There's one surprise among the all-Christmas flips this year: Midwest Communications' "Mix 101.9 (KRWK Fargo). The "Mix" format, which moved to 101.9 from a different frequency earlier this year, had not switched to all-Christmas in previous years. It joins Mediactive's "92.7 The Drive" (KZDR Kindred-Fargo) and Northwestern's "Life 97.9" (KFNW-FM Fargo), marking the first time Fargo has had three all-Christmas stations.
North of the border, a name change at Rogers' CKY-FM/102.3 (Winnipeg) didn't prevent the station from going all-Christmas again this year. The station was "Clear FM" at Christmas last year and changed its name to "Kiss 102.3" in February.
Track all the flips here. (11/30/2015)
A belated note that northeast suburban Twin Cities station WLKX/95.9 (Forest Lake) has dropped "La Neta," a two-year-old Regional Mexican/Tropical format, in favor of Oldies as "The Big Q." The broad `60s-based format is simulcast with co-owned WQPM/1300 (Princeton) and translator K277AS/103.3 (Big Lake-Princeton), as well as the HD3 signal of KLCI/106.1 (Elk River) and the HD4 signal of KDDG/105.5 (Albany). It appears WLKX's change took place in early October when sister station KBGY/107.5 (Faribault-south metro) also dropped a Regional Mexican/Tropical format in favor of a rebroadcast of Country-formatted "Bob FM" (KLCI/106.1 Elk River-Minneapolis).
Incidentally, KBGY's former "La Mera Buena" format was promoted to have moved to KLCI-HD4, but KLCI had no HD4 signal as of Black Friday. The format's website and online stream are still active, though no mentions of a frequency or call letters were being heard Friday afternoon. (11/27/2015)
As they had promised, KBAD-FM/94.5 (Sioux Falls) launched on Thanksgiving morning in conjunction with the opening of the co-owned Badlands Pawn complex in Sioux Falls. "K-Bad" features a mainstream Rock format and broadcasts live from a studio on the pawn shop floor. The announcer lineup includes Crash and Taylor in morning drive, Ron Keel middays, Jeff Koller afternoons, and Cade evenings. KBAD-FM, formerly KCFS, is owned by Charles Brennan's Badlands Airtime LLC, which bought the station from the University of Sioux Falls for $1.5 million. It has a a construction permit to upgrade to 25kW/88m but may still be using the 2kW/60m facility that KCFS had used. Brennan originally received FCC approval to buy KZOY/1520 and K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls) from Cup O' Dirt LLC, but the deal hasn't closed amid litigation over the sale. Cup O' Dirt filed a second extension of consummation last month, saying that the deal might close or might be canceled. (11/26/2015)
The FCC has approved the separate sales of two Twin Cities radio stations: KDIZ/1440 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) from Radio Disney to Salem Media, and KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul-Minneapolis) from Praise Broadcasting to Northern Lights Broadcasting. Both applications received regulatory approval on Nov. 18 and await consummation.
Salem has set up a website at businessradio1440.com that redirects to the website of Salem Business Talk outlet KYCR/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis), suggesting that KYCR's format will move to 1440 with a possible new format for 1570. Salem will have four AM stations in the Twin Cities after the purchase of 1440; in other markets where it has four AM stations, the fourth station either carries a second version of Christian Talk or a Spanish Christian format.
Meanwhile, as previously reported, Northern Lights has reserved the KZGO callsign for KNOF and purchased domain names that suggest the "Go" Adult Alternative format could be moving to 95.3 from KTWN-FM/96.3 (Edina-Minneapolis), leaving 96.3 open for a new format. KTWN-FM has been heard testing HD subchannels, one of which will carry "Praise" programming displaced from KNOF. (11/24/2015)
Oklahoma-based Screen Door Broadcasting, LLC is buying the construction permit for new translator K285GH/104.9 (Auburn) from Community Broadcasting for $10,000. The translator is currently permitted for a rimshot 170-Watt signal from northeast of Auburn and faces an April 25, 2016 deadline to get on the air. (11/24/2015)
Catholic network Real Presence Radio is buying translator K216DI/91.1 (Harvey) from Covenant Network for $17,500. The translator provides the only strong FM signal to Harvey, a small town midway between Bismarck, Devils Lake, Jamestown, and Minot. It'll be the 12th signal for Grand Forks-based Real Presence Radio, which has five full-power FM signals, three AM signals, one other FM translator, and two low-power FM affiliates. (11/23/2015)
Northern Minnesota's Red Lake Nation has applied for a new station on 105.3. The station would be licensed to Red Lake and would transmit with 100kW/192m (class C1) from a new tower north of Clearbrook and deliver a city-grade signal to most of the Red Lake Reservation and a rimshot signal to both Bemidji and Thief River Falls. It's short-spaced with an unused allotment for a station on 104.9 in Rainy River, Ontario, but the Red Lake Nation is requesting a specially-negotiated short-spaced allotment with Canada since any interference to the future Rainy River station would be in the U.S. (11/23/2015)
About a dozen Upper Midwest radio stations, including the Twin Cities' "Kool 108" (KQQL Anoka), have made the switch to all-Christmas music in the last few days. The flips are mostly on the same schedule as last year. A few exceptions are Fargo's 92.7 "The Drive" (KZDR Kindred), which flipped a week earlier than last year, and KDAT/104.5 (Cedar Rapids), which flipped several days earlier. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's "95.7 BIG FM" flipped a week later than last year, with the start of all-Christmas music coinciding with the Milwaukee Holiday Festival of Lights on Thursday (11/19). Two flips in Duluth coincided with Friday's Christmas City of the North Parade. Several more stations are promoting the flip to all-Christmas on Black Friday. Find the complete list here. (11/21/2015)
KIMT (Mason City-Austin-Rochester) is the latest Media General station to add Ion Television on a subchannel. Ion is now airing on channel 3.3, replacing weather programming. KIMT is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries My Network TV and syndicated programming on 3.2. (11/19/2015)
The "K-Love" Christian Adult Contemporary network is poised to come to Eau Claire and Ottumwa as part of an eight-station sale. Educational Media Foundation, the parent of "K-Love," is buying one full-power station in Kansas and seven translators around the country from Family Stations for $315,000. The deal includes current Family Radio translators W206AH/89.1 (Eau Claire) and K205CA/88.9 (Ottumwa). The application to transfer the licenses says both W206AH and K205CA will relay "K-Love" flagship KLOV/89.3 (Winchester, OR). (11/18/2015)
Tribune Media announced Tuesday that its Antenna TV network will soon be carried on WLUK/11.2 (Green Bay). WLUK, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is a primary FOX affiliate and has no other subchannels. Green Bay will be the last Wisconsin market to get Antenna TV, a classic TV network which will soon reach 88 percent of households nationwide and is due to start airing full-length repeats of Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" in January. The network's website is listing a Jan. 1 start date on WLUK-DT2. Jan. 1 is also listed as the start date for the previously-reported additions of Antenna TV on Red River Broadcast Corp. stations in Duluth, Fargo, and Sioux Falls. (11/17/2015)
The two Chadron State College college professors who manage Jazz Birds, the licensee of KJZC/90.5 (Chadron), are donating the station to the college. The relatively new 865-Watt station is apparently already located on the CSC campus. The college, which has about 3,000 students, says it plans to integrate KJZC into its educational mission and carry jazz, blues, R&B, bluegrass, western swing, folk, and world music along with news and public affairs. (11/16/2015)
The FCC has granted a construction permit for a new FM translator in the northeastern Twin Cities metro area, dismissing an informal objection from a low-power FM proponent. The new Refuge Media Group translator, K256CO, will transmit on 99.1 with 38 Watts from a water tower in Vadnais Heights, though it'll be licensed to St. Paul. LPFM supporter Jeff Sibert filed an informal objection alleging that the process Refuge used to apply for 99.1 was a "thinly-veiled attempt to circumvent the LPFM preclusion requirements," among other things. The FCC says Sibert's objection is moot because it considers Refuge's amendment to its original application to be a minor modification and all pending LPFM applications within fifty miles have been resolved. Refuge, based at WJRF/89.5 (Duluth), has a translator in the northern exurb of North Branch but recently sold off two translators in the southern metro area. (11/16/2015)
LPFM SIGN-ONS IN RECENT MONTHS:
Lakeville, MN: KEFE-LP/97.9, owned by Rios de Agua Viva Church of God and carrying a Spanish Christian format.
Minneapolis, MN: KALY-LP/101.7, owned by the Somali American Community.
St. Paul, MN: KENL-LP/98.1, owned by Enlace Adventista and carrying a Spanish Christian format from a transmitter in southern Maplewood.
St. Paul, MN: WEQY-LP/104.7, owned by the Dayton's Bluff District Four Community Council and known as "East Side Community Radio."
Two Harbors, MN: KTWH-LP/99.5, owned by Two Harbors Community Radio with a Community/Variety format.
Stevens Point, WI: WSNP-LP/105.9, owned by the City of Stevens Point and carrying recordings of meetings and other programs produced by the city. A variety of music airs at other times. (11/16/2015)
CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR NEW LOW-POWER FM STATIONS:
WTIQ/1490 (Manistique) has dropped Classic Hits in favor of Classic Country as "The Maverick." The change, first reported by DX-midAMerica, comes seven months after Armada Media sister company AMC Partners Escanaba closed on its purchase of WTIQ and four stations in the Escanaba market from Lakes Radio/Radio Results Network. (11/16/2015)
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying translator K282BE/104.3 (Hastings) from Radio 74 Internationale for $17,500. K282BE is currently licensed to transmit from a site west of Hastings but the asset purchase agreement says the buyer will not be able to use that site. The application lists a non-commercial station to be rebroadcast, for now, on K282BE. As previously reported, the Nebraska Rural Radio Association is also in the process of buying K295BI/106.9 (Kearney) from Radio 74 Internationale. The original application said K295BI would relay the Association's KRVN/880 (Lexington), but it has since been amended to list KRVN-FM/93.1 (Lexington) as the primary station. (11/14/2015)
The FCC has granted Horizon Christian Fellowship a construction permit for a new translator station on 99.5 in Sioux Falls, dismissing an informal objection from Powell Broadcasting's KKMA/99.5 (Le Mars-Sioux City, IA). Powell had submitted a declaration from a Sioux Falls radio engineer who said he listens to KKMA and feared the new translator will prevent reception of the station. The FCC's Audio Division rejected Powell's informal objection, saying the company had failed to provide any "convincing evidence" of KKMA listenership within the translator's proposed main coverage area. The new translator, K258CU, will still have to respond to interference complaints from KKMA listeners once it signs on. It will use 10 Watts from a site on the southern edge of the city. (11/12/2015)
WBAY-TV (Green Bay) has added Ion Television on channel 2.3, becoming the second Media General station in the Upper Midwest to add Ion on a subchannel. As previously reported, Media General's KWQC/6.2 (Davenport) also recently began carrying Ion. The launch of Ion on Media General subchannels seems to be a change in strategy for Ion, which previously relied almost exclusively on its owned-and-operated stations for broadcast distribution and was only carried on a subchannel in two markets. WBAY/2.3 had carried Live Well Network until the service ended national distribution earlier this year; WBAY is a primary ABC affiliate and also carries weather programming on 2.2. (11/11/2015)
WBWT-LP, the last analog TV station in Milwaukee, recently converted to digital operations and has changed its callsign to WTSJ-LD. It continues to carry MundoMax on channel 38.1 and has added Azteca America on 38.2, a network the station had carried before switching to MundoFOX (now MundoMax) several years ago. The station was recently sold to DTV America Corp.
In other Milwaukee DTV news, WTMJ-TV has switched channel 4.2 from weather programming to Laff. The station carries NBC on 4.1 and Cozi TV on 4.3.(11/11/2015)
KRDK-TV (Valley City-Fargo) has added Comet TV on channel 4.3, joining nine other channels available from the station. It also carries Cozi TV, BEK Sports, Decades, Movies!, Grit, Escape, Laff, H&I, and Buzzr. KRDK, which was formerly CBS affiliate KXJB-TV, is owned by Ravi Kapur's Major Market Broadcasting. (11/11/2015)
One of the parent organizations of Wisconsin Public Radio is buying an FM translator to carry the Ideas Network in the Auburndale/Marshfield area. The Wisconsin Educational Communications Board will pay Edgewater Broadcasting $24,500 for W262AX/100.3 (Marshfield), which the application says will relay Ideas Network station WLBL/930 (Auburndale). W262AX is currently licensed for 250 Watts from a site in Marshfield but the application includes a map suggesting that it will apply to move to WLBL's tower site. (11/10/2015)
An FCC public notice says Northern Lights Broadcasting has requested KZGO as a new callsign for KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul), suggesting the company may move its "Go" Adult Alternative format from KTWN-FM/96.3 (Edina-Minneapolis) once its purchase of 95.3 is complete. The company registered go953.com and two similar domains a month ago in a move reported by RadioInsight. 95.3 uses less wattage than 96.3 but has a stronger signal to downtown Minneapolis due to its transmitter location at the IDS Center; 96.3 transmits from New Hope in the northwest metro. Northern Lights is awaiting FCC approval to buy KNOF, a longtime Christian outlet, from Praise Broadcasting for $7.95 million. The company has committed to carrying Praise programming on KTWN-FM-HD2 as part of the sale. (11/9/2015)
Family Life Broadcasting is buying 10-Watt translator W256BE/99.1 (Lancaster) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $24,000. Family Life also owns Christian station WJTY/88.1 (Lancaster) and states W256BE will relay WJTY, which already delivers a strong signal to W256BE's coverage area. The translator's current status is unknown. (11/9/2015)
The KSKK Adult Contemporary format has returned to 94.7 in the Staples/Wadena area, though on a much weaker signal than before. The former KSKK/94.7 (Staples) went silent in June after De La Hunt Broadcasting sold the license to James Ingstad's Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which moved it west to become KDLB/94.5 (Frazee-Detroit Lakes). De La Hunt then moved KSKK's AC format to the former KVKK/1070 (Verndale), which changed its callsign to KSKK and began being relayed on K234CQ/94.7 (Staples) last week. The translator was moved south from Park Rapids, where it was originally on 104.9. K234CQ transmits with 250 Watts from the KVKK tower near Aldrich, with Staples and Wadena both on the edge of its main coverage area. The previous KSKK/94.7 had used 50kW. (11/8/2015)
Heartland Christian Broadcasters has signed on 250-Watt translator W224CG/92.7 (Deer River) carrying its "Psalm FM" network, which originates on KBHW/99.5 (International Falls). It's the 12th translator for "Psalm FM," which is also heard on KADU/90.1 (Hibbing). (11/8/2015)
We now know how KKWZ/95.3 (Crary) could legally be allowed to move to Rugby: it's getting Two Rivers Broadcasting's KQZZ/96.7 (Devils Lake) to change its community of license to Crary to "backfill." Edward Paul "Butch" De La Hunt is in the process of selling KKWZ to Rugby Broadcasters, which wants the station moved 65 miles west to Rugby to pair with its existing KZZJ/1450. KKWZ would broadcast with 6kW/45m (class A) from Rugby. KQZZ would not make any actual facility change, but would have to start saying Crary in its hourly legal ID. Documents filed with the FCC do not reveal what kind of consideration Two Rivers Broadcasting is receiving for the change. A backfill is necessary because KKWZ is the only station licensed to Crary and the FCC generally doesn't approve community of license changes that remove a community's only license. KKWZ has never actually been on the air other than for testing, but the rule applies because it has received its license. (11/6/2015)
Here's a belated rundown of some of the changes to local TV news schedules this fall:
Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 plans to add a 6:30 p.m. newscast, according to a column by the Star Tribune's CJ a month ago. The newscast had shown up in some TV listings but has not yet appeared on the air. When it launches, it will compete with the established local newscast in that timeslot on ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5. According to listings that appeared and then disappeared, KARE's new newscast will displace Entertainment Tonight from its longtime slot; ET will move earlier to 4:30, moving Jeopardy! back to a double-run in the 3:00 hour. (This item has been updated to reflect the fact that the newscast has not actually launched, as earlier listings had indicated.)
Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV/4 dropped its 3 p.m. newscast.
Winnipeg CBC station CBWT/6 dropped local news from the 5 p.m. hour and is now running an hour of news at 6 p.m. as part of a previously-reported national change. No other station in Manitoba carries local news at 5 p.m., which is a standard news time south of the border. CBWT's only other local newscast is a 10-minute update at 11 p.m.
Madison CBS affiliate WISC-TV/3 added an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, competing with NBC affiliate WMTV/15's half-hour 4 p.m. newscast.
Quad Cities CBS affiliate WHBF/4 (Rock Island) added a half-hour 4 p.m. newscast, competing with NBC affiliate KWQC/6 in the time slot.
Duluth's FOX 21 (KQDS-TV) extended its morning newscast to two hours from 7 to 9 a.m. The newscast had most recently aired from 6:30 to 8 a.m. The station also extended its Sunday 9 p.m. newscast to an hour and moved its main anchors to a Sunday to Thursday schedule. (11/5/2015)
Fox Television Stations has returned the license for K30DK (Bemidji). The analog translator had previously carried FOX affiliate KMSP, which is now seen on the company's KFTC/26.1 (Bemidji). K30DK had gone silent in June 2014 after 23 years on the air relaying KMSP. (11/5/2015)
Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying Pappas Liquidating Trust's TV stations in the Lincoln-Tri Cities and North Platte markets for $31.25 million. The deal, reached at auction, includes FOX affiliate KFXL-TV/51.1 (Lincoln) and the "Nebraska TV" ABC affiliates including KHGI-TV/13.1 (Kearney), satellite KWNB-TV/6.1 (Hayes Center), KHGI-CD (North Platte), and translator stations in McCook and O'Neill. KFXL's FOX programming is also relayed on KHGI/KWNB subchannels. Even though the market does not have enough ownership voices for a duopoly, Sinclair argues it should be allowed to own both KFXL-TV and KHGI-TV because the stations' coverage areas do not overlap. Sinclair also owns FOX 42 (KPTM Omaha) and operates CW 15 (KXVO Omaha), both of which Pappas had previously run. (11/5/2015)
iHeartMedia brought Christmas to two Iowa cities on Wednesday (11/4) with all-Christmas formats debuting on "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton-Quad Cities) and "KG95" (KGLI/95.5 Sioux City). The flips are one day earlier than last year for KMXG and three days earlier for KGLI. Once again this year, you can track the all-Christmas flips here. (11/4/2015)
DX-midAMerica reports that W291CJ/106.1 (Marquette) has returned to the air with a Christmas format as "Gift 106." The 250-Watt translator is owned by Todd Stuart Noordyk's Great Lakes Radio. The format, originating on an HD subchannel of another Great Lakes Radio station, had also been on the air last November and December, but the translator fell silent after Christmas. It's apparently the first station in the Upper Midwest to make the permanent switch to all-Christmas this year. (11/4/2015)
After five years of consideration, the FCC has denied a Milwaukee FM translator's attempt to move to a different frequency. Ivan Rene Moore's W273AT/102.5 (Mequon-Milwaukee) left the air in January 2012 due to interference complaints from listeners of non-commercial Christian station WNWC-FM/102.5 (Madison).
The complaints had started shortly after W273AT began using a Milwaukee tower site in 2010, leading the translator to apply for a move to 93.9. The move would require a displacement waiver since the frequency change is larger than normally allowed. The FCC's Audio Division has now decided that W273AT does not qualify for a displacement waiver since WNWC-FM made no facility change and it was actually a facilty change by W273AT that brought it into conflict with WNWC-FM.
W273AT had carried an R&B format as "Majic 102.5" during its eighteen months transmitting from Milwaukee as a translator of WNOV/860 (Milwaukee), which Moore was operating at the time. The translator remains licensed to transmit from a site north of Milwaukee. (11/3/2015)
Gray TV is selling the Rushmore Media group of radio stations in Rapid City to Homeslice Media LLC for $2.5 million, reuniting Rushmore's four FM stations with the two AM stations Homeslice purchased from the group just last year. The previous sale had been a required divestiture when Schurz Communications bought ABC affiliate KOTA-TV/3.1 (Rapid City). Now, Gray is in the process of buying Schurz and is selling off all three of Schurz's radio groups nationwide. Rushmore's stations are "Hot 93.1" (KRCS Sturgis-Rapid City), "93.9 The Mix" (KKMK Rapid City), "98.7 Kat Country" (KOUT Rapid City), and "100.3 The Fox" (KFXS Rapid City), while Homeslice's stations are KBHB/810 (Sturgis) and "Smash Hits" KKLS/920 (Rapid City). Homeslice is based in Sturgis and headed by Dean Kinney. As previously reported, Gray is retaining the ABC-TV affiliation to operate alongside the FOX affiliation on its KEVN/7 (Rapid City) but the company is divesting the actual KOTA-TV license to comply with ownership rules.
In a separate transaction, Gray is selling Schurz's four-station group in South Bend, IN, to Madison-based Mid-West Family Broadcasting. The $5.5 million deal was brokered by Bob Heymann of Media Services Group. (11/2/2015)
WQXJ/104.5 (Blackduck-Bemidji) has switched to a Sports format as KBUN-FM, picking up the full "Fan" daytime lineup from KFXN-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis). Morning and afternoon drive time "Fan" programming had previously aired on KBUN/1450 and translator K235BP/94.9 (Bemidji), which are now airing ESPN Radio fulltime. KBUN-FM is airing the Minnesota Vikings, Wild, and Timberwolves, with Timberwolves games moved to the AM side when there is a conflict with the Wild. WQXJ had previously carried a Classic Hits/Oldies format. The changes happened on Oct. 26 and follow Hubbard Broadcasting's purchase of the stations. (11/1/2015)
WLTU/92.1 (Manitowoc) has flipped to "Hot Country 92.1," dropping Classic Hits/Oldies, following Lee Davis' sale of the station to Mark Seehafer. The change came at Noon on Sunday (11/1). It's the only FM Country outlet in the Manitowoc/Two Rivers market, where Seehafer now owns six stations. The group also includes AM Country, AM News/Oldies, FM Adult Contemporary, FM Easy Listening, and FM Classic Rock formats. (11/1/2015)
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