December 2009

WISCONSIN:
In what may be the last format change of the decade, WCHK-FM/104.3 (Seymour-Green Bay, formerly WECB) became "Chuck FM" with a Classic Hits/Hot Adult Contemporary format at 3 p.m. Dec. 31. The change came after two months of Christmas music. The Woodward Communications station had previously carried an Adult Contemporary format as "The Breeze." It's now also heard on 52-Watt translator W278AU/103.5 (Green Bay). (12/31/2009)

SOUTH DAKOTA/NEBRASKA/IOWA/MINNESOTA:
Shining Light Ministries has merged into Church Planters of America. The new organization has a total of a dozen rural, non-commercial stations and construction permits, including five in South Dakota, three in North Carolina, two in Nebraska, and one each in Iowa and Minnesota. Only three of the stations are currently on the air, including KJBB/89.1 (Watertown, SD) and two in North Carolina. (12/31/2009)

IOWA:
Community First Broadcasting will take over operation of nine northwestern Iowa radio stations on Dec. 31. The stations are KUOO/103.9 (Spirit Lake), KUQQ/102.1 (Milford-Spirit Lake), KUYY/100.1 (Emmetsburg-Spencer), KAYL/990 and KAYL-FM/101.7 (Storm Lake), KKIA/92.9 (Ida Grove-Storm Lake), KSOU/1090 and KSOU-FM/93.9 (Sioux Center), and KIHK/106.9 (Rock Valley-Sioux Center). NRG has operated the stations for the past five years and is transferring station assets to Community First Broadcasting. The KKIA and KUYY licenses are currently held by Jim Dandy Broadcasting, while Sorenson Broadcasting holds the rest of the licenses. Sorenson and Jim Dandy are sister companies to Community First Broadcasting, which is headed by CEO Neil Lipetzky, who also operates Dakota Broadcasting in Aberdeen, SD. (12/30/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
UPDATE: WEBC/560 (Duluth) returned to the air Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 29) after a four-day outage caused by water leaking into the transmitter building. The station was first noted off the air Dec. 24, though general manager Merry Wallin said it was off and on that day and went completely off the air the next day. Wallin said technical support for the transmitter wasn't available over the holiday weekend, making the outage longer than it might otherwise have been. WEBC carries ESPN Radio and is the Northland's oldest radio station, having signed on in 1924. It moved to its present frequency and transmitter site in the Town of Parkland, near Superior, in the mid-1950's (a technological history can be found here). During the outage, WIND/560 (Chicago) was easily heard in the Twin Ports at night. (12/29/2009)

IOWA:
KZIA, Inc. president and general manager Eliot Keller died Monday (Dec. 28) of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 62. Keller worked in news at WOC AM-TV (Davenport) and WHBF AM-FM-TV (Rock Island, IL) before co-founding KRNA/93.5 (Iowa City, now 94.1) with Rob Norton in 1974. They bought KQCR/102.9 (Cedar Rapids, now KZIA) in 1994, sold KRNA in 1998, and bought KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids) in 2006. Keller was inducted to the Iowa Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame earlier this year, and was also an active supporter of passenger rail. (12/29/2009)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
KWYR-FM/93.7 (Winner) returned to the air Saturday after a two-day, storm-related outage. KWYR/1260 reported the power was out at the FM's transmitter site. (12/27/2009)

WISCONSIN:
The Christmas music hasn't stopped at WECB/104.3 (Seymour-Green Bay). As WisconsinBroadcasting.com first reported, the Woodward Communications station is stunting, telling listeners they'll be opening a gift at 3 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The station had carried an Adult Contemporary format as "The Breeze." It's now also heard on 52-Watt translator W278AU/103.5 (Green Bay). (12/27/2009)

WISCONSIN:
Clear Channel's WRIT/95.7 (Milwaukee) has emerged from all-Christmas music by returning to its former slogan, "Oldies 95.7." The format remains a mix of mostly `60s and `70s Oldies. The station had been "Oldies 95.7" before switching to "95.7 WRIT" followed by "Milwaukee's 95.7" and then "My 95-7." (12/26/2009)

NORTH DAKOTA:
KQDJ/1400 (Jamestown) will soon be heard on translator K246AM/97.1 (Jamestown). Two Rivers Broadcasting is buying K246AM from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $20,000. The 170-Watt translator is currently licensed to transmit from west of Jamestown and has only a fringe signal to the city. KQDJ carries a Sports format and is specified as the primary station for K246AM in the application for assignment of license. (12/26/2009)

NORTH DAKOTA:
KSJZ/93.3 (Jamestown) has upgraded from 57kW/78m to 100kW/137m, continuing to transmit from south of Jamestown. The upgrade puts Valley City on the edge of KSJZ's main coverage area. The station is owned by Chesterman Communications and carries an Adult Contemporary format. (12/26/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
WEBC/560 (Duluth) and KUWS/91.3 (Superior) were both knocked off the air as a Christmas blizzard moved through the Twin Ports. WEBC, which transmits from rural Superior, was first noted off the air Thursday night and was still off as of Sunday morning. KUWS was off the air Friday morning but back in the afternoon. (12/25/2009, updated 12/27)

IOWA:
Iowa Public Radio reports that Classical station KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City) and News/Talk station KOWI/97.9 (Lamoni) are both operating at very low power due to a buildup of ice on the antennas. The network says the problem may continue for a few weeks. The problem also affects translator K269EK/101.7 (Dubuque), which receives KSUI over the air. (12/24/2009)

IOWA:
Iowa Public Televison translator K44AB (Keokuk) has unexpectedly gone silent. The network says the antenna failed during a recent attempt to convert the translator to digital broadcasting. There's no projected date for the translator to return to the air. In the meantime, IPT is advising Keokuk viewers to attempt to receive the Fort Madison translator, K28JD-D. (12/24/2009)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
WDGY/740 (Hudson-St. Paul-Minneapolis) has applied to upgrade its daytime power from 2.5kW to 5.5kW. It would continue to use a directional antenna pattern from a site east of Hudson, and still be daytime-only. No physical changes would be made to the transmitter site. The upgrade would improve the True Oldies Channel affiliate's signal across the Twin Cities metro area. (12/24/2009)

WISCONSIN:
WIIL/95.1 (Kenosha) has applied to change its community of license to Union Grove, WI, though it would not change its actual facility (50kW/117m, class B). Owner Nextmedia, Inc. says the proposal is an attempt to come closer to compliance with FCC ownership caps. Kenosha is in the Chicago radio market and Union Grove is in the Milwaukee-Racine market, so the change would legally remove one station from the Chicago market. Nextmedia has ten other stations in the Chicago market. (12/24/2009)

MANITOBA/ONTARIO:
The CRTC is raising some concerns as it prepares to consider license renewal for CHNK-FM/100.7 (Winnipeg) and CJIV-FM/97.3 (Dryden). The concerns about CHNK include broadcasting more popular music than specified in its license, while CJIV does not appear to have carried the 90 minutes of local programming per week specified in its license. The CRTC also says both stations may not have made some of the Canadian talent development contributions specified in their licenses. (12/23/2009)

MINNESOTA:
An updated FCC filing reveals more details of the previously-reported sale of translator W220DK/91.9 (Mora), and shows Radio Power, Inc. is buying K287AU/105.3 (Olivia) as well. Radio Power will pay Horizon Christian Fellowship $9,000 for W220DK and $10,000 for K287AU. The applications states plans to relay Christian station KCFB/91.5 (St. Cloud) on both translators. Radio Power is owned by Timothy Martz, who owns three stations in New York state. (12/22/2009)

IOWA:
Northwestern College's KNWM/96.1 (Madrid) has moved its transmitter closer to Des Moines. KNWM is now transmitting with 6kW/100m from a new tower near Sheldahl, delivering a good signal to the northwestern part of the Des Moines metro, while also keeping Ames in the main coverage area. The station uses a directional antenna to prevent interference to KCOB-FM/95.9 (Newton). KNWM simulcasts a non-commercial Adult Contemporary Christian format with KNWI/107.1 (Osceola). (12/22/2009)

IOWA:
KXGM/850 (Waterloo) went silent Saturday (Dec. 19) and will not return for at least several months. In an FCC filing, owner Extreme Grace Media says the transmitter site on the eastern edge of Waterloo was sold and they're still looking for a new one. KXGM, formerly KWOF, had been a 500-Watt directional daytimer with a large coverage area across north-central Iowa. It had relayed "89.1 The Spirit" (KXGM-FM Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids), which is still heard on translator K217FT/91.3 (Waterloo). (12/21/2009)

IOWA:
New station KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma) is on the air carrying The "God's Country" network of Christian Country and Southern Gospel during the day and "Music `Til Dawn" from VCY America overnight. The station uses 1.6kW at 105m and has a good signal to Grinnell. It's owned by American Radio Missions Foundation, headed by Doug Smiley of Pella. Smiley also heads Horizon Broadcasting, which owns KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield). KOJY's format is similar to KRNF's. (12/21/2009)

NATIONAL:
Note: This site normally only covers happenings in the Upper Midwest, but this is an interesting regulatory decision which has not yet gotten coverage in other media.

The FCC has denied an unusual request by PMCM, Inc. to reallocate TV stations from rural Wyoming and Nevada to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. PMCM purchased KJWY/2 (Jackson, WY) and KVNV/3 (Ely, NV) last year and proposed reallocating them to Wilmington, DE and Middletown Township, NJ, respectively, serving the Philadelphia and New York City markets. The company cited an obscure 1982 law requiring the FCC to reallocate VHF channels to states without VHF stations, which was intended to satisfy concerns from New Jersey lawmakers about the state's lack of a VHF station while allowing RKO General to keep the license of WOR-TV/9 (New York) as it fought character issues. WOR-TV ultimately changed its community of license to Secaucus, NJ, and became WWOR, but continued to transmit from New York. New Jersey and Delaware once again had no VHF licenses after the digital transition, and PMCM said it was prepared to accept reallocation of its stations to fill the void.

At the heart of the issue is the definition of the term "reallocate." The FCC determined that a "reallocation" was one in which the new facility is mutually exclusive with the old one. Since both the old and new stations could exist simultaneously, the FCC determined that PMCM was actually proposing new allocations, not reallocations, and denied the request. However, recognizing the 1982 law, the FCC proposed the allocation of channel 4 at Atlantic City, NJ, and channel 5 at Seaford, DE for future stations.

KJWY and KVNV are located in rural areas and had acted as satellites of NBC affiliates before the sale, but apparently now carry weather programming. (12/19/2009)

MINNESOTA:
KMFX/1190 (Wabasha) is off the air again. Clear Channel first took the station off the air on January 10, 2008 for financial reasons and put it up for sale. According to FCC filings, the station has been on and off the air since then, and most recently went silent on Dec. 9. In July, Clear Channel announced plans to donate KMFX to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, but the license has not yet been transferred. KMFX is a 1kW daytimer and was last known to rebroadcast "Fox Country 102.5" (KMFX-FM Lake City-Rochester). (12/17/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
Radio Power, Inc. is buying translators W220DK/91.9 (Mora, MN) and W258BG/99.5 (Beloit, WI). Radio Power will pay Edgewater Broadcasting $42,000 for W258BG and states the translator will rebroadcast WFEN/88.3 (Rockford, IL). W220DK is being purcahsed from Horizon Christian Fellowship, but an asset purchase agreement listing the sale price was not filed with the application, which also did not indicate which station W220DK would rebroadcast. W220DK has been on the air for several years rebroadcasting a staticy signal from KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud). Radio Power is owned by Timothy Martz, who owns three stations in New York state. (12/17/2009)

NEBRASKA:
Educational Media Foundation, operator of the "K-Love" and "Air-1" Christian music netorks, is buying the construction permit for KSTJ/91.7 (Norfolk) from Church Planters of America for $35,000. The KSTJ CP calls for 8kW/138m from a tower 20 miles west of Norfolk. It will displace CSN International translator K219DW/91.7 (Norfolk). (12/17/2009)

NEBRASKA/KANSAS:
Kansas Catholic Education Radio Corporation is the tentative selectee for a new non-commercial station in St. Paul, NE. The FCC tentatively selected their application from among 24 competing applications filed in October 2007 for new stations in Nebraska and Kansas. K.C.E.R.'s application calls for 100kW/172m (class C1) on 89.5 from a tower between Loup City and Litchfield, delivering a rimshot signal to Kearney and Grand Island. The application was tentatively selected because it would provide new non-commercial service to the largest number of people. (12/16/2009)

WISCONSIN:
Translator W234BG/94.7 (Chetek-Rice Lake) is on the air relaying WGMO-HD2/95.3-2 (Spooner). Currently, the 35-Watt translator is carrying Christmas music. The translator is licensed to Chetek but actually transmits from west of Rice Lake. It may be the first HD2 translator in the Upper Midwest. (12/15/2009)

MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Public Radio plans to expand "The Current" to Austin, according to this FCC filing. MPR is 9-Watt translator K280EF/103.9 (Austin) from Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls for $8,000 and states plans to relay KCMP/89.3 (Northfield-Twin Cities) in the application. MPR had sold K280EF to Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls for $1 in 2004 as part of a settlement agreement resolving competing applications for a new station, which allowed MPR to sign on KNSE/90.1 (Austin). K280EF will be at least the sixth transmitter carrying "The Current" Adult Alternative format, which is also heard in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Hinckley, St. Peter, and Mankato. (12/14/2009)

IOWA:
The FCC has cancelled a $7,000 fine against KNEI-FM/103.5 (Waukon) and replaced it with a $187.50 penalty. The fine had been issued for failure to file a timely license renewal application. KNEI-FM licensee Wennes Communications said it used the online filing system but didn't realize there was a problem, didn't receive an FCC staff letter stating that the station's license had expired, and found the KNEI-FM application still listed as "ready" when it checked the database after receiving staff letters about other stations. The $187.50 penalty amounts to 25 percent of the original filing fee. (12/14/2009)

IOWA/ILLINOIS:
KGCW-TV/26 (Burlington-Quad Cities) has added "this tv" on channel 26.2. The station continues to carry The CW and syndicated programming on 26.1. (12/11/2009)

NEBRASKA:
KSNB/4 (Superior) has gone off the air. The full-power station had been on the air since 1965, first as a satellite of ABC affiliate KHOL-TV/13 (Kearney, now KHGI) and then FOX affiliate KTVG/17 (Grand Island). The Superior Express reports the shutdown occurred at midnight Nov. 30/Dec. 1 when Pappas Telecasting's time brokerage agreement with KSNB licensee Colins Broadcasting expired. The paper reports the shutdown resulted in the loss of a full-time and a part-time job in Superior, and a part-time job in Axtell. With the shutdown, KSNB analog translators K18CD (Lincoln) and KWAZ-LP/35 (Lincoln) have left the air. It's not clear what Colins plans to do with the license; nothing has been filed with the FCC. "FOX Nebraska" programming continues to be seen on KFXL-TV/51 (Lincoln), KTVG/17 (Grand Island), KHGI/13.2 (Kearney), and KWNB/6.2 (Hayes Center). (12/11/2009)

NEBRASKA:
KQKX/106.7 (Norfolk) will apparently soon be "106 Kix Country." The station, formerly KEXL, has been simulcasting "Lite Rock 97.5" (KEXL Pierce-Norfolk) since the new station signed on a few weeks ago. 106.7 previously carried a Hot Adult Contemporary format. A "106 Kix" Facebook page says the new format will start in mid-December. KQKX is one of five commercial stations based in Norfolk; crosstown "US92" (KUSO Albion-Norfolk) also carries a Country format. (12/10/2009)

MINNESOTA:
Tom Barnard isn't retiring after all, according to the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune. Both cite comments on his Facebook page, which isn't accessible to the general public. The KQRS/92.5 morning titan announced in September that he'd leave the station at the end of 2012. (12/10/2009)

WISCONSIN:
Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin and DX-midAMerica report that translator W273AT/102.5 (Milwaukee) is on the air relaying WNOV/860, which carries an R&B format. The 99-Watt translator broadcasts from WNOV's tower in Milwaukee, sandwiched between WLUM/102.1 and WHQG/102.9 on the dial. The translator's license was moved into Milwaukee from Port Washington. (12/10/2009)

WISCONSIN:
The region's first major winter storm of the season caused some problems for some stations in eastern Wisconsin Tuesday night (12/8). A power outage knocked at three Midwest Communications stations off the air in the Sheboygan market (WBFM/93.7, WXER/104.5, and WHBZ/106.5). Meanwhile, viewers reported brief outages of several Milwaukee TV stations. (12/9/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
The "Northland's NewsCenter" has announced plans to begin a 6:30 p.m. newscast on KDLH/3 (Duluth) on Jan. 11. With the addition, KDLH and sister station KBJR/6 (Superior) will have a total of six hours of news per day, excluding repeats, more than any other station in the market. KBJR operates KDLH under a shared services agreement. The "NewsCenter" recently dropped the "NewsCenter" title from the KDLH newscasts in favor of "KDLH 3 News." The new 6:30 newscast will displace "Seinfeld" reruns which have been seen in the timeslot for more than a decade; KBJR/6.2 already carries "Seinfeld" at other times. (12/9/2009)

IOWA/ILLINOIS:
KALA/88.5 (Davenport) has increased its power 100-fold, upgrading from 100 to 10,000 Watts. The St. Ambrose University station now transmits from northwestern Davenport but must use a directional antenna to protect existing stations, which limits the signal in the southeastern part of the Quad Cities area. With the upgrade, KALA began HD broadcasting and is now carrying Radio BilingŁe on 88.5-2. KALA/88.5-1 carries a variety of music, including R&B, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and Latin, as well as PRI programs "The Takeaway" and "The World." KALA continues to be rebroadcast on 43-Watt translator K288CY/105.5, which is licensed to Bettendorf but transmits from Rock Island. (12/8/2009)

ONTARIO:
The CRTC has approved the $4.5 million sale of "Magic 99.9" (CJUK-FM Thunder Bay) and "105.3 The Giant" (CKTG-FM Thunder Bay) from Newcap Inc. to Northwoods Broadcasting Ltd., a subsidiary of Acadia Broadcasting Ltd. The new owners also have stations in Fort Frances, Dryden, and Kenora. No objections were filed to the sale. CJUK and CKTG are two of the five commercial radio stations in the city of about 109,000. (12/8/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
Longtime KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth) morning co-host Bill Jones is leaving the station Dec. 15. Jones, who has been with the Classic Rock station since the mid-90's and has been its operations manager for the past eleven years, is leaving the industry and Duluth. The "KQ Morning Show" has been number one in Adults 25-54 and Men 25-54 for the past decade. Morning co-host Jason Manning is being promoted to program director, with a revamped morning show set to debut Jan. 4. Meanwhile, market veteran Tim Roubik will take over as operations manager for KQ and Red Rock Radio's other three Duluth-market stations, "The Fan 1490" (KQDS Duluth), "92-1 Lite FM" (WWAX Hermantown), and "94X" (KZIO/104.3 Two Harbors). (12/3/2009)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
Album rock on vinyl is making a comeback in the Twin Ports. Today (12/3) from 9 a.m. to Midnight, "Classic Rock 102.5" (KHQG Superior-Duluth) is playing entire rock LP album sides without interruption from an actual turntable. Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Boston will be among the artists featured. The Midwest Communications station is considering making "Album Side Thursday" a semi-regular feature. (12/3/2009)

WISCONSIN:
WisconsinBroadcasting.com and DX-midAMerica report that WTKM/1540 (Hartford) has dropped its simulcast of WTKM-FM/104.9 and is now carrying an Oldies format as "Cruisin' 1540." WTKM-FM continues to carry a unique full-service format including Polka and Classic Country music. Both stations have fringe coverage of Milwaukee, which lacks an Oldies station. (12/3/2009)

IOWA:
The FCC isn't backing down on a $20,000 fine against Boone Biblical Ministries, the former licensee of KFFF/1260 and KFFF-FM/99.3 (Boone), for problems with the stations' public inspection files, including at least twenty missing issues/program lists. The FCC disagreed with arguments that the fine was inconsistent with precendent and that a license renewal application was its first opportunity to disclose the problem and remedial actions taken. Current KFFF AM-FM licensee Faith & Freedom Network is selling the stations to Truth Broadcasting Corp. with the condition that the new owners pay the fine. (12/3/2009)

MINNESOTA:
The FCC has issued a $250 fine against the St. Louis Park school district for failing to file a timely license renewal application for KDXL/106.5. The application should have been filed by Dec. 1, 2004, but was not filed until Feb. 18, 2005. The FCC had originally proposed a $1,500 fine but reduced it after the school district requested a reduction due to its status as a non-protected class D non-commercial educational station. (12/3/2009)

MINNESOTA:
A correction, or is it? We reported last week that KLBB/1220 (Stillwater-Minneapolis) had switched its affiliation from the Music of Your Life network to Dial Global's Adult Standards format. However, as of Wednesday, the station was once again carrying the Music of Your Life network. We'll have to stay tuned to see what happens, since KLBB was running the Dial Global format complete with liners from the network announcers last Friday. (12/3/2009)


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