November 2009

UPDATE2: New station KCWV-DT/27 (Duluth) is on the air carrying My Family TV, a network carrying public domain, Christian, and family-friendly programming. KCWV uses 40kW at 207m from the former KDLH/3 tower on Observation Road. (KDLH itself now transmits from the KBJR/6 tower.) KCWV is owned by George S. Flinn, III of Memphis, Tenn. Broadcast viewers will need to re-scan their receivers to see the channel. Since KCWV is licensed as a full-power station, it will be able to eventually mandate cable and satellite carriage across the market. It's the Twin Ports' fifth commercial TV station. (11/30/2009)

There's a change in the minority owner at M&J Radio Corporation, licensee of KDSN/1530 and KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison). Phyllis Rohlin is selling her 26 percent interest in the company to Kathy Dudding for $97,007.75. Kathy Dudding is married to M&J majority owner Michael Dudding. They've been with the station for sixteen years. (11/30/2009)

St. Cloud is the Christmas epicenter this weekend: no fewer than six all-Christmas formats can be heard in the "granite city." St. Cloud's all-Christmas stations include "Spirit 92.9" (KKJM St. Joseph), "Mix 94-9" (KMXK Cold Spring), and "Lite 99.9" (KCML St. Joseph). Meanwhile, three Minneapolis all-Christmas FM's can be easily heard in St. Cloud: KTIS-FM/98.5 (Minneapolis), 102.9 "Lite FM" (WLTE Minneapolis), and "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka). It's not yet clear whether KTIS-FM and KMXK will carry all-Christmas formats for the entire season or just this weekend. Another Minneapolis-market station, KLBB/1220 (Stillwater), is also all-Christmas.

Besides KTIS-FM, other Northwestern College Contemporary Christian stations in the region have also gone all-Christmas this weekend, though a note on the website of KNWS-FM/101.9 (Waterloo) says they'll only be all-Christmas on the weekends. Other Northwestern stations carrying all-Christmas music this weekend include WNWC/102.5 (Madison), KDNW/97.3 (Duluth), KFNW-FM/97.9 (Fargo), KNWC-FM/96.5 (Sioux Falls), KNWI/107.1 (Osceola-Des Moines), and KNWM/96.1 (Madrid-Des Moines).

Click here for the complete list of all-Christmas stations in the Upper Midwest. (11/27/2009)

KMGO/98.7 (Centerville) has asked the FCC to replace its construction permit for an upgrade adding coverage of Des Moines, which expired Friday, Nov. 20. The new application is identical to the expired CP: 94kW at 458m (class C0) from a tower west of Albia. The facility would not provide city-grade (70 dBu) coverage of Des Moines, but it would provide a useable signal to much of the metro. KMGO currently transmits with 100kW/137m (class C1) from a tower near Centerville and carries a Country format. KMGO shares some ownership with KCOG/1400 (Centerville) and KEDB/105.3 (Chariton), the latter of which was purchased after the KMGO upgrade was originally granted. (11/24/2009)

Who would've thought the Monday before Thanksgiving would be a big day for flips to all-Christmas? Omaha's "Star 104.5" (KSRZ), Rochester's "Y105" (KYBA/105.3 Stewartville), and Fargo's "Eagle 106.9" (KEGK Wahpeton) all switched to Christmas music Monday, Nov. 23. Follow the Christmas flips here (11/24/2009)

New station KQKX/97.5 (Pierce-Norfolk) has signed on with an Adult Contemporary format as "Lite Rock 97.5." The format officially launched Saturday (11/21) at 9:30 p.m. after about a week of simulcasting with sister station KEXL/106.7 (Norfolk). 106.7, a more powerful station which had carried a Hot Adult Contemporary format, is now simulcasting 97.5 and will launch a new format in early December. The stations are already ID'ing as if they've swapped callsigns, but the change has not yet shown up in the FCC database. 97.5's lineup will include Jeffrey Steffen in the morning, Jonathon Doll at 10 a.m., Nikki Leigh at noon, Michael J at 3 p.m. and John Hart at 6 p.m. (11/23/2009)

Davenport's "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton), Cedar Rapids' KDAT/104.5, and Eau Claire's "I94" (WIAL/94.1) made the switch to all-Christmas formats on Saturday. Clear Channel has programmed an all-Christmas format in the Quad Cities each year since at least 2002, first on KUUL/101.3 (East Moline) and then on KMXG beginning last year. In Cedar Rapids, it's KDAT's seventh year of all-Christmas. Clear Channel had carried all-Christmas on "Mix 96.5" (WMT-FM Cedar Rapids) from at least 2001 to 2007, but moved the format to "95.7 Kiss Country" (KKSY Anamosa) last year. So far, neither WMT-FM or KKSY has flipped, though both are running all-Christmas streams through their websites. And in Eau Claire's all-Christmas genre, I94 joins Clear Channel's "Mix 98.1" (WISM Altoona), which flipped one week earlier. Both stations have flipped for the past several years.

By this time last year, at least 21 stations had made the flip, five more than have made the switch this year. The Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire, and Duluth markets each already have two all-Christmas stations. Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/23/2009)

Sault Ste. Marie's "Oldies 93" (WNBY-FM/93.9 Newberry), Wausau's "Lite 96.7" (WLJY Rudolph), and La Crosse's "Classic Hits-mas 94.7" (KCLH Caledonia) are the latest to go all-Christmas. Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/21/2009)

Winnipeg's new "Streetz FM" (CIUR/104.7) is on the air, according to tweets from the staff, though announcements running during programming say the station is officially in test mode. The station carries a Hip-Hop format targeting aboriginal youth, positioned as "Winnipeg's illest Urban." It can be heard online at CIUR is the second station for Native Communications, which also runs the provincewide NCI-FM network carrying a Country-based format. (11/20/2009)

The FCC has cancelled a proposed $7,000 fine against former KDLS/1310 (Perry) licensee Perry Broadcasting Company, but replaced it with a $187.50 penalty. The fine had been proposed for a late KDLS license renewal filing. Perry Broadcasting argued that it had, in fact, filed for license renewal in 2004, but failed to attach the filing fee and didn't realize the problem until the license of KDLS-FM/105.5 was renewed, but KDLS' was not. Perry Broadcasting argued the KDLS license renewal application should have been returned as unprocessable. The FCC responded that the application was not returned because the error was not discovered within thirty days, and that the appropriate action in this case was a penalty equal to 25 percent of the filing fee - $187.50. KDLS/1310 is now owned by Coon Valley Communications, and KDLS-FM/105.5 is owned by Latin Broadcasting Company. (11/19/2009)

DirecTV has added HD and SD locals in the Bismarck-Minot-Dickinson-Williston market. The HD/SD channels are KBMY-ABC, KXMB-CBS, and KFYR-NBC, while KBME-PBS is carried in SD only. FOX is not yet carried. DISH Network already has a locals package for the market including KNDX-FOX, but not HD. For more information visit the Local-into-Local Scorecard. (11/19/2009)

GAPWEST Broadcasting's "Kool 101.7" (KLDJ Duluth) has flipped the all-Christmas switch, several days after Red Rock Radio's "92.1 Lite FM" (WWAX Hermantown-Duluth) flipped. Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/19/2009)

Coronet Communications' WHBF/4 (Rock Island) and WOI-TV/5 (Ames-Des Moines) have signed on UHF translator stations targeting their core markets. Both stations say viewers have had a hard time receiving their signals since they moved digital broadcasting to VHF earlier this year. WHBF's translator operates with 2.3kW on channel 47 from Rock Island, and WOI-TV's translator operates with 3.2kW on channel 50 from Des Moines. Coronet's KCAU/9 (Sioux City) and KLKN/8 (Lincoln) also have construction permits for UHF translators; WOI-TV competitor KCCI/8 has a CP for a translator on channel 31. (11/18/2009)

Iowa Public Television plans to convert its Lansing translator to digital on Nov. 19, and its Ottumwa translator to digital on Nov. 23. Both will operate at the maximum 15kW allowed for low-power/translator stations. K41AD Lansing will broadcast digitally on channel 38, while K18GU Ottumwa will stay on channel 18. There's no word when IPT's other six translators -- in Decorah, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Keosauqua, Rock Rapids, and Sibley -- will convert to digital, but construction permits have already been granted for the changes. (11/18/2009)

North Dakota Free Airways, owned by James D. Ingstad, is buying translators K257DW/99.3 (Lisbon) and K290BI/105.9 (Wahpeton) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $10,000. Ingstad owns six stations in the Fargo market. The application states the translators will relay KDSU/91.9 (Fargo). (11/18/2009)

Long-running announcers have disappeared from dozens of Upper Midwest stations, but the stations themselves played no part in the departure. All Access reports Citadel Media has cut at least a dozen well-known personalities from its 24-hour formats. Almost the entire airstaff is out at the Adult Contemporary format, including Lori St. James, Peter Stewart, Tom Kennedy, and Brian Kane. At "Real Country," John Rio, Richard Lee, and Jerry Walker are gone. Cuts at "Classic Hits Radio" (formerly "Oldies Radio") include Jay Fox, Ron Foster, and Mike Preston. Other cuts include Dan Lopez at "Today's Best Hits" and Ray Cooper and Deidra Miles at "The Touch." Some of the personalities had been heard for more than a decade on affiliates such as KMFY/96.9 (Grand Rapids, MN), KGPZ/96.1 (Coleraine-Grand Rapids, MN), WBJI/98.3 (Bemidji, MN), and WIXK/1590 (New Richmond, WI). (11/17/2009)

Longtime WFHR/1320 (Wisconsin Rapids) personality Arnie Strope had died at the age of 87. Strope started at WFHR in 1941 and spent his entire career there until retiring in 1987. He was widely known for hosting the daily call-in show "Kaffee Klatsch," and also served as producer/engineer for every Wisconsin Badger football broadcast on the Wisconsin Network. Services are scheduled for Thursday in Rudolph. (11/17/2009)

CBS Radio's 102.9 "Lite FM" (WLTE Minneapolis) made the switch to all-Christmas today (11/16). Clear Channel's "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka-Minneapolis) has been promoting a flip on the day after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, in Eau Claire, Clear Channel's "Mix 98.1" (WISM Altoona) flipped to all-Christmas over the weekend. Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/16/2009)

The all-Christmas race came to Milwaukee again this year: Entercom's WMYX/99.1 flipped around 7 p.m. Friday, followed about 20 minutes later by Clear Channel's "My 95-7" (WRIT), according to music logs at Last year, both stations flipped on Halloween. Elswhere, "92-1 Lite FM" (WWAX Hermantown-Duluth) also switched to all-Christmas on Friday. (11/14/2009)

"Lite 104.1" (KLTI Ames-Des Moines) is promoting a flip to all-Christmas music at Noon today (11/13). Meanwhile, "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka-Minneapolis) and "Spirit 92.9" (KKJM St. Joseph-St. Cloud) are promoting flips for the day after Thanksgiving. Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/13/2009)

DirecTV has turned on its locals package for the Marquette market, signing on both SD and HD feeds simultaneously. The HD/SD feeds are WBUP-ABC, WJMN-CBS, and WLUC-NBC. The SD-only feeds are WLUC2-FOX, WBKP-CW, WZMQ-My, WNMU-PBS, and WNMU2-PBS. DISH Network has also offered locals in the market since July, but does not carry WBKP, WZMQ, or WNMU2. (11/12/2009)

KMSP/FOX 9 and WFTC/My 29 (Minneapolis) have made a change that could help viewers having difficulty receiving KMSP since the station moved from digital channel 26 to 9 in June. Each station had previously carried both an HD feed and SD feed; the two stations now have swapped their SD feeds, which now remap to the other channel number. So, WFTC continues to carry its HD programming on 29.1, while a WFTC subchannel carries KMSP-SD, which remaps to 9.2, and vice-versa for KMSP. Many receivers will update automatically without the viewer's knowledge, but some older receivers may need to be rescanned to receive 9.2 and 29.2. (11/12/2009)

New station CIUR/104.7 (Winnipeg) is expected to sign on soon. The station, owned by Native Communications, will target aboriginal youth and be known as "Streetz FM," positioned as "Winnipeg's illest Urban." Native Communications also operates the provincewide NCI-FM network heard on CICY/105.5 (Selkirk-Winnipeg), which targets older aboriginals with a Country-based format. CIUR is already streaming at and has posted a video showing the DJ's and studio. The 3kW station is one of two new Winnipeg stations granted by the CRTC last year; Evanov Communications was also granted a new 40kW station on 106.1 (CFJL) to carry a New Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary known as "The Jewel." (11/11/2009)

Former longtime Milwaukee anchor/reporter Melodie Wilson has died after a 17-year battle with cancer. She was 59. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Wilson got her start at the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, MN and later moved to WDIO/10 (Duluth). She moved to WTMJ-TV/4 (Milwaukee) in 1974, and then to WITI/6 (Milwaukee) in 1992. In 1998, she founded ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis), which works to pair breast cancer patients with mentors. Services will be held Saturday. (11/11/2009)

Former Upper Midwest announcer and station owner Wayne E. Grant has died at age 82 in Pennsylvania. Grant was born in Cuba, ND, and got his first radio job at KOVC/1490 (Valley City) in 1945. He later worked at KFGO/790 (Fargo) and KTOE/1420 (Mankato) and then moved to Hampton, IA, in 1953, where he ran a local studios for KSMN/1010 (Mason City) and then KIFG/1510 (Iowa Falls). In 1982, he formed a partnership and put KWGG/104.9 (Hampton), now KLMJ, on the air. The station was sold in 1989. Services were held Nov. 5 at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. (11/11/2009)

Longtime Upper Midwest radio reporter Jim Wishner has died of lung cancer at age 61. Wishner's career included work at WOW/590 (Omaha), WOI/640 (Ames), Minnesota Public Radio, KDAL/610 (Duluth), and The Associated Press. He most recently reported for the Minnesota News Connection and hosted a show on KTNF/950 (St. Louis Park-Minneapolis), which supplied the photo at the right. Services were held Saturday, Nov. 7. (11/8/2009)

Entercom's WOLX/94.9 (Baraboo-Madison) set aside the Oldies for all-Christmas at Midnight this morning (11/5). Follow the Christmas flips here. (11/5/2009)

The FCC has granted KZWF/105.9 (Patterson) an upgrade that could give it rimshot coverage of Des Moines. The station, which was silent at last report, is owned by Connoisseur Media. It's currently licensed for 900W/12m (class A) and will upgrade to 15kW/129m (class C3) from a site east of Winterset. The city-grade contour would not reach Des Moines, but a useable signal would cover much of the capital city and its suburbs. Connoisseur Media also owns KZWU/96.3 (Pleasantville), which recently returned to the air after a year of silence. The two stations had simulcast a Country format as "The Wolf" since signing on early last year. (11/3/2009)

Longtime KWPC/860 (Muscatine) reporter Charles Potter has resigned in an unusual on-air farewell. In a poem, Potter expressed frustration with being called "average" by management despite numerous awards. He had been with the station for twelve years. Potter plans to spend more time with his family and return to his piano-tuning business. (11/2/2009)

The FCC will accept applications for new non-commercial stations
67 allotments nationwide between Dec. 11-18. The allotments are on frequencies in the commercial portion of the band (92-108 MHz) which have been reserved for non-commercial use. They include:

  • Keosaqua, IA: 102.1 C3 (25kW/100m), also potentially serving Fairfield
  • Moville, IA: 97.1 A (6kW/100m), possible Sioux City rimshot
  • Rudd, IA: 101.5 A (6kW/100m), Mason City market
  • Berthold, ND: 100.7 C (100kW/600m), Minot market
  • Ashland, WI: 102.9 A (6kW/100m)
  • Augusta, WI: 101.5 C3 (25kW/100m), potential Eau Claire deep rimshot
  • Hayward, WI: 94.3 C2 (50kW/150m), site restriction north of town
  • Washburn, WI: 104.7 A (6kW/100m), also serving Ashland

    Under FCC rules, the winning applicants will be chosen based on a point system, with points for the following:

  • Local ownership
  • Statewide network
  • No overlap with other stations owned by the applicant
  • Largest coverage (one point for geographic and population coverage at least ten percent greater than other applicants, or two points for 25 percent or greater)

    Unlike a recent filing window in the reserved portion of the band (88-92 MHz), there will be no cap to the number of applications any one group can file in this window. (10/19/2009)

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