December 2008

MICHIGAN:
DX-midAMerica reports that Armada Media has moved the Oldies format of WAGN/1340 (Menominee) to WHYB/103.7, displacing the Adult Contemporary format on WHYB. WAGN is due to launch a News/Talk format including Rush Limbaugh, Dave Ramsey, Dr. Edell, Laura Ingraham, and Alan Colmes on Monday, January 5. (12/30/2008)

MINNESOTA:
Patrick Reusse will join the KSTP/1500 (St. Paul) morning show full-time on Monday, January 12. The Star Tribune sports columnist has been a part of KSTP's various morning and afternoon shows for years, and co-hosts "Saturday Morning Sports Talk" with afternoon host Joe Soucheray. He'll join Jay Kolls, newsman Bob Berglund, traffic reporter Kenny Olson, and KSTP-TV meteorolgist Patrick Hammer on the 5:30-9 a.m. shift. (12/30/2008)

NORTH DAKOTA:
New station KKBO/105.9 (Flasher-Bismarck) is on the air with a Classic Hits/Hot AC format as "Bob FM." The 100kW station is owned by a subsidiary of Connoisseur Communications, which has no other stations in the Bismarck market. (12/24/2008)

IOWA:
KBKB/1360 (Fort Madison-Burlington) has flipped to Classic Country as "Country Legends 1360" following the station's sale to John T. Pritchard. KBKB had previously carried a Sports format. (12/23/2008)

WISCONSIN:
WJTI/1460 (Racine-Milwaukee) has applied to move to the suburb of West Allis, where it would deliver a city-grade signal most of the Milwaukee metro area. WJTI would be licensed to and transmit from West Allis, where it would share the existing WGLB/1560 site with 1kW day and 240W night (U4). West Allis, with an estimated population of 59,763 in 2007, is the largest city in Wisconsin without a broadcast license. WJTI is owned by El Sol Broadcasting and carries a Latin Contemporary format with news from CNN Espaņol. (12/18/2008)

IOWA:
Iowa Public Radio has announced that KTPR/91.1 (Fort Dodge), KWOI/90.7 (Carroll), and KOWI/97.9 (Lamoni) will begin carrying IPR's News/Talk network full-time in January. Currently, the stations carry the News/Talk network during the day and the Classical network in the evenings and overnight. They will join WOI/640 (Ames) and WSUI/910 (Iowa City) as full-time News/Talk network stations. (12/16/2008)

WISCONSIN:
Magnum Radio is buying translator W237CJ/95.3 (Reedsburg) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $12,873. Magnum states in its application that it intends to use the translator to rebroadcast its WNFM/104.9 (Reedsburg), though it should also be noted in this age of special temporary authorities for AM-on-FM translators that Magnum also owns WRDB/1400 (Reedsburg). W237CJ is licensed for 10W from the WNFM tower north of Reedsburg. (12/15/2008)

IOWA:
105.5 "La Ley" (KDLS-FM Perry-Des Moines) has completed an upgrade giving it a strong signal to Des Moines. Previously a fringe signal in the capital city, the Regional Mexican station now transmits with 10kW/157m (class C3) from a site northwest of Des Moines. The upgrade also strengthens 105.5's signal to Boone and Ames. To make way for the move, KELR/105.3 (Chariton) moved its tower to the southeast. (12/15/2008)

IOWA/SOUTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Young Broadcasting stations returned to DISH Network on Sunday (12/14) after a three-day outage due to a retransmission consent dispute. The affected stations included ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay, WI), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport, IA), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls, SD) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City, SD). (12/15/2008)

NEBRASKA:
NRG Media has announced plans to move the Regional Mexican format "La Preciosa" from KYDZ/1180 (Bellevue-Omaha) to the stronger signal of KOIL/1020 (Plattsmouth-Omaha) on Jan. 1, displacing Radio Disney. 1020 has a strong signal to Lincoln and a fair signal to Grand Island, where there are no spanish-language stations. The KOIL callsign will move back to 1180, which will carry a News/Talk format. NRG also owns News/Talk station KKAR/1290 (Omaha). Radio historians will recall that 1290 is the original home of the KOIL callsign, while 1180 was the original home of KKAR. (12/13/2008)

EXPANDED BAND SHUT-OFFS FORGOTTEN?
On the topic of KYDZ (above), some may have forgotten that the FCC originally planned for the station to leave the air several years ago. KYDZ/1180 was one of dozens of stations granted a move to the expanded band (1620-1700) in the 1990's, where KOZN/1620 is the successor to 1180. The original plan was to allow stations to keep both frequencies on the air for up to five years. Some stations, including stations in Des Moines, Iowa City, Sussex, WI, and West Fargo, ND, opted to turn in their old licenses after the new stations signed on. However, stations including KYDZ, KDNZ/1250 (Cedar Falls, IA), and WLMV/1480 (Madison, WI) remain on the air through special temporary authorities. The situation gained little notice, perhaps getting lost in the shuffle of consolidation. It's not clear if the FCC will allow the "old" frequencies to stay on the air permanently. If so, it will have to be decided whether the owners will have to pay for getting a new station and whether there will be recourse for stations which already turned in their old licenses. (12/13/2008) 12/15 Update: Scott Fybush of fybush.com writes that a rulemaking proceeding initiated more than two years ago would allow owners of expanded band stations to keep both signals if they're a small or minority business, or sell one signal to a small or minority business, but the FCC can't enforce the five-year sunset because the rulemaking is still in process.

MINNESOTA:
The sports radio dial in Duluth is shifting on Jan. 1. WEBC/560 will pick up ESPN Radio, while the FAN Radio Network will move to KQDS/1490, which will drop Oldies. WEBC will also carry Jim Rome's syndicated show from 11a-2p. 560 had carried the FAN network, originating at KFAN/1130 (Minneapolis), since former owner Clear Channel flipped the station to Sports in 2003. ESPN Radio was formerly heard on WGEE/970 (Superior-Duluth), which flipped to Nostalgia in September. (12/12/2008)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
Magnum Radio is expanding its low-power TV portfolio to three stations with the purchase of KQEG-CA/23 (La Crescent, MN-La Crosse, WI) and W45CF/45 (Elk Mound-Eau Claire, WI) from White Eagle Partnership. The purchase price was not disclosed in a FCC filing. Magnum already owns WIBU-LP/51 (Tomah), which is in the La Crosse market. KQEG/W45CF airs a mix of syndicated programming and FamilyNet, along with some local sports programming. In an unrelated transaction, W58DQ/58 (La Crosse) is expected to switch from TBN to JCTV following TBN's sale of the station to Western Family Television for $10. JCTV is owned by TBN; Western Family TV owns a number of JCTV affiliates and lists La Crosse as "coming soon" to the network. (12/12/2008)

IOWA/SOUTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Stations owned by Young Broadcasting appeared poised to leave DISH Network on Thursday (12/11) due to a retransmission consent dispute. The increasingly familiar conflict is over how much DISH should pay Young to carry its stations. Young stations include ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay, WI), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport, IA), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls, SD) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City, SD). (12/11/2008)

NEBRASKA:
KMTY/97.7 (Holdrege) has switched its Variety Hits affiliation from "Bob" to "Jack." (12/11/2008)

MINNESOTA:
WMIN/1010 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) is on the air with a locally-automated Swing/Standards format as "Uptown 1010," which also streams at wmin1010.com. The format includes FOX News Radio and the Wall Street Journal Report. The St. Cloud market had been without a station in the Nostalgia genre since KXSS/1390 (Waite Park) changed format in 2002. WMIN is owned by Herbert Hoppe, who owns several other Sauk Rapids-licensed stations, and broadcasts with 1.7kW day and 240W night. It had signed on a few months ago as WPPI, carrying the "i101" Modern Rock format heard on a subchannel of sister station WHMH/101.7. The WPPI callsign is now assigned to Hoppe's construction permit for another new Sauk Rapids station on 540. The WMIN callsign dates back to 1936 when it was first used in St. Paul on the present-day KMNV/1400. The callsign moved to Maplewood-licensed 1010 in the 1970s, a facility which later moved to 1030 and is now WCTS, and then to 740 in Hudson, WI, in the 1990's, which dropped the callsign in August. (12/10/2008)

MINNESOTA:
The "Northland's NewsCenter" has announced that "Range 11" (KRII Chisholm-Hibbing) will carry five channels once it flash-cuts to digital on Jan. 6: NBC, CBS, CW, My Network TV, and a weather channel. KRII is currently analog-only because its initial construction permit was granted after the FCC alloted digital companion channels. It signed on in 2002 as a satellite of NBC affiliate KBJR/6 (Superior, WI), which now controls the other network affiliations in the market listed above. Meanwhile, new PBS station WRPT-DT/31 (Hibbing) is expected to sign on in early 2009. WRPT-DT is expected to act as a satellite of WDSE-DT/8 (Duluth); if WRPT-DT carries four channels as WDSE does, the Iron Range will have eleven channels from three digital stations, including the two channels currently offered by ABC affiliate WIRT-DT/13 (Hibbing). Several Iron Range translators of FOX 21 (KQDS-TV Duluth) are expected to flash-cut to digital at a later date. (12/9/2008)

WISCONSIN:
ESPN Radio in the Madison market is moving to WTLX/100.5 (Columbus) on January 1, with current affiliate WTSO/1070 (Madison) keeping a Sports format with more local programming as "The Big 1070." WTLX currently has a rimshot signal to the capital city, but has a construction permit to change its community of license to Monona and transmit from the north side of Lake Mendota, making the station a core signal in the market. The Capital Times reports WTLX will continue to carry Steve "Homer" True from 3-6p and The Badger Hour at 6p, but the change displaces Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, and FOX Sports Radio. WTLX owner Good Karma Broadcasting also operates ESPN affiliates in the Milwaukee and Beloit markets. (12/6/2008)

MINNESOTA/IOWA:
Five Minnesota media organizations announced plans to lay off or eliminate more than 80 positions this week, according to accounts from the AP and the Star Tribune. The cuts reportedly include 25 positions at the Star Tribune, 23 at the St. Cloud Times, 18 at KSTP-TV, 10 at the Brainerd Dispatch, and 7 at WCCO/WLTE radio. In Iowa, the Sioux City Journal reports that KTIV/4 eliminated three positions. (12/5/2008)

MINNESOTA:
KFAI/90.3 (Minneapolis) has completed its move to the IDS Tower, upgrading from 30W to 900W. The station uses a directional antenna to prevent interference to stations to the northwest and northeast, so the bulk of the signal expansion is to the southeast. KFAI had originally used 125W from the Foshay Tower but was forced to move when new owners began renovations. The station is still heard on 170W translator W294AM/106.7 (West St. Paul). (12/2/2008)

MINNESOTA:
KNOF/95.3 (St. Paul) is now carrying the "Praise FM" network fulltime, or nearly fulltime. KNOF had begun carrying "Praise FM" in overnights last year, a time when the station had previously been off the air, after co-founder Rev. Grace Adam donated KNOF to North Central University. "Praise FM" originates at KBHL/103.9 (Osakis) and is also heard on KBHZ/91.9 (Willmar) and KCGN-FM/101.5 (Ortonville). (12/2/2008)

NORTH DAKOTA:
Midnation Media, LLC is buying the construction permit for KNDH/93.5 (Hettinger) from ALMA Corporation for $60,000. Alma won the CP in FCC Auction No. 62 with a $25,000 bid; the CP expires in 2011. The present CP calls for 100kW/292m, providing strong coverage to an area south of Dickinson. Midnation Media is owned by Karl Leiber (40%), Roger Ingram (40%), and Aaron Ishmael (20%). Leiber owns two stations in Wyoming. (12/1/2008)

ALL-CHRISTMAS UPDATE:
There are now at least 45 All-Christmas stations in the Upper Midwest, with about two dozen stations having flipped over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Recent flips include "KG95" in Sioux City, "Mix 96" in Waterloo, KGBI in Omaha, "Mix 99.9" in Minot, "Y105" in Rochester, "I94" in Eau Claire, and Dial Global's Adult Standards network, which has at least eleven affiliates in the region. The most complete list of Upper Midwest all-Chtistmas stations is right here. Correction from earlier post: Clear FM in Winnipeg ended up going back to its regular format after a weekend of Christmas music. (12/1/2008)


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