September 2014

TitanTV listings indicate WMLW (Racine-Milwaukee) is now carrying Weigel Broadcasting's new "Heroes & Icons" TV network on channel 49.3. The Chicago Tribune first reported on the classic TV network's quiet Monday launch. H&I joins a crowded field of classic TV subchannels with a focus on crime, western, war, and superhero series, as well as two hours of Weigel's experimental "TouchVision" news product in the morning. The H&I lineup complements Weigel's Me-TV lineup of classic TV sitcoms and dramas, which has the largest affiliate base of the classic TV networks. (9/30/2014)

An Eastern Iowa TV station is accused of failing to repair a tower lighting problem that's been ongoing for more than six years. A Notice of Violation says that KM Communications, owner of CW affiliate KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City), told investigators from the FCC's Kansas City office that 10 of the 13 lights on the station's 1,385-foot tall tower near West Branch have been inoperable and that the lighting problems began in 2007. The company said it has experienced financial difficulties and that it had notified the FAA of the outage every two weeks. The FCC has asked KM to submit more information on the problem and what's being done to fix it. (9/26/2014)

The sale price for soon-to-be-former CBS affiliate KXJB-TV/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo) is $75,000, according to newly-filed documents with the FCC. Gray TV had already announced that it would exercise an option to buy KXJB from Parker Broadcasting and then divest it to Major Market Broadcasting. New FCC rules will not allow Gray's KVLY-TV/11.1 (Fargo) to continue running KXJB through a shared services agreement. Gray has said KXJB's programming will move to a KVLY subchannel, but the exact date has not yet been announced. Major Market Broadcasting, headed by Ravi Kapur, is based in San Francisco and runs Diya TV, a South Asian TV network, but no announcements have been made about KXJB's future programming. The station will also have to change its callsign. $75,000 was also the price for Gray's sale of a station in a similar situation in Nebraska. (9/26/2014)

Ownership of KNSG/94.7 (Springfield) is transferring from a company owned by Bruce Linder to a company headed by John Linder. KMHL Broadcasting Company will pay Bruce Linder's Springfield Broadcasting $55,000 for KNSG. KMHL Broadcasting Company owns four other stations in the Marshall area. (9/26/2014)

Digity 3E Corp. is buying the construction permit for a new FM translator to relay KRIB/1490 (Mason City). Digity will pay David M. Stout $25,000 for K244FA/96.7, which is currently permitted for 250 Watts from a tower owned by the University of Northern Iowa near the North Iowa Community College. KRIB carries Westwood One's Adult Standards format. (9/25/2014)

After three years of consideration, the FCC's Media Bureau has dismissed two informal objections to a Twin Cities FM translator upgrade and granted the application for what could become an eighth FM signal for iHeartMedia (formerly known as Clear Channel) in the market.

The Educational Media Foundation's K273BH/102.5 will move from the Wells Fargo Center to the IDS Center and increase from 41 Watts to 250 Watts at 236m. The upgrade will give K273BH a coverage area slightly larger than existing iHeartMedia translators W227BF/93.3 and K278BP/103.5, which both transmit from IDS with lower wattages. The application stated K273BH would relay an iHeartMedia station.

Lakeland Broadcasting had filed an informal objection to the application over potential interference to KQIC/102.5 (Willmar), but Media Bureau Deputy Chief James D. Bradshaw said Lakeland had failed to supply any complaints from KQIC listeners within K273BH's proposed coverage area. The bureau also dismissed an informal objection from low-power FM proponent Jeff Sibert, saying that rules intended to preserve LPFM opportunities do not prevent existing stations from seeking facility changes.

K273BH, which is actually licensed to Fridley but has always transmitted from Minneapolis, carries EMF's "Air-1" network as part of a chain of translators from St. Cloud to St. Paul. iHeartMedia's KTCZ/97.1 has already begun carrying "Air-1" on its HD2 channel to feed translators in the area when K273BH breaks the chain.

The FCC separately granted a construction permit for EMF "K-Love" translator K260BA/99.9 (Coon Rapids) to move from Plymouth, where it uses 170 Watts, to the Wells Fargo Center with 250 Watts. EMF's W225AP/92.9 (St. Paul) already has a construction permit to move to the Wells Fargo Center with 99 Watts. W225AP carries "K-Love" now, but the ID running on KTCZ-HD2's "Air-1" format is mentioning 92.9.

EMF also operates its original Twin Cities translator, "K-Love" station K214DF/90.7 (Golden Valley), from the Wells Fargo Center. This week, K214DF applied to upgrade from 10 Watts to 99 Watts from its current location, specifying University of Northwestern-St. Paul's KTIS-FM/98.5 as the station to be rebroadcast. (9/24/2014)

Our La Crosse-area tipster sends word that Jacklyn Daniels has left "Kicks 106.3" (WQCC La Crosse) for a job outside of radio. Daniels had been with the station since the 1990's, serving as the promotions director for the La Crosse Radio Group and morning co-host with John Stevenson. (9/24/2014)

Red Rock Radio is making a second attempt at expanding the "KQ" Classic Rock brand to the Brainerd Lakes area. The company announced Tuesday that WWWI-FM/95.9 (Pillager-Brainerd), which already carries a syndicated Classic Rock format as "Wings 95-9," will switch to "KQ96" with programming from KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth) on Monday, Oct. 6. "KQ" was heard on Red Rock's KFGI/101.5 (Crosby-Brainerd) beginning in 2007, but the station switched to the syndicated "Sam FM" Variety Hits format in 2011. KQDS-FM is also rebroadcast on stations in Deer River, Babbitt, and Grand Marais, all of which are within the greater Duluth media market. However, "KQ" will be only Duluth-based media outlet serving Brainerd, which receives TV programming from Minneapolis. "KQ" will compete with BL Broadcasting's heritage Classic Rocker, "The Power Loon" (KLIZ-FM/107.5 Brainerd). (9/23/2014)

Scott Thompson's Big Radio is adding a third station in the Beloit/Janesville area with the purchase of WGEZ/1490 (Beloit) from Alliance Communications for $150,000. Big Radio, known for an emphasis on local programming, recently bought WTJK/1380 (South Beloit, IL) and "105.9 The Hog" (WWHG Evansville), adding them to its existing five stations in the Monroe/Freeport area. WGEZ carries an Oldies format. (9/22/2014)

After first denying the application, the FCC has now approved Truth Broadcasting's plan to move Christian Talker KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) closer to Des Moines.

KTIA will change its community of license to Huxley and transmit from a tower near Sheldahl, using 5.3kW/95m (class A). Its protected contour will include Ames and much of Des Moines. KTIA's current facility covers Boone and Ames.

Commission staff had first denied the application last December, saying that if the Huxley application was approved, KTIA could theoretically apply for a facility covering more than half of the Ames Urbanized Area. Such a move would go against rules intended to preserve rural radio service. The FCC has later conceded that it failed to consider the existence of KDAO-FM/99.5 (Eldora-Marshalltown), which would need to be protected, when looking at theoretical sites.

In approving the application, the FCC said it didn't agree with competitor Saga Broadcasting's assessment that the proposed Huxley facility would provide a city-grade (70 dbu) signal to 52 percent of the Ames Urbanized Area, 2 percentage points more than allowed under the rural radio rules. The FCC said its own calculation found the figure is 49 percent.

This is KTIA's second attempt to move closer to Des Moines. The original application would've changed the community of license to Johnston and given the station city-grade coverage of most of the capital city, but it was rejected due to the rural radio rules.

KTIA's move will require KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) to move to 101.7, which, in turn, will displace Iowa Public Radio translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines). The translator already has a construction permit to move to 97.7. Truth will have to pay KPUL's cost for changing frequency. (9/21/2014)

James Ingstad's Radio Fargo-Moorhead is buying KSKK/94.7 (Staples) and has applied to move it into the Detroit Lakes market. The asset purchase agreement calls for Radio Fargo-Moorhead to pay Normin Broadcasting, which is owned by David De La Hunt, $900,000 for KSKK. The station has separately applied to change its community of license to Frazee and move to 94.5, using 11kW/150m (class C3) from a tower just outside Detroit Lakes. The sale is contingent on the move being approved. Ingstad has no other stations in Detroit Lakes, but the city is in the wider listening area of his six-station Fargo group, which does business as Radio F-M Media. (Ingstad's company is not to be confused with Midwest Communications' group, which does business as Midwest Radio Fargo Moorhead.) KSKK currently carries an Adult Contemporary format and is operated from a Wadena studio alongside KVKK/1070 (Verndale) as part of the De La Hunt's regional group of stations, which also includes facilities in Park Rapids, Walker, and Bemidji. (9/19/2014)

DTV America Corp. plans to launch a Telemundo affiliate in Minneapolis. DTV America is buying low-power station K43HB-D from Ventana Television for $125,000, and a graphic on DTV America's website is touting the Telemundo launch. K43HB-D transmits from the IDS Center with 15kW. It currently carries HSN2, having switched from the main version of Home Shopping Network after ION's KPXM-TV added HSN on channel 41.6. As a Telemundo affiliate, it'll join Media Vista's Univision affiliate WUMN-LD/17 and two religious TV subchannels in serving spanish-language audiences in the Twin Cities. DTV America has numerous unbuilt construction permits for low-power TV stations in rural areas of the Upper Midwest and has at least five stations on the air in the south. (9/18/2014)

KCWV/27 (Duluth) went silent Tuesday as it prepares for a tower replacement project. KCWV transmits from the former KDLH/3 tower on Observation Road, which was constructed in 1953 and still has a top-mounted channel 3 transmission antenna. KDLH now broadcasts from the KDLH-TV tower and KCWV owner George S. Flinn, III bought the tower from KDLH owner Malara Broadcast Group in 2010. In its request for special authority to remain silent, Flinn tells the FCC that KCWV may be off the air for several months. It has carried several small networks since signing on in 2009 and most recently carried AMG TV, but has never had any local advertising. (9/17/2014)

Several HD2 formats have changed on Clear Channel radio stations in the Twin Cities over the past several months.

KTCZ-HD2 (97.1) is now carrying Educational Media Foundation's "Air-1" Christian Rock network, with a legal ID mentioning translators on 92.9 and 97.7 (but not 102.5, which continues to carry "Air-1" as well). EMF's "K-Love" is still heard on KFXN-FM-HD3 (100.3). KTCZ-HD2 had previously carried "Kool 1-0-80s," the iHeartRadio New Music Channel, "The Score," and "The Best of Studio C."

KDWB-HD2 (101.3) is now carrying an iHeartRadio Dance music format previously heard on WVKS-HD2 Toledo. KDWB-HD2 had previously carried Dance as "The Party Zone" before switching to "The Best of Studio C" and then the iHeartRadio New Music Channel.

KQQL-HD3 (107.9) has launched carrying a nameless mix of R&B hits from the past several decades, similar to what aired on KQQL-HD2 and W227BF/93.3 prior to the launch of "Alt 93.3." KQQL did not previously have an HD3 channel. (9/15/2014)

TV journalists from across the Upper Midwest gathered at Target Field Saturday night for the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards. KARE/11 (Minneapolis) took home the award for station excellence, while FOX 9 (KMSP Minneapolis) won the award for news excellence. Stations winning awards in best newcast categories included KMSP (2 awards), WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis), WDIO/10 (Duluth, 2 awards), KTIV/4 (Sioux City, 2 awards), KCCI/8 (Des Moines), WHO-TV/13 (Des Moines), KTTC/10 (Rochester), and KIMT/3 (Mason City). WDAZ/8 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks) took home its first-ever Emmy Award, winning in the team coverage category. The ceremony included Silver Circle honors for longtime KCCI anchor/reporters Kevin and Mollie Cooney as well as political reporters Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV and Tom Hauser of KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul). A complete list of winners is available here. (9/14/2014)

The former CFRY-1-FM/93.1 (Portage la Prairie) has debuted a new Country format as CHPO-FM, breaking off a longtime rebroadcast of sister Traditional Country outlet CFRY/920. The changeover to "Country 93.1" happened on Wednesday (9/10). The 27kW FM signal was originally licensed as a secondary transmitter of the AM station (a practice that doesn't exist south of the border), so the switch required CRTC approval. CFRY owner Golden West Broadcasting had originally told the CRTC it planned to run a Classic Rock format on 93.1. The company also owns Adult Contemporary outlet "Mix 96.5" (CJPG-FM). (9/12/2014)

The sale price of now-silent former NBC affiliate KHAS-TV/5 (Hastings) is $75,000, according to a document filed with the FCC. Legacy Broadcasting, LLC, is buying the station from Hoak Media after Gray TV assigned its right to purchase the station to Legacy. Gray separately purchased KHAS-TV's programming, equipment, and other non-license assets and hired all of its staff, moving NBC programming to its KSNB/4.1 (Superior). Legacy's purchase only includes the license, a transmitter, and transmitting antenna; it will rent tower space from Gray and change KHAS-TV's callsign. Legacy Broadcasting is owned by Sherry Nelson and Sara Jane Ingram of Mississippi and Charles Harker of California. Harker also owns or operates all of the network affiliates in the Greensville, Mississippi, market where Nelson is VP and General Manager. Legacy Broadcasting is not related to the Nebraska radio company with a similar name. (9/12/2014)

Clear Channel is selling the construction permit for a new FM translator in Webster City to NRG Media, which owns the two full-power radio stations in the city. NRG will pay $15,000 for 250-Watt translator K225BZ/92.9, which had already specified NRG's KQWC/1570 as its primary station. (9/12/2014)

There were four Upper Midwest winners at the National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Awards this year:

  • Ryan and Shannon of Hubbard Broadcasting's KS95 (KSTP-FM/94.5 St. Paul) were named Large Market Personalities of the Year.
  • Dottie Ray of Clear Channel's KXIC/800 (Iowa City) was named Small Market Personality of the Year.
  • Journal Communications' WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee) was named Large Market Station of the Year.
  • Midwest Communications' KFGO/790 (Fargo) was named Small Market Station of the Year.
    The awards were announced Thursday night at the 25th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held during the Radio Show in Indianapolis. (9/11/2014)

    Western North Dakota is the only growing part of the Upper Midwest when it comes to the number of homes with TV, according to new Local Television Market Universe Estimates released by The Nielsen Company and first linked by TVNewsCheck on Thursday. The market that includes Bismarck, Minot, and the fast-growing "oil patch" areas of Williston and Dickinson rose three positions to number 142 out of 210 markets for the 2014-2015 TV season. The market has risen 16 spots in the national rankings over the past six years. This year, it bucked a national trend of a declining number of TV homes, rising about two percent while the country as a whole fell about two percent. All other Upper Midwest markets showed a decline in the number of TV homes. Green Bay rose two spots in the rankings, while Madison, Sioux Falls, Wausau, Rapid City, and Ottumwa each rose one spot. Conversely, Sioux City fell two spots while Milwaukee and North Platte each fell one spot. The smallest market? Still Glendive, MT, a one-station market on the western side of the oil patch. (9/11/2014)

    Gray TV is going in an unspecified "different direction" for NBC affiliate KNOP-TV/2 (North Platte) after its recent purchase of the station, according to the North Platte Telegraph. The newspaper reports that Gray has terminated KNOP general manager Lewys Carlini, who had worked at the station for his entire career. Meanwhile, Gray's KOLN/KGIN (Lincoln/Grand Island) posted a video on its Facebook page Wednesday touting its recent expansions in Nebraska and announcing that new NBC affiliate KSNB-TV/4 (Superior) would be rebranded as "NBC Nebraska." The video did not make any specific announcements about changes to the North Platte market, where KNOP is the only full-power commercial TV station. (9/10/2014)

    The FCC has proposed a $2,000 fine against Media General subsidiary Young Broadcasting for allegedly "failing to publicize the existence and location of the Station's Children’s Television Programming Reports" at NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport). Young has 90 days to either pay the fine or seek a reduction or cancellation. The regulator had also considered a fine over NBC's inadvertent inclusion of a website URL in the closing credits for a children's TV show that aired on KWQC, but it was ultimately decided to leave the punishment at an admonishment. (9/10/2014)

    Midwest Communications confirmed Wednesday that a Classic Country format called "Duke FM" will begin on what's now "93Rock" (WRQE/93.5 New London-Green Bay) on Friday, Sept. 12. The station will resurrect the WGEE-FM callsign, which was used with Country formats in the market from the 1970s to 1990s and has most recently been parked in Superior, with a playlist from the same era. "Duke" will work in tandem with the contemporary-leaning Country format on Midwest's "Y100" (WNCY/100.3 Neenah-Menasha-Appleton-Green Bay). 93.5 has carried Rock formats for two decades and is planning a goodbye party for Thursday. It's encouraging listeners to switch to the Classic Hits format heard in sister Midwest Communications station "The Drive" (WYDR/94.3 Neenah-Menasha-Appleton and WZDR/99.7 Sturgeon Bay-Green Bay). (9/8/2014, updated 9/11/2014)

    It's now up to competing applicants for low-power FM (100-Watt) applicants in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee to come up with time-sharing agreements. Few groups were eliminated in the FCC's point-based system for scoring competing applicants, which rewards established local groups, standalone ownership, and pledges of local programming and main studio staffing. In the case of three frequencies in the Twin Cities and one in Milwaukee, multiple groups scored five points apiece. The groups now have 90 days to propose voluntary time-sharing agreements; the FCC will assign involuntary time-sharing arrangements to no more than three applicants per frequency if no agreements are made. Here's how it breaks down:

    94.1 Twin Cities: The seven tentative selectees are the Somali American Community (Minneapolis), Minneapolis Believers in Christ (Minneapolis), Providence Academy (Plymouth), The Summit-University Planning Council (St. Paul), Victoria Theatre Project (St. Paul), Thomas Dale District (St. Paul), and the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (St. Paul). MG Community Broadcasting (Maple Grove) scored fewer points since it did not pledge local programming and could not show that it was an established local group. In this group, there are enough tentative selectees that it's possible there could be two or three competing time-share proposals for the FCC to consider.

    97.9 Twin Cities: The four tentative selectees are Upper Mississippi Academy (Fort Snelling), Rios de Agua Viva Church of God (Lakeville), African Community Senior Services (Minneapolis), and New Culture (St. Paul). Enlace Adventista (St. Paul) removed itself from the group by changing its proposed frequency to 98.1, where it has no competition.

    98.9 Minneapolis: The three tentative selectees are Pillsbury United Communities, The Main Street Project, and The Organizing Apprenticeship Project. There were no remaining applicants for the frequency.

    101.3 Milwaukee area: The four tentative selectees are Riverwest Artists Association (Milwaukee), Inner City Development Project (Milwaukee), Faith Community Development Corporation (Milwaukee), Souls Harbor Baptist Church (Milwaukee), and Kettle Moraine Community Radio (Mukwonago). Alive MKE (Milwaukee) scored one less point because the FCC said its documentation showing its established local presence was defective. Waukesha Media Arts Foundation also scored one less point because it did not document an established community presence. Whitefish Bay School District Board has an established local presence but didn't commit to offering local programming or staffing a main studio.

    Already testing: One Twin Cities-area LPFM applicant that already won a construction permit tested its transmitter over the summer. Park Public Radio is building KUOL-LP/97.5 (St. Louis Park), which is expected to offer community programming beginning next year after a studio is built. (9/9/2014)

    As promised when it flipped what's now KJOC/93.5 (Bettendorf-Quad Cities) to ESPN Radio in June, Townsquare Media has switched former ESPN affiliate KBOB/1170 (Davenport) to a new format: Country. KBOB is carrying Cumulus Media's Real Country network, which was heard in the market on WKBF/1270 (Rock Island) in the early 1990's; the KBOB callsign was used with Country formats on two FM frequencies in the market during the 1990's and 2000's. Real Country's classic-based mix plays along with the contemporary version of Country heard on sister station 104.9 "The Hawk" (KQCS De Witt-Quad Cities), which just flipped to the format two months ago. Both stations are taking on Clear Channel's heritage Country outlet, WLLR-FM/103.7 (Davenport). KBOB continues to carry high school sports and will also carry Cyclone football and Cubs baseball until next season. (9/8/2014)

    CBS2/FOX28 (KGAN/KFXA Cedar Rapids) announced Monday that longtime Eastern Iowa meteorologist Terry Swails will join the Sinclair stations to deliver evening weather forecasts beginning Sept. 22. Swails, an Iowa City native, has been forecasting Iowa weather for 35 years with a resume including jobs in Dubuque, Waterloo, and the Quad Cities. (9/8/2014)

    A belated note that the newest TV subchannel networks, Grit and Escape, have a few affiliates in the Upper Midwest. Katz Broadcasting launched both movie networks on Aug. 18, with Grit targetting men and Escape targetting women. Citadel Communications' KLKN (Lincoln) carries Grit on 8.2 and Escape on 8.3, while American Spirit Media's KYOU-TV (Ottumwa) carries Grit on 15.3. KLKN-DT2 had previously carried Live Well Network and, prior to that, Retro TV Network. KLKN is a primary ABC affiliate and KYOU is a primary FOX affiliate. Grit and Escape join a crowded field of broadcast movie networks that also includes This TV, Movies!, and getTV. (9/3/2014)

    Services have been announced for Twin Cities radio legend Dan Donovan, who died following a heart attack Sunday, Aug. 31 at the age of 73. Donovan was a 2006 inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, which says he got his start in his home state of Pennsylvania. He worked at WFIL in Philadelphia for a decade before coming to Minnesota, where he worked at KS95 (KSTP-FM) starting in 1979 and KOOL 108 (KQQL) starting in 1991. Services for Donovan, whose real name was Blaine Harvey, will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, at 11 a.m. at the Washburn McReavy Edina Chapel. Here is an aircheck of "The Geezer" on KOOL 108 from Dec. 29, 1993; more airchecks are posted at (9/1/2014, updated 9/3)

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