September 2012

WIXK/1590 (New Richmond) has dropped Citadel's Real Country format, which it had carried for decades, and is now relaying "Thunder Country 95.7" (WDMO Baldwin), but the simulcast is only temporary. All Access reported in August that WDMO owner Zoe Communications is buying WIXK from Hubbard Broadcasting, though the deal has not shown up in the FCC database. Zoe's website lists WIXK as "Real News AM 1590" and All Access has separately reported that the station has signed up for several syndicated talk shows. WIXK was relaying WDMO as of Saturday afternoon. The consolidation of the two stations restores an AM-FM combo that was split up when the former WIXK-FM/107.1 moved into the Twin Cities market a decade ago. WDMO recently moved to Baldwin from Durand. Baldwin and New Richmond are in fast-growing St. Croix County, which is part of the Minneapolis market, but the two stations do not reach most people in the Twin Cities metro area. (9/30/2012)

Bounce TV has made its anticipated debut in the Twin Cities on WFTC/29.3. 29.2, which actually comes from the RF signal of sister station KMSP/9, continues to simulcast the lineup of My Network TV and syndicated programming from 29.1. (9/26/2012)

Albert Broadcasting is buying translator W265BF/100.9 (Tomahawk) from WRVM, Inc. for $25,000. The application states the translator will switch from WRVM to Albert Broadcasting's WJJQ/810, which carries ESPN Radio. The deal is contingent on the FCC approving an application to move W265BF to WJJQ's tower site, which also includes a frequency change to 100.7. WRVM, a regional Christian broadcaster, no longer needs the Tomahawk translator after the sign-on of WHJL/88.1 (Merrill). (9/24/2012)

A belated note that translator K298BM/107.5 (Cedar Rapids) is on the air relaying the programming of ESPN affiliate KGYM/1600, ID'ing as KZIA-HD4. KGYM is already relayed on KZIA-HD3 (102.9), which is rebroadcast on a translator in Iowa City. Having separate HD3 and HD4 feeds will allow the translators to air different games. KGYM/KZIA owner KZIA, Inc. bought the translator from Extreme Grace Media, which moved it in from Williamsburg. (9/24/2012)

KROC-FM/106.9 (Rochester) is at reduced power due to transmitter issues, according to posts on its Facebook page. The 100kW station transmits from the KTTC-TV tower near the Iowa border and normally has a good signal to Austin, Albert Lea, and Mason City. (9/24/2012)

The price for Midwest Communications' purchase of Radio Fargo-Moorhead is $25 million, according to document filed with the FCC. See below for more details. (9/20/2012)

WRJC-FM/92.1 (Mauston) has shifted from Adult Contemporary to Hot AC as "Now 92-1" following a sale to Murphy's Law Media Group, LLC. The station continues a live and local presentation, including local news. WRJC/1270, which also has a translator at 92.9, carries a Soft Oldies format. (9/19/2012)

The CBC and TV Ontario may have turned off their transmitters in Sault Ste. Marie, but Global apparently wants to stick around. The CRTC has approved a plan to convert Global rebroadcaster CIII-TV-12 to digital, broadcasting on channel 15 with 6kW. The transmitter relays Global Toronto station CIII-DT/41. CTV and CHCH also remain on the air in analog in Sault Ste. Marie, and viewers with rooftop antennas can also receive the major U.S. networks. (9/19/2012)

Midwest Communications is continuing its expansion with the purchase of the six-station Radio Fargo-Moorhead group from Jim Ingstad. The group includes Sports KVOX/740, News/Talk KFGO/790, Contemporary Hits "Y94" (WDAY-FM/93.7), Country "Bob 95" (KBVB/95.1 Barnesville, MN), News/Talk KRWK/101.9, and Adult Contemporary/Variety Hits 104.7 "Popster FM" (KMJO Hope). Midwest, based in Wausau, is also in the process of buying a radio group in Sioux Falls and will have 62 stations in 14 markets once the Sioux Falls and Fargo purchases are complete. This is not the first time Jim Ingstad has sold the Fargo stations: Jim and Tom Ingstad sold the group to Clear Channel for $46.3 million in 2000, and Jim Ingstad bought it back for $14 million in 2007. The latest sale price, revealed in a document filed with the FCC, is $25 million. (9/18/2012, updated with sale price 9/20)

"Y93" (KYYY/92.9 Bismarck) has reverted to a mainstream Contemporary Hits format after years in the Adult Contemporary/Hot Adult Contemporary genre. The Clear Channel station keeps its "Y93" slogan with an updated logo, and Elvis Duran replaces John Tesh in the morning. "Y93" is taking on Townsquare Media's "Hot 97-5" (KKCT Bismarck). The market no longer has any AC or Hot AC station. (9/17/2012)

Iowa State University, one of the parent organizations of Iowa Public Radio, is seeking a waiver of FCC rules to upgrade future station KNSX/97.1 (Moville) to provide a stronger signal to Sioux City. The current construction permit calls for 5.2kW/109m (class A) and the application is to upgrade to 11.8kW/149m (class C3) from a site 8.5km closer to Sioux City. ISU says the proposed facility is compliant with minimum distance separations, but needs a waiver to be approved since the FCC selected ISU for the original CP, in part, because more than ten percent of people in the new station's coverage area have access to only one other non-commercial station. Though the proposed facility would still reach everyone reached under the current CP, the addition of more population to the west pushes the number of people who have access to only one other non-commercial station below ten percent. ISU says a waiver would be in the public interest. It also has a construction permit for new station KHGM/88.9 (Sioux City). (9/14/2012)

The FCC has announced plans for the next auction of new FM stations, and it could shake up the Thunder Bay, Ontario market. The allotments up for bidding include 92.7, 96.9, and 102.7 in Grand Portage, MN, which all have the potential to serve Thunder Bay, a city of more than 100,000 with five commercial radio stations. (Markets of the same size in the U.S. typically have two or three times as many stations.) 92.7 and 102.7 are allotted as full class C (100kW/600m) stations, while 96.9 is C0 (100kW/450m). Strangely enough, since there are so few people on the U.S. side of the border, the FCC has set minimum bids for the three allotments at the lowest level of the auction, $750. Auction No. 94 is tentatively set to begin March 24, 2013. (9/12/2012)

Besides the three Minnesota allotments listed above, there are several future South Dakota and Wisconsin FM stations up for bid in the next FCC auction:

  • Edgemont, SD: 105.7 C1 (100kW/300m), $3,500.
  • Rosebud, SD: 99.3 C (100kW/600m), $2,500. There were no bidders in the last auction and the minimum bid has been reduced.
  • Crandon, WI: 103.1 A (6kW/100m), $1,500. Eclectic Enterprises had a construction permit for this allocation in the 1990s but never built it, and there were no bidders in the last auction and the minimum bid has been reduced.
  • Tigerton, WI: 106.9 A (6kW/100m), $5,000. There were no bidders in the last auction and the minimum bid has been reduced.
  • Tomahawk, WI: 100.9 C3 (25kW/100m), $10,000.
    Auction No. 94 is tentatively set to begin March 24, 2013. Here is a complete list of allotments up for bid and here is the full FCC announcement. (9/12/2012)

    Pardon still more coverage of Iowa Public Radio's changes this week: IPR has changed the callsigns of seven News & Studio One (Adult Alternative) stations. KTPR/91.1 (Fort Dodge) is now KNSH, KWOI/90.1 (Carroll) is now KNSC, KOWI/97.9 (Lamoni) is now KNSL, KUNY/91.5 (Mason City) is now KNSM, KDUB/89.7 (Dubuque) is now KNSY, KDWI/89.1 (Ottumwa) is now KNSZ, and KWNJ/91.1 (Bettendorf) is now KNSB. The changes came as WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames-Des Moines) switched from News/Classical to News & Studio One, keeping its historic callsign. Meanwhile, WOI-FM's HD2 signal is now carrying IPR's Classical service (see below for earlier coverage). (9/11/2012, added more changes 9/12)

    Updating the story from last week about Iowa Public Radio's station switches in central Iowa (see below), the network has confirmed in a press release about the switch that future station KICG/91.7 (Perry) will carry IPR's Classical network when it signs on. KICG will fill in a gap in Classical network coverage in the Ames and Boone areas after WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames) switched from News/Classical to News/Adult Alternative. There's no indication when KICG will sign on; its construction permit was already due to have expired but the FCC has tolled the expiration. (9/10/2012)

    KYSM/1230 (Mankato) is in line to get an FM translator. KYSM owner Minnesota Valley Broadcasting is buying translator K273BQ/102.5 (Blue Earth) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $35,000. The application to transfer the license states K273BQ will rebroadcast non-commercial KTIS-FM/98.5 (Minneapolis) for now but the attached asset purchase agreement states that the current owner will file an application to move K273BQ to Mankato to relay KYSM. The translator is currently licensed to transmit from Winnebago, north of Blue Earth, and the sale is contingent on the move to Mankato being approved. KYSM carries a Sports format and its sister station, News/Oldies-formatted KTOE/1420, already has an FM translator. (9/10/2012)

    Milwaukee now has three Contemporary Hits stations after Saga Broadcasting flipped WZBK/106.9 (Brookfield) to Rhythmic CHR as "Energy 106.9" on Friday. The station had carred a Classic Country format for a little over two years. It made the switch to "Energy" just after 10 a.m. Friday (9/7) with a pledge to play 10,069 songs in a row. "Energy 106.9" competes with Entercom's 103.7 "Kiss FM" (WXSS Wauwatosa) and Clear Channel's 97.3 "Radio Now" (WRNW); 106.9's 4.4kW (class A) signal is the weakest of the three. The existence of three CHR's in the market is quite a turn from the height of the format's doldrums in the mid-1990s when Milwaukee had no mainstream CHR outlet. Milwaukee still has a Classic Country outlet, Clear Channel's AM 920 "The Wolf" (WOKY). (9/7/2012)

    Iowa Public Radio plans to make changes to several Des Moines-area stations on Monday (Sept. 10), sending Classical music to weaker signals and upgrading IPR's News & Studio One service, which carries News/Talk programming by day and Adult Alternative music in the evening and overnight. WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames-Des Moines) will begin carrying News & Studio One, dropping its decades-old News/Classical format, while KICJ/88.9 (Mitchellville) and translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) will carry IPR's 24-hour Classical network. The Classical service is also heard on KICP/105.9 (Patterson-Des Moines) and KICL/96.3 (Pleasantville). The four combined signals do not reach all parts of WOI-FM's 100kW coverage area, most notably Ames. IPR has a construction permit for new station KICG/91.7 (Perry), which could serve Ames, and its callsign suggests it may also carry the Classical service. However, it is not mentioned in IPR's announcement. IPR's third service, News, is carried full-time on WOI/640 (Ames) and simulcasts with the News & Studio One network from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (9/7/2012)

    KWSD/36.1 (Sioux Falls) will become an affiliate of Me-TV on Sept. 10, when KWSD's current CW+ affiliation moves to KSFY/13.2. KWSD will be Me-TV's 13th Upper Midwest affiliate and one of the network's only primary, full-power affiliates nationwide. Me-TV carries classic TV shows from the 1950's to 1980's with no paid programming. KWSD also carries Retro TV on 36.2. (9/7/2012)

    CBS and NBC launched duelling sports radio networks on Tuesday, and NBC Sports Radio has more affiliates in the Upper Midwest at the outset. NBC Sports Radio's initial offerings are be live programming from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Central time and updates at the top and bottom of the hour around the clock. No Upper Midwest station is listed as carrying the entire NBC Sports Radio lineup, but stations that are carrying some of the updates include Minneapolis' 100.3 "The Fan" (KFXN-FM) and Milwaukee's 920 "The Wolf" (WOKY). Meanwhile, CBS Sports Radio isn't due to begin long-form programming until January, but one-minute updates are being offered during the daytime for now. KBGG/1700 (Des Moines) is the only announced CBS Sports Radio affiliate in the Upper Midwest. CBS and NBC compete with ESPN, FOX, Yahoo!, and Sports Byline USA in the crowded sports radio field, not to mention sportscasts offered by news networks such as ABC and AP. (9/7/2012)

    It turns out a construction permit for a new AM station in the Twin Cities area won't be built. The FCC has cancelled Langer Broadcasting's CP for a new station on 1200 licensed to Chanhassen at Langer's request; no further details about the decision are available on the FCC website. The new station would've used 1.3kW nondirectional daytime and 1kW directional nighttime from a four-tower array just west of Chanhassen, providing a strong signal to the southwestern suburbs and fringe coverage to the rest of the metro, and faced a February 18, 2013 deadline to sign on. Langer Broadcasting is owned by Alexander G. Langer of Boston, who owns several AM stations in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. (9/6/2012)

    The CRTC announced this week that it will hold a hearing on numerous applications from Manitoba on Nov. 7 in Gatineau, Quebec:

    The CBC is seeking a full move to FM for Première Chaîne station CKSB/1050 (St-Boniface), which acts as the flagship station for the french-language network in Manitoba. CKSB currently has a rebroadcasting FM transmitter on 90.5 in Winnipeg. The application seeks to turn off both 1050 and 90.5 and move CKSB to 88.1 with 100kW/223m. (CBC Radio One station CBW/990, which has a secondary transmitter on 89.3, has not applied for any changes.)

    Nostalgia Broadcasting Cooperative is seeking a permanent license for CJNU-FM, which currently operates with 50 Watts on 107.9 under a special events license. The nature of the license requires CJNU's broadcasts to leave the air every 28 days, with each 28-day timeframe on the air on behalf of a non-profit group. The Cooperative seeks a regular license on 93.7 with 460W/112m and promises to continue the locally-originated format currently heard on 107.9.

    Golden West Broadcasting wants to add a third station in Steinbach. The new station would carry a Country format on 88.5 with 61kW/117m. Golden West also owns Easy Listening CHSM/1250 and Adult Contemporary CILT-FM/96.7 (Steinbach), and also promotes its CHVN-FM/95.1 (Winnipeg) in Steinbach.

    Arctic Radio wants to add FM transmitters for its CFAR/590 (Flin Flon), CHTM/610 (Thompson), and CJAR/1240 (The Pas). Technically, Arctic Radio is asking to "move" the stations to low-wattage FM facilities but keep the AM stations on the air in a simulcast. The FM stations would all broadcast on 102.9 with 190 to 250 Watts. The stations would keep their existing Adult Contemporary formats.

    More details and links to ZIP files of the applications are available in this Notice of Hearing. (9/6/2012)

    PBS station KSMQ/15.1 (Austin-Rochester) has returned to the air after a tower used for its studio-transmitter link collapsed during a storm early Wednesday (9/5). No one was injured. The station was able to return to the air around 8 p.m. after receiving help from NBC affiliate KTTC/10 (Rochester). The collapsed 440-foot tower in Austin was formerly used for KSMQ's analog signal, but the station now transmits from a tower near Grand Meadow. KSMQ's website, which provided the photo at the right, is already collecting donations to pay for a new tower. (9/5/2012)

    Entercom's WCHY/105.1 (Waunakee-Madison) has dropped its seven-year-old Variety Hits "Charlie FM" format for Hot Adult Contemporary as "Mix 105.1." The switch came at 2 p.m. Tuesday (9/4) and no announcements have been made regarding on-air staff. "Mix" has no direct competition in the market and fits musically between Mid-West Management's "Magic 98" (WMGN) and Clear Channel's "Z104" (WZEE). Clear Channel previously used the "Mix" slogan on WXXM/92.1 (Sun Prairie-Madison) from 2002 to 2004. (9/4/2012)

    The FCC has approved the sale of My Network TV station WACY/32.1 (Appleton-Green Bay) to Journal Communications. Journal also owns NBC 26 (WGBA Green Bay), which has operated WACY since 1994 through a local marketing agreement. Journal sought to turn the operation into a fully-owned duopoly a year after LIN TV, owner of FOX 11 (WLUK Green Bay), was able to buy CW 14 (WCWF Suring-Green Bay) through a failing station waiver. The FCC approved the same type of waiver for WACY based on the station's performance prior to the 1994 LMA. Journal will purchase WACY from Ace TV Corp. for $2,037,500. The outright ownership of two TV stations would not otherwise be allowed in the Green Bay market because it has fewer than eight TV owners. (9/4/2012)

    Community radio station KHOI/89.1 (Story City-Ames) has signed on. The new station uses 2.75kW/77m from a tower along I-35 south of Story City, providing a strong signal to Ames. The station's website says its programming is largely automated for now but more local programming is planned for the future. Community radio experts from several other stations came to assist with the construction of KHOI. The new station's sign-on forced Family Radio translator K206AW/89.1 (Ames) to leave the air; Family Radio says in an FCC filing that it's looking for a new frequency. (9/4/2012)

    Clear Channel's KQBW/96.1 (Omaha) has dropped its "Brew" of Classic Rock for Contemporary Hits as "Kiss FM." The switch happened around 6:15 p.m. Sunday (9/2). The new format, streaming at is launching with a week of non-stop music, with announcements on personalities expected soon. "Kiss FM" primarily takes on Journal Broadcasting's "Channel 94-1," with possible secondary impact on NRG Media's Modern Adult Contemporary "Q98-5" (formerly a CHR outlet) and Hip-Hop/R&B "Power 106-9." (Strangely enough, 94.1 was briefly "Kissin' Country" in a previous format.) KQBW had become "The Brew" in September 2005, replacing the longtime KEFM Adult Contemporary format. Clear Channel originally conceived "The Brew" branding at WQBW/97.3 (Milwaukee), which flipped to Contemporary Hits in 2010. (9/3/2012) Additional note, 9/10: "The Brew" continues on KQBW-HD2.

    Powell Broadcastings's KQNU/102.3 (Onawa-Sioux City) has dropped the "New" branding in favor of "Q102," but the format continues largely unchanged as Hot Adult Contemporary. "New" launched three years ago after a brief Christmas stunt, which replaced "Jack FM." (9/3/2012)

    The Cool TV has disappeared from several Upper Midwest markets after Sinclair Broadcasting dropped the digital subchannel Friday (8/31). It had been carried on WUCW/23.2 (Minneapolis), WMSN/47.2 (Madison), KGAN/2.2 (Cedar Rapids), and KDSM/17.2 (Des Moines). With Sinclair's move and a decision by Journal Broadcasting to drop The Cool TV last year, the network no longer has any affiliates in the Upper Midwest. Sinclair stations continue to carry The Country Network, which is not associated with The Cool TV. (9/1/2012)

    Winnipeg's "Hot 103" (CKMM-FM/103.1) has rebranded as "Virgin Radio" amid a Top 40 battle with Evanov Communications' "Energy 106" (CHWE-FM/106.1). CKMM is the seventh Astral Media station to adopt the "Virgin" branding. 103.1's new image launched Friday (8/31) with a commercial-free Labour Day weekend and comes a little over a year after CHWE signed on. BBM ratings show CKMM fell from a 15.6 share in Spring 2011 to 9.1 in Spring 2012, though it has remained ahead of CHWE. (9/1/2012)

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