The owners of the three commercial radio stations in Decorah have filed a petition for reconsideration of the recent grant of a new low-power FM station for Community Radio of Decorah, Postville, and Northeast Iowa. The new LPFM station will be licensed to Decorah and broadcast on 104.1 with 100 Watts. Wennes Communications and Decorah Broadcasting allege one member of the group is already involved with existing station KPVL/89.1 (Postville). The petition also says the group failed to attach its articles of incorporation and did not show that it is an educational organization. The group's application did state that it would interact with several educational institutions in the area to provide daily reports on school activities and offer the schools opportunities for programs highlighting their educational activities. One of the schools mentioned in the application, Luther College, is also getting its own LPFM station to replace its shared-time station, KWLC/1240. (4/30/2014)
Mid-West Management has adjusted the formats on its two Eau Claire-market AM stations, dropping most Conservative Talk and adding Oldies. WAYY/790 (Eau Claire) continues an information-based local morning show from 6 to 10 but now carries Sports at other times, with a lineup including the regionally-syndicated Bill Michaels show from 10 to 2, Jim Rome from 2 to 5, and CBS Sports Radio evenings, overnights, and weekends. Meanwhile, WEAQ/1150 (Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire) has dropped ESPN Radio in favor of the True Oldies Channel as "Oldies 1150." The frequency had carried an Oldies format in the 1980's before launching a News/Talk format, which later moved to 790. The market has one other sports format, Clear Channel's WBIZ/1400 (Eau Claire), and two other News/Talk formats, Clear Channel's WMEQ/880 (Menomonie-Eau Claire) and Stewards of Sound's WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire). (4/27/2014)
The director of Lakes Media Foundation tells the Kanabec County Times that KCIZ-LP/103.5 (Brunswick) will sign on in the coming months, attempting to fill the void in local programming that came when KBEK/95.5 (Mora) went silent at the end of March. Lakes Media Foundation is headed by local business owner Keith Thelen, who says KCIZ-LP will carry a mass-appeal music format presented by local personalities, including longime KBEK announcer "Rockin'" Robin Riley. The station will not carry any syndicated programming and is not seeking government funding or individual donations, but will seek sponsorships when sign-on is near. KCIZ-LP will broadcast with 77 Watts from a tower along Highway 65 south of Mora. (4/27/2014)
KQWB/1660 (West Fargo) has dropped the True Oldies Channel in favor of Classic Country as "Willie." The format includes Country hits from the '60s to the '90s and NBC News on the hour. 1660's change was somewhat expected since KQWB's website redirected to the site of Classic Hits-formatted 92.7 "The Drive" (KZDR Kindred-Fargo) when the FM format launched last fall. "Willie" does not appear to have a website yet but does have a Facebook page. KQWB is owned by James Ingstad's Radio Fargo-Moorhead, doing business as Radio F-M Media. (4/25/2014)
Entercom is buying future translator W289CB/105.7 (Milwaukee) from Kevin Youngers $250,000. Previous applications had said W289CB would relay Entercom's Sports-formatted WSSP/1250 but the application to transfer the license says it will actually relay the HD3 signal of Entercom's WXSS/103.7, which had not launched at last report. (WXSS-HD2 carries WSSP.) The current construction permit for W289CB calls for 200 Watts from the Milwaukee antenna farm and it's applied for 240 Watts from the area. (4/24/2014)
MURROW AWARDS ANNOUNCED:
KARE/11 (Minneapolis), WISC/3 (Madison), and South Dakota Public Radio are the big winners of the regional RTDNA Murrow Awards announced Tuesday, having won six awards apiece. Winners for overall excellence include KFGO/790 (Fargo), WCCO/830 (Minneapolis), WDIO-TV/10 (Duluth), and WISN-TV/12 (Milwaukee). The complete list of winners for the region including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas can be found here, while winners for the region including Iowa and Nebraska can be found here. (4/22/2014)
Cumulus Media's Des Moines FM talker, KWQW/98.3 (Boone-Des Moines) has rebranded as "The Torch," dropping "Wow FM." With the slogan change, KWQW added a new local morning show hosted by Robert Rees, who's followed by Glenn Beck from 9 to 11 and Dennis Miller from 11 to 2. ABC News, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, John Batchelor, and Red Eye Radio continue. (4/21/2014)
Chesterman Communications' KSJB/600 (Jamestown) has switched its network news affiliation from ABC to CBS. KSJB carries a Classic Country format and blankets most of North Dakota and parts of surrounding states and provinces with a 5kW signal. (4/19/2014)
KSIB (Creston) got national attention Thursday when the Associated Press ran an item about a new Hank Williams release based on a program that aired on KSIB in 1950, but ironically, it turns out the station dropped its decades-old Country format this month. The Creston News-Advertiser reports KSIB-FM/101.3 dropped Country music that had aired in the afternoon, evening, and overnight hours for syndicated talk shows. (KSIB/1520 already carried a sports format.) The newspaper reports KSIB-FM continues to carry local news, information, and farm programming in the morning, while syndicated shows later in the day include Dennis Miller, Herman Cain, Clark Howard, and Jim Bohannon. The Omnivore Recordings release, "The Garden Spot Programs, 1950," comes out May 20. (4/17/2014)
WMZK/104.1 (Merrill-Wausau) has dropped its longtime Rock identity in favor of Hot Adult Contemporary as "Magic 104." The station's website hasn't been updated to reflect the change, but the new format can be streamed through the old website. "Magic" has no direct competitor in the market, which lacks an Adult Contemporary outlet, and competes primarily with the Contemporary Hits formats of Midwest's WIFC/95.5 (Wausau) and NRG Media's "Hot 96.7" (WHTQ Whiting). WMZK's change comes as Michael Enfelt's Radio One Communications, LLC awaits FCC approval to buy WMZK and WJMT/730 (Merrill) from Quicksilver Broadcasting/Barracuda Broadcasting for $595,000, a deal which includes a time brokerage agreement allowing Radio One to run the stations before the sale is complete. WMZK's switch comes just a couple of months after "Z104" moved from Active Rock to Classic Rock. WMZK is rebroadcast on translator W256AG/99.1 (Wausau). (4/17/2014)
Flood Broadcasting has applied to move new translator K236BY/95.1 (Nebraska City) closer to Plattsmouth, where it would relay KNCY/1600 (Nebraska City) in conjunction with K288GS/105.5 (Nebraska City). K236BY would use 250 Watts from a water tower east of Murray, delivering a rimshot signal to Plattsmouth. KNCY and K288GS recently launched an information-heavy Classic Hits format with mentions of Plattsmouth the imaging. (4/15/2014)
Leighton Enterprises' KZLT/104.3 (East Grand Forks) has repositioned its Adult Contemporary format as "104-3 Cities FM," dropping the "Lite Rock 104.3" slogan. KZLT had also used the "Cities" slogan for a brief time around the turn of the century. (4/11/2014)
Thunder Bay's local afternoon CBC Radio program will be among the casualties of cuts at the CBC announced Thursday, which include 657 jobs nationwide. CBC-Thunder Bay Tweeted that two jobs will be cut in the city and afternoon programming on CBC Radio stations in northwestern Ontario will now come out of Sudbury. Thunder Bay will retain its morning CBC Radio show. (4/11/2014)
With one upgrade approved, Pine to Prairie Broadcasting's KKEQ/107.1 (Fosston) has applied for even more Wattage: The Contemporary Christian station is now seeking to use 100kW/191m (class C1). It's currently licensed for 50kW/147m (C2) and already has a construction permit to move to a nearby tower with 64kW/194m (C1). The upgrade would improve KKEQ's signal to Bemidji. (4/11/2014)
WTJK/1380 (South Beloit, IL) has announced that it'll drop daytime ESPN programming starting Monday (4/14) in favor of regional and local talk programming following the station's sale to Big Radio. "The Big AM 1380" will simulcast new sister station WEKZ-FM/93.7 (Monroe) in morning and afternoon drive, carrying Scott Thompson (the company's owner) from 5 to 9 a.m. and John "Sly" Sylvester from 3 to 6 p.m. WTJK's existing "Jock Talk" will move to 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and other hosts will include Glenn Smith from 9 to 11 a.m. and Tony Huml from 1 to 3 p.m. WTJK will continue to carry ESPN Radio in the evening, overnight, and weekend hours. (4/10/2014)
First Ventures Capital Partners is seeking a waiver to move the transmitter of K259AT/99.7 from Boone to Perry, where it would relay Coon Valley Communications' KDLS/1310 with 250 Watts. The translator would remain licensed to Boone. A waiver would be needed because the move is farther than would normally be allowed in one translator "hop." The translator recently applied for the license to cover the construction permit for its move from 88.9, where it was licensed as K205EZ. KDLS carries a Soft Oldies format. (4/10/2014)
Magnum Broadcasting has applied to move translator W237CJ/95.3 (Reedsburg) to Tomah, where it would relay WBOG/1460 with 250 Watts. The move is farther than would normally be allowed for translators and Magnum is seeking a waiver. WBOG runs an Oldies format. (4/10/2014)
Hearst Television stations returned to DISH Network Wednesday after a brief outage due to a retransmission consent dispute. CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines) and ABC affiliates WISN-TV/12 (Milwaukee) and KETV/7 (Omaha) were among those that left DISH Tuesday evening. The outage ended up lasting about a half-day. (4/9/2014)
Four years after launching as "Streetz FM," CIUR-FM/104.7 (Winnipeg) has added more classic tracks to its Hip-Hop/R&B format and changed its slogan to "Rhythm 104-7." The station is owned by Native Communications, which also runs the Country-formatted NCI-FM network heard on CICY/105.5 (Selkirk-Winnipeg). (4/8/2014)
NORTH DAKOTA/SOUTH DAKOTA:
Two low-power TV stations whose licenses were cancelled by the FCC last month have now applied for license renewal. The FCC sent G.I.G. Inc. letters in January saying that KVNJ-LP/2 (Fargo) and KCPO-LP/26 (Sioux Falls) had failed to apply for license renewal by the deadline and that they would be cancelled if renewal applications were not filed within 30 days; the licenses were cancelled in March. Applications to renew both licenses were filed on April 4. The applications do not mention the license cancellations or provide an explanation for the late filing but say both stations are currently on the air. KCPO had operated as an independent station while KVNJ served as a translator for G.I.G. My Network TV affiliate KCPM/27 (Grand Forks). (4/8/2014)
A full-power TV license is no guarantee of success, even in a medium market: Stratus Communications has surrendered the license for KWWF/22 (Waterloo). The station had gone off the air last summer citing financial difficulties. William M. Smith originally signed on KWWF in 2002 with Christian programming. Equity Broadcasting bought the station in 2004 and converted it to a UPN affiliate, and then used it as a beta tester for the Retro Television Network after UPN went off the air. KWWF was then silent from mid-2009 to mid-2010, when Stratus predecessor Fusion Communications returned it to the air with Untamed Sports TV. (4/8/2014)
WQPM/1300 (Princeton) has dropped Classic Country for a broad Oldies format as "The Big Q." The Oldies mix had originally shown up on the HD4 signal of sister station KLCI/106.1 (Elk River) late last year; KLCI-HD4 continues to carry a different version of "The Big Q." WQPM is also listed as the station to be rebroadcast on Educational Media Foundation's K277AS/103.3 after it moves its transmitter from Monticello to Princeton, but K277AS was still carrying EMF's "Air1" network as of Sunday. (4/7/2014)
KNCY/1600 (Nebraska City) has launched a new format following the addition of new FM translator K288GS/105.5. It's carrying a mix of local information and Classic Hits as "Big Apple News Radio" with a lineup including ABC Information Network news, the Rural Radio Network, Husker Sports, and the syndicated "Sports Nightly." KNCY had previously carried Classic Country and temporarily simulcast with sister Country station "B103" (KBIE/103.1 Auburn-Nebraska City) until K288GS was ready to launch. KNCY's change, and 103.1's slogan change to "B103," came after Flood Broadcasting purchased the stations from Riverfront Broadcasting. (4/7/2014)
CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR NEW LOW-POWER FM (100-wATT) STATIONS:
The FCC has approved a new low-power FM (100-Watt) station on 104.7 in St. Paul for Dayton's Bluff District Four Community Council. The group said that its station will carry community programming in several languages, including Hmong, Spanish, Karen, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, and English.
In other Twin Cities-area LPFM action, the FCC has dismissed two applications for stations on 94.1 and one for 97.7. The regulator said Flow Hype Diversity's proposed facility in northeast Minneapolis and MG Community Broadcasting's proposed facility in Maple Grove were both too close to KXXR/93.7 and KSTP-FM/94.5. While MG Community Broadcasting did seek a waiver, the FCC said its application failed to provide sufficient documentation that no actual interference would occur. At least seven other applications for LPFM's on 94.1 in the metro area remain pending. On 97.7, the FCC dismissed the University of Northwestern-St. Paul's application, saying the proposed facility is too close to translator K249ED/97.7, which transmits from Maple Grove.
There has been no new FCC action on four proposed LPFM stations on 98.9 since the FCC reinstated three applications from The Main Street Project, The Organizing Apprenticeship Project, and Pillsbury United Communities for the frequency in Minneapolis. South Minniapolis (sic) Community Radio's application for 98.9 in St. Paul remains in "dismissed" mode; the FCC had originally dismissed all four applications due to an erroneous listing of a radio reading service being carried by KSJN/99.5. Several other applications for LPFM's on 94.9, 97.9, and 107.5 remain pending.
Elsewhere, Park Public Radio is preparing for the sign-on of KUOL-LP/97.5 (St. Louis Park), which will also reach parts of Minneapolis and parts of other western suburbs with a 50-Watt signal. The station's Facebook page says a community format is planned. (4/7/2014)
NORTH DAKOTA/SOUTH DAKOTA/NEBRASKA:
A plan to create a virtual duopoly involving the NBC and FOX affiliates in the Bismarck market has apparently fallen apart amid increased FCC scrutiny of such deals.
Prime Cities Broadcasting has withdrawn its application to transfer the licenses of FOX affiliate KNDX/26.1 (Bismarck) and its satellite, KXND/24.1 (Minot), to Excalibur Broadcasting, which would've entered into a shared services agreement for Gray TV to operate KNDX. Gray is in the process of buying NBC affiliate KFYR-TV/5.1 (Bismarck) and its three satellites from Hoak Media and acknowledged the withdrawal of the Prime Cities deal in a press release about the Hoak purchase receiving approval.
Besides the KFYR-TV deal, the FCC also approved Gray's purchase of NBC affiliate KVLY-TV/11.1 (Fargo), NBC/FOX affiliate KNOP/2.1 (North Platte), ABC affiliate KSFY/13.1 (Sioux Falls), and KSFY's two satellites from Hoak, as well as Gray's purchase of FOX affiliate KEVN/7.1 (Rapid City) and its satellite from Mission TV.
However, the FCC has not acted on Excalibur Broadcasting's proposed purchase of Hoak NBC affiliate KHAS-TV/5.1 (Hastings-Lincoln) or Parker Broadcasting CBS affiliate KXJB/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo); Gray would operate both stations under shared services agreements and said it has restructured the proposed deals to remove put options and financing from Gray.
The change came after the FCC said last month that it would give extra scrutiny to deals that include a combination of shared services agreements and option agreements. Separately, the FCC said this week that any deal involving one station selling more than 15 percent of the advertising on another station must be modified or unwound within two years unless a waiver is approved. (4/4/2014)
KBEK/95.5 (Mora) has gone silent. In a message to advertisers and listeners, Owner and General Manager Colleen McKinney said the station went silent March 31 while it undergoes a review of its finances and organizational structure. McKinney had originally announced plans to take the station silent at the end of 2011 but decided to continue on, saying it would be easier to find a buyer for the station if it remained on the air, but no sale has happened. KBEK signed on in 1995 with a locally-intensive format featuring hourly news updates for east-central Minnesota and a mix of Oldies and Classic Hits. The station is "under the umbrella" of major Twin Cities stations but is located just outside the geographic boundaries of the market. (4/1/2014)
The FCC has approved the sale of ABC affiliate KOTA-TV/3.1 (Rapid City) to Schurz Communications but will require two radio stations to be divested. Schurz, which already owns six radio stations in the market using the New Rushmore Radio name, is buying KOTA-TV from Duhamel Broadcasting for $10 million. In approving the sale, the FCC denied a request for a waiver allowing Schurz to keep all six radio stations and ordered that two radio stations be divested within sixty days. Schurz hasn't announced which stations will be divested; its holdings include Farm/Country KBHB/810 (Sturgis), Classic Hits KKLS/920 (Rapid City), Contemporary Hits KRCS/93.1 (Sturgis), Adult Contemporary KKMK/93.9 (Rapid City), Country KOUT/98.7 (Rapid City), and Classic Rock KFXS/100.3 (Rapid City). The deal to purchase KOTA-TV includes satellites KDUH/4.1 (Scottsbluff, NE), KHSD/11.1 (Lead, SD), and KSGW/12.1 (Sheridan, WY). The stations carry Me-TV on their .2 channels and ThisTV on .3. KOTA-TV reported that Schurz will take over the station on April 28. (4/1/2014)
Midwest Communications' KTCO/98.9 (Duluth) has reverted to its original "Kat Country" slogan. KTCO had launched as "Kat Country" in 1994 but abandoned that slogan several years ago in favor of the KTCO call letters positioned as "Your Country." It primarily competes with Townsquare Media's "B105" (KKCB Duluth). (4/1/2014)
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