KPTM/42.2 (Omaha) has replaced AmericaOne with ThisTV, and continues to air "My Network TV" programming from 7-9 p.m. It had carried AmericaOne during MNT's off hours since launching in 2006. The station is owned by Pappas Telecasting, which recently made the same move at its Des Moines affiliate (KDMI). However, Pappas' KPTH/44.2 (Sioux City, IA) is apparently still carrying AmericaOne and MNT. (7/31/2009)
The CRTC is poised to consider applications for three new FM stations in Manitoba at a September 29 hearing in Quebec:
The FCC has deleted the license of KTUW-DT/16 (Scottsbluff). The digital-only Equity Media station had signed on a few years ago carrying Retro Television Network (RTN) in a simulcast with Equity stations in Denver and Cheyenne, but Equity lost the rights to carry RTN in January. KTUW-DT was supposed to move to channel 17 after the digital transition, but Equity's bankruptcy prevented engineering work at its stations. No buyer for KTUW was found at an auction. (7/30/2009)
FOX affiliate WITI (Milwaukee) has added RTV (Retro TV Network) on channel 6.2. It's the 31st digital TV channel available to Milwaukee residents who receive all of the area's digital stations. (7/30/2009)
KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul) has applied for a transmitter move which would improve its signal to the north and northwest metro. The Christian station, owned by non-profit North Central University and operated commercially, would move its transmitter to the KUOM/770 (Minneapolis) tower in Falcon Heights, using 3.3kW/136m (class A). KNOF currently broadcasts with 6kW/76m from a tower in St. Paul. It is prevented from any larger upgrade by several other stations on 95.3 and 95.5 in the region. (7/29/2009)
New station KPPD/91.7 (Devils Lake) is on the air carrying Prairie Public Radio. The station uses 24kW/214m (class C2) from a tower west of Minnewaukan also used by KMDE/25 (Devils Lake). (7/29/2009)
WZRK/1550 (Lake Geneva, WI) has filed its expected application to move to the Chicago area. WZRK would change its community of license to Northbrook, using 1.3kW nondirectional, daytime-only from a tower in Highland Park. The move would require WCSJ/1550 (Morris, IL) to either go silent or modify its facilities. The owners of both stations, Sovereign City Radio Services (WZRK) and Grundy County Broadcasters (WCSJ), are awaiting FCC approval to transfer both licenses to a jointly-owned company called GS Radio of Illinois. (7/29/2009)
Midwest Communications has signed on a new FM translator in Green Bay. W226BD/93.1 is on the air relaying Classic Rock from WOZZ/93.5 (New London). Meanwhile, W270AJ/101.9, which had relayed WOZZ, is now carrying the Classic Hits/Adult Contemporary format of "The Bay" (WZBY/99.7 Sturgeon Bay). (7/28/2009)
KRKR/95.1 (Lincoln) will go non-commercial as Christian broadcaster Mission Nebraska buys the station from Chapin Enterprises for $1 million. The sale includes the license and transmitter but no studio equipment.
KRKR has been off the air since May 21 and is expected to return to the air carrying programming from Mission Nebraska by August 3 under a time brokerage agreement. Mission Nebraska's "My Bridge Radio" originates at KROA/95.7 (Grand Island) and is currently heard on a translator at 94.5 in Lincoln.
Chapin had been acting as a qualified intermediary seeking a buyer for KRKR and KBZR/102.7 after former owner Three Eagles had to divest two stations as part of its purchase of Clear Channel's former Lincoln group. KBZR has already been sold to another Christian broadcaster, VSS Catholic Communications. Mission Nebraska agreed to a non-competition agreement which prohibits KRKR from operating as a commercial station for five years.
Chapin had received a construction permit to make KRKR an Omaha rimshot signal by moving it to 94.9 licensed to Valley with 6kW/100m, but it appears the station no longer plans to move that far. Instead, it has an application to remain on 95.1 but move its transmitter north of Lincoln using 50kW/84m, with the community of license changing to Waverly. The sale to Mission Nebraska is contingent on the application being approved. (7/27/2009)
KDMU/106.9 (Bloomfield) has reverted to its former KOJY callsign and is going back to its previous ownership. Horizon Broadcasting had sold the station to Bloomfield Broadcasting, a sister company to the licensee of KMEM/100.5 (Memphis, MO), in 2006 for $450,000. Now, Bloomfield will return the station to Horizon in exchange for cancellation of its debt. 106.9 had carried a Southern Gospel format prior to 2006, when it flipped to Classic Hits. It changed to Oldies earlier this year. Horizon is owned by Douglas Smiley of Pella (90%), Eileen Smiley of Pella (5%), and Stephen Smiley of Van Meter (5%). The three also run American Radio Missions Foundation, which is the permitee of non-commercial KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma). (7/27/2009)
KXZT/107.9 (Newell) has applied for an ugprade that would give the future station coverage of Rapid City. The current construction permit calls for 4.8kW/455m (class C2) from Terry Peak near Lead; the application is to remain at Terry Peak with 90kW/449m (class C0). KXZT's CP is held by JER Licenses, which also holds the CP for KXZS/107.5 (Wall). KXZS would provide a rimshot signal to Rapid City from a tower along I-90. To make way for the sign-on, KSLT/107.3 (Rapid City) will move to 107.1. (7/25/2009)
Broadcasting & Cable reports that Young Broadcasting plans to have Gray Television run most of its TV stations. The stations to be run by Gray include ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City). Gray also owns stations in Lincoln, Omaha, Madison, Eau Claire, and Wausau. (7/23/2009)
The Omaha World-Herald reports there's a new station operating on 1710 in Omaha, though the article does not mention that it doesn't have a license. "WONE, The One" is running a News/Talk format for the African-American community. It appears the station currently has a range of about a mile, but the World-Herald reports an upgrade is planned to reach downtown. 1710 is only used for tourist information/highway advisory radio in the U.S. The actual WONE is in Dayton, Ohio and is owned by Clear Channel. (7/23/2009)
PBS member station WDSE/8 (Duluth) has applied for a digital replacement translator on channel 38 in Duluth and is seeking special temporary authority to get it on the air as soon as possible. WDSE had operated digitally on channel 38 until June 12, when it converted channel 8 from analog to digital. The station says it has received a number of complaints about viewers not being able to receive the station with indoor antennas. It seeks to return channel 38 to the air at 15kW, the maximum power allowed for digital low-power/translator stations, as WDSE-LD. Channel 38 was not on the air as of Wednesday. WDSE owner Duluth-Superior Educational TV Corporation had earlier proposed alloting channel 38 to Superior for a new non-commercial station; that proposal was dropped as part of a settlement with Twin Cities Public Television. (7/22/2009)
WLUC/6 (Marquette) reports the launch of "FOX UP" on channel 6.2 has been pushed back to August 17. It will be carried on Charter digital cable channel 306, though the station is negotiating to be put on a lower analog channel. Green Bay FOX affiliate WLUK is carried on analog channel 11 on most of Charter's Upper Peninsula systems. (7/22/2009)
Minnesota Public Radio's "The Current" now has five signals with the addition of 60-Watt translator K228XN/93.5 (St. Peter). The Adult Alternative service originates on KCMP/89.3 (Northfield-Minneapolis-St. Paul) and is also heard on KMSE/88.7 (Rochester) and translators on 95.3 in Mankato and 97.5 in Hinckley. (7/22/2009)
Clear Channel is donating four stations, including KMFX/1190 (Wabasha), to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. Clear Channel had taken the station off the air in January 2008 and put it up for sale. Though it operated KMFX as part of its Rochester group, the 1kW daytimer has only a fringe signal there. 1190 had not had its own programming in years and had most recently rebroadcast KMFX-FM/102.5 (Lake City-Rochester). Clear Channel said MMTC would use the stations to train minority and women broadcasters. (7/21/2009)
Barracuda Broadcasting is selling its two stations in Ironwood, WJMS/590 and WIMI/99.7, to J&J Broadcasting for $950,000. J&J Broadcasting is owned equally by Gerald J. Hackman of Iron River, WI, and John J. Nix of Highbridge, WI. The company also owns WMPL/920 and WKMJ/93.5 (Hancock) and operates WUPY/101.1 (Ontonagon), of which Hackman is a minority owner. Hackman's Bay Broadcasting is the former owner of four stations in the Ashland, WI, area but sold them to Heartland Communications in 2004. In 2007 he reached a deal to buy WHRY/1450 (Hurley, WI) and WUPM/106.9 (Ironwood), but that sale was not completed after Heartland argued it violated a four-year non-compete clause. (7/20/2009)
"Hodag Country" WHDG (Rhinelander) has moved from 97.5 to 97.3. The move makes way for WTRW-FM/97.1 (Two Rivers) to move to 97.5 in the Town of Glenmore, a facility which will cover Green Bay. WHDG remains 100kW/168m on 97.3. WisconsinBroadcasting.com posted audio of WHDG signing off on 97.5 and returning on 97.3. (7/20/2009)
The Herald-Journal of Winsted reports that KGLB/1310 (Glencoe) signed on last Wednesday (7/15) with a Classic Country format. The station is formerly KRBI/1310 (St. Peter); Northern Lights Broadcasting moved the station to Glencoe so it could change the community of license for "B96" (KTTB/96.3) from Glencoe to Edina. The FCC generally does not approve moves that leave a community without a license. KGLB completed its move to Glencoe less than a month after the FCC granted the construction permit. It uses 2.5kW day and 270W night, directional. (7/20/2009)
NBC affiliate WLUC/6 (Marquette) has announced plans to begin carrying FOX on channel 6.2 on August 1. "FOX UP" will also carry a local newscast at 10 p.m. ET. Programming for non-prime time hours was not immediately announced, nor were cable and satellite coverage plans. FOX had been seen on WMQF/19 (now WZMQ) from the station's sign-on in 2003 until June 13, when new owners took over the station. WMQF had been a secondary affiliate of My Network TV and will now be a primary affiliate of that network, with ThisTV airing in other hours.
This development is a sign of a changing post-digital transition world: It used to be that if there were four commercial TV stations in a market, all four were virtually guaranteed a big-four network affiliation. Now, the possibility of digital subchannels means that is no longer the case. (7/18/2009)
Bluepoint Investment Corporation has agreed to buy CKX-TV/5 (Brandon) from CTVglobemedia for $1, ending uncertainty about the station's future. However, CBC News reports CBC has decided not to renew its affiliation with the station. It also has a secondary affiliation with the 'A' network.
CKX-TV, which has 39 employees, is the only local TV station in Brandon and carries hour-long local newscasts at Noon and 6 p.m. CTVglobemedia had announced plans to close CKX-TV if a buyer wasn't found. Last month, Shaw Communications backed out of a deal to buy the station for $1.
Bluepoint will assume all of CKX-TV's liabilities. Since it is an independent operator, Bluepoint will be able to get funding from the CRTC's small market local programming fund. CTVglobemedia is not eligible for the fund.
Bluepoint is headed by industry veteran Bruce Claassen. (7/17/2009)
Silent station WZRK/1550 (Lake Geneva) would be moved closer to Chicago under an agreement between WZRK owner Sovereign City Radio Services and Grundy County Broadcasters, the owner of WCSJ/1550 (Morris, IL). The two companies have submitted applictions to transfer both licenses to a new company called GS Radio of Illinois, LLC, owned jointly by the current licensees. The companies' agreement says WZRK will apply to move to a community within McHenry, Lake, or Cook County, IL, but the application for the change has not yet been filed. WCSJ will either surrender its license or apply for a change to accomodate the new WZRK facility. Sovereign City Radio Services also owns WNTD/950 (Chicago). (7/16/2009)
"Q106.3" (WWQM/106.3 Middleton-Madison) has relaunched its Country format after four days of stunting. The stunting included Oldies on Monday, Smooth Jazz on Tuesday, novelty songs on Wednesday, and a mix of all four until the relaunch Thursday at Noon. WWQM is rebroadcast on WWQN/106.7 (Mt. Horeb). (7/16/2009)
New Vision Television says it expects business as usual at its stations, including KIMT/3 (Mason City), as it undergoes chapter 11 bankruptcy. New Vision received court approval Wednesday to keep all employee pay and benefits intact during the bankruptcy. The company owns 11 stations in 9 markets nationwide, and operates two others under shared services/joint sales agreements. (7/16/2009)
Acadia Broadcasting Limited is buying Newcap's two stations in Thunder Bay, "Magic 99.9" (CJUK) and 105.3 "The Giant" (CKTG), for $4.5 million plus working capital. Acadia, through its subsidiary Northwoods Broadcasting Limited, also owns stations in Fort Frances, Dryden, and Kenora. A press release quoted Newcap president and CEO Rob Steele as saying the company chose to divest the stations because there was little opportunity for it to expand its presence in the region. Besides the Northwest and Newcap stations, there are only five other commercial radio stations in northwestern Ontario, four of them owned by Dougall Media and one by Norwesto Broadcasting. (7/15/2009)
Broadcasting & Cable reports Young Broadcasting has called off its scheduled auction after debtors determined that it was not necessary. Young is in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and owns stations in 11 markets, including ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City). (7/14/2009)
Tuesday's format du jour at WWQM/106.3 (Middleton-Madison) is Smooth Jazz, as the station continues stunting as "The Q." (7/14/2009)
KARE 11 announced Monday that sports anchor/reporter Eric Perkins, known for his goofy "Perk at Play" features, is adding a more serious side as weekend evening news co-anchor beginning July 18. Perkins replaces Rick Kupchella, who recently left the station. He will continue to anchor sports during the weekend evening newscasts, and continue to co-host the Saturday morning newscast. Perkins is the son of former NBC News correspondent and "Biography" host Jack Perkins. (7/13/2009)
Madison has an extra Oldies station, but only for one day. WWQM/106.3 (Middleton-Madison) set aside its regular "Q106" Country format Monday and is stunting with Oldies as "The Q," with occasional liners promising more changes Tuesday. Program director John Sebastian hints to the Wisconsin State Journal they'll be relaunching the Country format. WWQM is rebroadcast in WWQN/106.7 (Mount Horeb). The stunting can be heard online. (7/13/2009)
Newcasts are returning to KSTC/45 (Minneapolis) today (7/13), competing head-on with FOX 9 (KMSP Minneapolis). "45 News Morning" airs from 7-9 a.m. and "45 News at 9" airs from 9-9:30 p.m. KSTC is the independent sister of Hubbard Broadcasting ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul), and had carried news from 2000 to 2003. The Star Tribune reports the newscasts were originally scheduled to begin last month, along with a rollout of new graphics on KSTP-TV, but a plumbing problem set plans back. (7/13/2009)
Minnesota Public Radio's News network has added more NPR newscasts in the evening and overnight hours. It's replaced BBC newscasts at 7:01 p.m. and 11:01 p.m. through 3:01 a.m. with NPR, though BBC World Service News continues overnight after the hourly NPR newscast. MPR is also trimming the "Future Tense" feature out of "As It Happens," making room for NPR at 10:01 p.m. (7/13/2009)
JERRY HENNEN, 1940-2009:
Radio veteran Jerry Hennen has died at the age of 69 in Fargo. Hennen died Tuesday (7/7), the day after son Scott announced the addition of two stations to his radio group. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette Hennen, Fargo; his children, Scott (Maria) Hennen, Fargo, Jill (Paul) Westerholm, Fargo, Nancy (Joe ) Hennen-Longie, Fargo, and Chris Hennen, Fargo; brother, Roger (Carol) Hennen, St. Ann Missouri, sister, Marcella "Tootsie" (Jim) Welberg, Anoka, MN, brother, Bobby (Vicky) Hennen, Maple Grove, MN, sister, Darlene (Loren) Larson, Brooklyn Center, MN, and sister, Jackie Chmielewski, MN, 7 grandchildren. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Myrtle Hennen, his brother, Dennis, and his sister, Rose. Service details and a memorial guestbook are here.
Hennen, a native of Madison, MN, managed stations for 36 years and once owned FM stations in Clarinda, IA, Montevideo, MN (KMGM), and Sartell-St. Cloud, MN (KKSR). He worked as a consultant in his final years. All four of his children took jobs in the radio industry. (7/9/2009, extended 7/11)
Local channels are now available via satellite for the first time in the Marquette market. The DISH Network package includes ABC-WBKP, NBC-WLUC, and PBS-WNMU. However, the package does not include CBS or FOX. WLUC reports that DirecTV hopes to add Marquette locals in October. (7/10/2009)
The St. Cloud Times reports new station KYES/1180 (Rockville-St. Cloud) could sign on any day. The station is owned by Throw Fire Project, headed by former WJON/WWJO owner Andy Hilger, and will carry a Catholic format. It will share studio space with "Spirit 92.9" (KKJM St. Joseph), which is owned by the Diocese of St. Cloud. KYES will use 50kW day, 8kW critical hours (two hours after sunrise and before sunset), and 5kW night, using a two-tower directional pattern during the day and critical hours and a seven-tower pattern at night. The station should provide a strong signal to St. Cloud day and night, with possible daytime fringe coverage of parts of the Twin Cities metro area. It was not yet on the air as of Thursday morning. (7/10/2009)
The price of the previously reported sale of KQLX/890 and KQLX-FM/106.1 (Lisbon-Fargo) is $750,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. Great Plains Integrated Marketing, headed by Scott Hennen of Fargo, is buying the stations from Sheyenne Valley Broadcasting, owned by Terry and Rita Loomis. The sale does not include the KQLX building in Lisbon or its former transmitter site just outside town. The seller agreed to an eight-year noncompetition agreement in Cass County. The buyer will be able to sell ads on KQLX AM-FM through a time advertising referral agreement until the sale is complete. Great Plains Integrated Marketing is owned by Hennen (36%), Ryan D. Rogan of West Fargo (20%), Kevin L. Christianson of Fargo (14.67%), Michael J. Hofer of Fargo (14.67%), and Daniel J. Paulson of Fargo (14.67%). (7/10/2009)
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that WTMJ-TV has added "The Cool TV," a music channel, on 4.3. It's a national brand automated locally, with content tied in with sister station 94.5 "Lake FM" (WLWK). (7/10/2009)
The FCC recently approved Northern Lights Broadcasting's plan to strengthen the signal of "B96" (KTTB/96.3 Glencoe-Minneapolis) in the Twin Cities area. The Hip-Hop/R&B station will change its community of license to Edina, where its studio is located, and transmit from the KFXN/690 tower in New Hope with 19kW/77m (class C3). That's a downgrade from the current 100kW/176m (class C1) facility, but the signal is difficult to receive on portable radios in much of the metro area since the transmitter is west of Watertown. KTTB had originally proposed transmitting from the WWTC/KYCR tower in St. Louis Park, but the city council denied a request to build a taller tower at the site.
Since the FCC generally does not approve moves that leave a community without a licensed station, Northern Lights is "backfilling" by moving KGLB/1310 (St. Peter) to Glencoe, a move which the FCC also recently approved. KGLB, formerly KRBI, went silent in August 2008 but apparently recently returned to the air at just 15 Watts. Northern Lights has 18 months to make the changes before the construction permits expire. (7/8/2009)
KTTW (Sioux Falls) has rebranded as "FOX 7" after the digital transition, matching its actual broadcast channel. It had been known as "FOX 17" in the analog era. Also, KTTW and satellite KTTM/12 (Huron) plan to add ThisTV on subchannels 7.2 and 12.2. (7/8/2009)
Scott Hennen is buying KQLX/890 and KQLX-FM/106.1 (Lisbon-Fargo) from Sheyenne Valley Broadcasting, owned by Terry and Rita Loomis. The purchase price has not yet been disclosed. KQLX-FM has been rebranded as "The Liberty FM" and will carry a new Fargo-only show by market veteran Ed Schultz from 8-9 a.m. originating from New York, and continue to carry Schultz's national show from 11-2. The station had reverted from Talk to Country (and Schultz's show) last month, and it appears the station will still carry some Country music. KQLX/890 will continue to run a Farm/Country format as "890 Ag News." Both stations will move their studios to Fargo with Hennen's other two stations, "AM 1100 The Flag" (WZFG Dilworth-Fargo) and "106.9 The Eagle" (KEGK Wahpeton-Fargo), though KQLX will maintain a sales office in Lisbon. Both 890 and 106.1 upgraded in recent years to add strong coverage of Fargo. Hennen posted video clips of Monday's press conference online. (7/7/2009)
The CRTC has opted to renew the license for CBC affiliate CKX-TV/5 (Brandon) through August 2010, even though owner CTVglobemedia had proposed ceasing operation of the station and didn't apply for license renewal. CTVglobemedia says CKX-TV is "financially unviable" and had earlier announced plans to cease operations when the current license term ends August 31 if a buyer wasn't found. Shaw Communications had agreed to purchase the station for $1 but backed out last week. (7/7/2009)
WWAZ/44 (Fond du Lac) is asking the FCC to move its transmitter to Milwaukee on channel 5, though it would remain licensed to Fond du Lac. The Pappas Telecasting station had carried FamilyNet but has been off the air since January 2008 for financial reasons. However, it identifies itself as a spanish-language station in its petition and notes the change would double the number of potential Hispanic viewers. WWAZ's current construction permit calls for 700kW on channel 44, co-located with WWRS/43 (Mayville) at a tower south of Mayville. It proposes a 25kW station on channel 5 from the WMVS/WMVT tower in Milwaukee. WWAZ is also proposing fill-in translators in Ripon (channel 15) and Columbus (channel 30) to serve areas of the former analog coverage area that would not be reached if the move to Milwaukee is approved. (7/6/2009)
DISH Network has added HD locals in the La Crosse-Eau Claire and Wausau markets. The HD offerings include ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates, though as with SD, only ABC affiliate WXOW/19 (La Crosse) is carried in the La Crosse-Eau Claire market, and not WQOW/18 (Eau Claire). DirecTV had already offered HD locals in both markets. (7/6/2009)
The Tennessean reports that Young Broadcasting will go up for auction on July 14. Young is in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and owns stations in 11 markets, including ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City). The company's largest station, KRON/4 (San Francisco), has been its biggest problem since losing its NBC affiliation. (7/2/2009)
Iowa Public Radio is cutting nine positions as it completes its reorganization from three separate public radio operations into one. The nine positions amount to 14 percent of IPR's workforce. Four were already vacant. IPR also says its membership is up seven percent, and it has reduced its reliance on funding from the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University to about one-third of its $6 million budget. The remaining funding comes from underwriting, contributions, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (7/2/2009)
After a few years of experimenting, the FCC has decided to go ahead with allowing FM translators to relay AM stations. The Report and Order has two requirements: that the translators are already authorized and that their 60 dbu signal does not go beyond the AM station's 2 mv/m contour or 25 miles from the transmitter, whichever is smaller. Stations which are licensed for AM daytime-only operation will be able to provide 24-hour service on the FM translator. The FCC has already been allowing AM-on-FM translators through the use of special temporary authorities, including in Norfolk, NE (WJAG-105.9), Appleton, WI (WSCO-95.3), Berlin, WI (WISS-97.3), and Mauston, WI (WRJC-92.9). Another is planned for Rapid City, SD (KIMM-107.9), and companies which own AM stations have purchased FM translators in Le Mars, IA (96.9), Brainerd, MN (93.7), Hastings, NE (93.7), Mitchell, SD (103.5), De Pere, WI (106.3), and Green Bay, WI (103.5). (7/1/2009)
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