Children's Broadcasting Company closed the sale of seven of its stations to the Catholic Radio Network today (10/30/98), and CRN took over at 5 p.m. That means the end of Beat Radio's run on WWTC and other former "Aahs" stations, where it was broadcast nightly from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Of late, Beat had only broadcast on Friday and Saturday nights.) Although Beat Radio is now off the air, it will look for future broadcast opportunities. The station says it will not become a web-only station.
As was rumored, the sale of the stations to CRN was modified. CRN could not afford to pay for all of the stations, so three stations -- in New York, Dallas, and Phoenix -- are going to Radio Unica, a spanish-language network. Unica and CBC agreed to the sale earlier this week. It's expected to close by the end of the year. Unica had already been operating the New York station under a local marketing agreement, and will soon take over the other to stations in LMA's as well.
The sale of KYCR/1570 and the Houston station to Salem Media was also expected to close today. Salem took over KYCR in an LMA several months ago, and also owns KKMS/980 in the Twin Cities. The breakdown of the purchase prices is follows: CRN (7 stations): $37 million, Radio Unica (3 stations): $29.25 million, Salem (2 stations): $2.7 million, and 1090 Investments (Detroit station): $2 million. That totals to approximately $71 million, which is just shy of the $72.5 million price Global Broadcasting was going to pay in the original deal to sell the stations.
The several changes that have occured during the course of the sale of CBC's stations are an extremely rare occurence. Probably 999 times out of 1000, the group that says it will buy a radio station actually does so. This sale has changed several times: first, Global Broadcasting was buying all of the stations. Then, CRN was buying most of the stations. Finally, CRN could not afford to buy some of the stations and another buyer came along to pick them up. Originally, one group was expected to take over the stations, but (if nothing else changes), the stations will be split among four groups by the time the dust settles. (10/30/98 7:45p, updated 11/2)
From the FCC:
All Access: Chopper Harrison is no longer at Rock 100.3. (10/27/98 7am)
Minneapolis-St. Paul has dropped in Arbitron's market ranking from 14 to 18. San Diego, Nassau-Suffolk, and Phoenix are now larger than the Twin Cities, and the addition of Puerto Rico as a market also pushed the Twin Cities back. The change is effective with the Fall 1998 ratings book, which is being measured now. (10/26/98 3am)
After waiting almost a year, Red River Broadcasting finally has FCC approval to purchase Duluth stations KNLD/21, KQDS/94.9, and KDDS/1490. The deal was reported in January as being worth $5.5 million and required a waiver of the "one-to-a-market" rule, which prohibits ownership of a TV station and any radio stations in the same market. As you may recall, KNLD is "officially" on the air, but not really. The station broadcasts the Shop at Home Network on weekday mornings. KNLD was recently granted a Construction Permit to increase power from 45kW to 550kW, a change that would give it a real signal.
The two approvals bring the market closer to having a FOX affiliate. Red River, which owns the FOX affiliates in the Fargo market and the NBC affiliates in the Sioux Falls market, intends to affiliate the station with FOX and said last spring that FOX had agreed to affiliate with KNLD. FOX has supposedly refused to affiliate with KNLD in the past because of its low power, instead opting for secondary affiliations with Duluth's VHF stations. KBJR/6 is currently the secondary FOX affiliate in Duluth. (10/22/98 9:30a)
All Access: The National Association of Broadcasters has given Marconi awards to KDWB/101.3 and WCCO/830, the CHR and News/Talk/Sports Stations of the Year, respectively. (10/20/98 Noon)
Recent FCC happenings:
All Access reports that Audrey Phillips is the new Program Director at Modern Rock "The Buzz" in La Crosse (WFBZ/105.5 Trempeleau). She comes from KKDM Des Moines. (10/16/98 7pm)
Jim Daniels is out and Howie Leathers is back in as Program Director at Kool 101.7 (KLDJ Duluth). (10/13/98 Noon)
KBEM/88.5 is expected to be broadcasting from Falcon Heights by the end of the month. The change will move KBEM's antenna from Minneapolis City Hall to KUOM's tower, and will include a modest increase in antenna height and power (the station will still be class A). The tower work kept KUOM (770) off the air for four days. News stories on the subject are linked below. (10/13/98 Noon)
The American Family Association has applied to turn its Windom translator into a real station. K215CD/90.9 operates at 250 Watts, and that's the same power they've applied for as a class A station. As a translator, the station would have to leave the air if another station wanted to use the frequency, so upgrading to class A gives the station more permanence. AFA has also applied for stations in New Ulm, MN, and Wentworth, WI. (10/13/98 Noon)
An unlicensed broadcaster has been occupying 93.5 FM in Duluth for at least several weeks. The only thing that has been heard is WDIO (Channel 10) audio. "Random Radio" used to broadcast on 93.5, but closed up shop in July after receiving a letter from the FCC. (10/12/98 9am)
The WB will launch local cable stations for markets without local WB affiliates in the near future. Regionally, that's every market but the Twin Cities. The stations will go by the names KWBD Duluth, WBCZ La Crosse-Eau Claire, KWBR Rochester-Austin, KWYE Mankato, KSXF Sioux Falls, and WBFG Fargo. In the past, WB has been available via WGN's national broadcast, and WGN (cable) will drop The WB once the cable stations are in place. I've added a page to the site about these new stations that's right here. The Duluth station is being operated in coordination with Benedek Broadcasting, which owns KDLH/3 (CBS). KDLH is running ads for The WB, but it is not yet available on the local cable system. KWBD has been available in International Falls since late September on channel 11. Logos for the Duluth and Mankato stations were shown in ads for The WB in this week's TV Guide. (10/11/98, revised 10/12/98 9am)
Friday, October 16, 1998, has been scheduled as the closing date for the sale of Children's Broadcasting Corporation's 10 radio stations to the Catholic Radio Network. CRN has an option to delay the closing until October 30, if necessary. The sale includes WWTC/1280. (10/8/98 9:30am)
KDDG/105.5 (Albany-St. Cloud) has changed format from Country to Hot Adult Contemporary. The new format goes by the slogan "Hit Music 105-5." It's co-owned with KKSR/96.7, which runs an Adult Contemporary format, and the market also has a Light AC and a Contemporary Hits station. KDDG's signal is fair to poor in St. Cloud. The station continues to broadcast Vikings games, St. Cloud State hockey, and some high school games. (10/5/98 9pm)
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