3/31/1998: WCCO Radio has fired Ruth Koscielak because of low ratings. Koscielak had been with the station since 1981 and most recently hosted the 12:30 to 3 p.m. shift. Tim Russell will now cover 10-2, followed by Moose Miller from 2-6. Koscielak's last show was Monday. (Channel 4000)
3/28/1998: MPR announced last week that its owner is selling the Rivertown Trading Company to Dayton Hudson Corporation for an estimated $120 million. MPR's structure is rather complicated: The Minnesota Communications Group (MCG) owns non-profit MPR and for-profit Greenspring Company. Greenspring owns Rivertown, the MNN Radio Networks, and Minnesota Monthly Publications. Through MCG, Greenspring turns over some of its profits to MPR. Go here for more details on the structure. About $90 million will go into MPR's endowment fund, which currently stands at $19 million. Greenspring president Bill Kling will get $2.6 million out of the deal, and Greenspring VP Thomas Kigin will get $1.4 million. Kling is also president of MPR and MCG. (MPR)
3/28/1998: WBHR/660's new format has begun: it's Radio Disney. WBHR's 10,000 Watt daytime signal reaches most of Minnesota, but at night it powers down to 250 Watts and only reaches the St. Cloud area. Radio Disney is ABC's kids format, airing a mix of Contemporary Hits, Oldies, and song parodies. When KXTP/970 in Duluth begins airing Radio Disney next Thursday, the network will have three affiliates in Minnesota (the third being KDIZ/1440 in the Twin Cities).
3/28/1998: Leif Erickson is the new Program Director at Y94 (Fargo) following Sam Elliot's departure. Erickson comes from a station in Rapid City, SD. (e-mail)
3/28/1998: DJ Broadcasting has been granted a Construction Permit for a new station in Pillager on 95.9. The station will broadcast with 6kW at 100m. The transmitter site will be located about 7 miles southwest of Brainerd, so it'll probably target the Brainerd-Baxter area. (FCC)
3/28/1998: WGMO/95.3 (Shell Lake) has upgraded from 3 to 25kW. The change gives WGMO a better signal into Rice Lake and Hayward. (FCC)
3/27/1998: La Crosse's Hot 94.7 (KHTW Caledonia) left the air at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, and is expected to return to the air with its old Light Adult Contemporary format. Program Director Jason Hillery and the entire airstaff are out. 94.7's CHR format was only about a year old, but it faced heavy competition from Z93, and established CHR with a better signal. (All Access)
3/27/1998: Y94 Fargo is without a Program Director as Sam Elliot is leaving for a job in Salt Lake City. (e-mail)
3/26/1998: KXTP/970 (Superior-Duluth) will drop ABC's "Real Country" format for Radio Disney on April 2, the first day of Arbitron's spring ratings period. The change will bring Top 40 radio back to Duluth, but not on FM, not local, and targeted at kids. KXTP began the Country format, positioned as "Real Country Classics," in January 1997 after dropping a satellite Nostalgia format. The new format didn't fare as well as the old one. (e-mail)
3/26/1998: KRBR/102.5 (Duluth), "The Bear," will add the syndicated Bob and Tom show on April 2. (e-mail)
3/24/1998: KUWS/91.3 (UW-Superior) and Wisconsin Public Radio have reached an agreement on how to program KUWS once the station and network go 24 hours on April 6. WPR had asked KUWS, which carries WPR's Ideas network, to move some of its student-produced music shows into overnight hours and carry more network programming during the evening hours. KUWS opposed this change because there aren't many people who can listen or students who can work during the overnight hours. In the agreement, KUWS will be able to keep its shows on at about the same time, and will automate repeats of Ideas network talk shows overnight. (The Ideas network will be carrying the BBC World Service, already heard on MPR's WSCN.) WPR will help purchase the equipment necessary for this automation.
3/24/1998: The FCC has allocated 94.1 to Lake Crystal, MN, and 95.7 to Vernon Center, MN, as of May 5. Both will be class A stations, meaning they'll operate at 6kW from 100m (or equivalent). Potential applicants will have to get the FCC to open a window for filing before they can apply. Lake Crystal is about 10 miles southwest of Mankato, and Vernon Center is about 20 miles south of Mankato. K232BC/94.3 Mankato, rebroadcasting KTIS-FM Minneapolis, will probably have to change frequency if/when the Lake Crystal station signs on. (FCC)
3/23/1998: Michael "Donuts" Douglas and Sue Falls have joined Jim Brunnette on Kool 108's morning show. Donuts was half of "Knapp and Donuts," KS95's successful morning show, from the early `80s to the early `90s. Sue Falls most recently worked overnights at K102, but before that, worked at BOB 100 FM (now WRQC). When exactly they joined Brunnette is unknown to me. Star Tribune
3/23/1998: The FCC has approved the sale of KLGT/WB23 (Minneapolis) from Lakeland Broadcasting to Sinclair. ()
3/23/1998: KVBM/45, Minneapolis' Home Shopping Network affiliate, now has a website. This leaves Hubbard Broadcasting stations KSTP-TV and WDIO (and their satellite stations) as the only TV stations in Minnesota without websites. Hubbard does have the domain name "kstp.com" reserved, but it's not being used yet. Of course, KLGT/WB23's website has said "the future home of KLGT-TV" for a long time, so it maybe shouldn't count. And KNLD/21 (Duluth) doesn't have one yet, but they aren't really on the air yet.
3/21/1998: Last week, KSTP-TV hired Scott Libin as its new News Director. Libin was most recently a faculty associate at the Poynter Institute, and before that, he worked at a North Carolina ABC affiliate for nine years. (Shoptalk)
3/20/1998: WVAL/660 Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud has changed to WBHR. The station currently rebroadcasts WHMH(FM)'s "Rockin' 101" format, as it has for about a decade. Hourly ID's say "coming soon, the new WBHR," followed by a separate ID for WHMH. Meanwhile, WBHR/800 (owned by the same group as 660, Tri-County Broadcasting) has changed to WVAL. Will 800 rebroadcast 101.7? The new call letters for 660 were originally heard and reported as WVHM, but the FCC says they are WBHR
3/20/1998: WKKQ/650 Nashwauk-Hibbing will drop it's 20-year-old Country format for Talk and Sports on or about April 1. The new format will include America in the Morning with Jim Bohannan, Dr. Dean Edell, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and the SportsFan Radio Network. The station, now officially licensed as WNMT, is running without DJ's. Local weather and newscasts are still being broadcast, and the station has switched it's network news from ABC Entertainment to ABC Information. The change follows the sale of WKKQ and WTBX/93.9 to the Central States Network last year and increased competition from FM stations. (originally posted 3/19/1998)
3/19/1998: Are major changes coming to Duluth's Kiss 92.1?
3/19/1998: WWLC/104.9 (Balsam Lake) will be sold to Casey Communications. Before that happens, WWLC's sale to Northwoods Broadcasting from Red Cedar Broadcasting (along with WAQE AM-FM Rice Lake) has to be completed. (FCC)
3/19/1998: The American Family Association has modified it's application for a new station in Wentworth, WI. AFA now wants to be on 88.1, with 25kW from 109 meters, vertical only (class C2). They had originally applied for a class C3 station on 88.5. The main question is whether this new station would cause interference to KBJR Channel 6, broadcasting from Duluth. If approved, the new station would have a fair signal in the Duluth-Superior area. Also, I forgot to mention a few months ago that AFA received a construction permit for a station in New Ulm, on 88.3 with just 500 watts at 35 meters. That station would have roughly the same power as a translator! (FCC)
3/19/1998: According to a post on All Access' Net Talk page, Cumulus Media will take over KQCL Faribault (and presumably the other stations they're buying from James Ingstad) on July 1.
3/19/1998: KCQV/96.7 in Arthur, ND, has been granted a call letter change to KOCL. The station runs a satellite Oldies format and has a fair signal in Fargo. (FCC)
3/19/1998: St. Olaf College's construction permit for a new station on 88.7 in Rochester has been assigned the call letters KMSE. (FCC)
3/16/1998: Q98 (Fargo) added the syndicated Bob and Tom morning show to its Active Rock format today. (e-mail)
3/16/1998: Some Twin Cities notes:
3/17/1998: It turns out the St. Cloud Broadcasting Company's Denny Carpenter doesn't have controlling interest in WQPM AM-FM Princeton. He did buy the station, but he owns/will own only 49% of it, while Milestone Radio (still don't know who that is) owns/will own 51%. Also, SCBC is not planning to move out of its aging studios in the near future. SCBC owns St. Cloud area stations KKSR, KLZZ, KXSS, and KASM AM-FM. (e-mail)
3/14/1998: The KQRS morning show is in hot water (again). This time, they mocked Somali cabdrivers grieving the murder of their colleague, Said Igal. The Star Tribune's CJ says the commentary was "along the lines of, If you don't like it here, why don't you go back to where you came from?" Cabdrivers sat in front of the KQRS studios in Golden Valley for hours honking their horns.
3/12/1998: An unlicensed station was on the air in Minneapolis yesterday (3/11) -- one year after Rev 105 left the air. The station, at 107.5, broadcast music Rev 105 played, and Rev's last 105 minutes on the air. Posts on Bulletin Boards say the broadcast was organized by Charlie Stroud, who set up "Magic 107.5" (Christmas 1997) and "Ballot Box Radio" (95.7, November 1997). (e-mail)
3/11/1998: Jim Young has left the program director position at Kiss 92.1 (Duluth) for a position at Northland Broadcasting (B105, Kool 101.7, and WEBC). He was also co-host of Kiss' morning show, which is now being hosted by Laura Wilde with a different celebrity host everyday. Kiss co-owner and general manager Tom Lijewski is acting PD. The station has been playing more `80s tracks lately, and has added some `70s tracks to its Modern AC format.
3/11/1998: In still more Jason Hillery news, All Access reports part of the reason he didn't leave Hot 94.7 (La Crosse) is because he's also going to be doing weekends at KDWB.
3/9/1998: KFGX/95.1 (Detroit Lakes-Fargo) has gone back to a Hard Rock/Alternative format after changing to Modern AC last fall. They're still called "The Zone," but they've got a new liner voice and the new positioner "Always Rock'n'". (e-mail)
3/9/1998: The Bear 690 (KXBR Minneapolis) is now airing Spanish-language programming on Sundays. Can the market support so much Spanish-language radio? It's on WMIN-740 every afternoon and all weekend, on KYCR-1570 weekend afternoons, and on KKCM-1530 Sundays, not to mention the "Salsas Alegres" show on non-commercial KFAI. (e-mail)
3/8/1998: WAQE AM-FM (1090/97.7 Rice Lake) and WWLC (104.9 Balsam Lake)are being sold to Northwoods Broadcasting from Red Cedar Broadcasting. Northwoods is in the process of selling three stations in Rhinelander. WAQE-FM has a Construction Permit to move to 99.1 with 50kW. (FCC)
3/8/1998: Radio&Records says that the Cumulus Media-Jim Ingstad deal is for $50.2 million and involves 25 stations in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Many of these stations are still in the process of being sold to Jim Ingstad from brother Robert.
3/5/1998: Earlier reports that said Jason Hillery is leaving Hot 94.7 (La Crosse) are wrong...he's chosen to stay at KHTW instead of leaving for Pennsylvania, and turn Hot 94.7 into a "powerhouse." (All Access)
3/3/1998: KKXL/1440 (Grand Forks) has returned to the air, more than a year after it was knocked off by the floods. The format has changed from Country to satellite Nostalgia as "Star 1440." Also, while off the air, Thomas Ingstad purchased the station. KUND/1370, which was KFJM at the time of the flood, is still off the air. (e-mail)
3/3/1998: Randy Holland, who will be getting a Construction Permit for a new station in the Fargo market, works for Tom Ingstad's company in upper management. (e-mail)
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