April 2009

Clear Channel has cut hundreds more positions nationwide. Here are some of those affected in the Upper Midwest, according to All Access, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and KTTC:
Ames, IA: Ryan Wild (KCCQ)
Bismarck: Ken Jameson and Jeff Alexander (KFYR)
Cedar Rapids: Faye Dudley (KKSY) and Lauri Struve (WMT/KXIC)
Davenport: Bo Spates (KCQQ/KUUL), Debbie McFadden (KMXG/KUUL), and Phil Roberts (WOC)
Des Moines: Don Thompson (WHO)
Madison: Jason Fischer and Jennifer Miller (WIBA)
Milwaukee: Mark Richards and Amy Foxx (WMIL), Jeff Lynn (WRIT/WQBW), Jj Gerard (WQBW), Scott Aebly (WRIT)
Minneapolis: Langdon Perry, Daniel Hitchings, and Chris Simon (KTLK), Lois Mae and Dan Donovan (KQQL), Chris Fisher (K102), Joe Anderson (KFAN).
Rochester, MN: Jake Duffy (KMFX)
The Denver Post reports Clear Channel's KOA/850 will now produce newscasts for the Minneapolis cluster. (4/29/2009)

The station manager of KCNI/1280 and KBBN/95.3 (Broken Bow) is buying the stations from their current Oklahoma-based owners. Dave Birnie will pay $580,000 for the outstanding shares in KCNI/KBBN licensee Custer County Broadcasting. The company is currently owned by Liane K. Griffith (88%), Jerry L. Griffith (6%), and Jeffery J. Griffith (6%). Birnie has no other broadcast interests. (4/27/2009)

KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) is adding two more hours of weekend morning news starting this Saturday, April 25. The station already had newscasts from 6-7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, followed by an hour of Good Morning America, and is adding local news from 8-9 a.m. The expanded newscasts will be anchored by Nicole Agee, who most recently worked at KAAL/6 (Austin, MN). (4/24/2009)

KZAT/95.5 (Belle Plaine-Tama) has gone silent as Farmers & Merchants Bank takes over ownership of KZAT licensee Camrory Broadcasting, currently held by Catherine A. Campbell Currier. F&M foreclosed after Camrory defaulted on its debt and was the high bidder during a sheriff's sale on March 17. A FCC filing says KZAT went silent April 6 due to financial reasons. The station had carried Citadel's Classic Hits format (formerly ABC Oldies Radio) with CBS News on the hour. F&M is owned by Dunn Investment Co. of Manchester. (4/23/2009)

These are the winning bidders for Equity Media stations in the Upper Midwest, according to Radio Business Report:

  • KWWF/22 (Waterloo, IA) is sold to Valley Bank as part of a $7.05 million deal that also includes a low-power station in Denver and a full-power station in Cheyenne, WY.
  • FOX affiliate WMQF/19 (Marquette, MI) is sold to MMMC for $100,000.
  • WTMS-CA/7 and WUMN-CA/13 (Minneapolis) are sold to Silver Point Capital L.P. along with four other low-power stations for $1.265 million.
  • KTUW-DT/16 (Scottsbluff, NE) apparently remains for sale. (4/21/2009)

    WCCO/830 (Minneapolis) is making changes to its lineup, moving Don Shelby to 1-3 p.m. and adding Michele Tafoya from 3-6 starting June 1. Shelby and Tafoya will co-host from 3-3:30. Tafoya, who lives in Edina and worked at WCCO-TV/4 in the 1990's, is known nationally for her work on "Monday Night Football." She was one of many guests hosts to fill the Noon-3 slot on WCCO since Jack Rice's departure earlier this year. WCCO's announcement did not mention plans for the Noon hour. (4/21/2009)

    WFXS-DT (Wittenberg-Wausau) has added Untamed Sports TV on channel 55.2. It's the third new subchannel to launch in the Wausau area in the last few months. (4/21/2009)

    It's been a while since the last runthrough of CP's, so some of these were actually issued several months ago:

  • Coggon, IA: KUBU/88.7, 5kW/66m (A), New Bohemia Group. Strong signal to Manchester and a possible deep fringe signal to Cedar Rapids, where the group is based.
  • Story City, IA: 88.3, 1.9kW/70m (A), Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames. Fringe signal to Ames.
  • Tabor, IA: 89.3, 48.703kW vertical/5kW horizontal/119m (C2), Calvary Chapel of Omaha. Transmitter in Missouri, good signal to Shenandoah, Nebraska City, and Auburn, possible fringe coverage of Omaha and Council Bluffs.
  • Bagley, MN: 90.5, 100kW/126m (C1), Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Good signal to Bemidji.
  • Cass Lake, MN: 90.1, 45kW/92m (C2), Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Transmitter near Bena, fringe signal to Bemidji and Grand Rapids.
  • Fairmont, MN: 90.1, 22kW/69m (C3), Martin County Knights of Columbus. Transmitter near Welcome, fringe signal to Jackson, St. James, and Blue Earth.
  • Marshall, MN: KRGM/89.9, 4kW/163m (C3), Refuge Media Group. Transmitter east of town, coverage includes Redwood Falls and Tracy.
  • Naytahwaush, MN: 88.1, 22.5kW vertical/225W horizontal/131m (C3), White Earth Land Recovery Project. Transmitter northwest of Bagley, fringe signal to Bemidji.
  • Waconia, MN: 88.3, 11kW/86m (C3), Key to Life Center. Transmitter near Young America, fringe signal to southwest Twin Cities metro.
  • Chadron, NE: 90.5, 100W/90m (A), Jazz Birds.
  • Norfolk, NE: 88.7, 50kW/137m (C2), Gospel Music Omaha. Transmitter near Newman Grove, rimshot coverage of Norfolk and Columbus, no signal to Omaha.
  • Utica, NE: KUTC/91.7, 3kW/100m (A), The Johnson Foundation. Strong signal to Seward, fringe to York, possible fringe to Lincoln.
  • Jamestown, ND: 88.1, 4kW/1m (A), Jamestown College.
  • Max, ND: 88.1, 65kW/134m (C1), Horizon Christian Fellowship. Rimshot signal to Minot, where Horizon had been building a Network Operations Center and has an existing translator.
  • Minnewaukan, ND: 88.1, 17kW/214m, Prairie Public Broadcasting. Good signal to Devils Lake.
  • Williston, ND: 88.7, 50kW/237m (C1), Prairie Public Broadcasting. PPR already has a full-power station in Williston, KPPR/89.5, which is weaker. It's not clear what PPR's plans are since it only has one station in every other part of North Dakota.
  • Williston, ND: 90.7, 50kW/237m (C1), Hi-Line Radio Fellowship.
  • Hoven, SD: 88.3, 500W/11m (A), Glory Bound Baptist Church.
  • Rosebud, SD: 91.9, 51kW/175m (C1), Sinte Gleska University. Fringe signal to Winner and Valentine, NE.
  • Ashland, WI: WUWS/91.9, 23kW/74m (C3), Regents of the UW System. Will carry Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Netork, currently heard on a translator in Ashland.
  • Merrill, WI: WHJL/88.1, 63kW/178m (C2), WRVM Inc. Rimshot signal to Wausau and Rhinelander, replacing a current WRVM translator in Merrill.
  • Sparta, WI: 89.3, 33kW/105m (C3), Crossfire Inc. Transmitter along I-94 near Black River Falls, fringe signal to Tomah.
  • Viroqua, WI: WDRT/91.9, 480W/133m (A), Driftless Community Radio. (4/17/2009)

    Minnesota Public Radio reports translators K276EV/103.1 (Sleepy Eye) and K216FZ/91.1 (Redwood Falls) are on the air carrying MPR's News network, and K238AX/95.5 (Brookings, SD) is on the air carrying the Classical network. MPR also has a News network translator on 96.9 in Redwood Falls. (4/16/2009)

    LARRY BENTSON, 1921-2009:
    Broadcasting and cable pioneer N. Larry Bentson died of cancer Sunday, April 12, at the age of 87. Bentson was one of the founders of Midcontinent Media, which owned and built TV stations, radio stations, theaters, and cable systems across the Upper Midwest. Bentson remained the chairman of cable operator Midcontinent Communications until his death. According to a statement from Midcontinent Communications, Bentson was most proud of the Bentson family leadership position in philanthropy for community and non-profit organizations, including the University of Minnesota, United Hospital of St. Paul, Mount Zion Temple, Walker Art Center, and the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. Services will be held Thursday, April 16, in St. Paul. (4/15/2009)

    DX-midAMerica reports that KCOG/1400 (Centerville) has flipped to Contemporary Christian. KCOG had been carrying ABC's True Oldies Channel, which is now heard on new sister station KEDB/105.3 (Chariton). (4/15/2009)

    Sandhills Broadcasting, LLC is buying KBRB/1400 and KBRB-FM/92.7 (Ainsworth) from K.B.R. Broadcasting for $540,000. Sandhills Broadcasting is owned by Graig Kinzie of Ainsworth and has no other broadcast interests; it is not the same as Sandhills Advertising, which owns two stations in Ord. (4/13/2009)

    Broadcasting & Cable reports that Equity Media will auction off all of its TV stations on Thursday, April 16, after filing for bankruptcy last year. Equity's stations include FOX affiliate WMQF/19 (Marquette), Univision affiliates WUMN-CA/13 (Minneapolis) and WTMS-CA/7 (Minneapolis), and independent stations KWWF/22 (Waterloo) and KTUW-DT/16 (Scottsbluff). (An earlier deal to sell WUMN and several other Univision affiliates was not completed.) Nationally, Equity's holdings include four FOX affiliates, two My Network TV affiliates, about a dozen full-power independent stations, and dozens of low-power stations. Many have filed notice that they may go silent on the digital transition date (June 12) because digital facilities are not yet ready. (4/11/2009)

    DISH Network has added HD locals in the Sioux City and Cheyenne-Scottsbluff markets. The packages include KCAU-ABC, KMEG-CBS, and KPTH-FOX in Sioux City and KGWN-CBS and KLWY-FOX in Cheyenne-Scottsbluff. DirecTV does not offer locals in either market. (4/11/2009)

    WKOW-DT (Madison) has added ThisTV on channel 27.3. It continues to carry ABC HD on 27.1 and RTN on 27.2. (4/11/2009)

    KSTP/1500 (St. Paul) has moved from a conservative Talk format to a mix of liberal and conservative hosts. Liberals Chris Murphy and Shawn Prebil debuted in the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot Thursday (April 9) after KSTP parted ways with conservative midday hosts Bob Davis and Dave Thompson. Murphy and Prebil were last at WTDY/1670 (Madison). KSTP is still the flagship for regionally syndicated conservative talker Joe Soucheray from 2-5:30 p.m. KSTP has faced more competition in recent years with the launch of conservative talk formats on KTLK-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis) and WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis), while KTNF/950 (St. Louis Park) programs a liberal Talk format, heritage talker WCCO/830 (Minneapolis) airs a more middle-of-the-road News/Talk format, and KSTP's FM sister, WFMP/107.1 (Coon Rapids) airs a mostly non-political talk format aimed at women. (4/9/2009)

    The Star Tribune reports that Twin Cities broadcasting legend Steve Cannon died Monday night (April 6) of cancer. The "Cannon Mess," featuring characters Ma Linger, Morgan Mundane, and Backlash LaRue, aired from the "basement studio" at WCCO/830 for 26 years. Cannon and his trio of characters were inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2002. Pavek's website has audio clips of his last show, and WCCO has now posted more clips on its website. (4/7/2009)

    The Omaha World-Herald reports that FOX 42 (KPTM) has ended its 4 p.m. newscast and 4:30 "Omaha Life" show. The paper reports 22 employees have either been laid off or cut to part-time. KPTM continues a 9 p.m. newscast. (4/6/2009)

    There will be no more analog TV in Eau Claire and Wausau as of Monday, April 5, when Wisconsin Public Television turns off its five remaining analog transmitters around the state. The other WPT analog transmitters are in Green Bay, La Crosse, and Madison. Green Bay will still have four full-power analog signals until June (ABC, FOX, My, NBC), while Madison will have one (FOX). A few low-power stations will continue analog service in La Crosse (NBC, TBN, Independent). (4/6/2009)

    K231AT/94.1 (Pine City) is on the air carrying Minnesota Public Radio's News/Talk network. If you've been following recent postings about new MPR translators, you've probably already guessed (correctly) that it's one of the eleven MPR bought from Horizon Christian Fellowship last year. (4/6/2009)

    The Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, Minnesota, is the latest newspaper to discontinue its weekly TV guide, as more people get their listings from on-screen and online services The last section was published March 29, though the paper will continue listings in the daily paper, put printable listings online, and sell copies of the Hibbing Daily Tribune's weekly listings at its Virginia office for $1. The Duluth News Tribune and the Star Tribune discontinued their weekly TV inserts in fall 2007, and TV Guide ended regional listings several years ago. Duluth's free "Reader Weekly" has begun publishing TV listings for those who still want them in print. (4/6/2009)

    Minnesota Public Radio says K246BG/97.1 (Windom) is on the air carrying its News/Talk network. It's one of the eleven translators MPR bought from Horizon Christian Fellowship last year. (4/4/2009)

    NRG Media's KMMQ/1020 (Plattsmouth-Omaha) has dropped the "La Preciosa" network and is now originating its own Regional Mexican/Tropical format as "Ke Padre 1020." (4/4/2009)

    The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that Cumulus' KSOO-FM/99.1 (Lennox-Sioux Falls) will begin carrying ESPN Radio on Monday, April 13, the same day that Backyard Broadcasting's KWSN/1230 (Sioux Falls) drops ESPN for FOX Sports Radio. KSOO-FM has been simulcasting the News/Talk format of KSOO/1140 (Sioux Falls) since signing on last year. (4/4/2009)

    WXCE/1260 (Amery) has switched from Dial Global's Kool Gold format to Dial Global's Adult Standards format. The station is owned by Red Rock Radio, which carries the same network on three other stations in the region. (4/4/2009)

    Horizon Christian Fellowship is donating W210BV/89.9 (Omro) to WRVM, Inc. in lieu of payment for work WRVM, Inc. has done installing translator equipment. (4/4/2009)

    The former KELR/105.3 (Chariton) is now KEDB, and has dropped Classic Hits for ABC's "True Oldies Channel." The flip follows the station's sale to Fredric and Carolyn Jenkins, the owners of nearby KCOG/1400 and KMGO/98.7 (Centerville). KCOG had been carrying the True Oldies Channel. KMGO has a construction permit for an upgrade that would give it a rimshot signal to Des Moines. (4/2/2009)

    WDIO/10 (Duluth) and WIRT/13 (Hibbing) are promoting the launch of RTN (Retro Television Network) on channels 10.2 and 13.2 on Monday, April 20. RTN carries shows from the 1970's and 80's. 10.2 and 13.2 have been carrying looped weather forecasts as the "Storm Team Channel" since dropping the Sportsman Channel earlier this year. (4/2/2009)

    200-Watt WKPO/105.9 (Soldiers Grove) is reportedly back on the air with an Adult Hits format. The station was sold to Robinson Corporation, which owns WVRQ AM-FM in Viroqua, and has a construction permit for 25kW/100m (class C3) from a site east of Viroqua. For now, the station is transmitting from Soldiers Grove. (4/1/2009)

    DISH Network has added HD locals for the Fargo-Grand Forks market, but does not yet have ABC in the package. The current offerings are CBS-KXJB, FOX-KVRR, and NBC-KVLY. As with the recent launch in the Duluth market, the Fargo launch means HD versions of broadcast networks are now available for the first time in many parts of the market. (4/1/2009)

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