July 2014

Four Red Rock Radio stations plan to flip to Sports formats next week. WXCE/1260 (Amery, WI), WHSM/910 (Hayward, WI), KKIN/930 (Aitkin, MN), and WCMP/1350 (Pine City, MN) are all promoting the flip in various ways. WXCE announced the flip on its website, saying "Red Zone Sports Radio" will carry NBC Sports Radio along with continued local news and sports coverage. WHSM also has the "Red Zone" logo on its website with the same launch date. Across the border, promos are running about the pending flip at KKIN and WCMP. All four stations currently carry Westwood One's Adult Standards network. WHSM had carried One-on-One Sports for several years before flipping to Nostalgia in 1999. WXCE carried some ESPN Radio programming in the 2000's. (7/30/2014, added WCMP 7/31)

Milwaukee-based Journal Communications, which owns several Upper Midwest network affiliates and Wisconsin's largest newspaper, has announced plans to merge with the E.W. Scripps Company and then split the two companies' broadcast and newspaper holdings into separate entities. The broadcast company will be headquartered in Cincinnati and use the Scripps name, running TV and radio stations in 27 markets. The newspaper company will keep the Journal name and its home base in Milwaukee. Journal's Upper Midwest broadcast holdings include NBC affiliates WTMJ/4.1 (Milwaukee) and WGBA/26.1 (Green Bay), My Network TV affiliate WACY/32.1 (Appleton-Green Bay), CBS affiliate KMTV/3.1 (Omaha), two radio stations in Milwaukee, and five in Omaha. Scripps does not have any holdings in the Upper Midwest but does own TV stations as close as Detroit, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. The deal ends a decades-long cross-ownership between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WTMJ radio and TV. (7/30/2014)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a total of three AM-on-FM translators are now on the air in the city. The sign-on of W250BN/97.9 relaying "La Caliente" from WJTI/1460 has already been reported here. "Sports Radio 1250" signed on translator W289CB/105.7 last week, while the Nostalgia/Lounge format of "Martini Radio" (WZTI/1290) lauched on translator W262CJ/100.3 Monday. An earlier attempt at an FM translator on 102.5 relaying WNOV/860 was thwarted by interference complaints from listeners of WNWC-FM/102.5 (Madison). (7/30/2014)

LocusPoint Networks, LLC is buying silent Milwaukee low-power TV station WMKE-CA/7 from KM Communications for $2.5 million. WMKE went off the air earlier this month for financial reasons; its most recent operations were analog but it has a construction permit for digital facilities on channel 21. Locus Point owns or is in the process of buying a dozen low-power TV stations and one full-power TV station, though its website describes it as an "early stage wireless communications company." (7/30/2014)

Quincy Newspapers' KTIV (Sioux City) has converted its Norfolk translator to digital, bringing 4.1 (NBC), 4.2 (CW+), and 4.3 (Me-TV) to the city. The former analog K48CH is now digital K24JG-D using 15kW, the maximum allowed to translator stations. The new facility apparently went online last week. Sinclair's KMEG/14 (CBS/Azteca) and KPTH/44 (FOX/My-This) also have digital translators in the city, and NET has a full-power station carrying two PBS channels and Create. (7/28/2014)

KSJB/600 (Jamestown) will be at reduced power later this year if the FCC approves plans for temporary facilities while new towers are built. The Chesterman Communications station blankets most of North Dakota and parts of surrounding states with a 5kW signal that operates with the same directional antenna pattern day and night. While the station's three towers are being replaced, KSJB proposes operating from the tower of sister station KSJZ/93.3 (Jamestown) with nondirectional facilities of 1.25kW day and 250 Watts or more at night. The project could begin on Aug. 25 and take up to four months to complete. (7/28/2014)

The FCC has dismissed the construction permit for new non-commercial station WRNC-FM/102.9 (Ashland) at the request of the permittee, Northland College. The college faced a deadline of Aug. 5 to begin broadcasts. It already operates WRNC-LP/97.7 (Ashland), which was to leave the air when WRNC-FM signed on. The CP for WRNC-FM called for 6kW/62m (class A) and Northland had applied to upgrade it to 6.1kW/62m, which would have bumped it up to class C3. The frequency is in the commercial portion of the band but is reserved for non-commercial use. (7/28/2014)

Just a couple of months after signing on, WGBT/91.3 (Tomahawk) has left the air citing technical problems with its studio-to-transmitter link. The station's application for special temporary authority remains silent indicates the internet-based system has suffered from cutouts and poor audio quality, and a microwave STL is not possible due to distance and the lack of tower height. WGBT is owned by Tomahawk Light Broadcasting and carried Radio 74 Internationale. (7/25/2014)

A Winnipeg man says his application for a new FM station "fulfills a life-long dream and passion for radio."

Baldev Gill heads Gill Broadcasting, which has applied for a new ethnic commercial station in Winnipeg. The proposed station would broadcast with 1.8kW/55m (class A) on 92.9, a frequency left vacant when Red River College/Cre-Comm Radio's CKIC-FM went silent in 2012.

Gill says the new station would serve a minimum of nine distinct cultural groups in a minimum of eleven different languages per week, with Punjabi/Hindi accounting for the largest amount at 70 hours. The morning show would be in English. The station would carry a minimum of 43 hours of spoken word programming per week, including local news, along with Adult Contemporary and World Beat music targetting adults 25-54. 37 hours per week would be brokered.

Gill, who was born in India and immigrated to Canada in 1969, owns taxi, communications, propane, and auto repair businesses in Winnipeg and says he has had a passion for radio since childhood.

The proposed station would compete primarily with Evanov Communications' CKJS/810. The CRTC is scheduled to consider the application at a meeting in Gatineau, Quebec on Sept. 25. (7/24/2014)

Regional Christian broadcaster WRVM, Inc. is buying WNLI/88.5 (Sturgeon Bay) from the Educational Media Foundation for $240,000. EMF recently completed its purchase of WNLI along with WPFF/90.5 (Sturgeon Bay) and seven translators from Bethesda Christian Broadcasting for $825,000. WNLI, which uses 50kW/158m, has been carrying EMF's "Air-1" network while WPFF carries "K-Love." WRVM's programming originates at WRVM/102.7 (Suring) and is relayed on three full-power stations and dozens of translators, including one in Sturgeon Bay. (7/24/2014)

Wennes Communications' "Bluff Country 103.5" (KNEI-FM Waukon, IA) has applied to move closer to La Crosse. KNEI-FM currently uses 37kW/175m (class C2) from Waukon and has applied for 50kW/150m (also C2) from a site near the Iowa-Minnesota border. The move would put La Crosse within KNEI-FM's protected theoretical 60 dbu contour, but the river valley topography could limit actual reception. The move would also weaken the station's signal to Prairie du Chien, WI. (7/22/2014)

Analog WLUC translator W07DB (Marquette) has left the air. The station's engineering department says on Twitter that the translator will return to the air next month as digital translator W14EM-D, relaying both WLUC channels of NBC (6.1) and FOX (6.2). W07DB used just 25 Watts and W14EM-D will use 15kW, the maximum power allowed to translators, greatly expanding its coverage area. The translator is necessary because topography in Marquette limits TV reception. WLUC itself broadcasts on RF channel 33, remapping to channel 6, with 63kW from a site about 25 miles southwest of town. (7/21/2014)

The Christian broadcaster that's been operating KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul) for the past five years is now buying the station. Praise Broadcasting will pay Northcentral University's Selby Gospel Broadcast Corp. $5 million for the station. Praise Broadcasting is a sister organization to Christian Heritage Broadcasting, which owns three stations in western Minnesota that simulcast "Praise FM" programming with KNOF. Four of the seven principals of the organizations live in the Twin Cities area. KNOF is a core Twin Cities signal, transmitting with 900W/258m (class A) from the top of the IDS Center. (7/21/2014)

Iowa Public Radio is making changes to the weekend schedules on its three networks on July 19. Changes include:

  • Adding The Moth Radio Hour and the TED Radio Hour to the AM News and FM News/Studio One networks, and adding Ask Me Another to the FM schedule
  • Adding an hour to Backtracks with Bob Dorr on Saturday afternoon on the FM News/Studio One network
  • Dropping Fresh Air Weekend and On The Media from both News networks
  • Cutting an hour of Whad'Ya Know? and Weekend Edition Sunday from both News networks
  • Dropping Hearts of Space, Millennium of Music, and Pipedreams from the Classical network
    A complete rundown of the changes is available on IPR's website. (7/16/2014)

    The FCC has approved what appears to be the last stop on an FM translator hop to the Fargo market. North Dakota Free Airways, owned by James Ingstad, now has a construction permit to operate K233CY/94.5 with 250 Watts from a transmitter site in Moorhead. The translator was originally slated for Wahpeton and remains licensed there. The application stated the translator would relay non-commercial KDSU/91.9 (Fargo), but such statements are non-binding and the input station can be changed without FCC consent. Ingstad owns one AM and four FM stations in the market doing business as Radio F-M Media. (7/15/2014)

    An $11,000 fine against Latin Broadcasting Company for alleged lighting violations at the Dallas County tower site of KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry-Des Moines) is now final. The FCC alleged that the tower's top beacon and top set of side lamps were not working when a sheriff's deputy observed the tower on July 13, 2012, and when an FCC agent visited on July 19, 2012, and that it received conflicting reports from the tower owner when it inquired about the outage. LBC was also accused of failing to update antenna structure ownership information after a company name change. The FCC had originally proposed a $14,000 fine but reduced it to $11,000 due to LBC's history of compliance. (7/15/2014)

    The construction permit for new station WXVM/102.3 (Laona) has been deleted from the FCC database at the request of the permittee, Christian broadcaster WRVM, Inc. The CP for a new 7kW/100m (class C3) station was due to expire on Aug. 29 and WRVM had applied for a downgrade to 1kW/100m (class A) in May. WRVM asked the FCC to cancel the CP last month, saying "circumstances are not favorable" for the downgrade to be approved. (7/15/2014)

    The FCC has granted a modification to a future FM station with potential rimshot coverage of Omaha. Kona Coast Radio, headed by Victor Michael, had originally constructed KIMI/107.7 (Sidney) to use 50kW/124m (class C2) from a tower south of Glenwood, Iowa, but had to stop program tests after interference complaints from Offutt Air Force Base. Now, the FCC has granted a downgrade for KIMI to 13kW/124m (class C3) from the same site and a change in community of license to Malvern, Iowa. The 13kW signal will still reach some, but not all, listeners in Omaha. KIMI was originally constructed at Humboldt, NE, and remains licensed there, though filings indicate it was only on the air in Humboldt for a few days and cannot return to the air there because the original facility has already been dismantled. (7/14/2014)

    Getting FCC approval for a new commercial FM station normally takes years, but the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is hoping new tribal priorities will speed up the process of adding a third commercial FM station to its group in the western Upper Peninsula.

    The usual process is for the FCC to take months or years to decide whether to add a new allotment and then wait several more years before putting the allotment up for bids. Instead, the tribe is simultaneously proposing that 106.5 be alloted to Baraga as a class C1 station and filing an application for the new station.

    The new station would use 100kW/176m from the existing site of Rock-formatted WGLI/98.7 (Hancock), which is owned by the tribe along with Country-formatted WCUP/105.7 (L'Anse). The petition to add the new allotment states the new station would carry news for tribal members on the L'Anse Reservation and two hours of indigenous music on Saturday evening.

    The proposed new allotment is short-spaced to a vacant allotment for the same frequency in Thunder Bay, Ontario, but the tribe argues the short-spacing is acceptable because none of the theoretical interference would be on Canadian soil (it would be in part of Cook County, Minnesota, and a wide swath of Lake Superior). (7/11/2014)

    It turns out KFXL-TV/51 (Lincoln) won't be getting much of a power boost when it moves to a new channel. The FOX affiliate already had approval to move to channel 15, though it will likely continue to remap to channel 51.1 after the move since there's an existing channel 15.1 (KXVO Omaha) serving the region. KFXL currently uses 14kW and the initial construction permit for channel 15 called for 1,000kW, which would have rimshotted Omaha, but now the FCC has approved a modification to just 21.5kW. KFXL is owned by Lincoln Broadcasting, LLC and operated by Pappas Telecasting, which simulcasts KFXL programming on subchannels of two of its own stations in central and western Nebraska. (7/11/2014)

    The Quad City Times reports that Townsquare Media's KBOB-FM/104.9 (De Witt) will flip from "Rock 104.9" to "The Hawk" on Wednesday (7/9). The move comes a week after Townsquare parked the KBOB callsign on the former KJOC/1170 (Davenport), and RadioInsight reported over the weekend that Townsquare had already launched a Facebook page for the new format. "The Hawk" will compete directly with Clear Channel's WLLR/103.7 (Davenport), the market's heritage Country station, and the Times reports "The Hawk" will target younger females. The change means the end to the longtime "Dave and Darren" morning show. 104.9 had carried Country formats as "Bob," "Great Country 105," and "The River" before flipping to Rock in 2007. Both 1170 and Townsquare's KQCS/93.5 (Bettendorf) recently began carrying ESPN Radio, and the Times reported that 1170 would change to a new format this fall. (7/8/2014)

    Class A low-power station WMKE-CA/7 (Milwaukee) has gone off the air citing financial reasons. The station is owned by KM LPTV of Milwaukee. It operates in analog on channel 7 with 3kW and has a construction permit to operate digitally on channel 21 with 15kW, the maximum allowed for LPTV stations. (7/7/2014)

    The sale price for Bliss Communications' four radio stations in Racine and West Bend is $2.25 million, according to new paperwork filed with the FCC. Bliss announced last week that Magnum Broadcasting is buying WRJN/1400 and WEZY/92.1 (Racine) and WBKV/1470 and WBWI/92.5 (West Bend). (7/3/2014)

    Austin Hill is joining the University of Northwestern-St. Paul's Faith Radio network as morning host starting Monday, July 7 from 6 to 8 a.m. Hill has been heard nationwide on Fox Newstalk Radio and hosts a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership. He replaces Ted and PK on Faith Radio Mornings. Faith Radio is heard on KTIS/900 (Minneapolis), WNWC/1190 (Sun Prairie-Madison), KNWS/1090 (Waterloo), KNWC/1270 (Sioux Falls), KFNW/1200 (West Fargo), and KDNI/90.5 (Duluth). (7/2/2014)

    K239BE/95.7 (Sidney) will relay KSID/1340 (Sidney), once KSID Radio, Inc. closes on its purchase of the translator from "My Bridge Radio." KSID is paying the Christian broadcaster $10,000 for the station. K239BE is currently silent and is licensed for 170 Watts from a site west of Sidney. (7/1/2014)

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