June 2017

A much-belated note that the Contemporary Hits format of KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) is temporarily being heard on co-owned KNSG/94.7 (Springfield-Marshall) while work is underway at the KKCK transmitter site. KKCK's tower near Lake Benton was toppled in a December 2015 storm, and the station has had a reduced coverage area since then. KNSG began simulcasting KKCK in late April, and the tower work began in May. KNSG normally carries Classic Hits and has more of a Minnesota coverage area than KKCK, which delivers a city-grade signal to the Brookings, SD, area when it's at full power. KKCK's new antenna height will be reduced from 282m to 213m above average terrain, but the 100kW signal will still reach most places it did before. (6/30/2017)

Sinclair Broadcast Group now says it may have to spin off a station in Des Moines and will take a Milwaukee station off the air to comply with ownership caps as part of its purchase of Tribune Broadcasting.

In Des Moines, Tribune owns NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 and Sinclair owns FOX affiliate KDSM/17. Sinclair's CEO had said during a May conference call that the company didn't think it would be required to sell any overlapping stations, but a new filing reveals plans to divest stations in ten markets, including Des Moines, to comply with a rule that prohibits a company from owning more than one of the top four stations in a market. There was no indication which station would be spun off.

In Milwaukee, the filing reveals that Sinclair intends to relinquish the license of MyNetworkTV station WCGV/24.1 as it buys Tribune FOX affiliate WITI/6, which will be co-owned with Sinclair CW affiliate WVTV/18.1. Sinclair sold WCGV's spectrum during the incentive auction but would've been able to retain WCGV's license, virtual channel, and must-carry rights through a channel-sharing agreement. The new filing says that WCGV does not have a channel-sharing agreement with any other station and intends to go off the air.

The deal also includes Tribune ABC affiliate WQAD/8.1 (Moline-Quad Cities); Sinclair does not own any existing stations in the Quad Cities. (6/28/2017)

Townsquare Media's KZRV/96.7 (Sartell-St. Cloud) has dropped Active Rock for Classic Hits as "The River," positioned as "Central Minnesota's Greatest Hits." The `60s to `80s hits format debuted early Tuesday (6/27). It has no direct competition in St. Cloud, but is under the umbrella of iHeartMedia's "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka-Minneapolis) due to KQQL's north metro transmitter location. The previous "Rev" format had been on the air for ten years and worked in tandem with Townsquare Classic Rocker "The Loon" (KLZZ/103.7 Waite Park-St. Cloud) in competition with Tri-County Broadcasting's "Rockin' 101" (WHMH/101.7 Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud). (6/27/2017)

KXZT/107.9 (Newell) is on the air relaying the Classic Country format of sister station KRKI/99.5 (Keystone-Rapid City), which has also changed its name from "The Range" to "True Country." KXZT transmits with 4.8kW/455m (class C3) from the Terry Peak transmitter site near Lead, covering the northern Black Hills. KRKI transmits from the southern Hills and also has an on-frequency booster in Rapid City. The stations are owned by Bad Lands Broadcasting, which bought KXZT last year. (6/22/2017)

WWWI/1270 (Baxter-Brainerd) has flipped back to NBC Sports Radio, ending a simulcast with "Talk 100" (KLKS/100.1 Pequot Lakes-Brainerd). The simulcast had begun when R&J Broadcasting began operating the stations last year. (6/22/2017)

Several years after buying a Black Hills radio station in an effort to secure lower royalty rates for online streaming, Pandora Media is selling the station to another local group. Haugo Broadcasting will pay Pandora $300,000 for "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City), according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. KXMZ's Adult Top 40 format will join Haugo Rocker "K-Sky" (KSQY/95.1 Deadwood-Rapid City), Country outlet "Kick 104" (KIQK Rapid City), and "ESPN Rapid City" (KTOQ/1340 and K289AI/105.7 Rapid City). (6/19/2017)

"Milwaukee's True Oldies Channel" has signed on a second FM frequency. The format, originating on WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee), is now being rebroadcast on the southeast suburban signal of W297BY/107.3. Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin reported the sign-on in late May. The 250-Watt translator is licensed to Franklin but transmits from Oak Creek. W297BY was formerly W270CT (Black River Falls) and moved as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. WZTI's programming is also relayed on W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee). (6/17/2017)

A suburban Milwaukee school district has dropped plans for a low-power FM station. The Whitefish Bay School District has returned the permit for WFBW-LP/103.3 (Whitefish Bay), saying it had been unable to find financial or other community support for the station. WFBW-LP had faced an October construction deadline. (6/17/2017)

"Retro Radio, The Bug" has moved its Oshkosh translator frequency from 98.7 to 98.3. The translator was originally signed on in Oshkosh as W254CS/98.7 last year and recently moved to 98.3 as W252DR, getting a slight bump in power to 250 Watts. The Classic Hits format originates on WISS/1100 (Berlin), and the translator was moved from Berlin to Oshkosh as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. The format is also heard on WAUH/102.3 (Wautoma). (6/17/2017)

WCCY/1400 (Houghton) and its FM translator, W257CZ/99.3, have dropped Soft Oldies for Hot Adult Contemporary as "The Lift." The format debut came Friday (6/16) amid Bridgefest, which celebrates the city's lift bridge. DX-midAMerica reports that WCCY continues to carry ABC hourly newscasts and Detroit Tigers baseball, and will add Finlandia University sports. WCCY's flip comes after a recent transition at crosstown "Mix 93.5" (WKMJ Hancock-Houghton) from its longtime Hot AC format to mainstream AC. WCCY had carried a Soft Oldies format for decades and had continued the format after the addition of W257CZ a few years ago. Houghton Community Broadcasting owns WCCY/W257CZ along with Classic Hits "97.7 The Wolf" (WOLV Houghton) and Country "K-Bear 102.3" (WKHB Houghton). (6/16/2017)

Mount Rushmore Broadcasting and its president, Jan Charles Gray, have filed a petition for reconsideration of the FCC's decision to cancel the license of KAWK/105.1 (Custer). The FCC cancelled KAWK's license in May, saying that it found in a review of records that the station had not broadcast from an authorized facility from 2009 to 2012. Gray argues, among other things, that he should not be punished for mistakes made by his attorneys, that the "small geography error" caused no harm, and that not having a seven-year statute of limitations is "not the main stream of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence." Gray also makes a personal plea to new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, saying that the action began during the previous administration but he hopes that Pai "has a different view of common courtesy, and reasonableness." Mount Rushmore Broadcasting also owns KFCR/1490 (Custer), KZMX/580 (Hot Springs), and KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs), as well as stations in Wyoming. (6/16/2017)

Custer County Broadcasting has signed on K242CU/96.3 (Broken Bow), relaying the Country format of KCNI/1280 (Broken Bow). The translator was moved down from South Dakota as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. (6/13/2017)

A silent suburban Twin Cities AM station is getting a new owner: Nevada Radio, LLC is buying KQSP/1530 (Shakopee) from Yong W. Kim's Broadcast One, Inc. for $200,000. KQSP went off the air last October, citing financial reasons, and must return to the air by this October to retain its license. It had most recently carried a Tropical format as "La Picosa." KQSP is licensed for 8.6kW daytime but only 10 Watts at night from a two-tower directional array near the Minnesota River in Chanhassen. Nevada Radio, LLC owns one AM station in Nevada and is held by Floyd Brown of Anthem, AZ, and Fred Weinberg of Washoe Valley, NV. (6/13/2017)

Minnesota Public Radio has signed on one of its two new stations in the Duluth area. After about five days of broadcasts, MPR formally announced the sign-on Monday (6/12) of KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth) carrying "The Current" Adult Alternative network. Translator K231BI/94.1 (Duluth), which had previously relayed KZIO, remains silent, but MPR says in a press release that 94.1 will begin carrying The Current later this summer. KZIO has used a translator for most of its existence because its 50kW signal, originating from a tower just east of Duluth, suffers greatly from Duluth's hilly topography and intermodulation interference.

No announcement has been made regarding the future of original Current translator W215CG/90.9 (Duluth), which uses 99 Watts and has a smaller coverage area than 250-Watt K231BI. Both transmit from the Duluth antenna farm. The Current's updated logo for Duluth includes 94.1 and 104.3, but not 90.9. W215CG programming originates on the HD2 channel of WSCN/100.5 (Cloquet-Duluth).

The Current is planning a station event in Duluth in July. (6/10/2017, updated 6/12)

Two days after Citytv announced an expansion of its local news programming, CTV has announced an expansion of its own that will bring 5 p.m. TV news back to Manitoba. Ten CTV owned-and-operated stations will add 5 p.m. newscasts by fall, including CTV Winnipeg (CKY/7) and CTV Northern Ontario (seen on CHBX/2 Sault Ste. Marie and others). While 5 p.m. has long been a standard time for news in the U.S., there hasn't been a TV newscast at that time in Manitoba since CBC-TV moved its local newscast to 6 p.m. two years ago. (6/7/2017)

Armada Media's Radio Results Network has asked the FCC to let it drop power at one of its stations in the Upper Peninsula in an effort to gain approval of the purchase of another station. Armada is seeking FCC approval to buy WMXG/106.3 (Stephenson) to add to its Escanaba group, which has four existing FM stations. Armada had originally argued that the area had the 30 signals required under ownership rules to allow one company to own five FM signals, but the FCC's Audio Division disagreed with that assessment, according to a new filing from another Armada station. Armada's WCMM/102.5 (Gulliver) has requested special temporary authority to drop from 100kW to 60kW, slightly weakening its signal to Escanaba and removing city-grade overlap with WMXG. WCMM has separately applied to use the 60kW facility permanently. WCMM's STA filing says that Armada believes it will be in compliance with ownership rules for the WMXG purchase of WCMM is weakened. WCMM carries a Country format known as "The Moose," while Armada is programming a Classic Country format on WMXG as "The Maverick" under a local marketing agreement. (6/6/2017)

Citytv has announced plans to resume local newscasts in Winnipeg as part of a national expansion of the CityNews brand. Citytv Winnipeg (CHMI-DT Portage la Prairie) will air hour-long newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. starting Sept. 4. Citytv Winnipeg had canceled its evening newscasts about a decade ago but continued to have a news department until ending the Winnipeg version of Breakfast Television two years ago. As noted by ChrisD.ca, Rogers posted jobs for photojournalists in Winnipeg a few weeks ago. CityNews will be the fourth English-language TV news department in Winnipeg, joining CTV News (CKY), Global Winnipeg (CKND), and CBC (CBWT). CityNews will compete with all three stations at 6:00, but will be the only full-length newscast starting at 11:00. (6/5/2017)

Midwest Communications is spinning off two northeastern Minnesota stations it bought last year from Red Rock Radio. It'll sell WXXZ/95.3 (Grand Marais) and KAOD/106.7 (Babbitt), as well as KAOD translator W288AI/105.5 (Ely), to Aurora Broadcasting LLC for $75,000. Aurora is headed by Matt Butler, who formerly worked at WELY in Ely and says the stations will be "very local and unique." The stations currently relay Midwest's KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). (6/5/2017)

Get ready for the next round of new FM signals: The FCC says it will begin taking applications for new FM translators to relay AM signals on July 26. The opportunity follows up on a window last year that allowed existing translators to be moved up to 250 miles. Once again, class C and D stations will get first crack since they have the weakest signals (AM class C's are the 1kW stations transmitting on 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490, while class D's are those that use less than 250 Watts at night). The first round of applicants will get an opportunity to amend their proposed facilities to resolve any conflicts before the larger class A and B AM stations can apply. Despite the rush of new translators in the past few years, a majority of AM stations still do not have an FM translator. However, with the recent sign-on of new translators and low-power FM stations, the dial in large cities like Minneapolis and Milwaukee is likely too crowded for any new translators with full-market coverage. (6/1/2017)

Upper Midwest Broadcasting: News/Main | IA | MN | NE | ND | SD | WI | MI