Less than six hours after Scripps Broadcasting dropped "The Lake" from the Milwaukee radio dial (see below), Magnum Broadcasting assumed the slogan with its own version of the broad Adult Contemporary/Oldies format. WMKQ/92.1 (Racine) made the switch to "The Lake" at 3:30 p.m. Friday (5/29). Company president Dave Magnum says in a press release that they were "shocked" that Scripps dropped the format and is hoping to adopt its listeners. Just six months ago, WMKQ ditched a longtime WEZY Adult Contemporary format for Country as "Q92" following Magnum's purchase of the station. It provides a rimshot signal to southern Milwaukee. (5/29/2015)
Following ownership changes, WLWK/94.5 (Milwaukee) has ditched its seven-year-old Adult Contemporary/Oldies "The Lake" format in favor of "94-5 KTI Country." The new format launched at 10 a.m. Friday (5/29). The change comes after Journal Broadcasting merged into Scripps Broadcasting and revives the WKTI callsign that had been used on 94.5 for decades, albeit with a different format. "KTI Country" competes directly with iHeartMedia's heritage Country outlet, "FM106" (WMIL-FM Waukesha-Milwaukee), along with Magnum Broadcasting's recently-rebranded "Buzz Country" (WMBZ/92.5 West Bend) in the north suburbs. (5/29/2015)
Two new AM-on-FM translators have signed on in the St. Cloud market. W293CS/106.5 is rebroadcasting the Adult Standards "Uptown 1010" format of WMIN/1010 (Sauk Rapids), while W297BO/107.3 is relaying Classic Album Rock from "The Goat," WXYG/540 (Sauk Rapids). W293CS is owned by Mark Hoppe's Blue Wing, Inc. while W297BO is owned by Herbert M. Hoppe, who owns one FM station and four AM stations in the market, including WXYG and WMIN. On paper, the translators officially relay HD subchannels of WHMH/101.7 (Sauk Rapids) which simulcast the AM stations. The translators were moved in from Hinckley through a chain-link move and legally remain licensed to Hinckley. (5/29/2015)
Format tweaks didn't help three Winnipeg radio stations in the ratings, according to new numbers released by Numeris. Rogers' "Kiss 102.3" (CKY-FM) and Corus Entertainment's "97.5 Big FM" (CJKR-FM) are both down about two full share points in the Numeris Spring (March 2-April 26, 2015) 12+ ratings when compared with last spring's ratings. Meanwhile, Corus' "99.1 Fresh Radio" (CJGV-FM) is down three-tenths of a point over the year to become the lowest-rated commercial station in the market. At the top of the list, CBC Radio One (CBW/990 and 88.3) edged into first place by going up two-tenths of a point over the year while Corus News/Talker CJOB/680 slipped a half-point. Jim Pattison Group's "QX104" (CFQX-FM), Bell Media's "103.1 Virgin Radio" (CKMM-FM), and Rogers' 92 CITI-FM round out the top five. Overall, Bell's stations have a combined 20.4 share, followed by Pattison with 15.6 and Corus with 15.4. The full report is available here. (5/28/2015)
iHeartMedia has received permission to move a fourth FM translator to the IDS Center, adding to the company's five full-power FM signals in the Twin Cities. The FCC has granted a construction permit for W244CS/96.7 to move to IDS with 170 Watts under the new callsign K244FE and a new community of license of Calhoun Beach, a Minneapolis neighborhood. W244CS is licensed to Hudson, WI, but currently broadcasts from West St. Paul, carrying a nameless `80s Hits format from the HD3 signal of KQQL/107.9. In order to make way for the move of W244CS to IDS, the FCC approved a move of a future Christian low-power FM station in Maple Grove from 96.7 to 99.1.
iHeartMedia also runs "Alt 93.3" (W227BF) and KTLK rebroadcaster K278BP/103.5 from the IDS Center. It's also presumably preparing to launch a new format on K273BH/102.5, which has been running an announcement for several weeks advising listeners to tune to 92.9 to hear the "Air1" Christian Hits format that previously aired on the frequency. K273BH's programming is originating from the HD3 signal of iHeartMedia's KTCZ/97.1. W227BF and K273BH are both owned by the Educational Media Foundation, which originates its two networks for Twin Cities translators on subchannels of iHeartMedia stations. (5/27/2015)
Hubbard Broadcasting's KTMY/107.1 (Coon Rapids-Minneapolis) has added a simulcast of Oldies-formatted WDGY/740 (Hudson, WI-St. Paul) on its HD2 channel. WDGY, which runs a locally-originated format and a morning show hosted by market veteran Paul Geiger, is owned by Greg Borgen's WRPX, Inc. It transmits in HD with 5kW daytime from a site east of Hudson. KTMY-HD2 had been off the air recently; it previously carried a simulcast of "1500 ESPN" (KSTP St. Paul), which moved to the HD2 signal of KSTP-FM/94.5. (5/27/2015)
Winnipeg's CFJL-FM moved from 100.7 to 100.5 on Monday, upgrading from 80kW to 100kW in the process. In its application last year, owner Dufferin Communications told the CRTC it wanted the change because 100.7 had become "stigmatized as 'a station no one listens to'" after a half-dozen format changes. CFJL retained its Adult Contemporary format and tweaked its slogan from "Jewel 101" to "Jewel 100.5." (5/26/2015)
The developer of a Sioux Falls pawn shop has reached a deal to buy another radio station, which it is seeking to convert from non-commercial to commercial status. The deal calls for Badlands Airtime, LLC to purchase KCFS/94.5 (Sioux Falls) from the University of Sioux Falls for $1.5 million. The university will retain the rights to the KCFS callsign, its web domain, and current format. Badlands Airtime already has FCC approval to purchase KZOY/1520 and K221FO/92.1 from Cup O'Dirt LLC for the same price, but the deal has not been consummated. Besides the switch to commercial status, the KCFS asset purchase agreement mentions that the deal is contingent on approval of an upgrade; KCFS currently uses 2kW/60m. Badlands Airtime, LLC is headed by Chuck Brennan, who is planning to build Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry and launch the Guns, Gold, & Rock N Roll Radio Network from the complex on Thanksgiving. (5/26/2015)
Longtime KCCI/8 (Des Moines) anchor Kevin Cooney announced his retirement during Tuesday's 6 p.m. newscast. Cooney started on the floor crew at KRNT-TV, now KCCI, in 1969 while he was in high school and has worked at the CBS affiliate for most of the time since then, except for a few years in California in the early 1980's. His last newscast will be Nov. 24, and KCCI 5 p.m. anchor Steve Karlin will then add 6 and 10 p.m. duties. Mollie Cooney, who is Kevin's wife, will continue to anchor KCCI's Noon newscast. The Cooneys were given Silver Circle Awards at the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Gala in Minneapolis. (5/19/2015)
Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting is continuing its expansion in the greater Twin Cities area with the purchase of KJGT/88.3 (Waconia), which serves the far southwestern metro area. Minn-Iowa will pay Jagerita Radio $250,000 for the station. Jagerita signed on KJGT in 2012 with a variety of music and a mission to provide local content. Minn-Iowa, based at KJLY/104.5 (Blue Earth), has eight full-power stations and purchased two translators in the Twin Cities area earlier this year. (5/19/2015)
Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Omaha will get the Escape and LAFF digital subchannel networks under a deal between Scripps Broadcasting and Katz Broadcasting announced on Monday. Katz operates Escape, LAFF, and Grit, the latter of which already has Milwaukee and Omaha affiliates. Scripps' WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee) will add Escape and LAFF, WGBA-TV (Green Bay) will add LAFF, WACY-TV (Appleton-Green Bay) will add Escape and Grit, and KMTV-TV (Omaha) will add Escape and LAFF. It's not immediately clear which networks will be carried on which channel numbers, or if any existing subchannels will be affected (WTMJ-TV already has two subchannels). Grit targets men with western, war, and action movies, Escape targets women with movies and reruns, and LAFF carries 1990's sitcoms and movie comedies. (5/18/2015)
Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul-Minneapolis) has promoted Anne Wittenborg from assistant news director to news director. The Marshall, MN, native has worked at the ABC affiliate since 2000, when she started as a producer. Wittenborg replaces Lindsay Radford, who left KSTP last month to become news director at Denver's ABC affiliate. (5/18/2015)
The De La Hunt family is poised to launch another AM station in north-central Minnesota. After an 11-year wait, the FCC recently granted Edward De La Hunt a construction permit for a new station on 1210 in Pine River. The 5.5kW daytime signal will be non-directional with fringe coverage of Brainerd, while the 250-Watt nighttime signal will use a directional pattern to serve the immediate Pine River area. (Maps are available in this engineering packet.) The De La Hunt family owns four other AM's and five FM's in the region, most recently launching WBKK/820 (Wilton-Bemidji). (5/13/2015)
iHeartMedia is preparing for the launch of its third FM translator with full Twin Cities coverage, adding to its five full-power signals in the market.
Educational Media Foundation's K273BH/102.5 (Fridley), which transmits from the IDS Center, has stopped carrying EMF's "Air1" Christian Hits network and is now running a looped announcement telling listeners to tune to 92.9 to hear "Air1." W225AP/92.9 has been running "Air1" since moving its transmitter from St. Paul to EMF's site at the Wells Fargo building in Minneapolis earlier this year.
K273BH's programming is originating on the HD3 signal of iHeartMedia's KTCZ/97.1 (Minneapolis), which shows up as "Hot 102.5" on HD radios. That slogan goes along with a Twitter handle and domain name first reported by RadioInsight last week. KTCZ-HD2 originates the "Air1" network for W225AP.
iHeartMedia also programs the "Alt 93.3" format on EMF's W227BF/93.3, originating on the HD2 channel of KQQL/107.9 (Anoka-Minneapolis), and simulcasts its KTLK News/Talk format on K278BP/103.5, which it bought from EMF. It has also applied to move W244CS/96.7 from the southeast metro to the IDS Center. (5/10/2015)
NET Television's KTNE-TV/13 (Alliance) is back on the air with a reduced coverage area. The PBS station, which serves the panhandle, had been off the air since its antenna fell nearly 1,500 feet to the ground on April 9. The network says a temporary antenna has now been installed and reaches about a 40-mile radius, enough to theoretically reach viewers in Scottsbluff and Alliance. Translators K06KR Crawford and K08LN Harrison, which are outside of KTNE's temporary coverage area, remain off the air. NET says several agencies are involved in an investigation of why the seven-year-old antenna fell, and the Nebraska Legislature is considering a $385,000 appropriation to buy a new antenna for KTNE. (5/7/2015)
KTMX/104.9 (York) has dropped Adult Contemporary for "Max Country" following the station's sale to the Nebraska Rural Radio Association, which runs Country formats on all of its other FM stations. The cooperative recently closed on its $1.335 million purchase of KTMX and KAWL/1370 (York) from Mark Jensen's MWB Broadcasting. KTMX's new format launched at 7 a.m. Wednesday (5/6) after a Christmas music stunt, according to posts on KAWL's Facebook page. KTMX serves a rural area between Lincoln and Grand Island. York native Brad Leggett, who started at KAWL as a teenager and most recently worked at Entercom's group in Madison, is the new KAWL/KTMX station manager. (5/7/2015)
Nebraska's Spirit Catholic Radio network is in the process of more than doubling its number of signals with the sign-on of eight low-power FM affiliates. The LPFM's are owned by locally-controlled non-profit groups. Already on the air are KLPH-LP/103.9 (Alliance), KQPK-LP/96.9 (McCook), KCTH-LP/95.1 (Scottsbluff), and KJAM-LP/107.5 (Sidney). Meanwhile, the network's website says stations in Beatrice, Imperial, Holdrege, and York are due to sign on by the end of May. The network plans to launch a separate program schedule for stations in the Mountain time zone. Spirit Catholic Radio is heard on four full-power stations, including KVSS/102.7 (Papillion-Omaha-Lincoln), and two translators. (5/6/2015)
Townsquare Media is making another attempt to pull three Waterloo-market stations out of trust. It's filed a petition for reconsideration of the FCC's denial of a waiver, saying the Audio Division incorrectly interpreted the rules.
To recap the long story: KKHQ-FM/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo), KCRR/97.7 (Grundy Center-Waterloo), and KOEL-FM/98.5 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) were assigned to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market until 2012, when the market was dissolved. The stations were reassigned on paper to the nearby Cedar Rapids market, but continued to target Waterloo. When Townsquare wanted to buy the former Cumulus groups in the two cities, it placed the three Waterloo FM's into the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust.
Though Nielsen Audio has now re-established the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market and re-assigned KKHQ-FM, KCRR, and KOEL-FM to that market, the FCC said in March that they can't be sold back to Townsquare until May 2016 due to a rule that requires a two-year waiting period when market boundaries are changed. However, the Trust faces a Nov. 14, 2015 deadline to sell the stations under a two-year limit imposed by the FCC when it granted the assignment of the stations to the Trust.
Townsquare now argues that it meets the requirements for a waiver specified in a February court filing in a separate case. That filing suggested that the FCC would grant such waivers if a station's "community of license is located within the Metro or such station has been considered home to that Metro for at least two years." The stations had been considered home to the Waterloo market for more than a decade prior to 2012.
The petition asks the FCC to either grant the application to transfer the licenses, or at least return the application to pending status. (5/5/2015)
Pandora Radio has cleared one hurdle in its effort to purchase KXMZ/102.7 (Box Elder-Rapid City). In a declaratory ruling released Monday, the FCC said it will allow Pandora to become a licensee even though the company can't prove it has less than 25 percent foreign ownership as required by federal law. Pandora is attempting to buy KXMZ in an effort to get lower rates for its music streaming service, but music licensing company ASCAP argued that Pandora does not qualify to be a licensee because it couldn't quantify its level of foreign ownership. The FCC decided that it would be in the public interest to simply declare that Pandora is qualified to be a licensee. Monday's action does not mean the deal is done; the FCC has not yet acted on the application to transfer KXMZ's license from Connoisseur Communications to Pandora in a $600,000 deal. (Several major media organizations apparently missed the statement, "We take no action at this time on the Assignment Application and related pleadings," on page 8 of the ruling.) Pandora has been running KXMZ, which carries an Adult Top 40 format, through a local marketing agreement for nearly two years. (5/4/2015)
Saga Communications has doubled its offerings in Mitchell, adding translator/HD subchannel combos carrying Adult Contemporary and Sports formats. FCC filings indicate "More 95.5" (K238BA) originates on the HD2 signal of KMIT/105.9 (Mitchell), while "ESPN Mitchell" (K278BJ) comes from KMIT-HD3. Facebook posts announced the new formats on Monday; Saga has actually owned the translators for several years. They join KMIT's Country format and the Classic Hits format of KUQL/98.3 (Ethan-Mitchell) in the Saga group. Saga's Mitchell group competes with Riverfront Broadcasting, which has an AM-FM combo and a pending application to move a second FM into the market. (5/4/2015)
iHeartMedia has told the FCC it doesn't plan to rebuild two towers at KWSL/1470 (Sioux City) damaged by a storm last year and is instead proposing to operate permanently at reduced power. Prior to the August 31 storm, KWSL had used 5kW with different day and night directional patterns from a four-tower array in Dakota City, NE. The storm destroyed two towers and damaged feedline on a third, and KWSL has been operating nondirectionally from the remaining tower under special temporary authority for 1.45kW day and 1.25kW night. It's now proposing to continue using the one remaining tower with 2.3kW daytime and 69 Watts nighttime, nondirectional. The change would lower KWSL's class from B to D since it would be operating with less than 250 Watts at night. KWSL carries a Regional Mexican format. (5/4/2015)
North Dakota's Real Presence Radio network of Catholic programming is expanding to South Dakota with the purchase of Family Radio's Black Hills station. It'll pay Family Stations $200,000 for KQFR/89.9 (Rapid City), which transmits from Terry Peak near Lead and has a rimshot/fringe signal to Rapid City. KQFR is relayed on K294BD/106.7 (Gillette, WY), which is separately being sold to Legend Communications fopr $35,000. Real Presence Radio has six full-power stations and one translator in North Dakota, as well as two low-power affiliates (one of which is in Minnesota). (5/1/2015)
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