September 2016

In a first for regional applications among the AM revitalization filing windows this year, the FCC has denied iHeartMedia's request to move an FM translator to Des Moines to relay KXNO/1460. It's the culmination of a series of filings this year: First, the translator construction permit was moved from Portland, Iowa, to Iowa City, Iowa, where it became K221GH/92.1 with plans of relaying KXIC/800. The permit had been due to expire on Feb. 18 but the FCC granted a six-month extension due to the AM revitalization effort. Shortly before the August deadline, iHeart asked for another extension, saying it had learned the Iowa City tower was too weak to immediately support the translator's antenna. It then applied to move the permit to Des Moines on 96.9 to relay KXNO. However, the FCC deleted K221GH's callsign on Aug. 18 and denied the application to move to Des Moines on Sept. 26. (It's among a half-dozen iHeart applications nationwide denied simultaneously.) iHeartMedia has already found another possible use for 96.9 in Des Moines, applying to move its K243CA/96.5 (Millman-Des Moines) to 96.9. The change, which received approval on Sept. 29, will allow the Country-formatted translator (originating on KDRB-HD2) to upgrade from 102 to 250 Watts. (9/27/2016, updated with K243CA approval 9/29)

Quincy's "My9" (KBJR-DT3 Superior-Duluth and KRII-DT3 Chisholm) is now carrying the Decades network 18 hours per day, replacing syndicated programming in the morning, afternoon, and overnight hours. "My9" continues to carry the My Network TV lineup from 7 to 9 p.m. followed by syndicated programming until midnight, as well as "The 700 Club" at 11 a.m. (Viewers aren't actually missing any Decades or My Network programming, since the networks only offer six and two hours of programming per day, respectively.) Quincy also carries Decades on several of its Wisconsin stations. KBJR carries NBC on 6.1 and CBS on 6.2, while "My9" is seen on 6.3 and is named for its cable position. The channel originally launched as the cable-only "UPN9" in 2002 and got broadcast carriage when KBJR-DT launched; it had also carried some PAX TV programming in its early years. (9/27/2016)

A new FCC filing indicates the price of R&J Broadcasting's previously-reported purchase of eight Red Rock Radio stations in the Brainerd, Aitkin, and International Falls area is $1.185 million. (See the 9/16 item for complete list of stations.) R&J, owned by Jimmy Birkemeyer of Ada, is already operating the stations under a local programming and marketing agreement. This is one of four Red Rock Radio sales in progress; the company is also awaiting FCC approval to sell five northeastern Minnesota stations to Midwest Communications for $5.625 million and two in Pine City to Q Media Group for $300,000, and has received FCC approval for the sale of five northwestern Wisconsin stations to Zoe Communications for $750,000. (9/26/2016)

Catching up on developments in the world of FM translators, the following construction permits were granted last week under the current filing window for long-distance moves:

The following new application was filed last week:

The following translators are now on the air:

See the 2016 AM Revitalization Translators, Round 1 and Round 2 pages for a full rundown of all of the translator filings under the windows for 250-mile moves this year. (9/25/2016)

The purchase price for the previously-reported sale of Red Rock Radio's AM-FM combo in Pine City is $300,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. The buyer, Alan Quarmstrom's Q Media group, is already operating WCMP/1350 and WCMP-FM/100.9 under a local programming and marketing agreement that took effect Sept. 14. Meanwhile, the previously-reported deal to sell eight Red Rock stations based in Brainerd, Aitkin, and International Falls to R&J Broadcasting had not yet been filed with the FCC as of Wednesday night. The sale of five northeastern Minnesota Red Rock stations to Midwest Communications is awaiting approval, while the sale of five northwestern Wisconsin Red Rock stations to Zoe Communications was approved last week. Red Rock has three stations in Duluth and one in Deer River remaining. (9/22/2016)

WHSM/910 (Hayward) has dropped Sports for light pop hits of the 1960's to 1980's. The change follows Zoe Communications' purchase of the station, and four others in northwestern Wisconsin, from Red Rock Radio. The new format may find fans among those who listened to the Soft Oldies format the station ran from 1999 to 2014. It had most recently been carrying the Minneapolis-based "Fan" network and NBC Sports Radio. Meanwhile, "Muskie 101" (WHSM-FM/101.1 Hayward) continues to carry a Country format, but it's now locally-originated instead of being satellite-fed. (9/20/2016)

As it awaits FCC approval of its purchase of KFKX/90.1 (Hastings) from Hastings College, Community Broadcasting is planning a bigger signal for the station. It has applied to move to 89.9 and use 16kW/99m (class C3) from a tower closer to Grand Island. Community Broadcasting operates the Bott Radio Network and has translators in Hastings and Grand Island, but reached a deal to sell the Hastings translator to Legacy Broadcasting. (9/20/2016)

Mississippi Valley Broadcasters' "Kicks 106.3" (WQCC La Crosse) is operating at about half power due to storm damage. According to a request for special temporary authority filed with the FCC, WQCC's transmitter site was struck by lightning on July 21. When the transmitter was fired up with a rebuilt tube, another part failed. The filing says WQCC is operating at about 50 percent of its normal power. The station is licensed for 18kW/118m (class C3). (9/20/2016)

Gray Television's WSAW/7 (Wausau) is asking the FCC to order satellite providers to extend its CBS and FOX channels into two northern Wisconsin counties that are part of the Duluth-Superior market.

The 379-page petition for special relief (part 1, part 2) indicates WSAW has already asked DirecTV and DISH Network to add its signal to customers in Ashland and Iron counties, but the providers have declined carriage based on concerns that the spotbeam carrying the Wausau-market stations is not strong enough in portions of the two counties.

WSAW is now asking the FCC to make a satellite market modification, as allowed by the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act of 2014. The provision allows stations' satellite markets to be expanded to include "orphan counties," which are counties that are part of out-of-state TV markets. However, it remains to be seen if WSAW's argument will be successful in this case since Duluth-Superior NBC/CBS affiliate KBJR-TV is licensed to Superior, Wisconsin, and already carries a significant amount of Wisconsin news, sports, and weather programming, as do the market's ABC and FOX affiliates. (For full disclosure, your reporter is employed by the ABC affiliate, WDIO.)

The issue is largely driven by the decades-old conflict between Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers telecasts that exists in thirteen Wisconsin counties covered by the Duluth-Superior and Minneapolis-St. Paul markets. This season, four of the 16 regular-season Packers games will not be seen on Duluth-Superior and Minneapolis-St. Paul stations because the games are at the same time as the Vikings. (The games are available through the $270 Sunday Ticket package.) However, it's not likely that WSAW's reach would be extended before the end of the current season because the FCC has 120 days to consider the petition. (9/19/2016)

R&J Broadcasting and Q Media Properties are buying a total of ten radio stations from Red Rock Radio, which already has pending deals to sell ten other stations. The latest deals were announced Friday by broker Kalil & Co.; purchase prices have not yet been disclosed.

R&J is buying eight Red Rock stations based in Brainerd, Aitkin, and International Falls. They include: Sports WWWI/1270 (Baxter-Brainerd), Classic Rocker WWWI-FM/95.9 (Pillager-Brainerd), "Talk 100" (KLKS/100.1 Pequot Lakes-Brainerd), Sports KKIN/930 (Aitkin), Classic Country KKIN-FM/94.3 (Aitkin), "101.5 Jack FM" (KFGI Crosby-Aitkin-Brainerd), Oldies KGHS/1230 (International Falls), and Country "KS104" (KSDM/104.1 International Falls). R&J owns four radio stations in northwestern Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Alan Quarnstrom's Q Media Properties is buying Soft Oldies WCMP/1350 (Pine City) and "Cool Country" WCMP-FM/100.9 (Pine City). Quarnstrom had owned the stations from 2001 until 2007, when he sold them to Red Rock. He currently owns four radio stations in southeastern Minnesota.

Red Rock is also in the process of selling five stations in northeastern Minnesota to Midwest Communications and five in northwestern Wisconsin to Zoe Communications, leaving the company with three stations in Duluth (KQDS/1490, WWAX/92.1 Hermantown, and KZIO/104.3 Two Harbors) and one in Deer River (KBAJ/105.5). It's a sister company to Red River Broadcast Co., which owns the FOX TV affiliates in Duluth and Fargo and the NBC TV affiliate in Sioux Falls. (9/16/2016)

Midwest Communications has quickly found a buyer for a station it needs to divest on the Iron Range. Refuge Media will pay $96,000 for KMFG/102.9 (Nashwauk-Hibbing), which Midwest needs to drop to make way for its purchase of KGPZ/96.1 (Coleraine-Grand Rapids). Midwest was already at the market cap of four FM stations serving the Hibbing area when it reached a deal to buy KGPZ and four other northeastern Minnesota stations from Red Rock Radio last month. Duluth-based Refuge Media operates the Christian Hits "Refuge Radio" network, which has two other full-power stations and numerous translators. KMFG currently carries a Classic Rock format. The sale includes the license and transmitter, but not any studio equipment. (9/16/2016)

After just a month with four 6 p.m. TV newscasts, Duluth is about to lose one. The city got a fourth 6 p.m. newscast when Quincy's KBJR-DT2 launched "CBS3 News at 6" in early August. Now, FOX 21 (KQDS-TV) is planning to move its 6 p.m. newscast to 5:30 on Monday, Sept. 19, according the station's Facebook page. FOX 21, owned by Red River Broadcast Co., has carried a newscast at 6 p.m. since 2010. The market had a 5:30 p.m. newscast on former CBS affiliate KDLH/3 from 2005 up until this past July. (9/13/2016)

Gray's WOWT (Omaha) has added Cozi TV on channel 6.2, replacing AccuWeather and news repeats. WOWT carries NBC on 6.1 and Antenna TV on 6.3. (9/12/2016)

The CW Television Network will move from full-power primary affiliations to subchannels of big-four network affiliates in Madison and Cedar Rapids-Waterloo on Monday, Sept. 12. In Madison, Gray NBC affiliate WMTV will add CW on 15.2, with WeatherNation programming moving from 15.2 to 15.4. Syndicated programming on CW 15.2 will include rerurns of American Dad, Last Man Standing, and Rules of Engagement. Previous CW affiliate WBUW/57.1 continues as an independent station, replacing the two hours of CW prime time with TMZ Live and Dr. Phil. Meanwhile, in eastern Iowa, Quincy NBC affiliate KWWL (Waterloo) will add the CW on 7.2. The channel will apparently replace current CW affiliate KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City) on DISH Network channel 20 but will be carried on DirecTV channel 8, according to listings on the station's website. Syndicated programming on CW 7.2 will include TMZ, Jerry Springer, and Steve Harvey. ThisTV, which is being dropped from KWWL-DT2, is being picked up as KWKB's new primary affiliation. (9/11/2016)

An FM translator is currently transmitting from a tree after its tower mysteriously vanished. Radio 74 Internationale tells the FCC that it discovered on Aug. 24 that someone had removed the tower for K263AP/100.5 (Mandan), which actually transmits from a rural area south of Bismarck-Mandan. In a request for special temporary authority, the station tells the FCC it's transmitting from an eight-meter tree with 50 Watts. "The situation could continue for yet several weeks or months until either we determine exactly who removed the tower, why, and can seek its return, or...install another tower," the filing says. K263AP carries Radio 74 Internationale by relaying KJIT-LP/106.7 (Bismarck). (9/10/2016)

KBMW-FM/92.7 (Breckenridge-Wahpeton), which is the former KZDR/92.7 (Kindred-Fargo), is now on the air with an Adult Contemporary format as "B92.7." Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge, LLC moved the station after purchasing it from the Robert J. Ingstad's Mediactive, LLC. It's unusual for a station to move out of a rated market, but the Ingstad family's companies own a number of other stations and translators in Fargo-Moorhead. Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge, LLC also owns Country-formatted KBMW/1450 (Breckenridge), KBMW translator K232FH/94.3 (Breckenridge), and Classic Hits "Eagle 106.9" (KEGK Wahpeton-Fargo). KEGK continues to target listeners in Fargo-Moorhead. (9/10/2016)

With 92.7 no longer in use as a full-power frequency in the Fargo market, it's one of several frequencies that will soon light up with new 250-Watt signals. The FCC recently granted the three new translators after correcting an earlier mistaken approval of two translators that, it turned out, were mutually exclusive. Two applications were amended to specify different frequencies, and all three were then approved. Radio F-M Media's KQWB/1660 will be relayed on 92.7, Midwest's KFGO/790 will be relayed on 94.1, and Midwest's KVOX/740 will be relayed on 107.3. KQWB and KVOX carry Sports formats, while KFGO carries News/Talk. (9/10/2016)

There have been two additional applications for FM translators in Des Moines since the original report last month about the second window opening for FM translator moves. iHeartMedia wants a 250-Watt translator for its KXNO/1460 on 96.9, while Saga Communications is seeking a 99-Watt translator for its KRNT/1350 on 102.1. Both stations currently carry Sports formats. (9/10/2016)

Besides the Fargo applications noted above, the only other FM translator move application granted in the last two weeks is in Rapid City. KOTA/1380 will be relayed on 100.7 with 250 Watts, making it the last Rapid City AM station to get an FM translator. See the 2016 AM Revitalization Translators, Round 1 and Round 2 pages for a full rundown of all of the translator filings under the windows for 250-mile moves this year. (9/10/2016)

Michael Flood is continuing to expand his broadcast holdings with the purchase of a low-power TV station in Omaha. Flood Communications of Omaha, LLC is buying KOHA-LD/48 (Omaha) from Word of God Fellowship/Daystar for $250,000. The agreement includes a provision allowing Daystar to continue running its programming on channel 48.3 at a rate of $1,000 per year. Flood Communications of Omaha also owns Spanish-language "Lobo 97.7" (KBBX-FM Nebraska City-Omaha). Flood's other companies own several low-power TV station running news and local events under the "News Channel Nebraska" name and radio stations in several other Nebraska markets. (9/9/2016)

The CRTC has approved a downgrade for the CBC Radio One station in Geraldton, joining a growing list of CBC transmitters that have cut power in recent years. The CBC says the transmitter at CBLG/89.1 is time-worn and needs to be replaced. It will drop from 11.9kW (class B) to 5.95kW (class B1), with the antenna height barely changing from 134m to 133m. The CRTC says it received no objections to the downgrade. (9/9/2016)

Des Moines is the Upper Midwest's big star of the new Nielsen Media TV market rankings, rising three spots to number 69 for the 2016-2017 season. The market gained more than 7,000 households, an increase of nearly two percent. Madison and Sioux Falls were the only other Upper Midwest TV markets to rise in the rankings, each moving up one spot. Meanwhile, the once-rising western North Dakota market, including the oil patch city of Williston, fell one spot. Other markets falling one spot include Fargo, La Crosse-Eau Claire, Duluth, Rapid City, and Cheyenne-Scottsbluff. Other Upper Midwest markets were unchanged. One bright spot for the TV business is that Nielsen says the decline in TV households has ended, with a national increase of just over one percent since last year. North Platte and Ottumwa-Kirksville are the only Upper Midwest markets to see a decline in TV households over the year. (9/7/2016)

Several changes are coming to the Fargo TV market on Monday, Sept. 12. The Forum reports that Gray TV's new CW affiliate will be seen on channel 30.2 of new low-power station KXJB-LD (Horace-Fargo), and that it will carry a 9 p.m. newscast produced by sister NBC/CBS affiliate KVLY-TV. It will apparently be rebroadcast on K28MA-D (Argusville) and K30LR-D (Grand Forks). Though no announcement can be found on KVLY's website or Facebook page, it appears that KXJB's main channel will carry the "KX4" CBS programming that has been seen on KVLY-DT2 for the past two years.

The CW affiliation is moving from longtime affiliate WDAY-DT2 (Fargo) and WDAZ-DT2 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks), which will move Justice Network from their DT4 to their DT2 channels after the CW leaves. TV listings indicate the station's "WDAY'Z Xtra" subchannel, seen on DT3, will begin operating more as an independent station on Sept. 12, dropping weather programming for syndicated shows in the late afternoon and evening hours. WDAY, a primary ABC affiliate owned by Forum Communications, also recently recently launched a 9 p.m. newscast on both "WDAY'Z Xtra" and Justice Network.

These changes come as Midcontinent Communications moves channels on its lineup. According to an email sent to subscribers, "KX4" will move from channel 4 to 9 so that Cozi TV affilaite KRDK-TV/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo) can be carried on cable channel 4. KXJB's CW programming will be carried on channel 17. WDAY-DT2 will continue to be carried on channel 7, except with Justice Network rather than CW. (9/7/2016)

Educational Medial Foundation is buying the construction permit for K248CE/97.5 (Davenport) from Benjamin Shafer for $32,000. Shafer bought K248CE last year for $40,000. The translator is not yet on the air and faces a Dec. 5 construction deadline. The application states it will carry EMF's "Air 1" Christian Hits network via KAIP/88.9 (Wapello); sister network "K-Love" is already carried on WLKU/98.9 (Rock Island). (9/5/2016)

Legacy Broadcasting is buying K260BK/99.9 (Hastings) from Community Broadcasting for $40,000. The application states Legacy will use K260BK as a fill-in translator for its KRGI-FM/96.5 (Grand Island), meaning it could relay an HD subchannel of that station. Community Broadcasting currently uses K260BK to carry its Bott Radio Network, but will no longer need the translator after its purchase of KFKX/90.1 (Hastings) is complete. (9/5/2016)

The FCC has approved a new tribal FM allotment in north-central South Dakota. 93.5 is alloted to Eagle Butte for a future class C1 station after a request from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which wants to build a station using 100kW/203m. The new station will serve a large area of tribal lands that have few other radio options. No comments were filed during a window for comment this summer. The tribe must still apply for and receive a construction permit before the new station can sign on. (9/3/2016)

Here is a rundown of some of the new digital TV subchannels that have signed on as the new TV season begins:

Black Hills: Legacy Broadcasting's KHME (Rapid City) and KQME (Lead) added H&I TV on channels 23.2 and 5.2, replacing ThisTV.

Des Moines-Ames: Nexstar added Laff on WOI-DT/5.2, Escape on KCWI/23.2, and Bounce on KCWI/23.3. Meanwhile, Tribune's WHO-DT added ThisTV on 13.4.

Green Bay: Nexstar's WFRV added Bounce on 5.2.

La Crosse-Eau Claire: In an unusual situation, Nexstar added four subchannels, but they are split between two stations serving different ends of the market. WLAX (La Crosse) is carrying Laff on 25.3 and Grit on 25.4, while WEUX (Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire) is carrying Escape on 48.3 and Bounce on 48.4. The stations simulcast FOX and Me-TV on their other channels.

Quad Cities: Nexstar added Grit on WHBF/4.3, Escape on WHBF/4.4, Laff on KGCW/26.3, and Bounce on KGCW/26.4.

Sioux City: Nexstar's KCAU added Escape on 9.2, Laff on 9.3, and Bounce on 9.4.

Western North Dakota: Nexstar's KXMB/12 (Bismarck), KXMC/13 (Minot), KXMA/2 (Dickinson), and KXMD/11 (Williston) added Laff on their .3 channels and Escape on their .4 channels. (9/1/2016)

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