A belated note that NRG Media has signed on K241CN/96.1 (Kearney), relaying the News/Talk format of KGFW/1340. The translator's license was moved in from Colorado during the AM revitalization window. The 250-Watt FM signal signed on from Kearney in June. (7/31/2016)
Scripps Broadcasting is buying K276FB (Schuyler) from Flood Communications LLC for $38,000. The application states that Scripps intends to move the translator to Omaha to relay KXSP/590 during the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. (7/31/2016)
"Faith Radio" translator K224FA/92.7 (Waterloo) has moved to 93.1 as K226CK. The translator, which signed on earlier this summer and relays the programming of KNWS/1090, remains at 250 Watts and made the frequency change to reduce interference. The stations are owned by the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. (7/31/2016)
Mid-West Management's W286CK/105.1 (Eau Claire) has signed on relaying the News and Sports format of WAYY/790 (Eau Claire). The 185-Watt translator broadcasts from a tower near Mid-West's facility. With the translator's sign-on, WAYY has dropped mentions of its AM frequency from its website and social media feeds. AM 790 also has a construction permit to reduce its nighttime power from 5kW to 123 Watts, which will allow the station to drop two aging towers. W286CK's sign-on came days after iHeartMedia signed on FM translators for its two AM stations in the market; Mid-West also has a construction permit for W240DC/95.9 to relay its WEAQ/1150 (Chippewa Falls). (7/27/2016)
Educational Media Foundation's K285GP/104.9 (Millard-Omaha) has signed on carrying the Christian Hits "Air1" network via the HD3 signal of iHeartMedia's KGOR/99.9 (Omaha). The 70-Watt signal originates in the Crown Point antenna farm in north-central Omaha. EMF's "K-Love" network is already heard in the region on KMLV/88.1 (Ralston-Omaha), and the group has also purchased KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA), which is expected to carry "Air1." (7/27/2016)
iHeartMedia's K268CY/101.5 (Cedar Rapids) has signed on relaying the Classic Country format of KMJM/1360 (Cedar Rapids). The translator, which was moved in from Stocktown under the AM revitalization window, is broadcasting with 30 Watts from the site of sister station WMT/600 north of Marion. The facility provides only fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids itself. The translator had formerly been permitted for 250 Watts from the station's studio on Collins Road, but sought a change to the WMT site as it faced an August construction deadline. (7/27/2016)
Hastings College has quickly found a buyer for KFKX/90.1 (Hastings), despite TV reports earlier this year that the college intended to "return the license." Christian broadcaster Community Broadcasting, which operates the Bott Radio Network, is buying KFKX for $37,500. KFKX is licensed for 780 Watts and went silent at the end of June due to changes in the college's programs. Bott programming is currently carried on 250-Watt translator K260BK/99.9 (Hastings). (7/26/2016)
Northfield Media, owner of KYMN/1080 (Northfield), is buying an FM translator to relay KYMN. The company is buying W280DF (Sandstone) from Refuge Media for $55,000, with stated plans of moving it to Northfield under the AM revitalization window. KYMN carries a variety of programming with a community-based format. (7/25/2016)
Another new FM signal is on the air in Milwaukee, as Bustos Media has debuted "La 93.7" on W229CQ/93.7 (Milwaukee) and the HD2 signal of WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee). "La 93.7" carries Latin Adult Contemporary and some Regional Mexican. WDDW carries Regional Mexican from "La Gran D" network, and the two stations compete with El Sol Broadcasting's "97.9 La Caliente" (W250BN/97.9 and WJTI/1460 West Allis-Milwaukee). (7/22/2016)
Red Rock Radio is selling its five stations in northwestern Wisconsin to Zoe Communications for $750,000. The stations include WXCE/1260 (Amery), WLMX-FM/104.9 (Balsam Lake), WXCX/105.7 (Siren), WHSM/910 (Hayward), and WHSM-FM/101.1 (Hayward). WXCE, WXCX, and WHSM all carry Sports formats, while WLMX carries Variety Hits and WHSM-FM carries Country. The buyer has a local programming and marketing agreement to operate the stations prior to closing. Zoe owns four full-power stations, as well as two HD-fed FM translators, serving the Spooner, Rice Lake, and Baldwin areas. Red Rock, a Duluth-based sister company to Fargo-based TV owner Red River Broadcast Company, retains ownership of 20 radio stations in northeastern and north-central Minnesota. WXCX is currently co-located with Red Rock's AM-FM combo in Pine City and will move its studio to Zoe's facility in Shell Lake. (7/22/2016)
Most Duluth TV and radio stations have returned to the air after damage from a thunderstorm early Thursday morning (7/21) knocked out power to Duluth's FM/TV antenna farm and about 75,000 homes and businesses across the Northland. The storm hit at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, knocking almost every FM and TV station in the Twin Ports off the air. As of 7:45 a.m. Thursday, the only Observation Hill stations transmitting were PBS station WDSE-TV/8, Wisconsin Public Radio's WSSU/88.5 and KUWS/91.3, and Minnesota Public Radio's WSCN/100.5, the latter of which went off the air later Thursday. AM stations appeared to be unaffected, except for power outages at studios. TV stations were able to provide a feed to Charter cable during the transmitter outage, and WDIO-TV/10 (your reporter's place of employment) remained in continuing coverage for 12 hours Thursday despite not having power at its Observation Hill headquarters. By Friday evening, only KUMD/103.3 and KZIO/104.3, the latter of which transmits from a rural site north of the city, remained off the air. (7/22/2016)
Quincy Newspapers has begun to implement changes at its recently-acquired TV operation in Duluth, with changes to newscasts and a longtime network affiliation set to move in a few weeks.
Announcements are now running saying that CBS will move from KDLH/3.1 (Duluth) to KBJR/6.2 (Superior-Duluth) at 10 a.m. on Aug. 1, though CBS will retain its channel 3 position on cable and satellite. KDLH, originally KDAL-TV, has been the Northland's CBS affiliate since 1955. Quincy is making the change because it agreed to stop selling ads on KDLH as a condition of its purchase of KBJR from Granite Broadcasting. KBJR is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries MyNetworkTV on 6.2, which will presumably move to 6.3. KDLH, owned by SagamoreHill, will become a primary CW affiliate.
The changes that may actually be more noticable to viewers deal with newscasts. KBJR debuted a new news set, Quincy's graphics package, a new evening co-anchor, and a second morning anchor this week. Meanwhile, the CBS channel is taking a two-week break from airing local news. The CBS Evening News has returned to the traditional 5:30 timeslot, and program listings indicate the new CBS lineup will include local newscasts at 6 and 10 p.m. and from 5 to 7 a.m. Up until last week, KDLH had aired live newscasts at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and a recorded newscast at 10 p.m.
KBJR also dropped the "Northland's NewsCenter" slogan and has stopped mentioning "Range 11," which referred to satellite station KRII/11.1 (Chisholm). (7/19/2016)
iHeartMedia signed on two new FM signals in Eau Claire on Monday, bringing second Classic Hits and Conservative Talk stations to the FM dial.
W254CN/98.7 (Eau Claire) relays WBIZ/1400, which dropped its longtime Sports format for Classic Hits as "The Brew." The translator was moved in from Houlton under the FCC's AM revitalization window. "The Brew" takes on Mid-West Management's "Greatest Hits 98.1" (WISM-FM Altoona); iHeartMedia had managed WISM up until this month as Adult Contemporary outlet "Mix 98.1" until Aloha Station Trust spun it off to Mid-West. WBIZ's old Facebook page says "The Brew" will still carry some local sports. WBIZ's format change leaves Mid-West's WAYY/790 (Eau Claire) as the only Sports-formatted station in the market.
Meanwhile, W292EG/106.3 (Eau Claire) has apparently completed its transmitter move into the heart of the city. W292EG relays the Conservative Talk format of WMEQ/880 (Menomonie), which mentioned that it "can now also be heard on the FM dial" on its Facebook page Monday. The translator had actually been operating for a few months from a site west of town, but the rural facility didn't provide a strong signal to Eau Claire itself. W292EG is the second FM signal in the area carrying Conservative Talk; W276CP/103.1 relays Stewards of Sounds' WOGO/680 (Hallie).
These likely won't be the last new FM signals for Eau Claire, as Mid-West has construction permits for two translators of its own on 95.9 and 105.1. (7/18/2016)
Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio is buying translator K234BR/94.7 (Rapid City) from Spearfish Radio for $35,000. K234BR already carries Real Presence Radio via KJRC/89.9 (Rapid City). The extra signal is needed because KJRC transmits from Terry Peak and is somewhat difficult to receive on portable radios in the city. (7/18/2016)
The FCC has dismissed an application from Tri-State Broadcasting Association's KJTF/89.3 (North Platte) to upgrade over possible interference to KWNB/6 (Hayes Center). KJTF had applied to upgrade from 690 Watts to 80kW. Stations on the lower end of the FM band are required to prevent interference to TV stations on channel 6, but KJTF had initially asserted that the protection didn't apply to digital TV stations. KWNB's owner vehemently disagreed. KJTF then dropped the claim that channel 6 didn't need to be protected but asserted the interference wouldn't be as bad as KWNB claimed. The FCC dismissed the application with a letter from the Audio Division saying that while some interference is allowed, KJTF's proposed upgrade would cause interference for too many people. Tri-States is a Christian broadcaster which also owns two other stations in North Platte. (7/13/2016)
New low-power FM station KNNA-LP/95.7 (Lincoln) is on the air carrying Lutheran programming as "The Cross." The station is owned by Good Shephard Community Radio and broadcasts with 100 Watts from Good Shephard Lutheran Church. (7/13/2016)
The FCC has deleted the license of KWOP/88.7 (Fort Dodge) for having been off the air for over a year, in violation of federal law. The FCC says the station, which was owned by Church Planters of America, went silent on Dec. 9, 2014, and did not respond to a warning letter sent in May. KWOP had been licensed for 690 Watts and had a construction permit to upgrade to 100kW. (7/13/2016)
A new FM station that was once poised to serve Thunder Bay, ON, is instead setting its sights on the much smaller community of Grand Marais, MN. Resonance Media Group is facing an August 22 deadline to sign on its new station on 96.9. The station, which does not yet have a callsign, was originally slated to be licensed to Grand Portage and transmit with 100kW/273m (class C1) from an existing tower on Mount Maud, providing a rimshot signal to Thunder Bay and Grand Marais.
Now, Resonance has applied to change the new station's community of license to Grand Marais, where it would transmit with 2kW/182m (class C3). (Note: this item has been updated to reflect an amendment changing the proposed new facility.)
Resonance won the new frequency in a 2013 FCC auction. Multi-Cultural Diversity Radio also won two new 100kW Grand Portage stations in that auction, but construction permits haven't yet been issued for MCDR's new stations, presumably because their applications specified construction of a new tower. MCDR is headed by Samir Abumayyaleh of Minneapolis.
Grand Marais and Grand Portage are in Cook County, a popular tourist destination with a year-round population of just over 5,000 people. It is currently served by only one locally-programmed station, WTIP/90.7 (Grand Marais), which carries local news, play-by-play sports, and music shows hosted by community members. The only commercial station in the county, WXXZ/95.3 (Grand Marais), relays a Duluth-based Classic Rock format. Minnesota Public Radio's News and Classical networks also have transmitters in Grand Marais, and two Duluth-based Christian stations have translators in the city. (7/11/2016)
Native Communications has ended the Rhythmic Hits format at CIUR-FM/104.7 (Winnipeg) and replaced it with "NOW Country 104.7." The frequency had originally launched with a Hip-Hop format for aboriginal youth in 2009 as "Streetz FM" and switched to "Rhythm 104.7" in 2014. "Rhythm" had registered a 1.3 share in the Numeris Spring (February 29ľApril 24, 2016) 12+ ratings, far behind several other stations with similar formats. Native Communications also runs the provincewide NCI-FM network, heard on CICY-FM/105.5 (Selkirk-Winnipeg), which also carries a format that's mostly Country. The two stations compete with Jim Pattinson Group's "QX104" (CFQX-FM/104.1 Selkirk-Winnipeg) for the Country audience in Winnipeg. (7/9/2016)
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul's KNWS/1090 (Waterloo) has signed on FM translator K224FA/92.7, relaying its "Faith Radio" programming. The 250-Watt translator was moved in from Wisconsin under the FCC's AM revitalization window. KNWS is the third of Northwestern's five "Faith Radio" AM stations in the Upper Midwest to get an FM translator, and is also the third AM-on-FM translator in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Northwestern also owns "Life 101.9" (KNWS-FM) in Waterloo. (7/6/2016)
The CW has been added on Nexstar's KXMA/2.1 (Dickinson), KXMB/12.2 (Bismarck), KXMC/13.2 (Minot), and KXMD/11.2 (Williston). The stations, which are also CBS affiliates, have dropped their 24-hour weather channel but continue to offer the stream online. This is the first time the CW has had a broadcast affiliate in the western North Dakota market, which also still lacks a MyNetworkTV station and never had a WB broadcast affiliate. The CW, and the WB prior to that, had been seen on the cable-only "KMWK" channel. (7/1/2016, added channel numbers 7/4)
The FM translator of KDWA/1460 (Hastings) has moved from 97.9 to 97.7 as W249DK. The frequency change removes it from fringe area interference from a low-power FM station in Lakeville. The translator first signed on in the spring, and it appears the frequency change happened in mid-June. (7/1/2016)
New low-power FM station WKJJ-LP/101.3 (Milwaukee) has signed on carrying community programming and a mix of Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. WKJJ-LP will share time with WPJQ-LP, and the stations share a joint website and Facebook page. Both are licensed for 12 Watts. WKJJ-LP is owned by Inner City Development Project, while WPJQ-LP is owned by Faith Community Development Corp. (7/1/2016)
Following up on an item from a couple of weeks ago, the FCC has approved a construction permit for an FM translator to move to 106.5 in Milwaukee to relay WNOV/860. W293CX will broadcast with 99 Watts from WNOV's site, delivering a good signal to most of Milwaukee and several first-ring suburbs. WNOV owner Courier Communications is in the process of buying the license of W250AV (Park Falls) from WRVM, Inc. to move to Milwaukee under the FCC's AM revitalization window. WNOV carries a mix of Talk, R&B, and Gospel. It will be the fifth Milwaukee AM station to have its programming relayed on an FM translator. (6/17/2016, updated 7/1)
Mid-West Management's "Greatest Hits" format in the Eau Claire market has moved down the dial from WDRK/99.9 (Cornell-Eau Claire) to WISM-FM/98.1 (Altoona-Eau Claire). The move to the new frequency, which is stronger in Eau Claire, came at the start of the month and the start of the Fourth of July weekend and followed a few days of stunting on 99.9. The change follows Mid-West's purchase of WISM from the Aloha Station Trust. It had previously been operated by iHeartMedia as Adult Contemporary outlet "Mix 98.1." To comply with ownership caps, Mid-West donated WDRK's license to Blugold Radio LLC, a group held by members of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. According to Blugold Radio's Facebook page, 99.9 is now carrying a local music mix created by UWEC students. A press release earlier this year said the station will also carry some programming from Wisconsin Public Radio's News & Classical Music network, duplicating programming already available in Eau Claire but reaching new listeners in Barron County. (6/29/2016, updated 7/1)
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