The CBC is proposing a new regional FM signal to carry CBC Radio One on the north shore of Lake Superior, replacing two existing low-power AM stations. The new CBLM-FM would broadcast on 107.5 with 3.935kW/280m (class B), using an existing CBC tower located in Neys Provincial Park west of Marathon. The tower was originally built for CBC-TV, but the CBC ended TV broadcasts in the region several years ago. The tower is now used by Marathon's other two radio stations, commercial broadcaster CFNO-FM/93.1 and ICI Radio-Canada Première transmitter CBON-FM-29 / 102.3, the latter of which would get a slight upgrade to nearly match CBLM-FM's proposed facility. The estimated cost of the project is $40,000. CBLM-FM would replace 40-Watt CBLM/1090 (Marathon) and CBEH/1010 (Terrace Bay). A low-power AM station in Schreiber, just west of Terrace Bay, would apparently remain on the air. CBC Radio One programming in the region originates in Thunder Bay. (3/8/2017)

WISCONSIN:
FM translator W293CX/106.5 (Milwaukee) has signed on relaying WNOV/860. The stations, owned by Courier Communications, serve the African-American community with a mix of Talk, R&B, and Gospel. W293CX transmits from the WNOV transmitter site with 99 Watts, enough to provide a
good signal to most of Milwaukee and several suburbs. The translator was moved south from Park Falls under last year's AM revitalization filing window and is the sixth commercial translator on the air in Milwaukee. (3/7/2017)

MINNESOTA:
The owner of a Twin Cities FM signal has applied to move its transmitter from Minneapolis to St. Paul in an effort to resove an interference complaint from a central Minnesota station. Educational Media Foundation's W225AP/92.9, which had carried the "Air-1" Christian Rock network until going silent in January due to the complaint, has applied to move to a tower at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. W225AP had transmitted from a different site in St. Paul until moving to the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis two years ago, which is when KKJM/92.9 (St. Joseph-St. Cloud) says listeners in the northwest metro began experiencing interference. Translators are required to resolve any complaints of interference to full-power stations. The move to the east will remove much of the west metro from W225AP's coverage area, though Air-1 can also be heard in the northwest metro on K249ED/97.7, which transmits from Oak Grove. As part of W225AP's move, EMF's W227BF/93.3 -- which transmits from the IDS Center -- would drop from 99 Watts to 65 Watts to prevent interference between the two stations. (W225AP and W227AP's transmitter are currently located one block apart, but the FCC approved the current facilities because the interference is limited to upper levels of the buildings that are not inhabitated.) iHeartRadio currently programs W227BF as "Alt 93-3." (3/5/2017)

MINNESOTA:
FCC filings indicate WREY/630 (St. Paul) has increased its daytime power from 1kW to 3kW, while reducing its nighttime power slightly from 2.5kW to 2.4kW. The station transmits with the same directional antenna pattern day and night from a site in Woodbury. It carries a Spanish-language format as "Radio Rey." (3/5/2017)

WISCONSIN:
Family Stations' WMWK/88.1 (Milwaukee) has applied for a slight upgrade from its current 1.1kW/276m to 1.8kW/283m, remaining at its current transmitter site in the Milwaukee antenna farm. The station's class would change from A to B1. (3/5/2017)

IOWA:
The FCC's Media Bureau and KM Television of Iowa, licensee of KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City), have agreed to a
consent decree to settle allegations that KWKB was late in placing several reports in its electronic public file. KM will pay a $13,500 settlement. KWKB, a former WB and CW affiliate, currently carries ThisTV on its primary channel. (3/5/2017)

IOWA/NEBRASKA/WISCONSIN:
Deja vu: Hearst TV stations are off a satellite provider amid a retransmission consent dispute, this time DISH Network. The dispute affects CBS affiliate KCCI (Des Moines) and ABC affiliates WISN-TV (Milwaukee) and KETV (Omaha). KCCI reports the outage began late Thursday night after a 48-hour extension expired. The outage comes two months after the stations were briefly pulled from DirecTV in a similar dispute. (3/3/2017)

IOWA/MINNESOTA/NEBRASKA/WISCONSIN:
A number of Sinclair Broadcast Group stations have changed or added subchannels as the company rolls out the Charge! and TBD TV subchannel networks. Here are the changes noted so far in the Upper Midwest:

It's notable that Sinclair's stations in the Milwaukee and Madison markets do not appear to have added the new channels, at least not yet. (3/2/2017)

WISCONSIN:
Kelly Martinson is buying Baraboo Broadcasting Corporation, which owns WRPQ/740 (Baraboo), FM translator W259BC/99.7 (Baraboo), and the construction permits for several low-power TV stations in the area. According to the stock purchase agreement, Martinson will pay Jeffrey Smith, Gregory Buchwald, and Anne Smith a combined $375,000 for all of the stock in the company, and Jeffrey Smith will also be paid $27,000 for one year of consulting followed by two years of non-competition. Martinson, who lives in Minnesota, goes by the on-air name Kory Hartman and works as a storm tracker for The Weather Channel, with experience at numerous radio and TV stations in the region. He owns no other stations. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group, Inc. assisted the sellers. (3/1/2017)


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