iHeartMedia has brought Christmas to Omaha at the earliest date on record: New FM translator K272FE/102.3 has become "Christmas 102.3." The translator signed on a few weeks ago and first relayed News/Talker KFAB/1110 before switching through several other iHeartMedia stations this week. RadioInsight reports the Christmas format is originating on the HD2 signal of KFFF/93.3 (Bennington-Omaha). K272FE is licensed to Council Bluffs and transmits from a tower at the WOWT-TV building in Omaha with 99 Watts. iHeartMedia, formerly known as Clear Channel, has not had an all-Christmas format in Omaha since 2011, when it was used as a stunting format on KFFF. Let the speculation begin about what format will come to the frequency on Dec. 26. (10/31/2014)
KIMT-TV reports that new station KWGH-LP/97.1 (Kensett) will officially sign on Saturday, Nov. 1. The 28-Watt station is owned by Elk Creek Lutheran Church and transmits from a site west of Kensett near I-35. The TV report says KWGH will carry a variety of music and talk. (10/31/2014)
A southern Minnesota Christian radio broadcaster is entering the Twin Cities area, replacing a northern Minnesota Christian broadcaster on two suburban FM translators. Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting is buying K218DK/91.5 (Bloomington) and K293BA/106.5 (Elko) from Refuge Media Group for $147,000. The application states K293BA, which is in the far south metro, will pick up Minn-Iowa's KJLY/104.5 (Blue Earth) over the air and K218DK, just south of Minneapolis, will relay K293BA. K218DK is one of the metro area's oldest translators, having been established in the mid-1990's to receive WNCB/89.3 (Duluth), now known as "Refuge Radio," via satellite to feed a downtown Minneapolis translator. The Minneapolis translator was eventually forced off the air by interference complaints. (10/30/2014)
DTV America Corporation is buying the construction permits for 18 low-power TV stations in the Upper Midwest in separate transactions. It'll pay Casey C. Jones $68,000 for CP's to serve Rochester, St. Cloud, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City for $68,000, and separately pay John D. Roehrs $16,000 for a CP in Wausau and three in Georgia. The transactions value each CP at $4,000. DTV America and DTV America II have 33 other CP's for new LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest and earlier this year announced plans to buy an existing Minneapolis LPTV station and convert it to a Telemundo affiliate. (10/28/2014)
James Ingstad's K233CY/94.5 is now in the air in Fargo carrying an Adult Alternative format as "The Loft." The format originates on the HD2 signal of Ingstad's KBVB/95.1 (Barnesville). K233CY uses 250 Watts and remains licensed to Wahpeton despite its transmitter move to Fargo. (10/27/2014)
KLEE/1480 (Ottumwa) has signed on 50-Watt FM translator K299BA/107.7, relaying its Oldies format. The station's Facebook page announced the translator launch on Oct. 21. KLEE is owned by O-Town Communications along with one other AM station and four FM stations in the market. (10/27/2014)
WATK/900 (Antigo) has flipped from Soft Oldies to "Classic Hits 98.7" following the launch of FM translator W254AX/98.7. WATK owner Results Broadcasting bought the translator from WRVM, Inc. and moved it in from Merrill. Locally, Results also owns "Country 106" (WACD/106.1). (10/27/2014)
Walnut Radio, LLC is buying KOMJ/1490 (Omaha) from Cochise Broadcasting for $450,000. Walnut Radio, headed by Steven W. Seline, also owns a group of three stations based in Fremont, west of Omaha. The sale price is exactly the same as an earlier agreement for Cochise to sell KOMJ to Kona Coast Radio, LLC, which was withdrawn earlier this year. Cochise owns no other stations in the market. KOMJ gained attention in Februrary when the FCC proposed a $17,000 fine for an alleged lack of a main studio and an alleged public file violation. The station carries a Soft Oldies format. (10/23/2014)
KWPC/860 (Muscatine) has switched from Oldies to Classic-based Country following the launch of FM translator K236CF/95.1. The station continues to run local news, sports, and other information programming. KWPC, along with "Vintage Sound 93.1" (KMCS Muscatine), is owned by Wayne W. Whalen's WPW Broadcasting. (10/22/2014)
iHeartMedia has signed on new Omaha translator K272FE/102.3 relaying the programming of News/Talker KFAB/1110. K272FE is licensed to Council Bluffs and transmits from a tower at the WOWT-TV building in Omaha with 99 Watts. iHeartMedia, which owns four full-power FM's in the market, is also in the process of buying the construction permit for translator K235CD/94.9 (Omaha). (10/22/2014)
Another new classic TV subchannel? CBS thinks there's room for one. The network has announced plans to create a new classic TV network called Decades in cooperation with Weigel Broadcasting, which already operates the Me-TV and Heroes & Icons networks. According to the network's press release, initial affiliates when the network launches next spring will include WCCO-TV (Minneapolis) and its greater Minnesota satellites. Programming will include TV shows, movies, and a daily one-hour "Retrospectical" show drawing from the archives of CBS News and Entertainment Tonight. Decades will differentiate itself from other channels by carrying a different lineup each day to match a theme or commemorative event. CBS is the last of the big four networks to make a nationwide attempt at launching a subchannel network. (10/21/2014)
iHeartMedia's eighth FM signal is on the air in the Twin Cities, at least in a limited fashion: K244EQ/96.7 is now carrying the company's "Pride Radio" Dance format in the southeast metro. The format originates on the HD3 signal of KQQL/107.9 (Anoka). K244EQ, formerly W244CS, is broadcasting from a water tower in West St. Paul with 71 Watts, delivering a rimshot signal to St. Paul. iHeartMedia, which is buying K244EQ from William Cornwall's United Broadcasting System LLC for $300,000, has applied to move it to the IDS Center with 170 Watts. The company has the market cap of five full-power FM's and also programs two other translators. K244EQ originally launched on 95.7 in Hudson, WI, in 2007 relaying Easy Listening KNXR/97.5 (Rochester), but was forced to leave that frequency by the sign-on of WDMO/95.7 (Baldwin, WI) in 2012. (10/19/2014)
KNXR/97.5 (Rochester), one of the last true Easy Listening outlets in the country, is getting a new owner. Thomas Jones' United Audio Corporation is selling KNXR to Gregory Jensen's Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester. Jensen also owns KQAQ/970 (Austin) and KQPR/96.1 (Albert Lea). The purchase price is $1.1 million if the new owner becomes a member of Silver Creek Tall Tower Associates, a partnership between United Audio Corporation and Minnesota Public Radio, or $714,910 if the new owner opts to enter into a lease agreement for tower space. Last year, MPR sued Jones and United Audio over alleged misappopriation of funds; the case remains open. The sale document submitted to the FCC also indicates that Hometown Broadcasting will pay Jones $100,000 for one year of consulting services, with duties including programming, engineering, and selection of a new studio site. Jones also heads Rochester Public Radio, which owns non-commercial Classic Rock outlet KRPR/89.9 (Rochester). (10/16/2014)
NRG Media is selling six stations in central and north-central Iowa to Riverfront Broadcasting of Iowa, LLC for $3.5 million. The stations include KWBG/1590 (Boone), KQWC/1570 (Webster City), KQWC-FM/95.7 (Webster City), KHBT/97.7 (Humboldt), KLGZ/1600 (Algona) and its FM translator, and KLGA-FM/92.7 (Algona). The deal also includes a construction permit for an FM translator to relay KQWC, which NRG is in the process of buying from iHeartMedia. Riverfront Broadcasting, LLC is owned by Carolyn and Doyle Becker of Yankton, SD, and is the licensee of nine stations in South Dakota. Riverfront Broadcasting of Iowa, LLC is owned 60% by Riverfront Broadcasting, LLC and 40% by Fieldview Broadcasting, LLC, which is held by Danette and Kirk Graeve of Dallas Center, Iowa. (10/14/2014)
WNLI/88.5 (Sturgeon Bay) has gone off the air pending the station's sale to WRVM, Inc. The FCC recently approved the $240,000 purchase from the Educational Media Foundation, which had been running its "Air1" Christian Rock network on WNLI since purchasing the station and WPFF/90.5 (Sturgeon Bay) from Bethesda Christian Broadcasting. EMF retains ownership of WPFF, which carries "K-Love." WRVM operates a regional Christian network originating at 102.7 (Suring) and will get improved coverage of northern Door County with the addition of WNLI. (10/12/2014)
iHeartMedia's KLTC/1460 (Dickinson) has applied to permanently lower its nighttime power. KLTC is licensed for 5kW day and night with a directional pattern at night, but has been operating at no more than 1.25kW night since March 2013 due to "an out of tolerance condition" with its four-tower array. It's now applied to use 770 Watts at night with a directional pattern using just two of the towers, which would still deliver an interference-free signal across Dickinson. The Classic Country station would remain 5kW non-directional daytime. (10/12/2014)
Following news that iHeartMedia is buying translator W244CS/96.7 (Hudson, WI), the translator has applied to move its transmitter to Minneapolis. It would use 170 Watts from the IDS Center and change its community of license to Calhoun Beach, a neighborhood in Minneapolis. iHeartMedia is in the process of buying W244CS from William Cornwall's United Broadcasting System, LLC for $300,000. The translator is currently off the air and has a construction permit to move to a tower in West St. Paul, and the sale is contingent on the FCC granting a license to cover the West St. Paul facility. iHeartMedia, which owns the market cap of five full-power FM's in the market, currently operates two FM translators from the IDS Center and is expected to program a third translator owned by the Educational Media Foundation once it moves to IDS. (10/9/2014)
New subchannel Grit is coming to nine more Upper Midwest markets thanks to an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group. According to a post on the network's Facebook page, cities getting Grit include Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City, Omaha, Quincy, and Marquette. Currently, Grit is only available on stations in Lincoln and Ottumwa in the region. The network features war, western, and crime movies targetting men. Its sister network, Escape, carries movies and other programming aimed at women, but Sinclair has not agreed to carry that network. (10/9/2014)
CBS affiliate KDLH/3.1 and News/Talker KDAL/610 (Duluth) will begin a morning show simulcast on Monday, Oct. 13. From 6 to 7 a.m., KDLH will simulcast KDAL hosts Pat Cadigan and Pat Kelly, replacing AccuWeather programming in the timeslot on KDLH. Kelly is a former KDLH anchor, and the stations were once co-owned. Most network affiliates air local news in the 6 a.m. timeslot, but KDLH does not have a news department and instead gets afternoon and evening newscasts from shared-services partner KBJR/6.1, which has its own newscast in the timeslot. (10/9/2014)
It's no exaggeration to say that we have lost a person who influenced both broadcast and print journalism across northwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota for decades.
Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio's longtime Superior reporter, died over the weekend. His knowledge of regional issues ranging from mysterious barrels in Lake Superior to the Gogebic Taconite mine debate was broad and obvious to any listener. What listeners may not know is that Mike influenced newsrooms across the region by training dozens, perhaps hundreds, of journalists at UW-Superior and continuing to mentor them far beyond graduation.
A Duluth native, Mike worked first at KQDS-FM in an era when Rock stations still had news departments and even ran documentaries. He later moved to North Carolina but returned to the Twin Ports when WPR established a bureau at UW-Superior's KUWS in the early 1990s.
Students quickly learned that Mike's journalistic and ethical standards were high and they weren't going to skate by. Though he demanded excellence, the reward was a lifelong connection with a mentor. His influence will live on in virtually every newsroom in the Northland, but he will be impossible to replace.
As you might guess by this long posting, your reporter is one of the many fortunate to learn from Mike. His belief in journalistic and ethical standards did not waver despite the changing media landscape.
Besides reporting and teaching, Mike produced numerous documentaries and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for "Secret Suffering: HIV Discrimination in Northern Wisconsin" and a National Headliner Award for "Forever Ace: The Richard Bong Story." He also produced "Radio Superior," a long-running radio drama recreating what listeners might have heard on KUWS had it existed in the 1920s to 1950s with local broadcast icons as hosts.
Just ten days before his death, Mike met up with a dozen or so other area journalists for an informal gathering of the "Raleigh Street Press Club." Another meeting was planned for January, but no one in attendance expected that the meeting would be held without Mike.
Mike is survived by his wife Jennifer. A memorial service will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Our Savior's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4831 Grand Avenue, Duluth. A visitation will be held Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church and again on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. (10/6/2014)
R&J Broadcasting is replacing a time brokerage agreement to run KKCQ/1480 (Fosston) and KKCQ-FM/96.7 (Bagley-Fosston) with a full purchase of the stations from Pine to Prairie Broadcasting. The purchase price was redacted from an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. R&J, which owns stations in Ada and Mahnomen, has been operating KKCQ AM-FM for two years. The AM station carries a News/Talk format and the FM side runs Country.
Pine to Prairie retains ownership of Contemporary Christian-formatted "Q FM" (KKEQ/107.1 Fosston). Both KKCQ-FM and KKEQ recently completed upgrades that improved both station's signals to Bemidji, using a tower north of Bagley. KKCQ-FM now uses 25kW/170m (class C2). KKEQ now uses 100kW/191m (class C1). KKEQ already had a rimshot signal to Bemidji, and the upgrade puts Bemidji within KKCQ-FM's protected contour for the first time. (10/3/2014)
Family Stations is selling Family Radio station KBFR/91.7 (Bismarck) to Real Presence Radio for $50,000. The Catholic network already has a station in the area, KPHA/91.3 (Mandan), but KPHA's signal is not as strong in Bismarck as KBFR. (10/2/2014)
FOX is now available in broadcast HD for the first time in north-central Minnesota. KMSP/WFTC says WFTC satellite KFTC (Bemidji) is now duplicating all three channels carried on WFTC's main signal: KMSP's "FOX 9" on 26.1, WFTC's "My 29" on 26.2, and Movies! on 26.3. KFTC had previously carried only "My 29." Two other analog KMSP translators, K48IF (Brainerd) and K49CU (walker-Hackensack), will be converted to digital with the same lineup as KFTC. Former analog KMSP translator K30DK (Bemidji) was already silent. Broadcast TV offerings in the region are few; NBC is not available in Bemidji and Brainerd and ABC translators in the two cities are still in analog. "My 29" had not previously been available in Brainerd or Walker. (10/1/2014)
iHeartMedia could be getting its ninth Twin Cities FM signal with the purchase of an east metro translator. Subsidiary AMFM Broadcasting will pay William Cornwall's United Broadcasting System, LLC $300,000 for W244CS/96.7 (Hudson, WI), which is currently off the air and has a construction permit to move to a tower in West St. Paul. The 170-Watt facility would cover St. Paul. The sale is contingent on the FCC granting a license to cover the new facility. (10/1/2014)
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