June 2010

The FCC has ordered James & Sharon Norrbom to turn off an unlicensed transmitter operating on 87.9 in suburban Minneapolis. An FCC field agent tracked the signal to a Burnsville address on June 15, and a June 22 letter ordered the transmitter turned off immediately. (6/30/2010)

Rochester Community and Technical College is poised to get a radio station, again, after the FCC named it the tentative selectee from a group of eight competing applications in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The college had operated KRPR/89.9 (Rochester) until selling it to Rochester Public Radio about a decade ago. Its new proposed station would be licensed to Stewartville and operate on 88.1 with 1.9kW/278m (class C3) from the KTTC-TV/10 tower near Ostrander, MN, but would have only a fringe signal to Rochester. (KROC-FM/106.9 Rochester also transmits from the tower but uses 100kW.) Use of the frequency was previously not possible because of the analog signal of KAAL/6 (Austin), since channel 6 is located immediately below the FM band. KAAL now transmits digitally on channel 36.

RCTC edged out the other applicants because its proposed coverage area would provide new non-commercial service to more than most of the other applicants. It tied in new service with Southern Minnesota Catholic Radio, which also applied for a station licensed Stewartville, but the college won because it is a local applicant.

Other applicants included Decorah Lutheran Church (Decorah, IA), VCY America (Meriden, MN), Crossfire Inc. (Eitzen, MN), Pensacola Christian College (Byron, MN), We Have This Hope Christian Radio (Dodge Center, MN), and Calvary Iowa City (Genoa, WI). (6/29/2010)

Immanuel Baptist Church of Rice Lake, WI, is the FCC's tentative selectee for a new non-commercial station on 91.9 in Pine City, MN. It was one of five applicants for the frequency in four different communities.

Refuge Media Group (Robbinsdale, MN) and De Mujer a Mujer Interacional (Hinckley, MN) were eliminated because their coverage areas wouldn't have reached enough listeners without current non-commercial service. Wisconsin Educational Communications Board (Webster, WI) was eliminated because its proposed station would have served far fewer people than stations proposed by Immanuel Baptist Church and Minnesota Public Radio (Hinckley).

Immanuel Baptist Church and MPR went into a tiebreaker in which the church was selected because it has fewer existing stations than MPR (none versus 64). MPR has an existing construction permit for a new station on 88.5 in Hinckley and also has four translators in Hinckley and one in Pine City.

The new station would use 25kW/99m (class C3) from a tower near Hinckley. It wouldn't be possible if WCMP-FM hadn't moved from 92.1 to 100.9 more than a decade ago, a move which allowed WWAX/92.1 (Hermantown-Duluth) to upgrade. (6/29/2010)

All Access reports Chadrad Communications plans to have its new station on 107.7 licensed to Hay Springs on the air late this year with a Classic Rock format. Chadrad already owns KCSR/610 (Chadron) and bought the construction permit for the new station from Big Cat Broadcasting for $85,000. The current CP for 107.7 calls for 100kW/150m (class C1) from a tower south of Chadron, with a rimshot signal to Alliance. (6/29/2010)

Catholic broadcaster Starboard Media has taken WMUP/99.9 (Carney) off the air and is seeking a buyer for the station. The station says in an application for special temporary authority to remain silent that it has lost its existing transmitter site because the landlord no longer wishes to lease tower space to Starboard. The filing also says Starboard wants to sell the station and has at least one potential buyer. WMUP is currently licensed for just 200 Watts, but could be upgraded to cover nearby larger cities. (6/25/2010)

KFCR/1490 (Custer) went off the air Wednesday (June 23) for technical reasons and is seeking special temporary authority to remain silent. The station was heard with open carrier (no programming) during visits to Custer between June 16-18 of this year and June 22-24, 2009. In 2004, KFCR was simulcasting sister station KAWK/105.1 with extremely low modulation. KAWK is now silent for staffing reasons, but the current STA expires Monday, June 28. The stations are owned by Jan Charles Gray's Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting. (6/25/2010)

The FCC has approved a fill-in digital translator for CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines), which says viewers have had reception problems since it moved digital broadcasts from UHF to VHF last year. The digital translator will broadcast on channel 31, KCCI-DT's former UHF home, using 15kW -- the maximum for UHF digital translators. WOI-DT/5 (Ames) already has a UHF translator in Des Moines; KDIN-TV/11 and WHO-DT/13 also broadcast digitally on VHF but have not sought UHF translators. (6/25/2010)

Iowa Public Radio has signed on its first non-translator station in the Quad Cities, KWNJ/91.1 (Bettendorf). The station relays IPR's News/Talk and Studio One music programming from KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls), which has been heard on translators at 94.5 and 102.1 in the Quad Cities for years. However, KWNJ's signal is weak on the west side of the metro since it transmits with just 740W/117m from a tower in rural East Moline, IL. (6/23/2010)

KFMG-LP/99.1 (Des Moines) returned to the air on June 14. Its former owner, Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation, had silenced the station in January due to a strained budget. KFMG is now run by the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation and carries Progressive, Adult Alternative and other genres of music along with arts and culture programming. However, KFMG continues to battle another station's proposal that could force it off the air: KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) has applied to move its transmitter to Saylorville and change its community of license to Johnston. KFMG says there is no alternate frequency available for LPFM broadcasting; the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation and nine individuals have filed informal objections to KTIA-FM's application. (6/23/2010)

The FCC has approved another move-in to the Sioux City market: KCTY/104.9 (Wayne) will change its community of license to Emerson, NE, and transmit from near Hubbard with 25kW/100m (class C2). KCTY is owned by Wayne Radio Works, LLC, and currently carries a mix of Classic Hits, Adult Contemporary, Rock and Country.

104.9 isn't the only new signal pending in the Sioux City market. Cochise Media's KHSK/100.9 (Allen, NE) has a construction permit to move its transmitter to the Ponca area using 8.6kW/169m (class C3), which will serve Sioux City. KHSK received its license on Oct. 15, 2008 but went silent the next day citing financial reasons. Then last July, a tornado toppled the station's tower and damaged its transmitter, leading to a special temporary authority for 10 Watts from Allen. (6/21/2010)

New station WXYG/540 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) is on the air testing with Rock music as "i101," the same format used during testing of sister station WMIN/1010 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) a few years ago. The station uses 250 Watts directional with different day and night patterns, enough to cover central Minnesota and deliver a fringe signal to parts of the Twin Cities metro area during the day. It's owned by Herbert M. Hoppe, who owns three other AM stations and one FM station, an unusual combination. All four AM stations transmit from the same seven-tower array on Golden Spike Road in Sauk Rapids. Engineer M.W. Persons has posted photos of the site. WXYG is the third new AM station to come on the air in the St. Cloud area in the past two years, after WMIN in late 2008 and Throw Fire Project's KYES/1180 (Rockville-St. Cloud) in summer 2009. (6/21/2010)

The FCC has granted another facility change for WREY/630 (St. Paul). It's currently 1kW day and 2.5kW night with different directional antenna patterns; the construction permit calls for 2.3kW day and night with the same directional antenna pattern. WREY will continue to transmit from the WCTS/1030 site in Maplewood. 630, which was KDWB's original home and now carries a Regional Mexican format as "Radio Rey," has changed its facilities numerous times since the frequency's original transmitter site in Woodbury was bulldozed in 1994. (6/21/2010)

Community radio station KFAI/90.3 (Minneapolis) plans to revamp its schedule on June 30. It'll add "The Takeaway," Public Radio International's alternate morning news program, from 5-8 a.m., displacing local music programs in morning drive. "Democracy Now" will move to 8-9 a.m. The entire schedule is here. MinnPost's David Brauer has more about the change, including anger from existing hosts. KFAI broadcasts with 900 Watts from the IDS Center and is rebroadcast on 170-Watt translator K294AM/106.7 (West St. Paul). (6/10/2010)

In case you missed it, the morning news at WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis) now begins at 4:30 a.m. WCCO joins FOX 9 (KMSP) in the 4:30 start, which is becoming more common nationwide. (6/10/2010)

In Phase Broadcasting has run out of time to get a new station on the air in the panhandle. In Phase had won the construction permit for KNPE/98.1 (Bayard) in FCC Auction No. 70 with a $34,000 bid, but the CP was due to expire on June 11. Now, the FCC has deleted the CP at In Phase's request. The original CP called for a 100kW/186m (class C1) signal licensed to Hyannis. In February, the FCC approved a community of license change to Bayard where KNPE would have broadcast with just 1.4kW/31m, though a future upgrade could've added coverage of Scottsbluff. (6/10/2010)

Crandon's TV station has returned to the air after a nearly year-long silence, but with different call letters and programming. WMOW broadcasts digitally on channel 12, which remaps to channel 4 on digital receivers. The Quincy Newspapers station relays programming from parent station WAOW/9 (Wausau), though the channel numbers for ABC and The CW are swapped, with CW on 4.1, ABC on 4.2, and ThisTV on 4.3.

WMOW's coverage area overlaps greatly with WAOW and WYOW/34.1 (Eagle River), which also relays WAOW, though WMOW's signal reaches farther to the east.

The station was formerly known as WBIJ and carried FamilyNet on analog channel 4 prior to the digital transition. Channel 12 was formerly occupied by the analog signal of WJFW (Rhinelander), which now broadcasts on channel 16 and remaps to 12. (6/10/2010)

It may be only a 50-Watt AM station, but it's a big deal when it's the only commercial radio service for a community of more than 3,000: Local leaders in Atikokan are backing Northwoods Broadcasting's proposal to change the programming on CKDR-6-AM/1240. The transmitter currently rebroadcasts CKDR-FM/92.7 (Dryden), but Northwoods wants to change it to CFOB-FM/93.1 (Fort Frances).

CFOB could be heard in Atikokan prior to its move from AM to FM in 2002. The mayor of Atikokan Township and the head of the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation submitted letters stating their preference to hear programming from Fort Frances rather than Dryden on AM 1240. Atikokan and Fort Frances are located in the same provincial district, school district, and federal riding, and Atikokan is closer to Fort Frances than Dryden.

AM 1240 is the only local radio service in Aitkokan besides CBQI/90.1, which carries CBC Radio One. The only other radio reception in Atikokan is a few weak AM signals from Minnesota during the daytime, AM skywave signals at night, and occasional atmosphere-enhanced FM reception. (6/9/2010)

It appears Metro North Communications will be the winner of a new station on 92.9 in New Holstein. Metro North was one of four groups to apply for the station in 1996, but no settlement agreement was ever reached and the applications sat dormant until the FCC recently declared an auction for the frequency. However, Metro North was the only one of the four applicants to complete all of the steps necessary to compete in the auction. Its 1996 application had sought a 6kW/100m station from a tower near Chilton which would have a fringe signal to Appleton and Oshkosh.

Metro North is owned by Bonita Meyer of Mishicot (28%), Donald G. Burcham of Randolph (18%), Douglas H. Engelbrecht of Two Rivers (18%), Kelly T. Meyer of Two River (9%), Mark Heller of Two River (9%), Thomas S. Tomter of Malone (9%), and Wendy S. Tomter of Malone (9%). Heller is the owner of WGBW/1590 (Two Rivers).

Meanwhile, Tri-County Radio and Radio Plus are competing for a new 6kW station on 98.9 in Two Rivers. The frequency has a minimum bid of $35,000, and the auction begins July 20. (6/8/2010)

After eleven days of stunting, WNQW/106.9 (Brookfield-Milwaukee) has debuted a Classic Country format as "Big Buck Country." The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports the new format debuted at 3 p.m. Monday. The Saga Broadcasting station, formerly Smooth Jazz WJZX, began stunting as "Tiger Radio" on May 27, switched to an America-themed format on May 29, and then to "Beatles A to Z" on June 2.

In the new format, 106.9 competes directly with Clear Channel's WOKY/920 (Milwaukee) and WMIL/106.1 (Waukesha-Milwaukee). It's the first time WMIL has had a direct FM competitor since WEXT/104.7 (Sturtevant, now WDDW), switched to Regional Mexican in 2005. (6/7/2010)

The Yankton Press & Dakotan reports new station KDAM/94.3 (Hartington, NE-Yankton, SD) is slated to sign on in July with a Rock format. It'll be co-located with sister stations KYNT/1450 and KKYA/93.1 (Yankton) and use 50kW/103m from the KKYA tower south of town. Riverfront Broadcasting won the frequency in an FCC auction last year with a $50,000 bid. (6/7/2010)

WFDL/1170 (Waupun-Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam) has reverted to Adult Standards using the Music of Your Life Network. The station had begun carrying Oldies from the short-lived Hit Parade Radio in February when its former network, ABC's Timeless format, was discontinued. Another Hit Parade Radio affiliate just over the state line, WFRL/1570 (Freeport, IL), went to locally-automated Oldies. (6/7/2010)

The FCC has cancelled the construction permit for a new station in Janesville at the permit holder's request. Family Stations' WWJA/91.5 was to have used 2.2kW/118m (class A), but the CP expired May 30. Family Stations operates the Family Radio network. (6/7/2010)

LIN Media's FOX 11 (WLUK Green Bay) will take over most operations of Wisconsin's CW (WIWB/14 Suring-Green Bay), owned by ACME Communications, under a shared services agreement and a joint sales agreement announced Friday. The move means there will be four groups operating the Green Bay market's six commercial stations; Journal Broadcasting's NBC 26 (WGBA Green Bay) has operated My 32 (WACY Appleton) for years, while the ABC and CBS affiliates are standalone operations. The LIN/ACME deal also includes stations in Albuquerque and Dayton, Ohio. (6/5/2010)

Leighton Enterprises is buying FM translators in Grand Forks and Grafton from Horizon Christian Fellowship. It'll pay $38,000 for K300BG/107.9 (Grand Forks) and $12,000 for K237CV/95.3 (Grafton). The application states the translators would relay KFNW-FM/97.9 (Fargo), though they could conceivably be used to relay Leighton's AM stations, KNOX/1310 (Grand Forks) and KCNN/1590 (East Grand Forks). The Grafton translator already has a construction permit to move its transmitter to Minto, which could be the start of a daisy-chain move towards Grand Forks (translators can only move if their old coverage area overlaps with the new one). (6/4/2010)

The FCC has proposed a $25,000 fine against Fox Television Stations, owner of KMSP-TV/9 and WFTC/29 (Minneapolis), for allegedly failing to respond to an FCC letter of inquiry about an airing of "American Dad" on the FOX network. The agency received more than 100,000 complaints about the Jan. 3 episode. The FCC said it has had to send letters of inquiry to all 235 FOX-owned and affiliated stations due to the lack of response. Fox has thirty days to either pay $25,000 or seek a reduction or cancellation. (6/4/2010)

Unless it's a stunt, and one can never be sure, the last "Connie and Fish" show will air Friday morning on Z104 (WZEE/104.1 Madison). Connie is apparently staying with the station, but Fish is leaving for unknown waters. The show had been simulcast on sister Clear Channel station WQBW/97.3 (Milwaukee) until the station's format change last week. (6/4/2010)

Minnesota Public Radio is parting ways with longtime host Dale Connelly, who currently hosts a morning show on the "Radio Heartland" HD2/web service and a Saturday night show on MPR's News network. His last day will be Friday. Connelly has been with the network for 34 years and co-hosted a long-running morning show on MPR's Classical network until the retirement of co-host Jim Ed Poole in 2008. In a brief statement, MPR said, "This move is being taken in order to move the Radio Heartland platform to a more sustainable business model." (6/3/2010)

Just when you might have thought activity in broadcast TV filings might settle after the digital transition, there's been a flurry of applications for new digital low-power TV stations. About 338 applications for new LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest have been filed in recent months, the bulk of them by Landover 2, LLC, which proposes multiple stations in each community. Other applicants include CTB Spectrum Services, Paul G. Donner, DTV America II, EICB-TV East, Frank Digital Broadcasting, JKJ Educational Foundation, Mid America DTV, Casey C. Peterson, and Spirit of Prayer Ministries. Several of the organizations are Christian broadcasters, while some others plan to use the spectrum for data. Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota lead in the application count, with nearly 100 in each state. Many of the applications have been granted. The applications are listed in the TV station listings under the state links in the left-hand column of this site. (6/2/2010)

The CRTC has denied a proposal by Country-formatted CHNK-FM/100.7 "Hank FM" (Winnipeg) to delete conditions requiring the station carry a specialty format and that popular music make up no more than 60 percent of its playlist. Station owner Newcap, Inc. said it had not been able to make the station profitable while complying with the specialty provision. The CRTC said the denial was based on its general procedure of not allowing license modifications for stations which have been found to be non-compliant. The problems were with contributions to Canadian talent development, missing logger tapes, distribution of specialty music throughout the broadcast day, and a slight overage in the amount of popular music played. CHNK was granted a four-year license renewal. (6/1/2010)

The CRTC has ordered Christian station CJIV-FM/97.3 (Dryden) to come up with a plan to bulk up its local programming. It granted a short-term license renewal for CJIV, extending the license to August 31, 2011. Licenses are normally renewed for longer periods, but the regulator has concerns about CJIV's compliance with license conditions regarding local programming, constributions to Canadian talent development, and late filing of paperwork about its finances. The commission was particularly concerned that the 50-Watt station, owned by Way of Life Broadcasting, offers no local programming other than weather forecasts and community calendar announcements and that most of the programming comes from the U.S. Canadian stations are required to provide local news, weather, sports, and community announcements. The CRTC indicated plans to closely monitor CJIV's performance and ordered the station to submit a plan to increase the amount of local programming by July 27. (6/1/2010)

The FCC has deleted the license of KKCS-LP/102.7 (Callaway) at the request of the licensee, Callaway Village Radio. The 100-Watt station had carried a Contemporary Christian format as "Way 102-7." (6/1/2010)

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