WXCO/1230 (Wausau) has flipped to "Cool Oldies," dropping a short-lived reincarnation as an ESPN affiliate. The new format includes a local morning show, high school sports, and a Saturday morning polka show. WXCO, which had also carried ESPN prior to 2010, dropped Soft Oldies for ESPN in February. That arrangement included sister station "Sports Fan 100.5" (WDTX Rothschild-Wausau) carrying ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning, with WXCO clearing the rest of the ESPN lineup. The station says on its Facebook page that WDTX will carry more ESPN programming starting Feb. 1. (12/30/2015)
Riverfront Broadcasting is expanding to the southeast with the purchase of an AM-FM combo in the Keokuk market, a sale which foreshadows the breakup of the current four-station Keokuk Radio group. Riverfront, which owns 15 stations in northwestern Iowa and South Dakota, will pay Withers Broadcasting $100,000 for KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage, IL-Keokuk). The sale follows the death of W. Russell Withers, Jr., and the transfer of his stations to his daughter, Dana Withers. Not included in the sale are KOKX-FM/95.3 (Keokuk) or KRNQ/96.3 (Keokuk), the latter of which Withers had been running under a time brokerage agreement with David Lister. The asset purchase agreement does say that KOKX-FM, KRNQ, and a Withers station in southeastern Illinois will be sold to an unnamed buyer. KOKX-FM, which carries Classic Hits/Oldies, and Classic Rocker KRNQ both have rimshot signals to Quincy, Illinois. KOKX/1310 was last known to carry Soft Oldies and WCEZ Adult Contemporary, though the Keokuk Radio group's website is down and its social media pages haven't been updated in months. (12/29/2015)
Townsquare Media's "B100" (KBEA-FM/99.7 Muscatine-Quad Cities) tells the FCC it's operating at greatly reduced power after a lightning strike. A post on the station's website says the strike happened Nov. 12. In a request for special temporary authority, KBEA says it's operating at 815 Watts ERP, far short of the usual 100,000 Watts (class C1). With its 265m antenna height, the 815-Watt signal roughly approximates the coverage area of a class A station, enough to rimshot Davenport from KBEA's tower site north of Muscatine. The filing says replacement parts have been ordered. (12/24/2015)
KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) is apparently operating with reduced facilities after a partial tower collapse on Dec. 15. The Marshall Radio group temporarily shifted programming on its stations for a day until KKCK could be brought back on the air. It's not immediately clear what facilities the station, which carries Contemporary Hits, is currently using. KKCK normally transmits with 100kW/282m from a tower near Lake Benton, reaching Brookings, South Dakota, and providing a fringe signal to Sioux Falls. (12/24/2015)
The "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network may be getting a second signal in Appleton as the result of a deal between Edgewater Broadcasting and "K-Love" owner Educational Media Foundation. Edgewater is trading the construction permit W264CN/100.7 (Appleton) and a translator in North Carolina to EMF in exchange for EMF relinquishing its option to purchase Edgewater translators in Illinois and Florida. The application says W264CN will carry "K-Love" via WPFF/90.5 (Sturgeon Bay). Another translator, W271AC/102.1 (Appleton), already relays WPFF, but its signal only covers the western half of the city. W264CN's CP calls for covering the eastern part of the city. (12/24/2015)
Absolute Communications II is buying translator K262AR/100.3 (Worthington) from Refuge Media for $35,000. The application states K262AR will relay Absolute's KWOA/730, which carries a Soft Oldies format. The translator has separately applied to move its transmitter to the KWOA site with 250 Watts. K262AR currently carries Refuge's Christian Hits format. (12/23/2015)
Robinson Corporation is buying the construction permit for translator W269CN/101.7 (Manitowoc) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $28,000. Robinson owns WVRQ/1360 (Viroqua) and could potentially move the translator to Viroqua during a filing window next year. (12/21/2015)
The Minnesota Twins announced Friday that their new Spanish-language broadcast partner for the 2016 season will be Santamaria Broadcasting's "La Raza" (KMNV/1400 St. Paul and KMNQ/1470 Brooklyn Park). The 50 broadcasts will air primarily on Sundays and Tuesdays and will feature Twins Hall of Famer and color analyst Tony Oliva and play-by-play announcer Alfonso Fernandez. The Twins' previous Spanish-language partners, "La Mera Buena" (KBGY/107.5 Faribault-south metro) and "La Neta" (WLKX/95.9 Forest Lake), both switched to English-language formats in October. KMNV has better coverage of the core metro area than the previous partners, while KMNQ serves the northern suburbs. (12/18/2015)
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying another FM translator: this time, it's K261BT/100.1 (Holdrege) being bought from My Bridge Radio for $25,000. My Bridge Radio no longer needed the 205-Watt Holdrege translator after the sign-on of KHZY/99.3 (Overton) a few years ago. The Nebraska Rural Radio Association also recently bought translators in Hastings and Kearney from Radio 74 Internationale. They could potentially be moved to relay some of the association's five AM stations. (12/18/2015)
Radio Fargo-Moorhead is buying translator K288FF/105.5 (Bismarck) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $40,000. The translator could potentially be moved east to relay Radio Fargo-Moorhead's KQWB/1660 (West Fargo) during a filing window for 250-mile moves for AM-on-FM translators planned for next year. (12/18/2015)
Mid-West Management is buying translator W227BL/93.3 (Galena, IL) from First Ventures Capital Partners for $35,000. The translator could potentially be moved to Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Rockford, Springfield, or southwestern Michigan to relay one of Mid-West's AM stations during next year's filing window for 250-mile moves. (12/18/2015)
Salem Media has moved the Business Talk format of KYCR/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) to KDIZ/1440 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) after purchasing KDIZ from Radio Disney. The switch apparently happened on Wednesday (12/16). 1440 has a stronger signal than 1570, especially at night, though its nighttime signal lacks coverage of the northwest and southeast metro area. KYCR is running a looped announcement advising listeners to turn to 1440 and Salem announced Dec. 21 that the frequency would debut a new format in January. Salem also owns Christian Talk station KKMS/980 (Richfield-Minneapolis) and Conservative Talk station WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis). (12/16/2015, updated 12/21)
Gray TV announced Tuesday that it's taking the CW affiliations in the Madison and Fargo markets next year. The network will move from a competitor's full-power primary affiliation in Madison and from a competitor's subchannel in Fargo.
In Madison, Gray's WMTV will carry CW on channel 15.2, replacing weather programming. WMTV is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries Antenna TV on 15.3. The move will leave Byrne Acquisition Group's WBUW/57.1 (Janesville-Madison), the current CW affiliate, without a primary affiliation.
In Fargo, Gray said CW will air on "KXJB-D2" but would not provide additional details; the KXJB callsign is currently parked on a Gray translator in Wyoming. KXJB is the former callsign of KRDK/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo), which carried CBS until Gray moved it to a subchannel of NBC affiliate KVLY-TV (Fargo) last year to comply with ownership rules. Gray is in the process of buying three low-power TV stations in the Fargo market. The CW affiliation is currently seen on Forum's WDAY-DT2 (Fargo) and WDAZ-DT2 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks).
The new CW affiliations take effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 TV season. (12/15/2015)
WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) has signed on FM translator W276CP/103.1 (Bloomer), which rimshots Eau Claire from a tower near Lake Hallie. WOGO carries a Conservative Talk format and is owned by Stewards of Sound. (12/12/2015)
North Dakota-based Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio is buying WWEN/88.1 (Wentworth, WI-Duluth) from the American Family Association for $200,000. WWEN will be Real Presence Radio's ninth full-power station, its farthest east, and its first licensed in Wisconsin. The station transmits from the Four Corners area south of Superior and rimshots the Twin Ports with a 850W/139m (class A) signal. It signed on in 2010 carrying American Family Radio and is one of a half-dozen Christian radio signals serving the Twin Ports. (12/11/2015)
Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge LLC is buying an FM translator that could potentially be moved to the Breckenridge area to relay KBMW/1450. Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge will pay First Ventures Capital Partners $35,000 for K264AY/100.7 (Chamberlain, SD); Breckenridge is within the 250-mile zone for K264AY to potentially move during an FCC filing window next year. Meanwhile, Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge is in the process of buying KBMW from Radio Fargo-Moorhead for $300,000 in what amounts to an inter-family transfer. Radio Fargo-Moorhead is controlled by Brooke Ingstad's father, Jim, and Brooke owns 11 percent of Radio Fargo-Moorhead. (12/9/2015)
Similar to the transaction described above, Double Z Broadcasting is buying an FM translator that could potentially be moved to Devils Lake to relay KDLR/1240. Double Z will pay First Ventures Capitol Partners $35,000 for K207EB/89.3 (Redfield, SD), which is within the 250-mile zone for translators to be moved to Devils Lake in an FCC filing window next year. (12/9/2015)
Community First Broadcasting has announced plans to essentially swap the formats of the two stations it just bought in Jackson. On January 4, KRAQ/105.7 will drop Classic Hits for Country as KUXX "Xtreme Country 105.7." Meanwhile, KKOJ/1190 will drop Country for Classic Hits and add a simulcast on new FM translator K249EO/97.7. Both stations will also carry local news and sports, and KKOJ will continue to carry the Linder Farm Network. (12/8/2015)
KELO-TV (Sioux Falls) has added ION on channel 11.3, joining the growing list of Media General stations carrying ION on a subchannel. KELO is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries syndicated programming and MyNetworkTV on 11.2. ION is not being carried on KELO satellites KDLO (Watertown) or KPLO (Reliance-Pierre), but KELO Vice-President and General Manager Jay Huizenga says they do plan to add it on a subchannel of KCLO (Rapid City). KCLO is a semi-satellite of KELO's main channel, carrying separate syndicated programming in some time slots. (12/8/2015)
Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 has announced that its new 6:30 p.m. newscast will launch on Jan. 11. "Breaking the News" will be hosted by Rena Sarigianopoulos and Jana Shortal and promises to focus on stories people are talking about, "no fires or car crashes." It'll compete with an established newscast in the timeslot on ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5. KARE's new show displaces "Entertainment Tonight" from the timeslot it has occupied on the station for several decades. (12/7/2015)
For the second time in a year, the strongest FM signal in Rochester is being sold. Gregory Jenson's Hometown Broadcasting of Rochester is selling KNXR/97.5 to Blooming Prairie Farm Radio for $3.2 million. Jenson had closed on his purchase of KNXR from Tom Jones' United Audio Corporation in late January and relaunched the station with a Hot Adult Contemporary format as "Pulse FM" in Februrary. In the meantime, Jones has been working to resurrect KNXR's longtime Easy Listening format online at 97Five.com, but there has been no update posted in two months. Blooming Prairie Farm Radio is owned by John Linder of Mankato and Lynn Ketelsen of Owatonna, who own three stations in the Owatonna area. The Linder family also owns thirteen radio stations in Mankato and southwestern Minnesota and operates the Linder Farm Network. Jenson also owns an AM-FM combo in the Austin/Albert Lea area. (12/7/2015)
Riverfront Broadcasting has announced plans to launch "KORN Country 92.1" in the Mitchell market on Dec. 21. Current KORN/1490 morning host Clint Greenway will move over to the new FM station, which will also provide news updates from J.P. Skelly and sports from Steve Morgan.
"KORN Country" will take on legacy Country outlet KMIT/105.9, which Saga Broadcasting owns alongside one other full-power FM station and two HD-fed translators. Besides KORN and the future KORN-FM, Riverfront's Mitchell group also includes Hot Adult Contemporary outlet "Q107.3" (KQRN).
92.1 will be licensed to Parkston but transmit from Mitchell with 100kW/106m (class C1). It is the former KZKK/105.1 (Huron), which Riverfront bought, moved to 92.1 in Huron, and recently received FCC approval to move to Parkston. The maneuver avoided the usual years-long process of adding an allotment and holding an auction for the open frequency.
Regular readers may recall that Riverfront sued a Minnesota company over use of the "KORN Country 92.1" name; that station (KRUE/92.1 Waseca) switched its name to "Krue Country 92.1." The KORN callsign is a reference to Mitchell's most famous attraction, the Corn Palace. (12/7/2015)
VCY America founder Vic Eliason has died at the age of 79. The network reports that Eliason died Saturday (12/5) after a battle with cancer. Eliason first launched a Milwaukee Christian radio show in 1961 and it grew to a full-time station, WVCY/107.7, in 1970. WVCY-TV/30 was launched in 1983 and VCY America radio has grown to 21 full-power stations and 12 FM translators in the Midwest. Eliason hosted shows on both radio and TV. VCY's board recently approved Eliason's recommendation that longtime colleage Jim Schneider take over his role as executive director. (12/7/2015)
FM TRANSLATOR AUCTION:
When you hear about an auction for new licenses, it's usually an FCC auction -- but FM translator speculator First Ventures Capital Partners is holding an auction of its own for 30 translators, including several in the Upper Midwest. Nine are already listed as sold before the auction at fmtranslatorauction.com even begins. Regionally, those still up for auction are licensed to Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, IA, Galena, IL, and Black River Falls and Neillsville, WI. First Ventures notes that the FCC is going to allow translators to move up to 250 miles in a filing window next year, putting Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and other cities potentially within reach -- assuming there is an open frequency. First Ventures' auction will begin Dec. 2 and run for one week. (12/1/2015)
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