KSYZ/107.7 (Grand Island) has dropped Hot Adult Contemporary for Variety Hits as "The Island." The format debuted at Noon Monday (8/31) after a morning stunting with beach sounds. In an interview with NTV, operations manager Jim Cartwright said the change was made, in part, due to overlap between the previous Hot AC format and sister NRG Media station "Hits 106" (KQKY/105.9 Kearney). Cartwright said the station would announce a new talent lineup on Sept. 8. (8/31/2009)
Midwest Communications' WSAU/550 (Wausau) has announced plans to begin simulcasting on WIZD/99.9 (Rudolph) next week. 99.9 is strong in Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, an area where WSAU's signal is strong during the day but weak at night. WIZD signed on in 1991 with an Oldies format and later began simulcasting with WOFM/94.7 (Mosinee-Wausau). It continued the Oldies format when Midwest changed WOFM to a Rhythmic Hits format in 2005. The stations later reunited with a Classic Hits format, which will continue on WOFM. (8/31/2009)
Classical Minnesota Public Radio stations KCCM/91.1 (Moorhead) and KRSU/91.3 (Appleton) continue to operate at low power as a result of storm damage on August 14. Both stations are class C1; KCCM normally uses 67kW/207m and KRSU normally uses 82kW/345m. Each needs part of its transmission line replaced, and KCCM also needs a new antenna. MPR plans to post updates on its website. (8/29/2009, corrected normal power levels 8/31)
TV MARKET RANKINGS:
Nielsen's new market rankings for the 2009-2010 TV season show no change in ranking for most Upper Midwest markets. Four markets moved up, while three moved down.
Up one: Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney, Sioux City, Rochester-Austin-Mason City, Cheyenne-Scottsbluff
No change: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Omaha, Madison, Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Sioux Falls, Traverse City-Cadillac, La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth, Bismarck, Quincy, Rapid City, Marquette, Mankato, Ottumwa-Kirksville, North Platte
Down one: Des Moines, Fargo
Down two: Quad Cities (8/29/2009)
An interest purchase agreement filed with the FCC indicates Jim Coursolle's NorthStar Properties, LLC, will pay $700,000 for its purchase of two-thirds interest in Heartland Communications Group, LLC, which owns ten stations in Michigan and Wisconsin (see earlier item below). Granite Equity Limited Partnership and Granite/Heartland Co-Investment, LP, both based in Minnesota, will retain the other third of the company, as outlined here. Coursolle, from Campbellsport, WI, holds 12.29 percent of the voting stock and 2.01 percent of the assets of Armada Media, which owns 27 stations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, and operates another eight stations in Kansas through a local marketing agreement. (8/27/2009)
Future station KCWV/27 (Duluth), which has just over three months to get on the air before its construction permit expires, has again applied to change its transmitter site. The station was originally permitted to transmit from the WDIO/10 tower, while the current CP calls for 63kW/229m from the WDSE/8 tower. The application asks for 40kW/207m from the former KDLH/3 tower. KDLH itself now transmits from the KBJR/6 tower. The KCWV CP is held by George S. Flinn III, who has until December 6 to get the station on the air. KCWV would be the fifth full-power commercial TV station in Duluth-Superior. (8/26/2009)
Jim Coursolle is buying a controlling interest in ten of thirteen stations owned by Heartland Communications Group, according to a news release. Coursolle is buying the shares from Granite Equity Partners, which retains a minority interest in the company. The deal has not yet been filed with the FCC. The included stations are WIKB/1230 (Iron River, MI), WIKB-FM/99.1 (Iron River), WATW/1400 (Ashland, WI), WBSZ/93.3 (Ashland), WJJH/96.7 (Ashland), WNXR/107.3 (Iron River, WI), WERL/950 (Eagle River, WI), WRJO/94.5 (Eagle River), WNBI/980 (Park Falls, WI), and WCQM/98.3 (Park Falls). Granite Equity will retain full ownership of Heartland's three Houghton, MI stations: WCCY/1400, WOLV/97.7, and WHKB/102.3. (8/26/2009)
"B96" (KTTB/96.3) has completed its transmitter move to New Hope. After several days of stunting during its Hip-Hop format with listener phone calls suggesting new formats, the station announced the move Tuesday and encouraged listeners to check out the signal on the east side of the metro area. The Northern Lights Broadcasting station downgraded from 100kW/176m (class C1) to 19kW/77m (C3) in order to move its transmitter from rural Watertown into the metro area. It will also change its community of license from Glencoe to Edina. (8/25/2009)
"B96" (KTTB/96.3 Glencoe-Minneapolis) is stunting ahead if its transmitter move from rural Watertown to New Hope. The Hip-Hop station receieved program test authority Thursday to begin operating from the new site, and began running jockless with announcements asking listeners to "call and let us know your thoughts." (8/21/2009)
Warren Gerds of the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that NBC 26 (WGBA) is no longer simulcasting the morning newscast from WTMJ-TV/4 (Milwaukee). Instead, programming includes a repeat of the 10 p.m. newscast beginning at 5:55 a.m. and NBC's "Early Today" at 6:30. WGBA had begun simulcasting WTMJ's newscast after dropping its own morning show last year, but continued 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts. Both stations are owned by Journal Communications. (8/21/2009)
Pappas Telecasting has rebranded its chain of FOX affiliates in the Lincoln/Tri-Cities market as "KFXL, FOX Nebraska." The stations had been known as "FOX 4&17" before KFXL-TV/51.1 (Lincoln) switched from CW to FOX. The other stations are KTVG/17.1 (Grand Island), KSNB/4.1 (Superior), KHGI/13.2 (Kearney) and KWNB/6.2 (Hayes Center). (8/20/2009)
Four TV translators have signed off in northeastern Minnesota rather than move to new channels after the digital transition. ABC affiliate WDIO/10 (Duluth) has turned off translators W61AF (Grand Marais) and K55BR (Grand Portage), while CBS affiliate KDLH/3 (Duluth) has turned off translators K63BI (Grand Marais) and K59BQ (Deer River). The translators would have eventually had to move because channels 52-69 are being discontinued as part of the digital transition; they would have also had to eventually convert to digital, though no deadline is set. The latest shutoffs mean there is no more local TV service in Grand Portage and the only regular signal in Grand Marais is analog K67CT, which relays WDSE/8 (Duluth). At one time there were four translators in both Grand Marais and Grand Portage. (8/20/2009)
The transmitter move of "B96" (KTTB) is apparently imminent. The station has applied for program test authority and a license to cover its construction permit to move its transmitter to New Hope. The Hip-Hop/R&B station, owned by Northern Lights Broadcasting, will transmit with 19kW/77m (class C3) from the KFXN/690 tower in New Hope. Though the station is downgrading from 100kW (class C1), the move should improve B96's signal to most of the Twin Cities metro area since the current transmitter is near Watertown. The change also includes changing KTTB's community of license from Glencoe to Edina, where its studio is located. (8/19/2009)
The CRTC has ordered cable operator Shaw Communications to switch to HD feeds of ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates from Grand Forks and Minneapolis to match the analog-tier feeds it already carries on cable systems in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. Shaw carries ABC affiliate WDAZ/8 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks), CBS affiliate WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis), and NBC affiliate KARE/11 (Minneapolis) on its analog service, but had been carrying the Detroit affiliates of the three networks in HD. The CRTC prefers the analog and HD versions to come from the same station.
The order comes as part of a larger decision allowing Shaw to temporarily carry Seattle HD feeds in leiu of Spokane for its west-coast feeds, since Shaw said it cannot currently receive the Spokane HD feeds. But the CRTC ordered Shaw to drop the Detroit HD feeds because it did not show that it could not receive the Grand Forks/Minneapolis HD feeds. The systems also carry the FOX affiliate from Rochester, NY in analog and HD.
Virtually all Canadian cable systems carry two sets of the "big four" U.S. networks plus PBS, as well as Canadian channels. (8/18/2009)
Citadel Communications has applied to add fill-in digital translators for its four stations, which all moved digital broadcasts from UHF to VHF in June. Citadel says it has received numerous complaints from viewers unable to receive the VHF DTV signals. The applications are as follows:
CBC station CBWT/6 (Winnipeg) will expand its evening newscast to 90 minutes and move it to 5-6:30 p.m. starting Monday, August 31. The newscast currently airs from 6-7 p.m. The change is being made by all CBC-owned stations. (8/17/2009)
The Watertown Public Opinion reports that KXLG/99.1 (Huron) is expected to make its move to the Watertown market in September, carrying a mix of local Talk and `60s, `70s, and `80s Hits. The station will change its community of license to Milbank and upgrade to 40kW/167m (class C2). KXLG, formerly KZNC, is still on the air in Huron with a Country format. The paper identifies State Rep. Bob Faehn as KXLG's owner, but FCC records indicate the station's license is stil held by Dakota Communications Ltd., owned by Duane and Barbara Butt. (8/17/2009, updated 8/18 with confirmation that KXLG is still on the air in Huron)
KCNN/1590 (East Grand Forks-Grand Forks) has dropped Classic Country for FOX Sports Radio. The Classic Country format, called "The Rooster," had launched in 2007 when sister station KNOX-FM/94.7 dropped Classic Country for Classic Rock. Prior to that, KCNN had carried a News/Talk format for years. (8/15/2009)
WFTC/29.1 (Minneapolis) will move its digital broadcasts from channel 21 to 29 on Tuesday, August 18, at 12:01 a.m. (8/15/2009)
New station KYES/1180 (Rockville-St. Cloud) is on the air - mostly. It's been testing for about a month now and has been on the air most of the past week, though the station's website says it's still in test mode. KYES is owned by Throw Fire Project and carries a Catholic format, including programming from Relevant Radio. KYES uses 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. (8/13/2009)
Cochise Media Licenses LLC is buying KHSK/100.9 (Allen) from College Creek Media for $30,000. KHSK is a new station and it has apparently never had regular programming. It received its license last October 15; the next day, it filed for special temporary authority to remain off the air for financial reasons. It's currently licensed for 10kW/57m (class C3) from a site northwest of Allen, but has a construction permit to move its transmitter east with 8.6kW/169m, which would provide a rimshot signal to Sioux City. Cochise and its sister companies own or are buying dozens of stations across the western U.S., including KOMJ/1490 (Omaha). (8/13/2009)
The FCC has approved a proposal by WWAZ-TV (Fond du Lac) to change its digital channel from 44 to 5 and move its transmitter from Dodge County to Milwaukee, though the station still must apply for and receive a construction permit before making the actual change. WWAZ is owned by Pappas Telecasting, which is in chapter 11 bankruptcy. It said the move was necessary because the channel 44 allotment requires it to be co-located with WWRS-TV/43 (Mayville), but said the tower it planned to use for channel 44 is not strong enough to support a digital antenna.
WDJT-TV, Venture Technologies Group, and Grand Valley State University filed opposing comments, including concerns that WWAZ would abandon its rural service area in favor of Milwaukee coverage. Though there have been widespread reports of problems with VHF DTV reception and Fond du Lac is about 53 miles from the proposed site, the FCC said WWAZ's proposal "complies with the principal community coverage requirements with respect to Fond du Lac." The FCC's own DTV Reception Maps website predicts that no other stations transmitting from the Milwaukee antenna farm can be received in Fond du Lac, though WWAZ would be the only one operating on VHF Low.
Later in the order, the FCC stated that WWAZ's proposal to vacate channel 44 would also serve the public interest because it would allow WLS-TV (Chicago) to move digital broadcasts back to UHF. The FCC said it and WLS-TV have received "thousands" of complaints about loss of reception after WLS-TV moved digital broadcasts from UHF to VHF.
The FCC has also approved digital translators on channel 30 in Columbus and channel 15 in Ripon to fill in areas previously served by WWAZ's analog signal that are outside of the theoretical channel 5 coverage area.
WWAZ is not currently broadcasting; its analog and digital signals both went silent for financial reasons in January 2008. The station returned to the air in July 2008, but its analog signal again went silent that month and the digital signal went silent in January 2009. It was last known to carry FamilyNet. (8/13/2009)
KMTV/3 (Omaha) has upgraded its newscasts to widescreen, becoming the first station in Omaha to offer local news in 16:9 format. Meanwhile, KOLN/10 (Lincoln) has upgraded the graphics on its widescreen newscasts to HD and has renamed its website 1011now.com. (8/11/2009)
Kaskaskia Broadcasting is buying translators K295AS/106.9 (Clinton, IA), K233BI/94.5 (Muscatine, IA), and W243BV/96.5 (Casey, IL) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $20,000. Kaskaskia Broadcasting owns three stations in central Illinois and is owned by Randal J. Miller, who also heads companies which own five other stations in central and western Illinois. Kaskaskia's application states that the three translators will carry non-commercial stations. (8/11/2009)
KDAL/610 (Duluth) is bringing back Pat Cadigan's "Midwest Polka Party." The show first launched in 2002 and was cancelled last year. Now, it'll air Saturdays from 8-10 a.m. beginning August 8. Former Duluth City Councilor Russ Stewart had been hosting a talk show in that time slot but resigned, citing an inability to maintain the time commitment necessary to continue the show. KDAL is planning to host a "Polka-Palooza" event to celebrate the show's return. (8/7/2009)
The FCC has renewed the license of KSDZ/95.5 (Gordon), dismissing an informal objection from a reverend who doesn't like the way the station handles funeral announcements. The FCC said stations are not required to broadcast funeral announcements, and are not required to broadcast everything that is offered or suggested to them. (8/7/2009)
Red Rock Radio has secured the radio rights for University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog men's hockey and football for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons. The games will air on "The Fan 1490" (KQDS Duluth), KBAJ/105.5 (Deer River), and KAOD/106.7 (Babbitt). It's the first time the Bulldogs will be heard on stations outside Duluth. The Bulldogs had aired for decades on Midwest Communications' KDAL/610 (Duluth), though Midwest had moved the hockey games to KHQG/102.5 (Superior-Duluth) last season. Red Rock Radio also recently secured radio rights for the Minnesota Vikings, which will air on "The Fan 1490," KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth), WXXZ/95.3 (Grand Marais), KFGI/101.5 (Crosby-Brainerd), KBAJ, and KAOD. (8/7/2009)
Zoe Communications is buying translator W234BG/94.7 (Chetek) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $3,000. Zoe gave Horizon permission to carry its WGMO/95.3 (Spooner) until the sale receives FCC approval. W234BG is currently licensed for 120W from Cameron, with fringe coverage of Chetek, Rice Lake, and Barron. (8/6/2009)
The FCC has granted WJTI/1460 (Racine) a move closer to Milwaukee. The station, which currently carries a Latin Adult Contemporary format, will change its community of license to West Allis. It'll transmit from the WGLB/1560 (Elm Grove) site in West Allis with 1kW day and 240W night with different day and night directional patterns. In approving the move, the FCC rejected an informal objection from the owner of WBKV/1470 (West Bend). WJTI is owned by El Sol Broadcasting, LLC, which has no other stations in the market. (8/6/2009)
Maverick Media's WDRK/99.9 (Cornell-Eau Claire) has flipped to Variety Hits as "Bob FM," dropping an eight-year-old Active Rock format called "The Carp." The change came after stunting with Christmas music. "Bob FM" launched at Midnight Tuesday morning (8/4) with Billy Joel's "Movin' Out." The new format can be heard at www.bobfm999.com. (8/4/2009)
The "R" in "R&J Broadcasting," licensee of KRJB/106.5 (Ada) and KRJM/101.5 (Mahnomen), is selling his half of the company to "J." Jimmy D. Birkemeyer of Ada will pay Richard Haroldson of Fargo $438,000 for his shares. (8/4/2009)
KRKR/95.1 (Lincoln) has returned to the air carrying "My Bridge Radio," a Christian network originating at KROA/95.7 (Grand Island). As previously reported, "My Bridge Radio" operator Mission Nebraska is buying KRKR from Chapin Enterprises for $1 million and is operating the station through a time brokerage agreement until the sale is closed. (8/4/2009)
The Green Bay Press Gazette reports that Midwest Communications plans to sign on WTAQ-FM/97.5 (Glenmore-Green Bay) this fall, mostly simulcasting the News/Talk format of WTAQ/1360 (Green Bay). Midwest recently closed on its purchase of the station from Radioactive, LLC for $1.55 million. The station, which is still officially WTRW, was originally licensed to Two Rivers on 97.1 but never carried regular programming on the original facility before going silent. (8/4/2009)
The Dickinson Press reports that Western Edge Media, which holds the construction permit for KDXN/105.7 (South Heart), is dissolving. The station had been slated to sign on with a Country format earlier this year. An attorney representing the company tells the paper the dissolution includes liquidating assets. If the CP is sold, a new FCC policy would give a qualified buyer eighteen months to get the station on the air if it's sold before the current CP expires on June 29, 2010. Dickinson has four existing commercial stations, three owned by Clear Channel and one by Starrdak, Inc. (8/3/2009)
Former radio station owner Ed Kramer has died at the age of 71. Kramer started in Wisconsin at WDUX (Waupaca) after graduating college, and was elected mayor of Waupaca in 1970. In 1974, he bought WPDR AM-FM (Portage) and renamed the FM station WDDC, using the initials of his three children. He also owned WKPL (Platteville) and sold it in 1994, followed by WPDR/WDDC in 2003. Kramer was also active in numerous community organizations and served in the National Guard. Services were held Saturday. (8/1/2009)
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