August 2011

A little bit of radio geekiness for you: Clear Channel has completed the formal callsign changes that go along with its Twin Cities format swap. KFAN/1130 (Minneapolis) is now officially KTCN, short for "Twin Cities News/Talk." The KFAN callsign moved to the former KWEB/1270 (Rochester). The Rochester station is also owned by Clear Channel and carries "Fan" programming from what's now KFXN-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis). Clear Channel first changed KWEB to KTCN, which allowed it to swap the Minneapolis and Rochester callsigns with no risk of someone else grabbing KFAN. The KWEB callsign had been used in Rochester since 1957 and is now unassigned. (8/31/2011)

The FCC is saying no to another extension to build new station KOYD/99.1 (Gackle). The construction permit was first granted in 2006 to Andrew Watcher, who sold it to Michael Greene shortly before the original deadline to build the station in 2009. The FCC then granted Greene an eighteen-month extension. A month before that deadline, Greene applied to change the station's community of license to Tower City and asked for another extension, saying he could not find an affordable tower capable of providing city-grade service to Gackle. In a sternly-worded four-page letter, the FCC lays out numerous reasons it won't grant another extension, including the fact that a 60-day comment period is required for community of license changes but KOYD didn't apply to move until 30 days before the CP was set to expire. The CP expired in Februrary and will be deleted. (8/30/2011)

KKWE/89.9 (White Earth) is on the air carrying a variety of music until studios are completed to begin regular "Niijii Radio" programming. The station uses 60kW/97m from a tower south of the White Earth reservation, with a main coverage area including Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes. KKWE is owned by the White Earth Land Recovery Project, which also plans to sign on KNKN/88.1 (Naytahwaush) in the fall simulcasting "Niijii Radio." It's streaming at (8/30/2011)

Wireless Communications Corp. is buying translator K266AN/101.1 (Audubon) from Clint Hansen for $9,000. The new owners intend to use K266AN to rebroadcast their AM station, KJAN/1220 (Atlantic). The 250-Watt translator currently does not reach Atlantic and may have to make several moves south before it can rebroadcast KJAN. (8/26/2011)

KDAL/610 (Duluth) dropped the Glenn Beck show earlier this month. It'd carried the show in the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. timeslot for three years. The local "Dave and Dave Show" has been extended an extra hour to fill the 10 a.m. hour, while the syndicated "America's Radio News Network" is now airing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (8/26/2011)

WNAX/570 (Yankton) may be at reduced nighttime power for several months as engineers install an FM translator at the WNAX site. The station normally uses 5kW directional at night but is instead asking the FCC for special temporary authority to use 1.25kW non-directional. The change is needed because one of the towers in WNAX's directional array will be out of service while its doghouse is rebuilt to make room for the FM translator equipment. The translator in question is K259BW/99.7, which will move to 99.9 as K260BO from the WNAX site and upgrade to 250 Watts. Both stations are owned by Saga Broadcasting. WNAX will continue to use its regular 5kW non-directional during the day while the work progresses. The work is expected to be completed by the end of October. (8/26/2011)

LEW LATTO, 1940-2011:
Lew Latto Longtime Northland radio host and station owner Lew Latto died at his home Wednesday at the age of 71.

Latto had been a fixture on Northland airwaves for decades and most recently hosted a morning talk program on WDSM/710 (Superior-Duluth). He hosted the program as recently as Tuesday. Station operations manager Mark Fleischer says Latto was apparently getting ready to come to work Wednesday when he died of natural causes at his home on Fish Lake, north of Duluth.

Latto was also a station owner and still owned KRBT/1340 and WEVE/97.9 (Eveleth) and a majority of KGPZ/96.1 (Coleraine-Grand Rapids) at the time of his death.

"Lew Latto Live" was the longest-running talk show in the Northland, dating back to the early 1970's. According to a graduate thesis by another late radio legend, Roger Johnson, Latto began in radio at the age of 14 in 1954 on WKLK in Cloquet. He worked as a Top 40 announcer at WDSM, WEBC, and WAKX, and in more recent years, hosted talk shows on WEBC and WDSM.

In 1959, Latto was the emcee for a Buddy Holly concert in Duluth that also featured the "Big Bopper" and Ritchie Valens. The three died days later in an Iowa plane crash.

Latto was inducted into the Pavek Musem of Broadcasting's Hall of Fame in 2003, and, according to the museum's biography, Latto also served on the Duluth City Council for seven years, was a director of the National Association of FM Broadcasters, and is a past president of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.

WDSM and its sister station, KDAL/610 (Duluth), will air a special tribute to Latto on Thursday and Friday from 7 to 9 a.m. One of Latto's stations, KRBT, had simulcast his Duluth-based talk show and plans to carry the tribute.

Latto is survived by daughter, Caroline; son, Aaron, Aaron’s wife, Beth; two granddaughters, Paige and Nina; sister Marilew Barnidge, and her husband, Bob.

Funeral arrangements are pending. (8/24/2011, originally written for by Jon Ellis)

There's a familiar fight brewing as an FM translator applies to move to Minneapolis: it's being challenged by the owner of KNXR/97.5 (Rochester). Educational Media Foundation recently applied to move K249ED/97.7's transmitter from Maple Grove to the IDS Center, dropping from 170 Watts to 60 Watts. The application stated K249ED would relay a Clear Channel station. United Audio Corp., owner of KNXR, filed an informal objection last week. Nearly fifteen years ago, KNXR fought a well-publicized battle with another translator on 97.7 from IDS, saying it was causing interference to KNXR's signal. A translator is required to go off the air if even one listener complains it's interfering with a fully-licensed station and the complaint can't be resolved. In the end, the translator, which relayed the Chrisian Hits format of WNCB (Duluth), went off the air, and a well-known unlicensed broadcaster also joined the fun for a brief time. Jeff Sibert has also filed informal objections to the K249ED application and three other EMF applications to relocate translators to IDS. (8/22/2011)

Gary Eichten, one of Minnesota Public Radio's longest-serving employees, announced his retirement Monday. Eichten has been with MPR longer than it's been MPR, having started more than forty years ago at KSJR/90.1 (Collegeville) when it was a standalone station at Saint John's University. He has served as station manager and news director and is currently the host of "Midday," which airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. He'll retire early next year. (8/22/2011)

KTGO/1090 (Tioga) has gone off the air after losing its tower site, according to a filing with the FCC. The station went silent on July 24. KTGO, a 1,000-Watt daytimer, runs a mix of Country and Talk and primarily competes with Williston-based stations. (8/22/2011)

KGLB/1310 (Glencoe) has changed its callsign to KTWN but continues to carry Dial Global's Classic Country format. "K-Twin" was used in the Twin Cities market until the early 1980's. KTWN/1310 is the former KRBI/1310 (St. Peter), which Northern Lights Broadcasting moved to Glencoe two years ago so the current KHTC/96.3 to change its community of license from Glencoe to Edina. (8/21/2011)

The HD2 channel of KQQL/107.9 (Anoka-Minneapolis) has dropped "Kool 1-0-80's" and is now simulcasting "The Score 690" (KFXN Minneapolis). Owner Clear Channel is in the process of donating KFXN to the Minority Media Telecommunications Commission and the station's website is now redirecting to, suggesting that KQQL-HD2 will eventually be rebroadcast on translator K278BP/103.5. The translator is currently carrying KFXN-FM-HD2, which, in turn, rebroadcasts the News/Talk format of KFAN/1130. 1130's FM simulcast will eventually move to translator K273BH/102.5 once it's upgraded to 250 Watts. (8/21/2011)

VCY/America is buying two FM translators in northeastern South Dakota from Edgewater Broadcasting for $65,000. The purchase includes K239BD/95.7 (Aberdeen), K278BK/103.5 (Watertown), and $25,000 worth of equipment in Brookings. VCY, a Christian network based in Milwaukee, states the translators will relay its KVCH/90.7 (Huron). (8/19/2011)

Connoisseur Communications has filed paperwork with the FCC for the previously-reported sale of KZHZ/105.9 (Patterson-Des Moines) and KZHC/96.3 (Pleasantville) to Iowa State University (Iowa Public Radio) for $1.75 million. The deal is contingent on Connoisseur completing an upgrade of KZHC to 6kW. IPR earlier announced plans to program 24-hour Classical music on the stations and said it may shift schedules on other its stations in the area to increase the presence of its News/Talk and Adult Alternative services, likely meaning a reduction in Classical music on WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames). (8/17/2011)

The FCC has granted construction permits for a half-dozen new FM stations in the Upper Midwest, including two new commercial stations in the Dickinson, ND, market and four new non-commercial stations in Wisconsin. These had been previously reported as auction winners or tentative selectees:

  • Belfield, ND: 93.9, 100kW/254m (class C1), Williston Community Broadcasting. Dickinson market. The company is owned by Stephen Marks of Glendive, Mont., who owns several other stations in western North Dakota and eastern Montana.
  • Richardton, ND: 101.9, 26kW/177m (C2), Meadows Broadcasting. Dickinson market. The company is owned by Robert L. Meadows, Sr. of Kerrville, Texas, and Stephanie L. Meadows of Astoria, Ore.
  • Ashland, WI: 102.9, 6kW/100m (A), Northland College. Northland plans to move programming from WRNC-LP/97.7 to 102.9, which will displace a Wisconsin Public Radio translator. The WPR translator has a CP to move to 102.3.
  • Augusta, WI: 101.5, 25kW/100m (C3), Evangelical Broadcasting Group. Will use the WEAU-TV tower near Fairchild, which is being reconstructed after a collapse earlier this year. Fringe signal to Eau Claire.
  • Superior, WI: 88.5, 1kW/87m (A), Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. The WECB is one of the parent organizations of Wisconsin Public Radio and originally applied for the station in 1997. At that time, the FCC instead granted a CP for WESK/88.7 in Esko, MN. WESK was unbuilt within the required three-year window. Once the CP expired, the FCC reactivated WECB's application and granted it. The new station will likely carry WPR's "NPR News and Classical Music" network.
  • Washburn, WI: 104.7, 1.8kW/184m (A), Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Will displace a WPR translator in Ashland. (8/16/2011)

    Canadian regulators have granted a year-long reprieve to 22 analog TV stations that were slated to go silent at the end of the month, including Thunder Bay's CBLFT-18 (channel 12). The station carries the French-language Radio-Canada network. The CBC had announced plans to take the stations off the air because it couldn't afford to convert them to digital by the Aug. 31 deadline for the affected markets. Thunder Bay's other three stations converted to digital this month. (8/16/2011)

    WGBW/1590 (Two Rivers) is just days away from moving into the Green Bay market. The station is currently licensed for 1kW day and 33 Watts night, nondirectional, from Two Rivers and will move to Denmark, using 10kW day and 500 Watts night with different day and night directional patterns. The daytime facility should deliver a strong signal to Green Bay. The towers are up at the new transmitter site and radial measurements are complete, with permanent fencing expected to be installed Tuesday. WGBW's studio is being moved to the Denmark News office. The station anticipates continuing to run Citadel's "True Oldies Channel" once the move is complete. WGBW hasn't yet received program test authority from the FCC, so it broadcast from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday (Aug. 15) from the Two Rivers site and will likely be on the air again Tuesday (Aug. 16) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Two Rivers. Station president and engineer Mark Heller is overseeing the project. (8/15/2011)

    The Twin Cities saw their first FM format change in five years Monday as Clear Channel's KFAN/1130 and KTLK-FM/100.3 swapped formats ahead of the NFL season. KFAN's Sports-talk format moved to 100.3 as KFXN-FM (there's already a KFAN-FM in Texas). KTLK-FM's Conservative News/Talk format moved to 1130 as "Twin Cities News/Talk". Its callsign is still officially KFAN for now, but the station says on its Facebook page that'll be changed to KTCN later this month.

    KTLK had announced plans to rebroadcast 1130's format on Educational Media Foundation's K273BH/102.5 (Fridley), which transmits from the IDS Center in Minneapolis, but the station now says those plans have been delayed until the FCC approves an upgrade. K273BH currently uses 41 Watts, carrying EMF's "Air-1" network, and has applied to upgrade to 250 Watts. Instead, KTLK says it'll be temporarily rebroadcast on K278BP/103.5, which had relayed KFAN since last year.

    The long-term plan is apparently to convert 103.5 to "The Score," a counterpart to KFAN which has been heard on KFXN/690. The FCC recently approved Clear Channel's donation of 690 to the Minority Media Telecommunications Commission. 690's website is now redirecting to and Radio Insight reports that "Score" programming will originate on KQQL-HD2 (107.9).

    EMF has also applied to move three suburban transmitters (93.3, 97.7, and 99.9) to IDS and said they would rebroadcast Clear Channel stations. Plans for those frequencies have not yet been announced. If they do, in fact, carry Clear Channel stations, the company would have ten FM signals in Minneapolis. (8/15/2011)

    KFNL/92.7 (Kindred-Fargo) is apparently poised to return to commercial broadcasting. Mediactive, LLC, headed by Robert Ingstad, has agreed to buy the station from Northwestern College for $250,000. The deal does not include KFNL's tower near Comstock, Minn., but the buyer has entered into an agreement to lease space on the tower for KFNL. KFNL was part of the Radio Fargo-Moorhead group, now owned by James Ingstad, before it was spun off to Northwestern four years ago due to market ownership caps. Northwestern owns KFNW/1200 and KFNW-FM/97.9 and has programmed an Inspirational Christian music format on KFNL. (8/14/2011)

    The FCC has rejected a motion for stay filed by the National Translator Association, sticking with an order that all remaining low-power TV/translator stations vacate channels 52-69 by the end of the year. The channels are being discontinued as part of the nation's transition to DTV. The NTA said the notice was too short, but the FCC said stations have had the ability to file displacement applications for more than a decade. Any translator/LPTV station on channel 52-69 that has not filed to move to a different channel by Sept. 1 will be deleted on Dec. 31. The stations do not necessarily have to convert to digital (until 2015), but must vacate the discontinued channels.

    Stations facing deletion if no application is filed by Sept. 1:
    Iowa: K56AF Clarinda
    Michigan: W67CS Sault Ste. Marie
    Minnesota: K52DZ Alexandria, K55ID Alexandria, K58DS/K57JX-D Alexandria, K67CT Grand Marais, K53CQ-D International Falls, K52GU Redwood Falls, K56HW Rochester, K52AM-D Roseau, K56AH Windom, K58AF Windom, K60AD Windom, K62AI Windom, K64AK Windom
    North Dakota: None
    Nebraska: K56FC Grand Island
    South Dakota: K59BL Ipswich, K57BX Lake Andes, K56AX Lowry, K62AV Lowry, K68BM Lowry, K56GF Sioux Falls
    Wisconsin: W56AB Darlington (8/14/2011)

    The FCC has formally deleted the license of KXGM/850 (Waterloo), which had been off the air for more than a year. The 500-Watt daytimer, formerly KWOF, had carried Christian formats for decades. Owner Extreme Grace Media took it off the air due to the sale of its tower site. (8/8/2011)

    Weigel Broadcasting's WBME-TV (Milwaukee) will carry "Bounce TV," according to a press release. The network targetting African-Americans is due to launch Sept. 26. It would presumably be carried on either 49.2 or 49.3, which both currently carry test patterns labelled "Future." (8/8/2011)

    Clear Channel has confirmed rumors of a format swap in Minneapolis, with KFAN/1130 and KTLK-FM/100.3 set to trade places on Aug. 15. KTLK's Conservative News/Talk format will be known as "Twin Cities News/Talk" after the move to 1130 and will be rebroadcast on Educational Media Foundation's translator K273BH/102.5 (Fridley), which transmits from the IDS Center and currently carries EMF's "Air-1" network. K273BH uses 41 Watts and has applied to upgrade to 250 Watts. There was no mention of plans for 50-Watt translator K278BP/103.5 (Cottage Grove), which transmits from the IDS Center carrying KFAN. The move to FM could give KFAN's Sports format a competitive advantage in its battle with Hubbard's "1500 ESPN" (KSTP). The change could create a callsign conundrum, however, since there's already a KFAN-FM in rural Texas. (8/8/2011)

    BRUCE ELVING, 1935-2011:
    Dr. Bruce F. Elving of Adolph, Minn., longtime publisher of the "FM Atlas" and well-known FM DX'er, died July 24 at the age of 76. Elving's directory of FM stations, which reached its 21st edition last year, has been the Bible for FM DX'ers and radio hobbyists for decades. Elving is survived by his wife Carol and three daughters. A memorial service will be held Aug. 8 in Duluth. (8/7/2011)

    LEO GRECO, 1921-2011:
    Leo Greco, longtime host of the "Variety Time" program on WMT/600 (Cedar Rapids), died Aug. 2 at the age of 89. A World War II veteran, Greco had appeared regularly on WMT for sixty years and hosted "Variety Time" since 1973. Services were held Aug. 6, and WMT broadcast a special edition of "Variety Time" honoring Greco the following day. WMT has also posted a special page about Greco's life on its website. (8/7/2011)

    Iowa Public Radio has announced plans to buy two Des Moines-area stations to carry 24-hour Classical programming. The Board of Regents has already approved the plan to pay Connoisseur Communications $1.75 million for KZHZ/105.9 (Patterson) and KZHC/96.3 (Pleasantville), though the deal had not been filed with the FCC as of Friday's database.

    Connoisseur paid $3.85 million for the frequencies in a 2004 FCC auction. It first signed them on in 2008 simulcasting Classic Country, but the stations were on and off for several years until 105.9 upgraded to its current rimshot signal of Des Moines and launched a Rhythmic Contemporary Hits format earlier this year. KZHC is silent.

    IPR's press release refers to KZHZ/KZHC as a "a stronger, reliable FM signal," though it's worth noting that the two stations actually have considerably smaller coverage areas and weaker signals in Des Moines than IPR's WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames). KZHZ's main coverage area doesn't include the entire metro area and may be difficult to receive on portable receivers. Here's a map comparing FCC-defined main coverage areas for KZHZ/KZHC with WOI-FM. Neither KZHZ nor KZHC can be upgraded to become core Des Moines signals due to existing stations.

    IPR's Classical network is currently heard 17 hours per day on WOI-FM. The network did not announce any specific plans for WOI-FM but said the addition of KZHZ/KZHC would "allow IPR to reevaluate other signals serving the area to expand news and alternative music programming and eliminate redundancy." Besides WOI-FM, the other Des Moines-area signals are WOI/640, which carries IPR's News/Talk service fulltime, and a translator at 101.7, which relays News/Talk during the day and "Studio One" Adult Alternative at night from KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls).

    IPR also has a construction permit for a new station on 91.7 in Perry, which could provide some coverage to Des Moines and Ames. The CP was due to expire last year but the FCC has tolled the expiration pending administrative review.

    On another topic, IPR's press release also mentions that its new Sioux City station (89.9) is expected to sign on next year. (8/7/2011)

    Winnipeg's 99.1 "Groove FM" (CJGV-FM) is asking Canadian regulators for permission to drop the Smooth Jazz portion of its playlist and go with a straight Adult Contemporary format. Owner Corus Ltd. tells the CRTC the Smooth Jazz format is no longer viable in Winnipeg and it has suffered significant financial losses. As an AC station, CJGV would compete head-on with Rogers' 102.3 "Clear FM" (CKY-FM). The CRTC extended CJGV's license by two months, with an expiration date of Oct. 31, pending consideration of the proposed format adjustment and concerns about a possible underpayment of Canadian talent development funds in two recent broadcast years. (8/7/2011)

    Longtime Duluth TV anchor Dennis Anderson is returning to the anchor chair as co-host of the weekly public affairs show "Almanac North" on PBS member station WDSE/8. Anderson retired in May from ABC affiliate WDIO/10, where he had worked for most of the past four decades. Anderson was also one of the original hosts of "Almanac North." He makes his debut with co-host Julie Zenner on Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. (8/7/2011)

    In a followup to a story posted here last month, Minnesota Valley Broadcasting is buying translator K274AL/102.7 (Mankato) from Refuge Media Group for $100,000. The deal will also allow Refuge Media Group to use a Minnesota Valley Broadcasting tower near Lake Crystal for K204FA/88.7 (Nicollet) for up to 35 years. A recent application to correct K274AL's coordinates indicated it would begin relaying Minnesota Valley's KTOE/1420. (8/7/2011)

    93.7 "The Ticket" (KNTK Firth-Lincoln) is poised for an official launch on Aug. 8, though it's been testing since last week. The station will carry FOX Sports Radio. It uses 6kW from a tower south of town, providing a rimshot signal to the capital city. KNTK is a standalone station owned by Home Field Communications, which bought it from VSS Catholic Communications. (8/7/2011)

    New translator W281AV/104.1 (Sheboygan) is on the air relaying the Christian Hits format of "Q90" (WORQ/90.1 Green Bay). It's the sixth Christian radio translator in Sheboygan. (8/7/2011)

    A belated mention that NBC affliate WEAU-TV/13 (Eau Claire) is back on the air on channel 13, using a temporary transmitter from its studio in Eau Claire. WEAU's tower near Fairchild collapsed earlier this year, and the station's programming has been carried on WQOW/18.3 (Eau Claire) and WLAX/25.2 (La Crosse) since a few days after the collapse. (8/7/2011)

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