4/30/1997: Longtime KDLH/3 (Duluth) sportscaster Marsh Nelson has died of cancer. He began working at KDAL AM and TV in the `50s and retired a few years ago. He was also the stadium announcer for Vikings home games for many years.
4/30/1997: WDGY/630 (Hudson-St. Paul) is experiencing transmitter problems.
4/29/1997: KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth) is set to begin stunting with a carrousel of formats late this week. KZIO's sister, WWAX/92.1, did the same thing in March when it changed format. A satellite-fed format will debut a few days later as "Sunny 104.3".
4/29/1997: Almost all of the Twin Cities' radio stations participated in a fundraiser for those suffering from floods in the Red River Valley. Interestingly, WQPM-FM/106.1 (Princeton) was the only non-metro station to participate in the event. Is "Country Q 106" increasing their visibility since the demise of WBOB?
4/29/1997: KMSP/9 (Minneapolis) added 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday newscasts last weekend.
4/29/1997: Justin Case, who oversaw the change of KZIO/102.5 (Superior-Duluth, now KRBR) from CHR to Modern Rock and the change of WWAX/92.1 (Hermantown-Duluth) from Adult Modern Rock to Modern Adult Contemporary, is leaving Friday for KTNP, a Modern AC station in Omaha. (Yes, I realize that the phrase "Modern Adult Contemporary" is redundant.) WWAX morning DJ Jim Young will become the station's PD, and Case will continue as a consultant.
4/29/1997: KUWS/91.3 (Superior) is planning to add a hit-based Dance show this summer to throw a few pebbles into the hole left by the market's commercial stations.
4/25/1997: KSOF/94.7 (Caledonia-La Crosse) has changed from Adult Contemporary to CHR as "Hot 94.7." The call letters are KHTW.
4/24/1997: Representative and commercial broadcaster Mike Oskopp (R-Lake City) was defeated in an attempt to cease state funding of MPR for the next two years unless MPR sold KSJN/99.5 (Minneapolis) to a commerical broadcaster. MPR bought 99.5 (at the time WLOL) from Emmis Broadcasting for $12 million in 1990, and completed the purchase in early 1991. Oskopp complained that MPR engaged in a bidding war with music peoducers Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis to buy WLOL, and that MPR's listenership does not justify its spot in the commercial portion of the dial. MPR says it was the only bidder for WLOL, and Harris and Lewis' company says it never bid for WLOL. This information comes from news stories on MPR, and an MPR press release. Something MPR did not say is that state funding amounts to about one and a half percent of MPR's annual budget. (Originally written 4/23/1997)
4/23/1997: The Constrution Permit for 106.7 in Chetek has changed to WATQ.
4/20/1997: KDLH/3 (Duluth) has chosen not to renew the contract of its main sports reporter, Paul Guggenheimer. "Googs" will continue to co-host the "Googs and Fleisch" morning show on WDSM/710 and announce Duluth Dukes baseball this summer. KDLH may use Googs for UMD Hockey broadcasts next season.
4/20/1997: "The Penguin Patrol" (the promotional van for KLDJ/101.7 [Duluth]) went up in smoke last week. The station says the van was stolen and burned, but cynical thinking says that the station (known for wacky promotions) burned it themselves. Whatever really happened, "Kool 101.7" has turned the event into a promotional "vehicle."
4/16/1997: In an expected move, WBOB-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis) has changed to a Hard Rock format with Howard Stern in the morning. The new format uses the slogan "Real Rock 100.3" and began on Tuesday (April 15) at 1:03 p.m., following an hour of belching and farting over `70s songs. BOB's country format began almost exactly four years ago and once beat K102, but BOB never dethroned K102, which has been running Country since the early `80s. The change follows the sale of WBOB and KQQL/107.9 to K102's owner, Chancellor. Chancellor also owns KFAN/1130, KDWB/101.3, KTCZ/97.1, and KTCJ/690. "Real Rock" will compete head-to-head with Disney's X105, launched last month. 100.3 has better coverage than the three frequencies that make up X105, so it'll be interesting to see if Disney decides to keep X105 going. (Disney also owns KQRS/92.5, KEGE/93.7, and KDIZ/1440 and probably bought the 105 stations to eliminate their competition as Rev 105 with KEGE's Modern Rock format.) One sweeper Real Rock is running pokes fun at an X105 sweeper, saying "at 100.3 in the north, 100.3 in the south, 100.3 in the east, and 100.3 in the west." It is widely speculated that Howard Stern will have a huge impact on the ratings of the KQRS Morning Show.
4/16/1997: KTCJ/690 (Minneapolis) is set to debut a Classic Country format on Thrusday, April 17. This means there will no longer be any AM-FM simulcasts in the Twin Cities metro area (there were five just three years ago - 690, 950, 980, 1330, and 1440).
4/13/1997: KKJR/107.1 (Hutchinson) has is seeking FCC approval for a plan to move to 106.9, increase power from 4.4kW to 25kW, and change community of license to Dassell. From my very crude estimates, it appears that the move would highly benefit WIXK/107.1 (New Richmond): the move may give WIXK-FM the opportunity to increase from Class C3 to C2 (25kW to 50kW) from its present site. (WIXK is currently operating at less than full power for its class because of shortspacing with KKJR.)
4/13/1997: Many longtime WAKX-FM (now KTCO/98.9 Duluth) translators are now or will soon be rebroadcasting KADU/90.1 (Hibbing) instead of 98.9. W237AF Buhl, W280CO Gilbert, and W269AQ Chisholm have been sold to JPI Radio, KADU's owner. WAKX-FM signed on about a dozen translators (known as the "watertower network") in the `70s to bring WAKX's signal to the Iron Range and North Shore. The Ely translator was sold last year to Range Paging.
4/13/1997: Lincoln High School (Esko, MN) has applied to build a station on 88.7.
4/9/1997: KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth) will have a Nostalgia format as "Sunny." The KZIO call letters were picked up to benefit everytime a KRBR listener with an Arbitron diary writes down KZIO (the old call letters) instead. With a Nostalgia format, it should be pretty easy to pick out which "listeners" that show up as KZIO's are actually KRBR's. There's still a hole for CHR or Rhythmic in the market, but programmers doubt that Dance can work in Duluth (do I smell the whole "race music" thing coming back for the `90s?). Also, after broadcasting mono programming over a stereo signal since last summer, KZIO has finally turned off the stereo generator.
4/9/1997: Opponents to the sale of the stations formerly known as Rev 105 (KREV, WREV-FM, and KCFE) to Disney/ABC may have evidence that could threaten the sale. Disney's "X105" Hard Rock format has been frequently heard broadcasting swear words, sometimes outside of "safe harbor" hours. For example, X105 has broadcast the non-FCC friendly version of Nine Inch Nail's "Closer," which includes the line "I want to f*** you like an animal."
4/9/1997: KMHL Broadcasting of Marshall has purchased Marshall's other broadcast outlet, KBJJ/107.5.
4/9/1997: Shockley Communication's Duluth stations (KDAL AM-FM, WDSM, KXTP, KTCO, and KRBR) are set to move into a new facility on Central Entrance in July.
4/5/1997: 104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth) is now KZIO. The change took place on April 2 or 3. Last week, they ran a spot for a salesperson who `has experience selling to the senior community in the Northland.' Does that spell "Nostalgia?" If so, they'll be competing mostly with KDAL/610 and Cloquet station WKLK/1230 (which has a fair signal in Duluth/Superior). Personally, I would try Rhythmic (e-mail me if you want to debate!), but I don't think KZIO's owners have faith in that type of format. The old KZIO began to phase out dance music just as it was becoming popular, so who can say for sure whether the format would work? (Originally written 4/2/1997)
4/1/1997: KUSZ/107.7 (Proctor-Duluth) has changed format again: now they're locally produced Classic Rock as "Z-Rock 107-7." The change takes place just six weeks after KUSZ's Country format was repositioned as "Power Country, Z107-7."
4/1/1997: Paul St. Andrews has left his position as PD at KQDS/94.9 (Duluth), and MD Bill Jones has left for X105 Minneapolis (KREV/WREV-FM/KCFE) as MD there.
4/1/1997: The KKCQ-FM call letters have been moved from 107.1 in Fosston to 96.7 in Bagley following the Bagley station's sale to Pine to Prairie Broadcasting, owners of KKCQ AM-FM. 107.1 has become KKEQ. I suspect that the stations are simulcasting Morningstar's Contemporary Christian format that 107.1 had been running.
4/1/1997: KAAL/6 (Austin, ABC/FOX) has been sold along with three other stations (in regions not covered by this page) to Grapevine Communications from the Eastern Broadcasting Corporation.
4/1/1997: WEAU/13 (Eau Claire, NBC) inaugrated a new news set last week.
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