June 2003

NextMedia's WEXT/104.7 (Sturtevant-Racine) has applied for a transmitter move that would improve its signal to Milwaukee. The station would move to the WJJA/49 tower in Oak Creek, using 4.2kW at 103m, resulting in a strong signal in the southern half of Milwaukee and its southern suburbs (coverage map). WEXT currently targets the Racine-Kenosha area as "Extreme Country 104.7." (6/29/2003)

Hubbard Broadcasting has requested the heritage WLOL callsign for use on its WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI). The request was made June 23, the same day that WLOL/100.3 officially became KJZI. The change has not yet been approved and 1590 is still WIXK. The request has sparked speculation about whether Hubbard plans to "park" the calls at 1590 for later use at one of its Twin Cities FM's, KSTP-FM/94.5 or WFMP/107.1. Twin Cities residents know the WLOL callsign from the Top 40 format of 99.5 in the 1980's. The callsign was originally on 1330 Minneapolis, and after 99.5, the calls were used on 105.5/105.3 Cambridge and 1470 Brooklyn Park before being picked up by 100.3 in 1999. WIXK is also a heritage callsign -- 1590 has been WIXK since the station signed on more than 40 years ago. (6/29/2003)

The Des Moines Register reports that Northwestern College is in talks to buy KJJC/107.1 (Osceola) and KLRX/96.1 (Madrid) from Lifestyle Communications. The stations currently simulcast a Sports format, with KJJC providing a rimshot signal to Des Moines and KLRX serving Ames. Northwestern's radio network is currently heard in the two cities on translators of KNWS-FM/101.9 (Waterloo). (6/29/2003)

Bluff Country Broadcasting has been granted a construction permit for a low-power FM station on 107.9 in Houston. (6/21/2003)

The FCC has cancelled some translator licenses, including W276AD/103.1 (Ironwood, MI), W224AR/92.7 (La Crescent, MN), W290AH/105.9 (Amery, WI), W224AJ/92.7 (Deerfield), W244AB/96.7 (Eau Claire), and W252AM/98.3 (Tomahawk). (6/20/2003)

Raymond Quinn has been named Vice President and General Manager of Entercom's Madison stations, which include WOLX/94.9, WBZU/105.1, and WMMM/105.5. Quinn replaces Michael Keck, who has transferred to Kansas City. (6/20/2003)

WLOL/100.3 (Minneapolis) made the expected flip to Smooth Jazz at 1 p.m. today. The last song of the Classic Hits format was "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles, followed by an introduction to the "considerably different" format, and "Smooth Operator" by Sade to kick off "Smooth Jazz 100.3" KJZI. (6/19/2003)

The Star Tribune reports that Clear Channel's WLOL/100.3 will change format to Smooth Jazz as KJZI. The change is expected to occur at 1 p.m. Thursday. (6/18/2003)

WBIJ/4 (Crandon) has signed on, carrying programming from FamilyNet. The station is owned by Dennis Selenka and operates with 4.2kW. It could eventually be upgraded to full power of 100kW, which would give it some coverage of Wausau. (6/16/2003)

Maverick Media has completed its purchase of Eau Claire's Central Radio Group, with six layoffs announced. Those let go include WAXX middayer/Music Director Tim Wilson, WAXX overnigher Doris Marie, I94 morning host Jackie Tyler, engineer Del Dayton, a receptionist, a custodian, and a part-timer. (6/13/2003)

Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network has announced changes to its lineup, effective June 30. Current afternoon host Kathleen Dunn will move to the 9-11 a.m. slot, which is where Jean Feraca's show was heard until she went on a reduced schedule last summer. 3-6 p.m. will be covered by Ben Merens, who currently serves as Dunn's producer and fill-in host. Jean Feraca will host a new show called "Here on Earth," which will air Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. (6/11/2003)

The FCC has upheld its fine of $3,000 to Mount Rushmore Broadcasting. During an FCC inspection of KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs) in April 2001, station personnel were unable to take transmitter readings or control the transmitter. Mount Rushmore said the fine should be reduced or eliminated because the violations were not willful and have been corrected, but the FCC is sticking with the original fine. (6/11/2003)

The FCC has denied Saga Broadcasting's informal objection and approved an upgrade for KDWD/100.1 (Emmetsburg). The upgrade to class C3 (16kW/125m) will improve KDWD's signal in Spencer, where Saga owns three stations. KDWD carries a Contemporary Hits format and was recently sold to Jim Dandy Broadcasting, owned by Dean Sorenson, Richard Chapin, and Robert Fain. (6/6/2003)

Midwest Dimensions is selling "Packer Country" simulcast WPKR/99.5 (Omro-Oshkosh) and WPCK/104.9 (Denmark-Green Bay) to Cumulus media for $8.1 million. Cumulus will take over the stations through a local marketing agreement before the sale receives FCC approval. Cumulus has four other stations in the Appleton-Oshkosh area and four in the Green Bay area. Two of the stations simulcast the same format, while another two broadcast similar formats for the different markets. (6/5/2003)

Clear Channel is buying the last stand-alone FM station in Omaha, KEFM/96.1, from Webster Communications for $10.5 million. KEFM runs an Adult Contemporary format as "Mix 96.1," which could fit nicely with Clear Channel's four other stations in the market: News/Talk KFAB/1110, Hard Rock KQRC/93.3, Oldies KGOR/99.9, and Country KXKT/103.7. Webster Communcations is owned 75% by John Webster of Omaha, and 25% by Lee Webster Shaw of Los Angeles. The agreement includes a three-year non-compete clause for Webster. (6/4/2003)

New radio market definitions adopted today by the FCC are more restrictive in some circumstances, but less restrictive in others. The FCC has switched from contour-based market definition to Arbitron-based market definition. This means that a station that doesn't reach the entire Arbitron-defined market still counts as serving that entire market, while stations that reach into another market no longer count in that market. For example:

  • ABC/Disney would have been allowed to buy another FM station in the Twin Cities market under the old rules, but is prohibited from doing so under the new rules.
  • Signal overlap between St. Cloud and Twin Cities stations that prohibited ownership of groups in both markets is no longer a factor, so Clear Channel can now buy stations in the St. Cloud market.

    Also, non-commercial stations are now counted when finding the number of stations in a market. This, combined with the new Arbitron market definitions, means many markets will move into a higher "bracket," allowing larger groups of stations than under the old rules. A summary of the new rules adopted today is available by clicking here. (6/2/2003)

    CKED/103.5 (Shuniah Township) has signed on, simulcasting with CFQK/104.5 (Kaministiqua) as "Cottage Country 104." The two low-power stations provide Thunder Bay's only Country format. CKED broadcasts with 10W at 127m from the northeast edge of town, while CFQK is 50W at 50m from northwest of town. In the U.S., the sign-on of a 10W rebroadcaster wouldn't be big news, but it is in Thunder Bay, where there are only four other commercial stations to serve the city of 120,000. (6/1/2003)

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