Newly released BBM ratings for the fall ratings period (September 3-October 28) show a slide in listenership to Contemporary Hits formats in Winnipeg despite the recent rebranding of one outlet and the relatively recent launch of another. Astral Media's CKMM-FM/103.1, which rebranded as "Virgin Radio" shortly before the launch of the fall ratings period, remains the top CHR station in 12+ ratings (Monday-Sunday, 05:00-01:00 CST) with a 7.4 share but is still at its lowest point in at least five books. Evanov Communications' "Energy 106" (CHWE-FM/106.1) comes in at 5.6, its lowest share of its three-book history. Meanwhile, there aren't a lot of surprises for other stations in the market. Corus Entertainment's CJOB/680 and CBC Radio One remain the top stations, while Evanov's CJFL-FM/100.7 and Corus' CJGV-FM/99.1 remain near the bottom of the rankings despite format relaunches a year ago. Complete rankings are available here. (11/30/2012)
NET Radio's translator in Falls City, formerly K219CE/91.7, has moved to 88.9 as K205FP following the sign-on of KSSH/91.7 (Shubert). KSSH is part of the "My Bridge Radio" Christian network. (11/30/2012)
Cumulus Media has parked its "Nash" in the far northern suburbs of Minneapolis, but it's not clear whether it'll stay permanently. FCC records indicate the callsign of Cumulus' WGVY/105.3 (Cambridge) changed to WNSH this Monday (11/26), which seems to go along with the "Nash Country" domain registrations recently reported by RadioInsight. 105.3 currently carries the Adult Contemporary "Love 105" format along with WGVZ/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis) and WGVX/105.1 (Lakeville), a simulcast which has been in place for more than fifteen years under a half-dozen formats. (The WGVY callsign was a leftover from the short-lived "Twin Cities Groove, V105" format of the early 2000's.) Whether Cumulus will actually launch a "Nash Country" format in the Minneapolis market, or if the callsign is just "parked" in Cambridge until it moves to another market, remains to be seen. It's worth remembering that Clear Channel and CBS already have major-signal Country outlets in the Twin Cities and that 105.3's main coverage area only reaches into the far northern suburbs. (11/28/2012)
New station KNIT/90.1 (Humboldt) has applied for the license to cover its construction permit, but the station may not stay on the air permanently yet. It's listed for sale at $5,000. Cedar Cove Broadcasting owns the station, which uses 6.1kW/63m (class A). Cedar Cove Broadcasting is a sister company to Kona Coast Radio, LLC, which is in the process of moving KIMI/107.9 (Humboldt) to Sidney, IA. KNIT needed to remain licensed to Humboldt in order for KIMI to get permission to move. (11/28/2012)
News/Talker WPIQ/92.7 (Manistique) is seeking another upgrade that would improve its signal to Escanaba. The station moved from 99.9, where it was 6kW (class A), a few years ago and upgraded to 19.5kW/217m (class C2). Now, WPIQ tells the FCC it needs to move its antenna higher up on its existing tower because new station WCRR/88.9 (Manistique) will use WPIQ's current location. WPIQ is applying to use 51kW/243m (class C1) from the same tower. Meanwhile, the FCC has approved special temporary authority for WPIQ to use 19.5kW/243m to replicate the currently-licensed facility. (11/27/2012)
Collins Broadcasting and Gray Communications are seeking a failing station waiver to create a TV duopoly in the Lincoln/Tri-Cities market. Gray owns CBS affiliate KOLN/10 (Lincoln) and satellite KGIN/11 (Grand Island) and has reached a deal to buy KSNB-TV/4 (Superior) from Collins for $1.25 million. Collins tells the FCC that under Gray's ownership, KSNB would carry a 30-minute weeknight newscast targeting Superior and central Nebraska and local sports programming if the sale is approved. (KOLN/KGIN already carries such programming on its "MyTV" subchannel.)
KSNB recently moved its transmitter to a site near York, about ten miles west of KOLN's tower, with theoretical rooftop antenna coverage extending from Grand Island to Lincoln and beyond. More importantly, KSNB's status as a full-power station gives it must-carry rights on cable and satellite systems across the market, which stretches from Lincoln to the Colorado and South Dakota borders and into northern Kansas. The deal also includes two low-power/translator stations in Lincoln.
KSNB previously transmitted from a tower near Superior and carried FOX programming as a satellite of KTVG/17 (Grand Island) until 2009, when a time brokerage agreement between Collins and Pappas Telecasting ended. (Prior to carrying KTVG, KSNB was a satellite of ABC affiliate KHGI/13 Kearney.) Since 2009, KSNB has been largely silent but lists itself as a Three Angels Broadcasting Network affiliate in an issues/programming list.
In support of its failing station waiver request, Collins says KSNB has no measurable audience, is losing money, and Gray was the only organization willing to enter good-faith negotiations to buy the station.
The large Lincoln/Tri-Cities market is essentially two separate viewing regions joined together by the KOLN/KGIN simulcast, with different ABC affiliates on either end of the market and an NBC affiliate that serves the Tri-Cities but not Lincoln. The owner of the Tri-Cities ABC affiliate operates the Lincoln-licensed FOX affiliate and rebroadcasts FOX programming on its subchannel. Further complicating matters, Omaha stations are seen in Lincoln over the air and on cable. (11/25/2012)
It's no surprise that a couple dozen Upper Midwest stations flipped to all-Christmas music on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but the big surprise is which station didn't: WMYX/99.1 (Milwaukee). The Entercom station has been in a years-long Christmas competition with Clear Channel's WRIT-FM/95.7, which went all-Christmas on Wednesday. Here's Santa's updated list. (11/23/2012)
KRDS/95.5 (New Prague) has dropped its decades-running Oldies format and is now simulcasting "Vintage Country" with KCHK/1350 (New Prague), a format which continues to include the stations' well-known Polka programming. 95.5's Oldies format had gone through several tweaks including a callsign change from KCHK-FM to KRDS in an effort to appeal to listeners in Rice, Dakota, and Scott Counties, though 95.5's signal is strongest in Le Sueur County. The stations are owned by Ingstad Brothers Broadcasting, LLC and have a listenable signal in some of the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. (11/23/2012)
The HD2 signal of KQQL/107.9 (Anoka-Minneapolis) has reverted to `80s Hits as "Kool 1-0-80's." The Clear Channel station had dropped the HD2 `80s format last year and replaced it with syndicated sports programming as "The Score," which moved from KFXN/690 (Minneapolis) when Clear Channel donated the station to a minority group. (11/23/2012)
WISC-TV reports that Mid-West Family Broadcasting has laid off the entire on-air staff of WTDY/1670 (Madison), which is simulcast on rimshot WTDY-FM/106.7 (Mount Horeb). The station had run a News/Talk format for decades and added the FM simulcast about a year ago, but faced competition from two Clear Channel stations: conservative talker WIBA/1310 and liberal talker 92.1 "The Mic" (WXXM Sun Prairie). WTDY is now carrying Christmas music and the station's operations manager tells WISC a new format has not been decided, though it is worth noting that two new sports radio networks are launching in the new year. (11/21/2012)
Truth Broadcasting's KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) is making another attempt to move closer to Des Moines, but the newly proposed facility would not deliver a city-grade signal to the capital city. The FCC rejected a previous proposal to change KTIA's community of license to Johnston with a transmitter in Saylorville, saying it conflicted with rules intended to prevent station moves from rural areas to urbanized areas.
The new application seeks to change KTIA's community of license to Huxley, a community of about 3,300 between Ames and Des Moines, with the transmitter at the existing KNWM/96.1 (Madrid) tower southwest of Sheldahl. KTIA would use 5.3kW/95m with a city-grade coverage area nestled between Des Moines and Ames. The new facility would provide city-grade service (70 dbu) to just 2.7 percent of the Des Moines Urbanized Area, far below the 78.5 percent that caused problems for the previous application.
The move would more than triple the number of people in KTIA's primary coverage area (60 dbu) to 351,890.
KTIA's move would require KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) to move to 101.7 which, in turn, would displace Iowa Public Radio translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines). The translator already has a construction permit to move to 97.7.
KTIA would be the first station licensed to Huxley while three stations, two AM and one FM, would remain licensed to Boone. The station currently carries a Christian Talk format. (11/21/2012)
New station WBKK/820 (Wilton-Bemidji) is on the air with an Oldies format. The format is locally-originated and includes CBS News and a regional morning show simulcast on several De La Hunt Broadcasting stations. WBKK is owned by Edward Paul De La Hunt and operated alongside his KKWB/102.5 (Kelliher-Bemidji), which signed on a few years ago with a Country format. WBKK uses 10kW daytime and 750W nighttime with the same directional pattern day and night. The station's sign-on brings the number of commercial radio stations with studios in Bemidji to twelve (Louis H. Buron, Jr. has five stations while Roger and Troy Paskvan have a combined five stations). (11/20/2012)
Omaha's "Star 104.5" (KSRZ) went all-Christmas on Monday. Madison's WOLX/94.9 (Baraboo) plans to flip on Tuesday, while St. Cloud's "Spirit 92.9" (KKJM St. Joseph) plans a Friday flip. Follow the Christmas changeover here. (11/19/2012)
FM translator W230BU/93.9 is on the air in Wausau, relaying Midwest Communications' "FOX Sports 1390" (WRIG Schofield). The translator uses 250 Watts from a tower northeast of Wausau. It was previously licensed to use 10 Watts from a tower near Rothschild on 93.7 and remains licensed to Rothschild. Midwest subsidiary WRIG, Inc. bought the translator from Edgewater Broadcasting for $27,000. (11/19/2012)
Classical Minnesota Public Radio translator K231AT/94.1 (Pine City) has moved its transmitter into Pine City, greatly improving its signal to the town. K231AT had previously broadcast from the WCMP-FM tower in Beroun. It remains 55 Watts after the move. (11/19/2012)
The owner of KXRA/1490 (Alexandria) is buying an FM translator to carry the station's signal, but it'll have to move to a different frequency first. Paradis Broadcasting will pay Refuge Media $60,000 for K208EQ/89.5. Since K208EQ is currently licensed in the non-commercial portion of the band, it will have to move to a new frequency before it can carry KXRA. The asset purchase agreement says Paradis will apply to change to 100.1 and move the transmitter to its own tower. (11/19/2012)
Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is buying the construction permit for a new station in the Minot market but it'll only have half a year to get it on the air. EMF will pay True North Community Outreach $40,000 for KXNK/100.7 (Berthold), which must be built by May 24, 2013. The 100kW/300m station will have a strong signal to Minot and surrounding areas. The frequency is reserved for non-commercial use, so it could not be sold to a commercial broadcaster. EMF operates the "K-Love" and "Air1" networks. (11/19/2012)
ALL-CHRISTMAS FRIDAY UPDATE:
Cedar Rapids: KDAT/104.5 flipped to all-Christmas on Friday.
Des Moines: "Lite 104.1" (KLTI-FM Ames) made its expected flip to all-Christmas on Friday.
Fargo: "FM 105.1" (KLTA Breckenridge-Fargo) made the switch to all-Christmas on Friday, the first time the station has ever gone all-Christmas. No commercial station in the market has gone all-Christmas in several years. As previously reported, non-commercial "Life 97.9" plans a full flip to Christmas music on Dec. 12.
La Crosse: "Classic Hits 94.7" (KCLH Caledonia, MN) made its annual transformation to "Classic Hits-Mas" on Friday.
Milwaukee: There's still no Christmas music on either station that has historically flipped, WRIT-FM/95.7 and WMYX/99.1. Both stations flipped their websites over to Christmas themes on Thursday but continue with their regular playlists.
Minneapolis: "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka) made its expected flip on Friday, joining "Love 105" with all-Christmas music. The Pioneer Press reports non-commercial KTIS-FM/98.5 will also go all-Christmas on Dec. 6.
Winnipeg: 100.7 "The Breeze" (CFJL-FM) continues to run some non-Christmas songs during its evening "Lounge" programming but otherwise appears to be all-Christmas.
See the full Christmas tally here. (11/16/2012)
Me-TV has announced an affiliation agreement with KVLY-TV/11.2 (Fargo) that's set to begin Jan. 1. KVLY, a primary NBC affiliate, will be the first Hoak Media station to carry the classic TV network. After the New Year, Me-TV will have distribution in markets representing 84 percent of TV households, including every market in South Dakota and Wisconsin and all but one market in Minnesota (which is partially served by translators of an out-of-market affiliate). ThisTV, a sister network to Me-TV, is currently seen on KVLY/11.2 and it wasn't immediately clear whether This would move to a different channel or be discontinued in the market. (11/14/2012)
The FCC has approved a plan that essentially gives Clear Channel a seventh FM signal in Minneapolis. The Commission gave the OK to an application to move translator W225AP/92.9 (St. Paul) to the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis, where the application states it would relay Clear Channel's KFXN-FM. (Rules allow HD2 and HD3 channels to be carried and originating stations can be changed without FCC approval.) In approving the application, the FCC dismissed an informal objection from low-power FM activist Jeff Sibert, who argued the frequency should be preserved for low-power FM use and that the translator would effectively be used to originate its own programming. The FCC found the proposal complied with all rules and noted that it allows translators to rebroadcast HD2 channels, even though they aren't otherwise available on analog radios. W225AP is owned by Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation, which sold what's now K278BP/103.5 to Clear Channel after moving it to the IDS Center in 2010. K278BP carries the News/Talk format of KTCN/1130 via a simulcast on KFXN-FM-HD2. EMF has also applied to upgrade three other translators on 93.3, 99.9, and 102.5, with applications stating they would relay Clear Channel stations. The translators currently carry EMF's "K-Love" and "Air-1" networks. Clear Channel could have programming on a total of ten FM signals in Minneapolis if all of the applications are approved; translators do not count towards ownership caps. (11/14/2012)
ANOTHER ALL-CHRISTMAS UPDATE:
Minneapolis: A new entrant is the first all-Christmas station this year in the Twin Cities: Cumulus Media's "Love 105." The trimulcast of WGVZ/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis), WGVX/105.1 (Lakeville), and WGVZ/105.3 (Cambridge) kicked off the season with Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" just after Midnight Monday morning (11/12), according to the music log on the station's website. Love 105's Christmas mix is a combination of classic and new artists. It's the first time the stations, which transitioned from Oldies to Adult Contemporary earlier this year, have gone all-Christmas. Clear Channel's "Kool 108" is promoting a Friday start to Christmas music.
Eau Claire: Clear Channel's "Mix 98.1" switched to all-Christmas on Monday (11/12).
Rapid City: 97.5 "The Hills" (KKLS/920 and FM translator) is promoting a switch to all-Christmas on Thanksgiving. "Power 107.1" (KSLT) says on its Facebook page it'll begin playing some Christmas music after Thanksgiving and then go all-Christmas the following week.
Winnipeg: 100.7 "The Breeze" is running Christmas music for about about three-quarters of its playlist.
See the full Christmas tally here. (11/12/2012)
Des Moines: "Lite 104.1" (KLTI-FM Ames) just wrapped up a Christmas preview weekend and announced it will go all-Christmas this Friday.
Fargo: Non-commercial "Life 97.9" (KFNW-FM) plans to begin its "Season of Hope" with all-Christmas music the weekend after Thanksgiving. They'll go back to their regular format on Nov. 26 with some Christmas music on the playlist until going back to all-Christmas on Dec. 12. The station will also carry "Christmas Nights, Holiday Lights" evenings from 5 to 11 beginning Dec. 1.
Milwaukee: Neither station has flinched in what has become a traditional Christmas competition between Clear Channel's "Oldies 95.7" (WRIT-FM) and Entercom's "99.1 The Mix" (WMYX). WRIT says on its Facebook page that it'll flip sometime this month, while WMYX hasn't responded to questions about Christmas music on Facebook. (One poster even accused WMYX of being anti-Christian for failing to flip to all-Christmas by Nov. 10.) The stations both flipped on Nov. 10, 2011; Nov. 13, 2009; and Oct. 31, 2008. They flipped four days apart in 2010, on Nov. 18 (WRIT) and Nov. 22 (WMYX).
See the full Christmas tally here. (11/12/2012)
There's a sports radio shakeup coming to Green Bay. WGBW/1590 (Denmark-Green Bay), which upgraded to cover Titletown last year, will become "ESPN Green Bay" on Jan. 3. Some ESPN Radio programming is currently heard on WDUZ/1400 (Green Bay) and WDUZ-FM/107.5 (Green Bay), which reportedly plan to switch to the new CBS Sports Radio Network distributed by WDUZ operator Cumulus Media. WGBW owner Mark Heller says he's signed a three-year contract with ESPN and is happy to bring a live feed of the network to the NFL market. The lineup will include Mike and Mike in the Morning and Colin Cowherd and the Herd, which had not been heard in the market, as well as Scott Van Pelt, who is delayed on WDUZ. WGBW currently carries Citadel's "True Oldies Channel." (11/9/2012)
Would-be burglars have been targetting communications towers in the Rochester area. KAAL and KTTC report recent burglary attempts at the transmitter sites for KTTC/10 and KROC-FM/106.9 and towers owned by Verizon Wireless and the Minnesota Department fo Transportation. KAAL reports nothing was taken from any of the towers but fences, cables, and doors were damaged. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office believes those responsible were trying to get copper. As those of us in the broadcasting industry know, these burglars risk a self-imposed death penalty by messing around with high-voltage equipment they don't understand. (11/9/2012)
KBBX/97.7 (Nebraska City-Omaha) tells the FCC it's at reduced power due to water damage to its main antenna. The Connoisseur Media station switched to its auxiliary facility Sunday (11/4), using 25.5kW/165m instead of the normal 100kW/298m. The change is likely noticable to listeners of the station in Omaha since KBBX's transmitter site is located southwest of town. KBBX, which runs a Regional Mexican format, is seeking special temporary authority to use the auxiliary facility while repairs are made. (11/6/2012)
After last week's flip in Green Bay, the countdown to all-Christmas is on at a few other Upper Midwest stations. Clear Channel's "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka-Minneapolis) is announcing that Christmas music will begin on Nov. 16, the Friday before Thanksgiving. (Longtime "Kool" Christmas competitor "102.9 Lite FM" flipped to Country after Christmas last year, a format that generally doesn't go all-Christmas.) In the Quad Cities, Clear Channel's "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton) ran a Christmas preview weekend and is announcing plans to go all-Christmas on Nov. 17 coinciding with the Festival of Trees. One market that's been especially competitive is Milwaukee, where Clear Channel's "Oldies 95.7" (WRIT) says on its Facebook page that it will go all-Christmas again this year but isn't saying when. Entercom's "99.1 The Mix" (WMYX) is being even more coy with no response to listeners' Facebook questions about if and when the flip will happen. And in northern Iowa, KCHA-FM/95.9 (Charles City) will go all-Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving and then mix in one Christmas song per hour before going back to all-Christmas closer to the holiday itself. Follow the flips here and drop a line to JonEllis@NorthPine.com with any updates. (11/5/2012)
It's the day after Halloween and that means it's time for Christmas music on the radio. As first reported by RadioInsight, WCHK-FM/104.3 (Seymour-Green Bay) dropped its "Chuck" Variety Hits format for Christmas music on Nov. 1, likely signaling a format change since the "Chuck" branding has been chucked. The Woodward Communications station, which is rebroadcast on translator W278AU/103.5 (Green Bay), is simply known as "The Christmas Station" for now. WCHK-FM's full flip to Christmas in 2012 is ten days earlier than any Upper Midwest station in 2011 but doesn't break the record from 2010, when two Milwaukee stations started trimming the tree on Halloween. 104.3 also used Christmas music as a transition when it dropped Adult Contemporary in 2009. No commercial FM station in the market went all-Christmas in 2010 or 2011. (11/1/2012)
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