November 2011

It turns out Winnipeg will get not one, but two new formats after Christmas. CJOB/680 reports one of its Corus sister stations, 99.1 "Groove FM" (CJGV), will drop its current Smooth Jazz/Light Adult Contemporary format for all-Christmas music through the month of December. The station was still with its "Groove" format as of Wednesday evening. The change comes after the CRTC approved a license modification that will essentially allow CJGV to jettison the Smooth Jazz portion of its format, putting it in direct competition Rogers' 102.3 "Clear FM" (CKY). 99.1 will continue to carry a weekly two-hour Smooth Jazz program. "Clear FM" is already all-Christmas along with Evanov's CJFL-FM/100.7, which is switching from Classic Rock to a Soft Pop/Standards format. (11/30/2011)

Minnesota Public Radio's Bemidji stations, KCRB/88.5-Classical and KNBJ/91.3-News, have been at very low power since a major antenna failure on Thanksgiving Day. MPR said Monday that the antenna must be removed, rebuilt, and reinstalled. (11/29/2011)

WAYY/790 (Eau Claire) is operating at reduced nighttime power after a fire in one of its tower buildings. WAYY normally uses 5kW directional at night but is instead using 1.25kW nondirectional; daytime operation of 5kW nondirectional continues. It's seeking FCC permission to use the 1.25kW night power for up to 180 days while repairs are made. (11/29/2011)

The FCC is taking comments on a plan that could ultimately allow a Lincoln TV station to add coverage of Omaha. FOX affiliate KFXL-TV/51 currently transmits with just 14kW; it proposes moving to channel 15 and upgrading to the maximum DTV power of 1,000kW, which would add about 700,000 people to KFXL's theoretical coverage area. KFXL is restricted from upgrading on channel 51 because of the FCC's plans to auction channel 52 for other uses. If the move to channel 15 is approved, KFXL would likely have to continue to remap to virtual channel 51.1 because of overlap with KXVO (Omaha), which broadcasts on channel 38 and remaps to 15, its old analog channel. KFXL is owned by Lincoln Broadcasting, LLC, and operated by Pappas Telecasting.

The request highlights the unusual TV situation in Nebraska: Lincoln and Omaha are split into separate markets even though they are only about 45 miles apart and Lincoln viewers can easily receive the Omaha stations. Lincoln is instead paired with the Tri-Cities in central Nebraska but the two regions have different sets of transmitters. The market's CBS and FOX affiliates cover both regions, but there are separate ABC affiliates on either end of the market and the NBC affiliate doesn't reach Lincoln. KFXL has been the market's FOX affiliate since 2009, when Pappas shifted the affiliation from two other stations which subsequently went silent. The FOX programming is relayed on subchannels of Pappas' ABC affiliates in the western part of the market. KFXL originally signed on as WB affiliate KOWH in 2006 and later became CW affiliate KCWL. (11/28/2011)

All-Christmas music is heralding a format change again this year in Winnipeg, this time at the former CHNK-FM/100.7. As first reported by RadioInsight, the former "K-Rock" is now playing Christmas music and its website its redirecting to A Facebook page is already active featuring a logo for "The Lounge 100.7 FM, Music with Style." The change follows the sale of 100.7 and CKJS/810 to Evanov Communications, which launched "Energy 106" (CHWE-FM, formerly CFJL) earlier this year. Evanov runs Soft Pop/Standards formats in other markets and had originally told Canadian regulators the new 106.1 in Winnipeg would carry a similar format. The CRTC approved less-restrictive rules for 100.7's playlist in October. This will be the frequency's fifth format since signing on about a decade ago.

Meanwhile, 102.3 "Clear FM" (CKY-FM) flipped to Christmas music over the weekend; CKY-FM and CHIQ/94.3 had both gone all-Christmas last year, and CHIQ's holiday tunes ended with a format change. (11/27/2011)

It's not who is all-Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving that's the story this year, it's who isn't: Clear Channel's "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9). KQQL has gone all-Christmas every year since at least 2001, but so far this year is only sprinking Christmas songs into its regular Classic Hits format. As of Friday afternoon the station hadn't responded to several listener inquiries on its Facebook page asking when and if Santa's coming full-time. Meanwhile, CBS Radio's "102.9 Lite FM" (WLTE) is the only all-Christmas station in the Twin Cities. There are now at least forty all-Christmas stations in the Upper Midwest; see the complete list here. (11/25/2011)

In a test of an unusual ownership maneuver, the FCC says it won't immediately break up a co-owned CBS/NBC operation in Honolulu but says it will consider the issue as part of its review of ownership rules. It also said it may consider whether the co-ownership is in the public interest when the stations' licenses are up for renewal. The Honolulu operation is unique because the CBS and NBC affiliates are owned by the same company rather than being jointly operated through a shared services agreement, which is commonplace among big-four affiliates in small markets. (Some small markets also have big-four affiliations on subchannels or low-power stations, which do not count towards ownership caps.) The co-ownership came about when Raycom, which had already had an NBC-MyNetworkTV duopoly in Honolulu, entered into a shared services agreement with the owner of the CBS affiliate and subsequently swapped the CBS and MyNetworkTV affiliations. Though the FCC said the combination is allowed under the current rules, it did say "the net effect of the transactions in this clearly at odds with the purpose and intent of the duopoly rule." (11/25/2011)

Appleton-based Pioneer Public Television could soon be coming to satellite TV in the Minneapolis market, which includes much of Pioneer's western Minnesota coverage area. The PBS member station writes on its Facebook page that it's working on getting the equipment necessary to get its signal to DirecTV and DISH Network in the Twin Cities. It would be the fourth PBS station on satellite in the expansive Minneapolis TV market, joining two Twin Cities Public Television channels and Bemidji-based Lakeland Public Television. Pioneer originates at KWCM/10 (Appleton) and is already carried on satellite across eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and small parts of Iowa and Nebraska since its second station, KSMN/20.1 (Worthington), is in the Sioux Falls market.

Meanwhile, Pioneer recently converted its Fergus Falls translator, K49FA, to digital broadcasting. The translator uses the maximum digital power of 15kW, extending its theoretical reach to include Detroit Lakes, Perham, Barnesville, and Wahpeton, ND. The multicast lineup includes PBS on 10.1 and 10.4, the Minnesota Channel on 10.2, and Create on 10.3. (11/23/2011)

The FCC has denied a petition for reconsideration of its decision on a new Twin Cities-area AM station. Langer Broadcasting applied for a station on 1200 licensed to Chanhassen, while JNE Investments applied for the same frequency licensed to Bethel. The FCC decided that both communities are sufficiently independent from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Urbanized Area to use the fair distribution preference and awarded the frequency to Langer because Chanhassen has a larger population than Bethel. JNE disputed the idea that Chanhassen is independent from Minneapolis and St. Paul, but the FCC has now ruled that JNE failed to make its case. The construction permit for Langer's new station calls for a transmitter site in the Hazeltine area southwest of Chanhassen using 1.3kW day and 1kW night, with a nondirectional pattern during the day and a directional pattern at night from a four-tower array. The station should have a city-grade signal in the southwest metro with fringe coverage of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Alexander Langer, the 99 percent owner of Langer Broadcasting, owns several other AM stations in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Langer has until Feb. 18, 2013 to put the station on the air. (11/22/2011)

Omaha's "Star 104.5" (KSRZ) and Sioux Falls' "Lite 92.5" (KELO-FM) went all-Christmas Monday, Nov. 21. Follow the flips here. (11/22/2011)

The Milwaukee Free Radio Group is fighting plans to move an FM translator to Milwaukee. Radio Power, Inc. applied to move translator W250BN/97.9 (West Allis-Muskego) to the Milwaukee antenna farm with 250 Watts. MFRG says since Radio Power has moved the translator from Beloit towards Milwaukee in a series of five "hops" in less than two years, it is in conflict with a recent FCC decision that "hops" are an "abuse of process" that attempt to "evade" or "subvert" the rules. The FCC has approved translator hops to Rochester, MN, and St. Cloud, MN, since that decision was released, though no objections were filed to those applications. The new petition does not specify the membership of MFRG, which is represented by a Washington-area attorney. Radio Power specified Wisconsin Public Radio's WHAD/90.7 (Delafield) as the station to rebroadcast on W250BN, but the statement is non-binding and Radio Power operates its translators commercially in other markets with programming originating on commercial HD2 feeds. (11/21/2011)

WXCX/105.7 (Siren) has switched from Dial Global's Classic Hits format to Dial Global's "Sam FM" Variety Hits format. The change happened on Nov. 2 and WXCX continues to carry the Green Bay Packers and local high school sports. It's owned by Red Rock Radio, which started the same format at KFGI/101.5 (Crosby-Brainerd, MN) a few months ago. WXCX's studio is located at Red Rock's WCMP AM-FM in Pine City, MN. Red Rock's "Mix 105" (WLMX-FM/104.9 Balsam Lake), which used to be co-located with WXCX and has an overlapping coverage area, continues to carry a similar format. (11/21/2011)

Iowa Public Radio has signed on KICP/105.9 (Patterson-Des Moines) and KICL/96.3 (Pleasantville) carrying its Classical service. The stations were formerly operated commercially KZHZ and KZHC. Iowa State University, one of the three universities which makes up the network, bought the stations from Connoisseur Communications for $1.75 million. IPR has not yet put out a news release about the Classical sign-on or updated its website to reflect the new stations. This is the first time IPR's five-year-old Classical network has been available in the Des Moines area 24 hours per day; it also airs on WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames-Des Moines) with the exception of Morning Edition and All Things Considered in drive time but KICP/KICL do not reach as far north as WOI-FM. IPR has said the addition of the new stations could mean an expansion of its News/Talk and "Studio One" Adult Alternative services in the Des Moines area, presumably on WOI-FM since IPR's other transmitters already carry the services. (11/21/2011)

American Family Radio's 250-Watt KQRB/89.9 (Windom) has gone silent after losing its transmitter site. A similar issue took AFR's KBOJ/88.1 (Worthington) off the air last year, and AFR ultimately returned KBOJ's license after failing to locate a new site. (11/21/2011)

The "Network of Glory," including KEIS/90.3 (York, NE), went silent for financial reasons on Nov. 15. The move comes about a month after the FCC denied a waiver to carry commercials on the non-commercial stations. The network had stated that it had not been able to obtain grants or adequate listener donations, but the FCC noted that federal law prohibits commercials on stations licensed as non-commercial. Besides KEIS, the network owns four stations in other parts of the country. KEIS had only been on the air for about six months. (11/21/2011)

Nebraska's ETV network has signed on new 4.68kW translator K46KD-D (Broken Bow) relaying KMNE/7 (Bassett). The network carries two channels of PBS plus Create. The other TV translators in Broken Bow are still licensed for analog operation. (11/21/2011)

At least seven more Upper Midwest stations have gone all-Christmas in the last few days. The Twin Cities' 102.9 "Lite FM" (WLTE) made the switch just before midnight Wednesday night (Nov. 16). Meanwhile, the Friday before Thanksgiving proved to be a popular day for flips this year, with all-Christmas starting at KDAT/104.5 (Cedar Rapids), "Lite 104.1" (KLTI-FM Ames-Des Moines), "105.5 The River" (KRBI St. Peter-Mankato), "Lite Rock 104.3" (KZLT East Grand Forks), Bismarck's "Y93" (KYYY/92.9), and "Classic Hits-mas 94.7" (KCLH Caledonia-La Crosse). The Quad Cities "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton) plans to make the switch Saturday (Nov. 19), with many more to follow on Thanksgiving weekend. Follow the flips here. (11/18/2011, removed KLDJ 11/20)

Midwest Communications' WRIG/1390 (Schofield-Wausau) is slated to get an FM translator. WRIG currently carries FOX Sports Radio. Midwest subsidiary WRIG, Inc. is buying translator W229AP/93.7 (Rothschild) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $32,000, and the application to transfer the license states W229AP will carry WRIG. W229AP is currently licensed to transmit from south of Wausau with 10 Watts but plans to apply for a transmitter move to Wausau, according to a map submitted with the license transfer application. (11/17/2011)

Several public TV broadcasters are getting major grants from the USDA's Rural Utilities Service. The largest grant among fifteen nationally, for $750,000, is going to the South Dakota Board of Directors for Educational Telecommunications, which operates nine full-power stations blanketing the state. Other grants include $395,000 for West Central Minnesota Educational Television Company/Pioneer Public Television in Appleton and Worthington and $117,400 for Northern Minnesota Public Television/Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji and Brainerd. The grants are intended to help the stations switch to digital gear. (11/16/2011)

As first reported by Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin, WHIT/1550 (Madison) has picked up the "True Oldies Channel," replacing its locally-automated Oldies format. The 5kW daytimer is owned by Mid-West Management. The switch happened on Monday (Nov. 14), the same day WHIT's main competitor, Entercom's WOLX/94.9 (Baraboo-Madison), began six weeks of Christmas music. (11/16/2011)

WRVM, Inc. is buying the construction permit for new station WIWM/90.9 (Sheboygan) from Cornerstone Community Radio for $30,000. WRVM, a Christian station based at 102.7 in Suring, has had a network of translators in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula for decades and has begun adding full-power stations in recent years. The current WIWM CP calls for using 15kW/35m from a cell tower near Cleveland, north of Sheboygan. (11/16/2011)

Green Bay's CW 14 (WCWF Suring) has been at reduced power since Sunday, and has been off the air completely at times. It's posting updates on its website. (11/16/2011)

The last TV translator on the North Shore is due to go silent on Dec. 1. K67CT (Grand Marais), which relays PBS station WDSE/8 (Duluth) in analog, will leave the air ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline for all stations nationwide to leave channels 52-69 as part of the digital transition. Duluth-Superior Area Educational TV Corp., which owns K67CT and WDSE, chose not to seek displacement to a new channel. It says the K67CT tower will remain to be used by Minnesota Public Radio, law enforcement, a cell phone copany, and the local cable company.

K67CT is the last of eight translators in Grand Marais and Grand Portage to leave the air in the last decade. (The Grand Portage translators once fed the Thunder Bay cable system, which switched to Detroit satellite feeds in 1986 due to poor picture quality from the translators.) Residents of Grand Marais who cannot receive the Duluth signals from more than 100 miles away must subscribe to cable or satellite to have TV service. (11/15/2011)

Central Wisconsin's "Mix 96-7" (WLJY Whiting-Wausau) made the flip to all-Christmas Saturday (Nov. 12) after running a Christmas preview last weekend. In Eau Claire, "Mix 98.1" (WISM Altoona) started playing all-Christmas music Saturday but it's unclear if it's a permanent flip. In Des Moines, "Lite 104.1" (KLTI-FM Ames) is running a Christmas preview weekend but plans to go back to its regular format Monday. The Quad Cities' "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton) is also running another Christmas preview weekend, with a full flip coming next weekend. Follow the flips here (11/12/2011)

From zero to two in less than an hour: Two Milwaukee radio stations switched to all-Christmas formats Thursday afternoon (Nov. 10). Online music logs indicate Entercom's WMYX/99.1 made the switch at 5:00, followed by Clear Channel's "Oldies 95.7" (WRIT) around 5:55. The stations have been competitive in the Christmas battle for several years. Both switched on the same day in 2008 (Halloween) and 2009 (Nov. 13), but WMYX was four days behind WRIT last year (Nov. 18 and 22). WMYX was the first station in the Upper Midwest to go all-Christmas this year. Follow the flips here. (11/10/2011)

Red Rock Radio is buying three stations from companies owned by the Estate of Lewis M. Latto, Jr., who died earlier this year. Red Rock will pay Iron Range Broadcasting $1,035,512 for KRBT/1340 and WEVE-FM/97.9 (Eveleth) and its translators in Virginia, Ely, and Hibbing. In a separate transaction, Red Rock will pay Latto Northland Broadcasting $419,488 for KGPZ/96.1 (Coleraine-Grand Rapids). Latto owned 100 percent of Iron Range Broadcasting and 87.5 percent of Latto Northland Broadcasting.

Red Rock owns 19 radio stations in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, including stations licensed to Babbitt (KAOD/106.7) and Deer River (KBAJ/105.5) which overlap with the Latto stations. KAOD and KBAJ relay the Classic Rock format of Red Rock's KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth), while KRBT carries Talk, WEVE carries Adult Contemporary, and KGPZ carries Country.

Red Rock Radio Corp. has the same ownership structure as Red River Broadcast Corp., LLC and KQDS Acquisition Corp., which own TV stations in the Duluth, Fargo, and Sioux Falls market. The majority owner of the companies is Curtis Squire, Inc., which is owned by the Kunin family of Regis Corp. fame. (11/9/2011)

Bahakel Communications is selling its group of four radio stations in Waterloo to Woodward Communications for $3.5 million. The sale includes Oldies KWLO/1330, Talk KXEL/1540, Classic Hits KOKZ/105.7, and "Rock 108" (KFMW/107.9). KXEL, KOKZ, and KFMW also have strong signals in Cedar Rapids but primarily target Waterloo, and KXEL's 50,000-Watt signal can be heard across much of the Upper Midwest at night. Woodward's only other radio stations are in northeastern Wisconsin, though it does own one daily and two weekly newspapers in the Dubuque area. Bahakel has no other holdings in the Upper Midwest. (11/7/2011)

The classic TV network Me-TV is picking up affiliates in another three Upper Midwest markets. It was recently added on KOTA-TV/3.2 (Rapid City), which is rebroadcast on KHSD/11.2 (Lead, SD), KSGW/12.2 (Sheridan, WY), and KDUH/4.2 (Scottsbluff, NE, part of the Cheyenne market). Meanwhile, WDIO-DT (Duluth) announced Monday that it will begin carrying Me-TV on WDIO/10.2 and satellite WIRT/13.2 (Hibbing) on Nov. 28. Me-TV replaces Retro TV Network on all of the stations. Me-TV says it now has coverage in markets representing 60 percent of U.S. households. (11/7/2011)

Christmas music made its seasonal return to Upper Midwest airwaves over the weekend. It appears "Lite 104.1" (KLTI-FM Ames-Des Moines) may have been the first in the region to spin Christmas tunes this year by running the Christmas version of Delilah on Friday night (11/4). KLTI is only running Christmas music during Delilah for now, with all-Christmas said to be coming later this month. Meanwhile, the Quad Cities' "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton, IA) and central Wisconsin's "Mix 96-7" (WLJY Whiting-Wausau) ran Christmas music preview weekends. KMXG is promoting another Christmas preview next weekend with a full flip coinciding with a local festival on Nov. 20. Follow the flips here. (11/7/2011)

The FCC has denied applications to transfer four construction permits for new non-commercial FM stations in the Upper Midwest after a court order changed rules in July. The CP transfers that have been denied include:

  • Mystic, IA: 88.5, from Vineyard Christian Fellowshup of Honolulu to Grace Community Church of Amarillo
  • Grand Rapids, MN: WRFR/88.1, from Refuge Media Group to CJTL Media
  • Arlington, SD: KSRJ/89.9, from Refuge Media Group to CJTL Media
  • Elk Point, SD: KPCJ/91.9, from Church Planters of America to Agnus Dei Communications

    The court order in the case Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC threw out an FCC practice of granting eighteen-month extensions when CP's are transferred. The construction permits for all four stations have expired and will be deleted. (11/7/2011)


  • Minnesota: The FCC granted an upgrade for PBS station KTCI-TV/2.3 (St. Paul, RF 23) from 325kW to 700kW.
  • Wisconsin: PBS station WMVT/36.1 (Milwaukee, RF 35) upgraded from 500kW to 807kW but is not yet on its permanent tower.
  • Wisconsin: Trinity Broadcasting Network's WWRS-TV/52.1 (Mayville, RF 43) applied to upgrade from 300kW to 725kW from its existing tower site. (11/7/2011)

    West Central Michigan Media Ministries is buying WIHC/97.9 (Newberry-Sault Ste. Marie) from Northern Star Broadcasting for $150,000. WIHC had carried a Classic Rock format until going silent last year when Northern Star sold its other Upper Peninsula stations to Sovereign Communications. WIHC is licensed for 50kW/150m with a rimshot signal to the Twin Saults; the sale includes the transmission facilities but no studio site. The buyer has a non-commercial station in the Lower Peninsula and also has a construction permit for new station WUMI/90.3 (Newberry), though that CP would not reach Sault Ste. Marie. (11/5/2011)

    Iowa Public Radio's KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City) has been operating at half of its normal power for the past month and tells the FCC it could be another one to three months before it returns to full power. The station normally uses 100kW and is at reduced power due to problems with its transmission line. KSUI carries IPR's Classical network and is rebroadcast on a translator in Dubuque, which may have poorer-quality audio due to KSUI's reduced signal strength. (11/5/2011)

    The FCC has granted NorMin Broadcasting Company, headed by David De La Hunt, a construction permit for a new FM station in the Thief River Falls area. The new station will be licensed to Red Lake Falls and will broadcast on 94.1 with 50kW/150m (class C2) from a tower norheast of Plummer. NorMin won the frequency in FCC Auction No. 91 with a $35,000 bid. The frequency was originally alloted to Red Lake, but the FCC approved a move to Red Lake Falls for the initial construction permit. A previous CP on the frequency when it was alloted to Red Lake was never built. (11/4/2011)

    After a two-year dispute, the FCC has granted a license to KXLG/99.1 (Milbank-Watertown). KXLG was originally licensed to Huron as KZNC and moved east to the Watertown market in 2009, where it now carries a Classic Hits format. Three Eagles Broadcasting, which owns all five Watertown-licensed commercial stations, objected to the license for the new facility, saying KXLG owner Dakota Broadcasting had improperly transferred control to Robert Faehn and wasn't really serving Milbank as intended. (Faehn, a former state legislator, previously owned two Watertown stations which his company sold to Three Eagles in 2000.) Three Eagles was particularly concerned that Dakota Broadcasting told the FCC on Sept. 2, 2009 that Faehn "never had anything to do with the operation, management, or control" of the station, though Dakota Broadcasting later filed documents with the FCC showing that a company associated with Faehn had signed a time brokerage agreement with Dakota Broadcasting on Aug. 26. Still, the FCC found Dakota Broadcasting's Sept. 2 statement was not false because the TBA did not take effect until KXLG began program tests from its new site, which didn't happen until approximately Sept. 17. On the community of license objection, the FCC said existing stations that are modified (such as this move from Huron to Milbank) are only required to provide an adequate signal strength to the community and have a main studio location complying with the rules. (11/4/2011)

    KXRV/107.5 (Cannon Ball-Bismarck) has dropped its Adult Contemporary "River" format for a Classic Hits-based mix as "Mojo" following the station's sale to Radio Bismarck-Mandan. The station is broadcasting from a storefront studio on North 4th Street in Bismarck with a lineup including Sid Hardt and Amy Jo Johnson from 6-10a, Lauren Gray from 10-2, Bob Denver from 2-6p, and B-Man from 6-10p. KXRV had carried AC since signing on in 2009. (11/2/2011, updated with announcer schedule 11/4)

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