The Minnesota State Fair is normally dominated by Twin Cities, rather than Minnesota, media, but visitors are encountering some "Greater Minnesota" voices this year. The Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations (Ampers) has set up a booth featuring live broadcasts by member stations from around the state. Stations participating include KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud), KFAI/90.3 (Minneapolis), KBEM/88.5 (Minneapolis), KKWE/89.9 (White Earth), KQAL/89.5 (Winona), WTIP/90.7 (Grand Marais), KUMD/103.3 (Duluth), and KMSU/89.7 (Mankato). Also new at the fair this year are KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis), a joint booth for "La Raza" (KMNV/1400 St. Paul) and "Telemundo Minnesota" (KJNK-LD/25 Minneapolis), and Twin Cities Public Television. The fair started August 27 and continues through Labor Day. (8/31/2015)
After just eight months, "The Party" has ended at W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee) and WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee) in favor of Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel format. The change took place on Tuesday (8/25). The AM/translator combo, owned by the Milwaukee Radio Alliance, had launched a `70s-`80s-based Rhythmic Oldies format after stunting with all-Christmas last year. (8/30/2015)
WYKX/104.7 (Escanaba) is operating at greatly reduced power after its tower collapsed during a storm last Thursday (8/20) morning. The station, which normally uses 100kW, tells the FCC it returned to the air about 12 hours after the collapse using a 174-Watt transmitter and a one-bay antenna from a high-rise building. It's requesting a 90 day special temporary authority. WYKX is owned by KMB Broadcasting and carries a Country format known as "Kix Country." (8/24/2015)
Conservative Talk station WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) is poised to get an FM translator. Station owner Stewards of Sound is buying the construction permit for translator W276CP/103.1 (Bloomer) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $22,000. The current CP for W276CP calls for transmitting from a site north of Eau Claire, but it has applied to move to the Hallie area midway between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and rebroadcast WOGO. (8/2142015)
iHeartMedia has debuted an Alternative format on its first HD2/translator combo in the Quad Cities. "Alt 104.5" launched on Friday afternoon on K283BV/104.5 (Davenport) and the HD2 signal of WLLR/103.7 (Davenport). The 250-Watt translator signal is enough to reach most of the population of the Quad Cities. (8/21/2015)
Quincy Newspapers intends to move the Duluth CBS affiliation to a subchannel of NBC affiliate KBJR/6 (Superior-Duluth) if the FCC approves Quincy's purchase of KBJR, according to a recent amendment to the proposed sale. KDLH/3 (Duluth), which has carried CBS since 1955 has been run by KBJR since 2005, would become a primary CW affiliate owned and operated by SagamoreHill Broadcasting.
The new plan is the second change to Quincy's efforts to buy KBJR from Granite Broadcasting, along with satellite KRII/11 (Chisholm) and stations in the Peoria, Fort Wayne, and Binghamton markets. A month after the original deal was filed last year, the FCC approved new rules on joint sales agreements (JSA's) that ban agreements like the current KBJR-KDLH setup. In light of the new rules, Quincy and Granite modified their original deal late last year to remove SagamoreHill as a buyer of KDLH and WPTA/21 (Fort Wayne), with plans for Malara Broadcast Group to retain ownership of the stations and have Quincy assume Granite's agreement to run them. But the FCC had still not acted on the license transfer applications, and Quincy formally withdrew an application associated with the second plan last week.
Under the new plan, which the parties say comes "after consultations with Media Bureau staff and in response to concerns raised by the staff," operations would continue as they currently exist for nine months after closing. After nine months, the Duluth CBS affiliation would move to a KBJR subchannel and SagamoreHill would assume day-to-day operations of CW affiliate KDLH with its own management, operations, and sales staffs. KBJR would retain its MyNetworkTV subchannel in addition to its NBC affiliation.
Elsewhere, Quincy would move Fort Wayne's NBC and MNT affiliations to subchannels of ABC affiliate WPTA, and the current Fort Wayne NBC affiliate (WISE-TV/27) would become a CW affiliate owned by SagamoreHill. The document does not specify whether Quincy will retain more than one affiliation in Peoria, where the Granite station currently operates two other stations that will establish their own sales forces. The Binghamton station has no JSA.
Even if the stations were not being sold, the new FCC rules would require the existing JSA's to be unwound by the end of next year, unless the rules are overturned by Congress or the courts.
Regular readers may recall that Gray TV recently made similar moves in North Dakota, where the Fargo CBS and Bismarck FOX affiliations were moved to subchannels and the former affiliates were sold off to other groups. (8/19/2015)
CBS affiliates WISC-TV/3.1 (Madison) and WKBT/8.1 (La Crosse-Eau Claire) are off DISH Network amid a retransmission consent dispute, which began last Thursday. The outage affects about 23 counties in Wisconsin and two in Minnesota. The stations are owned by Morgan Murphy Media. (8/18/2015)
There are now two competing Classic Hip-Hop/R&B formats in the Twin Cities after Cumulus Media flipped "Sports Radio 105 The Ticket" to the format on Friday afternoon.
"105 The Vibe" has a lineup of syndicated personalities including Tony Zazza, Ms EKlass, and Zakk. It's made up of WGVZ/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis), WGVX/105.1 (Lakeville), and WRXP/105.3 (Cambridge) and competes directly with iHeartMedia's two-month-old "Hot 102.5," heard on K273BH/102.5 (Fridley-Minneapolis) and the HD3 signal of KTCZ/97.1 (Minneapolis).
The format, which has shown ratings spikes in other markets since its debut last year, focuses on Hip-Hop and R&B hits of the 1990's and 2000's. It's a strange twist of fate that two companies are competing for the Classic Hip-Hop/R&B audience while no commercial station in the market actually focuses on current Hip-Hop/R&B. Songs that cross over into the Top 40 are played on iHeartMedia's KDWB/101.3 (Richfield-Minneapolis) but others are only played on non-commercial KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis).
"Vibe" is the ninth format the three 105 signals have aired since being paired up two decades ago. "105 The Ticket" aired CBS Sports Radio and was, by far, the lowest-rated of the eight previous formats, barely registering a measurable audience in the most recent Nielsen Audio survey in the face of competition from two other all-Sports formats.
Coverage has always been a challenge for the 105's. Though 105.7 now transmits from the IDS Center and the other signals cover the southern and far northern suburbs, the three stations combined still only provide a good (60 dbu) signal to about two-thirds of the market. However, that's still more than 102.5 reaches with its 250-Watt signal from IDS. (8/14/2015)
KMEG/14.2 (Sioux City) is now carrying Decades, replacing Grit TV, which moved to KPTH/44.3 (Sioux City). Both channels had earlier carried Azteca America. KMEG and KPTH are operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group and carry CBS and FOX on their primary channels, along with a mix of This TV and MyNetworkTV on 44.2. (8/12/2015)
Quincy Newspapers is bringing Decades TV to its Wisconsin stations, according to the Decades website. It's listing a Sept. 2 start date for Decades programming on WKOW/27.3 (Madison), WAOW/9.3 (Wausau), WXOW/19.3 (La Crosse), and WQOW/18.3 (Eau Claire). The channels all currently carry ThisTV. All of the stations are primary ABC affiliates. (8/12/2015)
Madison has two new DTV subchannels with the recent addition of Movies! and H&I TV on channels 57.2 and 57.3 of WBUW (Janesville-Madison). Both networks are owned by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. WBUW is a primary CW affiliate. (8/12/2015)
Results Broadcasting is buying the construction permit for translator W237ED/95.3 (Iron Mountain) from David Stout for $19,000. The CP is for a 250-Watt translator broadcasting from a tower owned by the buyer. Results, owned by Bruce Grassman, owns three FM stations in the market and states on the application that W237ED will relay WHTO/106.7 (Iron Mountain). (8/11/2015)
KJGT/88.3 (Waconia) is now carrying "Kinship Christian Radio" programming from KJLY/104.5 (Blue Earth) following KJLY owner Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting's purchase of the station from Jagerita Radio. The previous owner had programmed a local music mix on the station since signing it on in 2012. KJGT covers the far southwestern Twin Cities suburbs and is the farthest-north full-power station of KJLY's network, which now includes seven full-power stations and 13 translators stretching from the Twin Cities to central Iowa. (8/11/2015)
KJRC/89.9 (Rapid City) is now carrying Catholic programming from Real Presence Radio following the North Dakota-based network's purchase of the station from Family Stations. It had previously carried Family Radio as KQFR. The FCC has also approved an upgrade from the present 2.3kW/562m to 25kW/494m, remaining at Terry Peak but improving coverage of Rapid City. (8/11/2015)
WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee) is fighting plans by WREY/630 (St. Paul) to upgrade, saying the proposed new facility would cause interference to WTMJ's nighttime signal in the Green Bay area. WTMJ filed an informal objection alleging that WREY failed to conduct a full nighttime interference study. WREY is proposing a new three-tower array near the oil refinery in Rosemount, which would use 5kW daytime and 2.8kW nighttime with the same northward directional antenna pattern day and night. The station currently uses 1kW day and 2.5kW night from the WCTS/1030 (Maplewood) site in Woodbury, the latest in a series of facilities since 630's longtime site on Radio Drive in Woodbury was sold for development in 1994. WTMJ had also objected to an application from WREY, then WDGY, in 2002 for similar interference concerns, which prompted changes to that application. WREY is owned by Greg Borgen and runs a Regional Mexican/Tropical format as "Radio Rey." (8/10/2015)
A lightning strike has greatly reduced the power at KBPY/107.7 (Hay Springs-Chadron). KBPY normally uses 50kW/144m from a tower near Hay Springs but is now using just 46 Watts at -15m, enough to cover Chadron but not other areas. The station says the lightning strike destroyed its antenna and it may take more than a half-year to submit an insurance claim and install a new antenna. KBPY signed on in 2011 and carries a mainstream Rock format. It and KCSR/610 (Chadron) are owned by Kathleen R. Brown's Chadrad Communications. (8/7/2015)
Seehafer Broadcasting is buying two more radio stations in Manitowoc, a move that will give it ownership of all six stations in the local market. Seehafer will pay Cub Radio $925,000 for Country WCUB/980 (Manitowoc) and Classic Hits WLTU/92.1 (Manitowoc). The deal was filed two days after Seehafer's $380,000 purchase of Easy Listening WEMP/98.9 (Two Rivers) from Mark Heller's Metro North Communications received FCC approval. Seehafer already owns Full Service WOMT/1240 (Manitowoc), Classic Rocker WQTC/102.3 (Manitowoc), and Adult Contemporary WLKN/98.1 (Cleveland-Manitowoc). (8/7/2015)
Red Rock Radio's WXCX/105.7 (Siren, WI) has flipped to "The Fan," dropping a four-year-old "Sam FM" Variety Hits format. WXCX is the first Wisconsin-licensed station to carry the FAN Network, which originates at iHeartMedia's KFXN-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis). WXCX carries NBC Sports Radio at night and is also a Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Wild affiliate. NBC Sports Radio also airs on Red Rock's WCMP/1350 (Pine City, MN), which is where WXCX's studio is located. It is the seventh of Red Rock's 25 stations to flip to a Sports format in the past year. The station provides the only city-grade signal to much of Burnett County, which has a small year-round population but attracts an influx of cabin owners from the Twin Cities during the summer. (Some Twin Cities visitors may find it confusing, though, since a competing Sports station airs on 105.7 in the metro - at least for now.) (8/5/2015)
ALPHA MEDIA BUYS DIGITY:
Alpha Media announced Tuesday that its buying 116 radio stations in 26 markets from Digity, LLC, including more than 50 stations in the Upper Midwest. The purchase price, according to a document filed with the FCC, is $264 million, subject to adjustment. Digity's local markets include former Three Eagles, GoodRadio.TV, and NextMedia groups in Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell/Newton, and Mason City, Iowa; Albert Lea/Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls, Minnesota; Columbus and Lincoln, Nebraska; Brookings, Madison, and Watertown, South Dakota; and Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Complete listings of the Digity stations are available in the radio market and radio station listings under "regional resources.") Alpha will own 251 stations in 47 markets once the deal is complete, making it one of the largest radio group owners by number of stations. (8/4/2015, updated with purchase price 8/12)
The FCC has reinstated the license of translator K238AN/95.5 (Ames) after granting the station's petition for reconsideration. The license had been deleted earlier this year after a mitake on a 2012 license renewal application that said K238AN was off the air. Owner Fourthstream Media says the station was never actually off the air when it was licensed. The translator had previously relayed Contemporary Christian "Pulse 99.5" (KPUL-FM Winterset-Des Moines); a notice posted its website indicates K238AN is off the air because of "technical and filing issues" following KPUL-FM's move to 101.7 earlier this year. (8/4/2015)
NEW LOW-POWER FM'S ON THE AIR:
DTV America is picking up a handful of low-power TV stations in the Upper Midwest from Three Angels Broadcasting Network as part of an 32-station, $3 million deal. The regional stations included are K20KF-D Davenport; W39DD-D Dodge Center, MN; K48NP-D Duluth; K25NK-D Rochester; K26JQ-D Lincoln; K25MM-D Omaha; and W30BU Green Bay. The Dodge Center and Duluth stations are not yet on the air, and the Green Bay station has not yet been converted to digital. DTV America operates the Minneapolis Telemundo affiliate and hold dozens of CP's for new LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest. (8/3/2015)
The FCC recently granted construction permits for several new FM stations in Iowa:
Asbury/Dubuque: Canton (Illinois) Seventh-Day Adventist Church received a CP for a new non-commercial station on 98.7 in Asbury after being tentatively selected earlier this year. The new class A station will use 3.5kW/133m from southeast of Dubuque. Three other groups had also applied for the frequency, but the FCC said they all failed to meet a requirement that the frequency provide the first or second non-commercial service to at least 10 percent of the population in its coverage area. The permittee operates an existing station near Peoria.
Des Moines: The University of Northwestern-St. Paul received a CP for a translator on 100.7. K264BD will transmit from the KCCI-TV building in downtown Des Moines with 99 Watts. It will rebroadcast the Contemporary Christian format of "Life 107.1" (KNWI Osceola), which is also relayed by KNWM/96.1 (Madrid).
Iowa City: Extend the Dream Foundation received a CP for a 100-Watt low-power FM station on 105.3. (8/1/2015)
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