December 2003

Clear Channel is buying Radio Bismarck-Mandan's three remaining Bismarck stations for $8 million. The stations are KBMR/1130, KQDY/94.5, and KSSS/101.5. The change will leave the market with two commercial radio groups: Clear Channel will have six stations and Cumulus Media will have four. Radio Bismarck-Mandan is owned by James Ingstad (80%), Larry Schmidt (10%), and Terry Fleck (10%). The company had earlier sold KXMR/710 to Clear Channel in exchange for three stations in southern Minnesota. (12/30/2003)

The FCC has granted construction permits for another two 100-Watt low-power FM in the Eau Claire area, following a settlement between two competing applicants. The Eau Claire Broadcasting Association, which plans to offer an alternative to the mainstream media, gets 102.7. Chippewa Falls Christian Radio gets 97.3, to carry the Three Angels Broadcasting Network and local Christian programming. Both had originally applied for 102.7. A total of six low-power FM stations have now been granted for the Chippewa Valley, with one -- WLFK-LP/107.9 -- already on the air. (12/30/2003)

100-Watt stations KCDM-LP/98.3 (Burlington) and KCRM-LP/96.7 (Marshalltown) have signed on, carrying Catholic programming. (12/30/2003)

Wicks Television is expanding into South Dakota with the purchase of ABC affiliate KSFY/13 (Sioux Falls) and its satellites, KABY/9 (Aberdeen) and KPRY/4 (Pierre), for $16.1 million. The stations are currently owned by Raycom Media. Wicks also owns all five NBC affiliates in North Dakota, and runs Fargo's CBS affiliate through an agreement with Catamount Broadcasting. (12/25/2003)

Construction permits have been issued for five more 100W low-power FM's:

  • Moorhead, MN: 95.9, Women's Care Clinic of Fargo. The clinic offers counseling to women on alternatives to abortion, as well as counseling and support services to pregnant women. The planned station "will provide Christian programming with an emphasis on call-in counseling and instruction in biblical principles, improvement of personal family relationships, broadcasting training and experience for youth, and prayer and worship music as part of instruction for growing in faith."
  • Beresford, SD: 101.5, Beresford Community Radio. The station will carry programming from Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Beresford Public Schools, and the City of Beresford.
  • Grand Forks, ND: 101.3, Grand Forks Christian Broadcasting. This station, and the following two, will carry programming from the Three Angels Broadcasting Network and local Christian programming.
  • Grand Island, NE: 92.9, Grand Island Adventist Educational Radio. See above.
  • Shelton, NE: 92.7, Shelton Platte Valley Educational Radio. See above. (12/25/2003)

    QueenB Radio has hired Dan Sullivan to serve as General Manager of its group, which consists of WGLR AM-FM 1280-97.7 (Lancaster), WPVL AM-FM 1590-107.1 (Platteville), and KIYX/106.1 (Sageville-Dubuque). Sullivan last worked as morning co-houst at Cumulus' WJOD/103.3 (Asbury-Dubuque). (12/25/2003)

    The two stations which share time on 106.5 in St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park High's KDXL and the University of Minnesota's KUOM-FM, have applied to increase their antenna height from a nearby tower. The two stations share the same transmission facility, with KDXL operating during the day and KUOM-FM operating at night and on the weekend. They are currently 8W at 26m above average terrain, and would increase their antenna height to 77m with the same power from a site 2.9km to the east. That would expand 106.5's coverage area to include most of Minneapolis. (12/24/2003)

    The Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce has received a construction permit for a 100W low-power station on 94.1 in Emmetsburg. (12/23/2003)

    KBJR/6 has cancelled the low-rated 9:00 newscast on its "UPN9" station, which is seen on cable and KBJR-DT/19. Several layoffs were made as a result of the change. The 9:00 newscast had originally aired on Red River Brodacasting's FOX21 (KQDS), and moved to UPN9 when the channel started in September 2002. The time slot is being filled with a repeat of KBJR's 6:00 news. Incidentally, both UPN9 and FOX21 were without programming for much of the day Monday (12/22) due to unrelated technical problems. (12/23/2003)

    Alexandria's 54th Annual Jingle Bells Telethon was seen to a new channel this year, and set a new record. The telethon had been seen for years on channel 7, but moved to KSAX/42 this year. Anchorman Mark Vanderwerf and meteorologist Mark Anthony hosted the six-hour event last Friday night (12/12). The telethon raised $80,000, enough to help about 700 families. (12/20/2003)

    Pappas Telecasting is buying the construction permit for a digital TV station on channel 56 in Des Moines from Caroline K. Powley for $1 million. 56 will operate as a digital station (no analog counterpart) with the full digital power of 1000kW. Pappas also owns Des Moines WB affiliate KPWB/23, which does not have a separate digital channel because 23's initial construction permit was issued after the DTV allotment plan was made. (Channel 23 can be converted to digital at some point, but can not exist in both analog and digital forms.) Incidentally, the heritage callsign KDMI has been assigned to channel 56. (12/18/2003, additional info 12/19)

    DISH Network turned on its Milwaukee locals package on Wednesday (12/17). WISN-ABC, WITI-FOX, WTMJ-NBC, WMVS-PBS, WMVT-PBS, WCGV-UPN, WVTV-WB, and WVCY-Christian are carried. Negotiations continue with CBS affiliate WDJT, and DISH is offering a $1 discount from the regular $5.99 price until WDJT is added. The package is available in Dodge, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha Counties. DirecTV has been serving the market for a few years. (12/18/2003)

    The FCC has alloted 94.3 to Hartington, NE, for a future class C2 (50kW/150m) station, which would serve the Vermillion and Yankton areas. The original proposal was made by Jeff Barth, for a class A station, but Pierce Radio filed a counterproposal for the C2 allocation. The allocation may be put up for auction in the future. (12/16/2003)

    KVMI/103.9 (Arthur-Fargo) dropped Oldies for Adult Contemporary last Friday (12/12) at 5 p.m. "Star 103.9" will feature the "Ben and Jim" morning show beginning in January. The show was last heard on KVMI when it ran a Hot Talk format on 96.7, and is co-hosted by Jim Babbitt, the sole shareholder of licensee Vision Media. The Oldies format had begun in July 2002 under a local marketing agreement to Tom Ingstad North Dakota Broadcasting, but that agreement ended earlier this year (as the Ingstad group sold its other station, KDJZ/100.7, to the Educational Media Foundation). KVMI was the only Oldies station in the market when the format was started, but faced competition when KEGK/106.9 moved into the market. The new format competes primarily with Clear Channel's KRVI/95.1 and Triad's KLTA/105.1. (12/16/2003)

    After months of rumors, the Superior Daily Telegram has confirmed that CBS affiliate KDLH/3 (Duluth) is being sold again. New Vision Media tells the newspaper that it is buying the station, along with the rights to run cable-only WB affiliate "KWBD." No purchase price was disclosed. An application to transfer the license has not yet been filed with the FCC. Chelsey Broadcasting took over operation of KDLH last year, after purchasing the station from the bankrupt Benedek Broadcasting group. New Vision Media is based in Atlanta and owns network affiliates in four small markets, none in the Upper Midwest. (12/13/2003)

    Harmony Broadcasting has been testing the signal of its new 200-Watt CJWV/107.9 (Winnipeg). Even with the low wattage, the station has been heard for some distance due to the small number of stations in the region. The station will begin regular broadcasting in early 2004, when an educational component attached to the station will also begin. CJWV's studios are located in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District.

    Meanwhile, the new CKY-FM/102.3 has been heard testing its 100kW signal in recent months, but its not known when exactly the station will begin broadcasting. 102.3 will carry a Classic Hits format and replace CKY's longtime 50kW blowtorch at AM 580, which will leave the air. (12/11/2003)

    Couchiching Community Radio's new low-power CKWO/92.3 (Fort Frances) is on the air testing with what will eventually be its regular format, a mix of Rock, Oldies, and Aboriginal programming. The 50-Watt monoraul signal is difficult to receive on some radios across the border in International Falls due to local intermodulation, but the station can be heard on car radios for about 15-20 miles. ("Couchiching" is pronounced the same as "Koochiching.") (12/11/2003)

    The FCC has granted three new low-power FM stations in northwestern Wisconsin, two of them in the Eau Claire area. Eau Claire Seventh Day Adventist School received a construction permit for a station on 96.9 in Altoona, which will carry educational programming for all ages. Eau Claire Public Access Center, which operates public access TV in the area and plans similar programming on the radio, received a CP for 101.9 in Eau Claire. And Northland College, a four-year college in Ashland, received a CP for 97.7 in Ashland. The station will carry student- and volunteer-produced programming. (12/10/2003)

    It was another record year for the Radiothon to Prevent Child Abuse at Omni Broadcasting in Bemidji. The Radiothon on KKZY, KLLZ, and KBHP raised $60,028.45. Meanwhile, Omni's Brainerd stations raised about $75,000, and the Alexandria stations raised nearly $50,000. (12/6/2003, updated numbers 12/13)

    The DeWitt Educational Association has received a construction permit for a 100W low-power station on 92.5 in DeWitt. (12/5/2003)

    KOWZ/1170 (Waseca) has received a construction permit to upgrade its daytime power from 1kW to 2.5kW, remaining nondirectional. The station will remain 60W at night. (12/5/2003)

    KRDS/95.5 (New Prague-Northfield) has changed its slogan to "Oldies 95.5" and now carries the Jones Radio Network oldies format, outside of a 6-10 a.m. show hosted from Northfield by program director Gordy Hayes. (12/4/2003)

    Steckline Broadcasting is buying JRK Broadcasting's Grand Island stations for $2 million. JRK owns KMMJ/750, KRGI/1430, KRGI-FM/96.3, and KRGY/97.3. (12/4/2003)

    KMAV/1520 (Mayville) is now carrying ESPN Radio from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but continuing to simulcast with KMAV-FM/105.5 in the morning. The daytime-only station had previously simulcast with KMAV-FM all day. KMAV can be heard on some radios in Fargo and Grand Forks. (12/3/2003)

    WHBY/1150 (Kimberly-Appleton) has receive a construction permit for an upgrade. The station, currently 5kW day and night, will operate with 20kW day and 24.3kW night. (12/3/2003)

    The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, reporting on the sale of Southern Minnesota Broadcasting to Cumulus Media, mentions plans for Leo Axdahl's KSQP/1450 (Pierre). Axdahl plans to sign on the 1kW station in January 2004 with a News/Talk format. (12/3/2003)

    Cumulus Media will re-enter the Rochester market, and enter the Sioux Falls market for the first time, through three separate purchase agreements. Cumulus will buy Southern Minnesota Broadcasting's 3 Rochester stations and 6 Sioux Falls stations, Howard G. Bill's 3 Rochester stations, and Michael Borgen and Jeffrey Borgen's 3 Preston-Spring Valley stations for a combined $78 million. Individual purchase prices were not disclosed. Cumulus' previous station group in Rochester was sold to Clear Channel. With the latest purchase, Cumulus will own KROC/1340, KOLM/1520, KWWK/96.5, KYBA/105.3, KROC-FM/106.9, and KLCX/107.7 in the Rochester market. KFIL/1060 (Preston), KFIL-FM/103.1 (Preston), and KVGO/104.3 (Spring Valley) are located south of Rochester and provide fair signals to the city. Cumulus already owns four stations in Faribault-Owatonna, west of Rochester. The group in Sioux Falls consists of KXRB/1000, KSOO/1140, KMXC/97.3, KIKN/100.5, KYBB/102.7, and KKLS-FM/104.7. (12/2/2003)

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