De La Hunt Broadcasting has moved the Adult Contemporary format formerly heard on KSKK/94.7 (Staples) to KVKK/1070 (Verndale) following KSKK's sale to James Ingstad's Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which plans to move KSKK to the Detroit Lakes area. 94.7 went silent last Friday (6/26) after the FCC approved its move to Frazee on 94.5, where the new owners have said it will relay the Country format of "Bob 95 FM" (KBVB/95.1 Barnesville-Fargo-Moorhead). KVKK had carried syndicated Conservative Talk during the day and Classic Country at night; similar programming is available in the area from sister station KPRM/870 (Park Rapids). A post on the KSKK/KVKK Facebook page says "The Arrow" "will hopefully have an FM presence later here in the summer or early fall." That could indicate a plan to move a translator to the Staples area to relay KVKK. K285FB/104.9 (Park Rapids), which had previously relayed KSKK, has applied to raise its antenna height but remain at its present tower site, at least in the initial application. (6/30/2015)
Milwaukee-based Christian broadcaster VCY America is buying a station in rural central Iowa, its first in the state. The deal calls for VCY to pay American Radio Missions Foundation $251,100 for KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma), which signed on in 2009 and uses a 3.1kW/103m facility with coverage of Grinnell. KRNF at one time reportedly carried VCY programming in the overnight hours but currently simulcasts a Southern Gospel "God's Country" format with Horizon Broadcasting's KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield); KOJY is not included in the sale. (6/30/2015)
NRG Media launched its new AM-on-FM translator in Waterloo over the weekend with a "Party." K297BS/107.3 (Waterloo) is now "107-3 The Party" with a Contemporary Hits format originating on KWLO/1330 (Waterloo), directly taking on established CHR outlet "Q92.3" (KKHQ Oelwein-Waterloo). KWLO, which is the second-oldest station in Waterloo, had previously carried ESPN Radio. K297BS uses 250 Watts from a tower on the southern edge of Waterloo. Besides KWLO, NRG owns two full-power FM's and one AM in the market. (6/28/2015)
Minnesota Public Radio is buying an FM signal that could potentially be used to bring its "Current" Adult Alternative network to Duluth. MPR is buying Family Radio station W215CG/90.9 (Duluth) from Family Stations for $45,000 and states on the application that W215CG will relay MPR's WSCD/92.9 (Duluth); MPR could potentially add an HD2 feed of "The Current" on WSCD to feed programming to the translator as it already does with its stations in Ely and Grand Rapids. "The Current" already has an online following in Duluth and hosted an event in the city last summer. The Twin Ports already has an unusually large number of public radio stations for a city its size, including Adult Alternative/Folk-formatted KUMD/103.3 (Duluth), two MPR stations, and two Wisconsin Public Radio stations. W215CG is currently licensed for 10 Watts from the Duluth antenna farm but has been difficult to receive since moving from its original home on 88.5 three years ago; it has a pending application to increase its antenna height from 69m to 115m. (6/26/2015)
After years of regulatory battles, Truth Broadcasting's KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) has moved its transmitter closer to Des Moines. The Christian Talk station is now broadcasting from a tower near Sheldahl and will eventually use 5.3kW/95m (class A), though an announcement on the station's Facebook page Sunday night said it was not yet at full power. KTIA-FM is also changing its community of license to Huxley. The move gives KTIA-FM a strong signal to much of Des Moines, and the original application ran afoul of FCC rules intended to preserve rural radio service. The second application was first rejected, then approved. In order to make way for the move, Positive Impact Media Contemporary Christian outlet KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) moved to 101.7, in turn forcing Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) to move to 97.7. (6/22/2015)
iHeartMedia and Educational Media Foundation appear to be starting a partnership in the Des Moines market. iHeartMedia's KKDM/107.5 (Des Moines) recently began carrying EMF's "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network on its HD3 channel, a move that has preceded EMF-iHeart translator deals in other markets, including Minneapolis. iHeartMedia already owns and operates one HD2-fed translator in the market, "96.5 Country" (K243CA Millman-Des Moines). EMF has three construction permits for new translators in Des Moines, including two which said they would rebroadcast iHeartMedia stations on their applications. EMF also has one CP in Ames, and existing EMF "K-Love" translator K290AJ/105.9 (Gilbert-Ames) recently changed frequency to 106.5 with the new callsign K293CG. It had to downgrade from 250 to 37 Watts in the process, weakening its signal to Ames; such frequency changes sometimes mark the start of a series of facility changes. (6/20/2015)
KSIB/1520 and KSIB-FM/101.3 (Creston), which serve a rural area southwest of Des Moines, are being transferred between family members. David and Kathy Rieck are selling the stations to Chad and Amy Rieck for $1.4 million. Chad, who is David and Kathy's son, has been the general manager since 2006. The FM station carries an information-heavy Country format, while the AM side carries a Sports format. (6/19/2015)
Continuing a strategy used in its other markets, Gray Television is buying a low-power TV station to operate alongside its full-power station in Sioux Falls. Gray, which owns ABC/CW affiliate KSFY/13, is buying K20MB-D from EICB-TV East, LLC for $100,000. EICB-TV retains the construction permit for another Sioux Falls station, K22KD-D. K20MB-D is not yet on the air. Its 15kW signal will easily cover Sioux Falls itself but won't reach most of the geographic area of the market, which covers the eastern two-thirds of South Dakota as well as a few counties in neighboring states. Gray has also recently purchased LPTV stations to operate alongside its full-power stations in Rapid City and Wausau. (6/17/2015)
One week after launching "Hot 102.5" (see below), iHeartMedia has launched another HD3/translator format in the Twin Cities. K244FE/96.7 (Calhoun Beach), formerly W244CS/96.7 (Hudson, WI), is now "96.7 Pride Radio" with a Dance format for the LGBT community. The launch comes after several days of a #ComingOutFriday hashtag campaign.
iHeartMedia says "96.7 Pride Radio" is the first (analog) station for the LGBT community in the country. It's an extension of the national "Pride Radio" format available on iHeartRadio and an HD2 channel in the New York market. 96.7 transmits with 170 Watts from the IDS Center, with programming originating on the HD3 signal of iHeartMedia's KQQL/107.9.
96.7's launch gives iHeartMedia nine FM signals in the market, made possible by the fact that translators don't count towards ownership caps. (6/10/2015, updated 6/12)
Duluth NBC affiliate KBJR/6 (Superior-Duluth) has been restored to Mediacom after a retransmission consent dispute that lasted ten days. The outage, which began at 11:59 p.m. May 31, also affected "My9" (KBJR-DT2). Mediacom is the second-largest cable company in the market, serving most of the Iron Range, Cloquet, the Duluth suburbs of Hermantown and Proctor, and several North Shore communities. The Mesabi Daily News had reported that Mediacom filled KBJR's channel position with NBC Sports Network during the dispute. (6/1/2015, updated 6/11)
iHeartMedia has launched "Hot 102.5" on translator K273BH/102.5 (Fridley-Minneapolis) and the HD3 signal of KTCZ/97.1 (Minneapolis), carrying Hip-Hop and R&B from the 1990's and 2000's. The new format launched at 3 p.m. Friday (6/5) after weeks of a repeating message advising people looking for "Air1," the Christian Hits network that formerly aired on 102.5, to tune to 92.9.
"Hot 102.5" is the only commercial station in the Twin Cities with a mostly African-American playlist and primarily competes with longtime non-commercial Hip-Hop/R&B outlet KMOJ/89.9. Most of the songs on the "Hot 102.5" playlist haven't been heard on commercial radio in the market since their original runs on sister Top 40 outlet KDWB/101.3, Rhythmic Hits WLOL/99.5 in 1990-91, or Hip-Hop/R&B "B96" in the 2000's.
"Hot 102.5" is iHeartMedia's eighth FM signal with full metro coverage, joining the company's five full-power FM stations and two other translators. The company also has FCC permission to move a fourth translator (W244CS/96.7) to the IDS Center. (6/5/2015)
Nextar has made some changes to the DTV channel lineup in the Quad Cities. WHBF (Rock island), which carries CBS on 4.1, is now rebroadcasting CW affiliate KGCW/26.1 (Burlington) on 4.2. Channel 4.2 had been off the air since dropping the Live Well Network last year. The KGCW simulcast had previously seen on channel 18.2 of KLJB (Davenport), which is now owned by Marshall Broadcasting Group but operated by Nexstar. KLJB, a primary FOX affiliate, moved MeTV from 18.3 to 18.2, while KGCW continues to carry ThisTV on 26.2 but dropped a simulcast of MeTV on 26.3. KGCW's signal to the Quad Cities is slightly weaker than the market's other channels since it transmits from a site midway between the Quad Cities and Burlington. (6/3/2015)
It turns out an illegible letter was one of the problems ASCAP faced in its unsuccessful attempt to stop the sale of KXMZ/102.7 (Box Elder-Rapid City) to Pandora Radio, which wants the terrestrial license to qualify for lower music streaming rates.
The FCC's Media Bureau gave final approval to the sale Tuesday, saying that ASCAP had failed to raise any substantial facts that should block the sale. The letter from Audio Division Chief Peter H. Doyle also notes that a letter from a Custer man that ASCAP was supposed to be representing is illegible, and that the man lives outside of KXMZ's primary coverage area and did not assert that he is a regular listener of KXMZ.
Because ASCAP could not show standing as a party eligible to file a petition to deny, the FCC instead treated ASCAP's allegations as an informal objection, but still found the allegations to be insufficient to block the sale.
The decision comes a month after the FCC issued a declaratory ruling stipulating that Pandora is qualified to be a licensee even though it can't quantify its level of foreign ownership. Pandora is buying KXMZ, which carries an Adult Top 40 format called "Hits 102.7," from Connoisseur Communications for $600,000. It has been running the station through local marketing agreement for two years. (6/2/2015)
Seehafer Broadcasting is adding a fourth station on the Lake Michigan shoreline with the purchase of WEMP-FM/98.9 (Two Rivers) from Mark Heller's Metro North Communications for $380,000. WEMP began regular broadcasts with an Easy Listening format late last year. Seehafer, based in Manitowoc, also owns WOMT/1240 (Manitowoc), WQTC/102.3 (Manitowoc), WLKN/98.1 (Cleveland), and four stations in central Wisconsin. With WEMP's transmitter located at WLKN's tower and its studios in the lower level of WLKN's office building, Heller said it made sense to accept Seehafer's offer to buy the station. Like WLKN, the main coverage area for WEMP's 6kW signal extends from Two Rivers to Sheboygan. Heller retains ownership of WGBW/1590 (Denmark-Green Bay) and WLWB/1530 (New Holstein). (6/1/2015)
James Ingstad's Radio FM Media has announced plans for KSKK/94.7 (Staples) once the station is moved to the Detroit Lakes area. The station has a pending application to change its community of license to Frazee and change frequency to 94.5 with 11kW/150m (class C3). Radio FM Media's "Bob 95 FM" (KBVB/95.1 Barnesville-Fargo) says the relocated KSKK will rebroadcast KBVB, restoring coverage that the station lost when it moved its transmitter closer to Fargo. The station says the change is expected to happen "later this summer." Radio Fargo Moorhead, which does business as Radio FM Media, already has FCC permission to purchase KSKK from the De La Hunt family's Normin Broadcasting, but the deal has not been consummated because it's contingent on the move to Frazee being approved. KSKK signed on 20 years ago and has carried an Adult Contemporary format called "The Arrow" for that entire time. (6/1/2015)
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