A northeastern Nebraska radio station is among nine nationwide that Cochise Broadcasting will surrender as part of a consent decree. KHSK/100.9 (Allen, NE) and others in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona will either be donated to non-profit groups or have their license returned to the FCC; the FCC also may seek Tribal Nations interested in acquiring the stations if Cochise doesn't find donees. The move comes after the FCC analyzed its records and found that many of the Cochise stations had sought repeated periods of silence in their last license period, with some stations only on the air for a few days per year to retain their license.
FCC filings indicate College Creek Media originally signed on KHSK in October 2008, using 10kW, but immediately took it silent, citing financial problems resulting from the economic downturn. A tornado destroyed its tower in July 2009. Cochise bought the station later in 2009 and was granted special temporary authority to use 10 Watts, which was extended numerous times over a five-year period until KHSK upgraded to the currently-licensed 100 Watts in 2014. It then went silent this March, citing the FCC's lack of action on its license renewal application. The station's recent programming is not known; it had been included in the legal ID for KOMJ/1490 (Omaha) before Cochise sold KOMJ.
Though KHSK is currently licensed for just 100 Watts, it has in the past had construction permits for a class C3 facility that would have provided rimshot coverage of Sioux City, Iowa, and Vermillion, South Dakota. (5/31/2017)
Canadian regulators have approved a plan for a new FM station to carry CBC Radio One on the north shore of Lake Superior. As previously reported here, the new CBLM-FM will broadcast on 107.5 with 3.935kW/280m (class B), using an existing CBC tower located in Neys Provincial Park west of Marathon. It will replace existing low-power AM repeaters in Marathon and Terrace Bay. (5/31/2017)
After more than a decade as "Q98-5," NRG Media's KQKQ/98.5 (Council Bluffs-Omaha) has returned to its "Sweet" branding. The change came Friday (5/26) to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Though the format remains Hot Adult Contemporary, many of the station's current listeners likely have good memories of the "Sweet" name from KQKQ's Top 40 heyday in the 1980's and 1990's. The station switched from "Sweet" to "Q" with a Modern Adult Contemporary format in 2004 after facing tough competition from "Channel 94-1" (KQCH Omaha). (5/27/2017)
The only local radio station in the small southwestern North Dakota town of Bowman is getting new local owners. JAK Communications LLC is buying KPOK/1340 from Tri-State Communications for $125,000. JAK is owned by Angela Headley of Bowman (50%), Karen Paulson of Bowman (25%), and Haley Sabe of Scranton (25%). KPOK carries a Country format with programming from Westwood One and USA Radio News. The only other stations serving Bowman are two local FM translators and a handful of fringe signals. (5/25/2017)
Northland College is shutting down WRNC-LP/97.7 (Ashland) as it deals with budget issues. The 100-Watt station had signed on in 2005, carrying student and community programming. Northland once had a construction permit to replace the LPFM station with a 6kW (class A) station, but opted not to build it before the permit expired. The Ashland area is also served by two full-power Wisconsin Public Radio stations that signed on within the past six years. (5/24/2017)
New translator K295CB/106.9 (Des Moines) has signed on relaying Birach Broadcasting's KXLQ/1490 (Indianola). K295CB is owned by Youngers Colorado Broadcasting and transmits with 132 Watts from a site on the northeast side of Des Moines. KXLQ had previously carried a Sports format, but reception reports indicate it and the translator are now carrying a Spanish-language format. (5/23/2017)
Translator W231DL/94.1 (Onalaska-La Crosse) has signed on relaying the Catholic format of WKBH/1570 (Holmen-La Crosse). W231DL transmits from WKBH's tower in Onalaska with 250 Watts, with a fringe signal to La Crosse. Station owner Starboard Media moved the translator permit up from Iowa during last year's AM revitalization filing window. (5/23/2017)
Former Rock outlet WMZK/104.1 (Merrill-Wausau) has returned to the air as WXVM, carrying non-commercial Christian teaching and preaching from WRVM/102.7 (Suring). The station had been mostly silent since WRVM, Inc. closed on its deal to buy it from Quicksilver Broadcasting in late January. It told the FCC in a February filing that "transmitter and antenna conditions were significantly worse than we were aware at consummation." WRVM bought WMZK and WJMT/730 (Merrill) from Quicksilver for $260,000, spinning WJMT off to Sunrise Broadcasting for $75,000. WRVM is also in the process of selling translator W267BB/101.3 (Wausau) to one of the parent organizations of Wisconsin Public Radio for $46,000. (5/23/2017)
One year after buying it, the Educational Media Foundation is selling KRNQ/96.3 (Keokuk) to Community Broadcasting for $125,000. The buyer will carry Christian programming from its Bott Radio Network on KRNQ. EMF retains KOKX-FM/95.3 (Keokuk), which it bought at the same time as KRNQ and is used to carry the K-Love network. (5/18/2017)
KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors) and translator K231BI/94.1 (Duluth) have gone off the air after Minnesota Public Radio closed on its purchase of the stations from Red Rock Radio on Monday (5/15). KZIO had carried a Hard Rock format since 2003, first as "X106" (named for its original translator frequency) and then "94X," acting as a flanker for former sister Classic Rock station KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). An FCC application to make KZIO a satellite of KCMP/89.3 (Northfield), the flagship of MPR's "Current" Adult Alternative service, remains pending. (5/16/2017)
Longtime Duluth radio personality Pat Cadigan has died at the age of 81 after a short illness. Cadigan had been the morning co-host at KDAL/610 since 1982 and was also one of the Northland's first rock-n-roll DJ's. He wrote in his KDAL bio that he got the chance to start spinning rock records on WDSM/710 (Superior-Duluth) in the late 1950's because NBC discontinued its evening radio lineup. He also worked at stations including WEBC/560, the defunct WQMN/1320 (Duluth), and KLIZ/1380 (Brainerd) before first joining KDAL in 1961. He also served as emcee for the Chmielewski Fun Time Orchestra in the 1960's and early 1970's, including appearances on their syndicated TV show. Cadigan had also continued to host the "Midwest Polka Party" Saturday mornings on KDAL. Listeners have been sharing their memories on KDAL's Facebook page. (5/15/2017)
Canadian regulators have approved the shutdown of CTV repeaters CHBX-TV-1 (Ch. 7, Wawa, ON) and CKYS (Ch. 11, Snow Lake, MB) as part of license renewal for CTV parent Bell Media. CHBX-TV-1 was licensed for 66.4kW, serving a sizeable area north of Lake Superior Provincial Park. CKYS used just 19 Watts in a rural area of northern Manitoba. The shutdowns leave the communities without any broadcast TV service after the CBC's shutdown of rural transmitters several years ago. Bell had told the CRTC that the transmitters, which are among 40 being shut down nationwide, had little to no viewership due to the high usage of cable and satellite services. (5/15/2017)
In a rare move, the FCC has cancelled the license of Mount Rushmore Broadcasting's KAWK/105.1 (Custer), saying it has determined the station's license actually expired as a matter of law in 2009.
In a certified letter to the station, the FCC's Media Bureau details KAWK's series of requests for special temporary authority dating back to 2002, when the station told the FCC it had been forced to vacate its licensed tower site on Mount Coolidge in Custer State Park. The station had authority to use an alternate site for several years, but the FCC says KAWK neglected to reapply for use of the alternate site when it returned from a period of silence in 2009.
In a letter responding to the FCC's inquiry last year, Mount Rushmore Broadcasting said it "assumed that once the site and facilities had been approved on a temporary basis, they could be used again on a temporary basis." The FCC said in its cancellation letter that this is not the case, and that it is the licensee's responsibility to understand FCC regulations.
KAWK had been licensed for 7kW/400m (class C1) from Mount Coolidge, providing a rimshot signal to Rapid City, but filings indicate the facility was only active from 1997 to 2002.
Mount Rushmore Broadcasting, owned by Jan Charles Gray, also owns KFCR/1490 (Custer), KZMX/580 (Hot Springs), KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs), and several stations in Wyoming. Filings indicate KFCR and KZMX(AM) are currently silent. Last year, the FCC granted only a two-year license renewal for KFCR, KZMX, KZMX-FM, and two stations in Wyoming, saying at that time that the company's "conduct has fallen far short of that which would warrant routine license renewal." (5/12/2017)
With a format change pending at their previous Duluth affiliate, the Minnesota Wild are moving to a new home. The NHL team has signed a three-year deal with Midwest Communications' WDSM/710 (Superior-Duluth) and FM translator W251CD/98.1 (Superior-Duluth). WDSM carries a News/Talk format and also carries the Packers and Badgers. The Wild's previous affiliate was "92.1 The Fan" (WWAX Hermantown-Duluth) but its contract expired at the end of the 2016-2017 season; the "94X" simulcast of KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors) and K231BI/94.1 (Duluth) had carried some spillover games when WWAX had other obligations. (5/12/2017, corrected info on former affiliate 5/15)
Wisconsin Public Radio will air a series of four pilot programs over the next month as part of its WPR NEXT initiative. The programs are called Because Science, BETA, Entertain Us and Wisconsin Life Weekend. The programs will first air May 15 to 18 at 6 p.m. on the Ideas Network and at 7 p.m. on the NPR News and Classical Music Network. They'll then air weekends over the next month at 10 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. Sundays on the Ideas Network, and at 3 p.m. Sundays on the NPR News and Classical Music Network. More information on the programs and schedule is available at wpr.org/next. (5/12/2017)
Broadcaster Mike Flood has announced plans to launch Telemundo Nebraska on several low-power TV stations in the Lincoln-Tri Cities market this summer. Telemundo Nebraska is expected to launch in mid-June on KFDY-LD/26 (Lincoln), and will later be added on KMLF-LD (Grand Island) and KMJF-LD (Columbus). By mid-summer, the channel is expected to carry a 10 p.m. weeknight newscast produced by bilingual reporters in Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus, and Schuyler. The reporters have already been posting reports on Facebook. Flood also owns Spanish-language radio station "Lobo 97-7" (KBBX Nebraska City), which delivers city-grade coverage to Lincoln and Omaha. KMLF-LD and KMJF-LD also carry Flood's English-language News Channel Nebraska service. (5/9/2017)
Sinclair Broadcast Group may end up owning two of the "big four" network affiliates in Des Moines and a triopoly in Milwaukee under a $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, which was announced Monday. Tribune's stations in the region include WITI (FOX-Milwaukee), WQAD (ABC-Quad Cities), and WHO-TV (NBC-Des Moines). Among others, Sinclair's existing holdings include KDSM (FOX-Des Moines), WVTV (CW-Milwaukee), and WCGV (My-Milwaukee). Sinclair's CEO Chris Ripley said during a conference call Monday that the company doesn't think it will be required to sell any of the stations in the 14 markets where the two companies overlap, but said the St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Wilkes Barre markets are the places most likely to trigger regulatory concerns. Sinclair does already run multiple "big four" affiliates in some markets through various legal means, including an outsourcing agreement in Cedar Rapids. If approved, the acquisition would give Sinclair coverage of 72 percent of households in the country, far more than any other group. (5/8/2017)
A North Dakota AM station wants to give up its 50kW daytime signal and end its rare setup of using separate day and night transmission sites. iHeartMedia's KXMR/710 (Bismarck) currently uses 50kW day and 13kW critical hours* from a site along I-94 east of Bismarck, and then 4kW night from a site south of the city near the Missouri River. It's applied to use the 4kW facility both day and night with the same directional antenna pattern. The 50kW facility, which recently suffered several modules burned beyond repair, would be silenced. Despite the power reduction, the KXMR would still have a large daytime coverage area due to North Dakota's high ground conductivity. KXMR carries a Sports format as "FOX Sports 710." (*Critical hours are the hours after sunrise and before sunset.) (5/4/2017)
New 250-Watt translator K264CP/100.7 (Rapid City) has signed on, relaying the News/Talk format of KOTA/1380. Owner Duhamel Broadcasting moved the translator construction permit east from Wyoming during last year's AM revitalization filing window. With K264CP's sign-on, all four of the Rapid City-licensed AM stations now have FM translators. It's the 30th FM signal (full-power, low-power, translator, or booster) licensed to Rapid City, which has far more FM licenses than any other Upper Midwest city. (5/3/2017)
Red Rock Radio has sold its last station: KRBT/1340 (Eveleth) is going to a new company called Range Broadcasting for $20,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. Range Broadcasting is owned by Dennis Yourczek of Virginia, who has no other broadcast interests. KRBT carries a Sports format. Its former FM partner, WEVE/97.9 (Eveleth), was sold to Midwest Communications. As documented here over the past year, Red Rock once owned 25 stations but sold them to eight separate buyers; the last several sales remain pending. Red Rock is a sister company to KQDS Acquisition Corp. and Red River Broadcast Co., which run the FOX affiliates in the Duluth and Fargo markets and the NBC-TV affiliate in Sioux Falls. (5/3/2017)
KCPM/27 (Grand Forks) is off the air, but continues to provide a cable feed, as it awaits completion of a new fiber connection to its transmitter. The station said in a notification of suspension of operations earlier this year that it went silent at the end of January due to "a problem relative to program delivery." Last summer, the station, owned by Charles Poppen's G.I.G. of North Dakota LLC, had sought special temporary authority to stay on the air while the FCC considers license renewal. According to a June 2016 letter from the FCC's Media Bureau, KCPM's 2014 license renewal application was not filed until after the license had expired. The station said in response that the filing was late due to Poppen's health issues and the company's financial inability to retain professional assistance to aid in the renewal. The application remains pending. MyNetworkTV lists KCPM as an affiliate and CableOne listings indicate the station is carried on channel 27 in Fargo. However, it is no longer listed on Midcontinent Cable's lineups for Grand Forks or Fargo. (5/2/2017)
After 18 years with Red Rock Radio, Shawn Skramstad has joined Midwest Communications' Duluth group as vice president and market manager. The move reunites Skramstad, Red Rock's former president, with many former co-workers who moved to Midwest when it bought KQDS-FM/94.9 from Red Rock.
"Getting to the managerís chair at Midwest Communications Duluth has been a process that has taken some time as I have been involved with the sale of the Red Rock stations. I have been looking forward to joining Midwest with their fine staff and working again with many of the people I worked with at Red Rock," Skramstad said in a news release.
Skramstad's new position was effective May 1, the same day Twin Ports Radio LLC took over operations of Red Rock's WWAX/92.1 (Hermantown-Duluth) and KQDS/1490 (Duluth) while it awaits FCC approval of the purchase. Last week, the FCC approved Minnesota Public Radio's purchase of KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors) and translator K231BI/94.1 (Duluth) from Red Rock. KZIO continued to carry Red Rock's "94X" Hard Rock format as of Monday evening, but an FCC filing indicated that KZIO will eventually carry MPR's "The Current" Adult Alternative network.
Red Rock has just one station left (KRBT/1340 Eveleth) after selling 24 stations to 7 different buyers. (5/1/2017)
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