CKQV/103.3 (Vermillion Bay) and repeaters CKQV-FM-1/104.5 (Dryden) and CKQV-FM-2/104.5 (Kenora) have signed on, according to the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. The Norwesto Broadcasting station carries a Hot Adult Contemporary format as "Q104." CKQV and CKQV-FM-2 are 1.6kW; CKQV-FM-1 is 1.8kW. CKQV is the first commercial FM station in the area, although CJRL/1220 (Kenora) has authorization to move to 89.5 FM. (11/30/2004)
The Alexandria Echo-Press reports that Selective TV, Inc., has added two channels to its unique low-power TV system. K14LZ/14 relays ABC affiliate KSAX/42, and K21GN/21 carries CBC North. Former KSAX translator K67HV/67 is now carrying The Outdoor Channel. Selective TV operates 18 unscrambled UHF channels, including 7 which act as translators and 11 which carry satellite/cable networks. Meanwhile, Three Angels Broadcasting recently signed on K44GH/44 (Alexandria). Check the Alexandria dial guides for a complete listing. (11/30/2004)
Prairie Public Television has received a construction permit for a new digital TV station in Devils Lake. The station on channel 25 will use 134kW at 245m from a tower west of Devils Lake. (11/27/2004)
RECENT FM TRANSLATOR CONSTRUCTION PERMITS:
RECENT LOW-POWER TV CONSTRUCTION PERMITS:
FM AUCTION 37 ENDS:
After 62 rounds, the FCC has closed FM auction 37. Click here for a list of the winning bidders in the Upper Midwest. The highlights, listed by market:
NORTH DAKOTA/SOUTH DAKOTA:
DISH Network has announced plans to add local station packages for the Bismarck-Minot-Dickinson-Williston and Rapid City markets late this year and early next year. There is currently no local-into-local service in the markets. (11/24/2004)
DirecTV says it will begin offering local channels in the La Crosse-Eau Claire market early next year. DISH Network already serves the market. (11/24/2004)
DIRECTV ADDS DISTANT WB FEED:
DirecTV has added Miami, Florida, WB affiliate WBZL/39 to local packages for small markets without local WB affiliates. In the Upper Midwest, it appears the station will be available to DirecTV customers in the Duluth, Fargo, Lincoln, and Wausau markets. These markets also have cable-only WB affiliates which carry local advertising sold by other stations in the market. (11/24/2004)
Christmas music was an overnight surprise in Des Moines: Saga's "Lite 104.1" (KLTI Ames) had been promoting its coming switch to the holiday format, with an unannounced date, but Clear Channel's "Mix 100" (KMXD) beat them to the flip. KMXD went all-Christmas just after Midnight Sunday morning (11/21), and KLTI followed at about 9 a.m. (11/21/2004)
KQMG/1220 (Independence) has dropped a rebroadcast of KQMG-FM/95.3 in favor of ESPN Radio. Meanwhile, KQMG-FM has switched from WestwoodOne's Soft AC format to their Bright AC format. (11/21/2004)
Broadcast pioneer Frank Befera has died at the age of 82. Befera bought WMFG/1240 (Hibbing) and WHLB/1400 (Virginia) a few years after returning from service in World War II. In the 1960's, Befera started Range Cable TV in Hibbing, WDIO/10 (Duluth), and WIRT/13 (Hibbing). He was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Television Society-Upper Midwest chapter in 2001. Information on funeral arrangements is available from WDIO. (11/21/2004)
St. Olaf College's 82-year history in broadcasting comes to an end Sunday, November 21 at 10 p.m. At that time, Minnesota Public Radio will take over operations of St. Olaf's WCAL/89.3 (Northfield-Twin Cities) and repeater KMSE/88.7 (Rochester). MPR closed on its $10.5 million purchase of the stations on Friday.
WCAL/KMSE will mostly simulcast with MPR's Classical network until a new format debuts early next year. The new format has not been announced, but MPR did say it would target younger audiences. A new classical morning show will start out on WCAL and will eventually air statewide, but until early next year. That change will expand MPR's Classical programming to 24 hours per day. (Currently, a variety of music is heard during morning drive.)
WCAL on-air hosts Bill Morelock, Steve Staruch, and Melissa Ousley will move to MPR's Classical network, as well as the syndicated "Harmonia" show and annual broadcasts of the St. Olaf College Christmas Festival concert. MPR has also hired some of WCAL's off-air staff.
WCAL is a founding member of National Public Radio. It began broadcasting on AM in 1922, eventually ending up on 770, where it shared time with KUOM (Minneapolis). WCAL-FM was later added, and WCAL(AM) went off the air in the early 1990's to allow KUOM to use the frequency throughout the day. (11/19/2004)
At "Classic Hits 94.7" (KLCH Caledonia-La Crosse), Dave Roberts has taken over the program director position and replaced Ken Cooper as midday announcer. (11/19/2004)
The unbuilt KROJ/107.1 (Vinton) has applied for a tower move that would allow it to provide a stronger signal to Cedar Rapids than previously planned. The current construction permit for the class A station calls for 6kW at 100m from a tower between Vinton and Newhall; the application is for 4.7kW at 113m from a tower between Vinton and Center Point. The new facility would provide a good signal to most of the Cedar Rapids area. KROJ is owned by George S. Flinn, Jr. (11/19/2004)
Entercom's WMYX/99.1 brought the holiday spirit to Milwaukee at 5 p.m. Thursday (11/18). Clear Channel's WOKY/920 is also expected to adopt an all-Christmas format in the coming weeks. (11/19/2004)
The Polish National Alliance is buying WGEZ/1490 (Beloit) from Betsy Trimble for $325,000. The Alliance also owns an AM station in Chicago. (11/19/2004)
UPPER MIDWEST RADIO MERGER:
Waitt Radio and NewRadio Group are merging to form a new, yet-to-be-named company with 89 radio stations in seven states, plus the Waitt Radio Networks. Joint operations are expected to begin by January 1 under local marketing agreements.
Omaha-based Waitt Radio owns or operates 24 stations in Nebraska, 15 in Iowa, 14 in Kansas, six South Dakota, and three in Minnesota. Cedar Rapids-based NewRadio Group owns 20 stations in Wisconsin and seven in Illinois. Waitt Radio Chairman Norman Waitt and NewRadio Group President and CEO Mary Quass will retain their positions in the new company.
Meanwhile, Mike Delich, president of Waitt Outdoor, is leading a management buyout of the Waitt Outdoor company. Waitt Broadcasting also owns Sioux City CBS affiliate KMEG/14. (11/18/2004)
It's officially Christmas in Cities: two Minneapolis stations went all-Christmas on Wednesday afternoon (11/17). Viacom/Infinity's "102.9 Lite FM" (WLTE) got the holiday spirit at about 5 p.m., and Clear Channel's "Kool 108" (KQQL) followed an hour later. KQQL has gone all-Christmas for the past several years, but WLTE had saved the total switch until Christmas Eve in recent years. (11/18/2004)
The FCC has given its final approval of Minnesota Public Radio's controversial purchase of 100kW WCAL/89.3 (Northfield-Twin Cities) and 250-Watt repeater KMSE/88.7 (Rochester). MPR is purchasing the stations from St. Olaf College for $10.5 million.
A group called SaveWCAL had filed a petition to deny the sale. The FCC did not publicly announce its reason for denying the petition to deny, but the Star Tribune reports that the FCC sent a letter to the parties involved describing SaveWCAL's petition as "without merit."
The sale will be finalized by December 1. MPR plans to replace WCAL's long-running Classical format, but will continue current programming until a new format is announced.
In conjunction with the WCAL change, MPR will make some changes to its Classical network including an expansion of Classical music into the morning drive hours. "The Morning Show" currently airs a variety of music. (11/16/2004)
The sale of Wausau's WXCO/1230 and WLRK/107.9 is apparently off, again. The FCC has dismissed the stations' sale from Seehafer Broadcasting to Midwest Communication at Seehafer's request. Midwest, which owns the five other Wausau-based radio stations, had agreed to purchase WXCO/WLRK for $3.7 million. A 2003 agreement to sell the stations to Badger Communications, which was approved by the FCC, was not completed. (11/16/2004)
FM AUCTION 37:
After 20 rounds of bidding, the allotment for a new station to serve the Omaha market has the highest bid nationwide. College Creek Broadcasting's bid for the 6kW Pacific Junction, IA, allotment is up to $6.15 million. Meanwhile, the fourth-highest nationwide bid is Clear Channel's $2.523 million bid for a 6kW station in Anamosa, IA, which would provide partial coverage of Cedar Rapids. And, Cumulus has the seventh highest bid nationwide of $2.384 million for the 25kW Lennox, SD, allotment, which would serve Sioux Falls. On the other end, two allotments in the Jamestown, ND, area are the only two nationwide which have received no bids. You can follow the high bids at this FCC link, and check this site's allotments page for more information on the areas that would be served by the new stations. The auction will continue until further notice, and the FCC has increased the number of rounds to six per day beginning Monday. (11/12/2004)
KBEW-FM/98.1 (Blue Earth) has amended its upgrade application to include a move to 98.3. The amendment came a few days after WWJO/98.1 (St. Cloud) filed a petition to deny the application. The application proposes 50kW at 150m from a tower near Northrop, north of Fairmont, adding St. James, MN, and Estherville, IA, to KBEW-FM's main coverage area. (11/12/2004)
Thunder Bay is once again without a Country station: the simulcast of CFQK/104.5 (Kaministiqua) and CKED/103.5 (Shuniah Township) has dropped Country for "Larry FM," a mix of pop hits from the `70s to today. Dougall Media is in the process of purchasing the stations from Northwest Broadcasting. Dougall also owns CKPR/580 and CJSD/94.3; the other commercial stations in the market are CJUK/99.9 and CJLB/105.3. (11/11/2004)
The FCC has admonished WLFK-LP/107.9 (Eau Claire) for airing sponsorship announcements which violated rules for non-commercial stations. Specifically, WLFK aired underwriting announcements for two businesses which used "comparative and qualitative descriptions, and references that seek to induce patronage." WLFK licensee Technology Information Foundation was also admonished for not answering one of the questions in the FCC's August 24 inquiry. However, no fine was issued. Read the entire opinion and order here. WLFK, known as "Wolf 108," ceased most of its programming in early September. (11/10/2004)
DirecTV's Quad Cities locals package has launched, including WQAD-ABC, WHBF-CBS, KLJB-FOX, KWQC-NBC, WQPT-PBS, and IPT-PBS. Low-power UPN affiliate WBQD and Burlington-based WB affiliate KGWB are not carried. DISH Network already serves the market. (11/9/2004)
DirecTV has also launched its Sioux Falls locals package, including KSFY-ABC, KELO-CBS, KTTW-FOX, KDLT-NBC, SDPB-PBS, KSMN-PBS, and KWSD-WB. Low-power PAX affiliate KAUN, low-power independent station KCPO, and digital/cable-only UPN affiliate UTV are not carried. Though DISH Network has served the market since early 2003, DirecTV's service area appears to include western portions of the Sioux Falls market that are not served by DISH. (11/9/2004)
The Quad City Times reports that KGYS-LP/92.5 (DeWitt) is expected to sign on this week, carrying Catholic programming from Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio. (11/8/2004)
Only a few days after Halloween, eastern Nebraskans already have three choices for Christmas music. "Lite 101.9" (KLTQ Lincoln-Omaha) and "My 106.3" (KLMY Lincoln) have picked up the format full-time, and KEFM/96.1 (Omaha) has gone all-Christmas during the workday. KEFM will presumably expand the format full-time once the syndicated Delilah and John Tesh shows begin offering Christmas feeds later this month. Once again this year, you can follow the All-Christmas format right here! (11/5/2004)
Trinity Television is selling CIIT/31 (Winnipeg), along with its station in British Columbia, to Rogers Broadcasting. CIIT is not yet on the air, but is expected to carry a lineup similar to the British Columbia station, known as "NOW TV." The station offers a Christian format, which includes mainstream programming in the late afternoon and early evening. Rogers does not plan to make programming changes. Rogers also owns CITI/92.1 and CKY/102.3 in Winnipeg. (11/2/2004)
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