A full-fledged Contemporary Hits format has returned to the Twin Ports on Midwest Communications' KHQG/102.5 (Superior-Duluth), which dropped its Classic Rock format Monday for Top 40 as KDWZ. (The official callsign change remains pending.) The 100kW frequency was home to longtime heritage Top 40 station KZIO in the 1980's and early 1990's. The market hasn't had a long-running CHR since 102.5 changed to the first of many Rock formats in 1996. The new KDWZ challenges Townsquare Media's "Mix 108" (KBMX/107.7 Proctor-Duluth), which runs a hybrid Hot Adult Contemporary/Adult CHR format. The new callsign is one letter off from KDWB, which Northlanders are used to hearing on trips to the Twin Cities, and industry vets may recall the callsign from its use in Des Moines in the late 1980's. (8/31/2010)
The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reports "Sunny Radio" expects to debut on 92.1 in Sioux Falls this week, after getting FCC approval to move translator K220JO/91.9 to 92.1 last week. The FCC rejected an objection from Backyard Broadcasting, which contended 92.1 is too close to its KELO-FM/92.5. The move was necessary for commercial operation because 91.9 is reserved for non-commercial use. The translator will relay KZOY/1520 (Sioux Falls), which carries an `80s Hits format with special emphasis on the Brandon area. Though KZOY is a daytime-only station, the translator will be allowed to carry programming 24 hours a day. (8/31/2010)
The FCC has deleted the license of KGCW-LP/95.7 (Johnston-Des Moines). The 32-Watt station, which was owned by Mercy of Jesus Educational Radio and carried a Catholic format, signed on in 2006 but then left the air in 2007 due to an unstable tower. The FCC dismissed an application to move to a new tower in 2008 because it was too close to KUNI translator K237FB/95.3 (West Des Moines), which is not yet on the air. (8/30/2010)
Minneapolis digital TV now has a third Christian broadcaster. Daystar's WDMI-LP (Minneapolis) has ended analog broadcasting on channel 62 and is now operating digitally on channel 31, remapping to channel 62.1. WDMI uses 15kW, the maximum power for LPTV stations and the same power used by two other Twin Cities LPTV broadcasters carrying EWTN on channel 16 and five TBN services on channel 25. There are still three analog signals left in Minneapolis: Univision affiliate WUMN-LP/13, Three Angels Broadcasting Network's K14KH/14, and Home Shopping Network affiliate K43HB/43. The latter two have construction permits to flash-cut to digital. (8/30/2010)
KNOX-FM/94.7 (Grand Forks) has dropped the Santa stunt and is now "Z94.7, Today's Hit Music." The 100kW Leighton Broadcasting station is taking on Clear Channel's heritage "XL93" (KKXL-FM/92.9), and Leighton knows something about the Contemporary Hits format -- it also owns heritage CHR KCLD/104.7 (St. Cloud). The new format displaces a three-year-old Classic Rock format. (8/26/2010)
KFAN/1130 (Minneapolis) is now also on FM with the sign-on of translator K279AZ/103.7 from the IDS Center. It's Clear Channel's sixth FM signal in the market and the first time "The Fan" has been heard on analog FM, except for a day of stunting in 1999. Officially, K279AZ rebroadcasts an HD subchannel of KTLK-FM/100.3 which relays KFAN.
103.7 uses 170 Watts, a tiny fraction of the major FM signals in the market but enough to reach car radios across most of the metro. The main coverage area reaches into St. Paul and some second-ring suburbs. The translator had applied to modify its construction permit in June, saying it was unable to reach a lease agreement with the owners of a shared antenna, but that situation was apparently resolved before the FCC acted on the CP modification.
K279AZ is licensed to Cottage Grove and formerly transmitted from Inver Grove Heights. It carried the "K-Love" network until Clear Channel completed its purchase of the translator from the Educational Media Foundation last month. (8/25/2010)
KNOX-FM/94.7 (Grand Forks) wins the prize for being the first to flip to Christmas music this year. The Leighton Broadcasting station dropped its "Power 94.7" Classic Rock format and began stunting Monday as "94.7 Santa FM, Everything from Sting to Bing", and its web stream remains active on its former website. The Classic Rock format had debuted in September 2007, replacing a long-running Country format. (8/24/2010)
Many Sinclair Broadcasting stations could be about to get not one, but two subchannels.
On Monday, the company announced plans to add The Country Network in most of Sinclair's 35 markets, which include Minneapolis (WUCW/23), Madison (WMSN/47), Milwaukee (WVTV/18 and WCGV/24), Des Moines (KDSM/17), and Cedar Rapids (KGAN/2 and KFXA/28). 28 of the markets will begin carrying TCN in October, with the others joining early next year.
Another music channel, The Cool TV, is already slated to launch on 34 Sinclair stations in the near future. The Cool TV's website lists Minneapolis, Madison, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines as cities poised to get affiliates (the network is already seen on another channel in Milwaukee). (8/24/2010)
The Trinity Broadcasting Network has agreed to donate up to 155 low-power TV stations to the Minority Media & Telecom Council. A list of the stations to be donated was not immediately available, and MMTC cautioned in its press release that it may not be able to accept all 155 stations if it cannot find partners to operate them. TBN owns dozens of LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest, most of which have not been converted to digital and went silent earlier this year. MMTC works to expand ownership and training opportunities for minorities, women, and other underserved groups, and is also the recipient of Clear Channel stations KFXN/690 (Minneapolis) and KMFX/1190 (Wabasha, MN). (8/23/2010)
Minnesota Public Radio has signed on new station WGRH/88.5 (Hinckley), carrying the MPR News network. The station uses 3.8kW/129m (class A) from a new tower west of Hinckley. It fills in a gap in city-grade reception between MPR's Twin Cities and Duluth transmitters, with a main coverage area including Pine City, Mora, and Sandstone. It's the 38th transmitter for the News network, which features state news and talk, weather alerts, and flagship NPR programming such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
MPR has four existing translators in Hinckley and one in Pine City/Beroun, three of which currently carry MPR News. The network had also applied for a new station on 91.9 in Hinckley, but lost in the FCC's analysis to Immanuel Baptist Church of Rice Lake, WI, which applied for a station on 91.9 in Pine City. MPR recently filed a petition to deny the Church a construction permit, alleging it did not have reasonable assurance to use the tower specified in its application. (8/23/2010, added reason for petition 8/24)
DISH Network has added HD locals in the Rochester-Austin-Mason City and Quad Cities markets. DirecTV already offers HD locals in the Quad Cities, but not in Rochester. (8/23/2010)
TV listings indicate KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul) will move the start of its morning newscast up to 4:30 a.m. on Monday, August 30th. With the expansion, KSTP will be producing nine hours of news programming each weekday, including 2.5 hours which airs on independent sister station KSTC/45, plus the hour-long "Twin Cities Live" talk show. The ABC affiliate joins FOX 9 (KMSP) and CBS' WCCO-TV/4 at 4:30, which is rapidly becoming the standard start time for morning news in major markets across the country. NBC affiliate KARE 11 will be the last Twin Cities station still starting at 5 a.m. (8/20/2010)
The CRTC has approved a plan to switch the programming on AM 1240 (Atikokan) from CKDR-FM/92.7 (Dryden) to CFOB-FM/93.1 (Fort Frances). Both stations are owned by Acadia Broadcasting, and community leaders in Atikokan said their community has stronger ties to Fort Frances than to Dryden. The 50-Watt rebroadcaster and an FM CBC transmitter provide the only local radio reception in Atikokan, which has a population of about 3,300. (8/20/2010)
Bemidji is poised to get an AM-on-FM translator with Paul Bunyan Broadcasting's purchase of K235BP/94.9 from Shine the Light, Inc. for $50,000. The application states K235BP will relay KBUN/1450, which carries the FAN Network and ESPN Radio, as well as the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings, Wild, and Gophers (the Twins and Vikings are also heard on co-owned FM stations in the market). It will be the first time the FAN Network is carried on an FM signal.
Shine the Light purchased the 250-Watt translator from Edgewater Broadcasting for $740 last year. It currently rebroadcasts the commercial Christian format of KKEQ/107.1 (Fosston), but just 18 percent of Bemidji listeners responding to a poll on the station's website say they listen to 94.9 intead of 107.1 or web and cable TV feeds. (8/16/2010)
Cornerstone Community Radio is buying the construction permit for WIWM/90.9 (Sheboygan) from Bloomington Normal Broadcasting Corporation for $5,000. The Florida-based buyer owns eight stations in Illinois and KMDY/90.9 (Keokuk, IA). WIWM will use 15kW/35m vertical only from a cell tower along I-43 near Cleveland. (8/16/2010)
GAP Broadcasting has completed its transition to Townsquare Media, joining former Regent Broadcasting stations that began using the Townsquare name earlier this year. Oaktree Capital Management was already the majority owner of both GAP and Townsquare. There are now 171 stations in 36 markets operated under the Townsquare name, including four stations in the Duluth market, formerly owned by GAP, and six in the St. Cloud market, formerly owned by Regent. The stations are WEBC/560, KLDJ/101.7, and KKCB/105.1 (Duluth), KBMX/107.7 (Proctor-Duluth), WJON/1240 and WWJO/98.1 (St. Cloud), KXSS/1390 and KLZZ/103.7 (Waite Park-St. Cloud), KMXK/94.9 (Cold Spring-St. Cloud), and KZRV/96.7 (Sartell-St. Cloud). (8/14/2010)
WEAU-TV reports firefighters battled flames at the tower site of WJMC-FM/96.1 (Rice Lake) Wednesday night, but the station was able to continue broadcasting. The Rice Lake Fire Department told WEAU the fire appears to have started in a generator and spread to a building's roof, leading to an estimated $250,000 loss. The tower site east of Haugen has been in use since 2000, when the owners of KARP/96.3 (Glencoe, MN) paid for new facilities for WJMC-FM so KARP could move into the Twin Cities market. (8/12/2010)
The FCC has approved a power increase for WDGY/740 (Hudson, WI-St. Paul). The "True Oldies Channel" affiliate owned by Greg Borgen will continue to transmit from east of Hudson, but will double its daytime power from 2.5kW to 5kW, improving its signal across the Twin Cities metro. 740 will continue to be a daytime-only station. It had originally applied for 5.5kW, but that application was rejected due to overlap with KVOX/740 (Fargo) and CHWO/740 (Toronto). (8/11/2010)
Grant Media's FOX 18 (KLJB Davenport) is dropping Independent News Network and switching to ABC affiliate WQAD/8 (Moline) as the source of its 9 p.m. newscast effective Sept. 6. With the move, the station will go seven days a week by adding a Saturday 9 p.m. newscast. Kim Johnson, a veteran of stations in Duluth and Green Bay, will co-anchor the FOX 18 newscast with a yet-to-be-determined male counterpart. Independent News Network, based in Davenport, has produced KLJB's newscast since the company's inception in 1999 and also produces newscasts for a handful of stations around the country. Titan Broadcast Group's FOX affiliate KPTM/42 (Omaha) is due to begin using INN-produced newscasts next month. (8/10/2010)
The Minnesota Twins have extended their deal with Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTP/1500 (St. Paul) for another two years, the station announced Tuesday. The team moved from longtime home WCCO/830 (Minneapolis) four years ago. Some listeners have complained of reception problems, and the network has added more affiliates closer to the metro. Both WCCO and KSTP are 50,000 Watts, but KSTP's higher frequency and the fact that it must use a directional antenna at night limit the signal. (8/10/2010)
KCVM/96.1 (Hudson-Waterloo) has moved to 93.5 and changed its slogan from "Mix 96" to "93.5 The Mix." The station is owned by Fife Communications and runs an Adult Contemporary format. Although KCVM remains class A (6kW/99m), the frequency change enabled it to change its directional antenna pattern to improve its signal to Waterloo. The directional pattern previously protected KMXG/96.1 (Clinton-Quad Cities), which also goes by the name "Mix 96," and now protects KIOA/93.3 (Des Moines). (8/10/2010)
Saga Broadcasting translator K260AM/99.9 (Ames) is on the air from Alleman relaying "Star 102.5" (KSTZ Des Moines), which transmits from the same tower. However, the setup is likely temporary: Saga is known for using translators to relay HD2 signals in other markets and K260AM has applied to move its transmitter closer to Des Moines. Saga proposes using a directional antenna from a tower in Altoona, providing a strong signal to most of Des Moines but not its western suburbs. K260AM would also change its community of license to Des Moines. The original construction permit for the translator was issued in 2004 to Edgewater Broadcasting and then transferred to Horizon Christian Fellowship, which sold it to Saga last year for $20,000. (8/9/2010)
Real Presence Radio is buying translators in Minot and Williston from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $14,000. Plans call for K216EE/91.1 (Minot) and K203DU/88.5 (Williston) to relay KPHA/91.3 (Mandan), a new station Real Presence Radio hopes to have on the air by the end of the year. The Catholic broadcaster also operates KWTL/1370 (Grand Forks) and KVXR/1280 (Moorhead-Fargo). (8/9/2010)
New station WDRT/91.9 (Viroqua) is getting closer to signing on. The station has posted photos of its July 16 antenna installation on the Vernon Telephone Cooperative tower between Viroqua and Westby. The goal is to get "Driftless Community Radio" on the air this summer, with a grand opening set for Sept. 17. (8/9/2010)
WRCO/1450 and WRCO-FM/100.9 (Richland Center) have moved to a new studio/office on the south end of town. The locally-owned station was formerly located in a flood-prone area and was forced off the air by flooding in 2007. (8/9/2010)
KHPP/1160 (Waukon) has dropped Oldies for Adult Contemporary as "K-Soft," using Dial Global's Adult Contemporary format with AP news on the hour and weather forecasts from WXOW/19 (La Crosse, WI). The Wennes Communications station's previous format had been Citadel's True Oldies Channel. The station is ID'ing as KSFF, though the FCC database still listed its callsign as KHPP as of Wednesday. (8/4/2010)
Southeast Community College is selling KQIQ/88.3 (Beatrice) to Christian broadcaster Mission Nebraska for $4,400 plus FCC filing costs. The station uses 4.2kW/103m, providing a strong signal to Beatrice and Fairbury. KQIQ signed on in 2001 and is staffed and managed by students in the college's Mass Media program. It will be Mission Nebraska's ninth station. Mission Nebraska has sought a main studio waiver to co-locate KQIQ's studio with KROA/95.7 (Grand Island). (8/4/2010)
NBC and CW affiliate KTTC/10 (Rochester) has applied to increase its power from 33.7kW to 43.1kW. Though KTTC does not mention reception issues, a number of VHF High stations (channels 7 to 13) have reported trouble reaching viewers since moving digital broadcasts to VHF High. (8/2/2010)
First a tower collapse and now an FCC dismissal are delaying The Praise Network's plans for new station KGRJ/89.9 (Chamberlain). KGRJ's original construction permit called for using the KPLO-TV/FM tower near Reliance, which collapsed earlier this year. The FCC has now denied an application to move to a tower in Chamberlain and downgrade from class C1 to C3. The commission stated that the downgrade is not allowed because The Praise Network won the CP in a competitive application process based on a larger coverage area. (8/2/2010)
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