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250-Watt FM translator K299BT/107.7 (Albany) has signed on, relaying KASM/1150. KASM owner Starcom moved the translator up from Iowa under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. KASM carries an information-heavy format featuring Country and Old Time music.

Meanwhile, K277AS (Big Lake-Princeton) has moved from 103.3 to 106.9 as W295BZ. It transmits from Princeton and relays the Oldies format of WQPM/1300 (Princeton), which is owned by Milestone Radio, a sister company to Starcom. The translator got a slight upgrade to 170 Watts and the frequency change allows it to escape fringe area interference from another translator on 103.3 to the west and a low-power FM station on 103.3 to the east. (6/21/2016)

KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) tells the FCC in a request for special temporary authority that it does not plan to rebuild the top of its tower near Lake Benton after weather-related damage. The station had reported a partial tower collapse last December. KKCK had formerly used 100kW at 282m and is now seeking to use 100kW at 253m permanently, retaining its class C1 status. The downgrade will only remove a few miles from KKCK's main coverage area, which will continue to include Brookings, South Dakota, but its fringe signal to Sioux Falls will be slightly reduced. KKCK carries Contemporary Hits and is owned by the Linder family's KMHL Broadcasting. (6/21/2016)

KFKX/90.1 (Hastings) may not be going off the air permanently, after all. As earlier mentioned here, local TV stations had reported that Hastings College had decided to let the station's license expire, though the license is actually valid until 2021. The college has now filed a notification of suspension of operations revealing that it is considering the sale of the license, rather returning it and taking the frequency off the air permanently. The filing says KFKX will go silent June 30 because "Hastings College is no longer certain that the radio station should be part of its academic world." (6/21/2016)

The Calvary Chapel of the Black Hills' KFND-LP (Rapid City) has completed its move from 97.1 to 98.3. It had faced interference from South Dakota Public Broadcasting's KPSD/97.1 (Faith), a pre-existing station, on its old frequency. (6/21/2016)

The FCC is taking comments on whether to allot an FM frequency for tribal use in north-central South Dakota. According to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has proposed alloting 93.5 to Eagle Butte as a class C1 station. The tribe has applied for a station on the frequency using 100kW/203m, which would cover a large area of tribal lands that have few FM listening options. The FCC is taking comments on the proposed allotment through Aug. 8 as detailed in the NPRM. (6/20/2016)

Nationally-syndicated programming will replace "Whad'Ya Know?" on Wisconsin Public Radio's weekend schedule when the longtime Madison-based show ends production, but the network's new schedule announcement says it's working to develop new Wisconsin-based weekend programming. "Ask Me Another" and "Says You!" will take over WYK's Saturday 10 a.m. to Noon timeslot on the Ideas Network beginning July 2. Meanwhile, "The Whad'Ya Know? Radio Hour" will be replaced by "The Best of Car Talk" on the Ideas Network Sunday at 11 a.m. (moving from Noon Saturday), and by an additional hour of "Weekend Edition" on the NPR News & Classical Music network Saturdays at 9 a.m. The Ideas Network is also making other changes to its weekend lineup, adding "Travel with Rick Steves," "Podcast Playlist," and "Only A Game." Leaving the schedule are "The TED Radio Hour" and a second airing of "This American Life." (6/18/2016)

106.5 could be the next frequency to light up in Milwaukee; it's the spot being sought for a translator of WNOV/860. The translator would broadcast with 99 Watts from WNOV's site, delivering a good signal to most of Milwaukee and several first-ring suburbs. WNOV owner Courier Communications is in the process of buying the license of W250AV (Park Falls) from WRVM, Inc. to move to Milwaukee under the FCC's AM revitalization window. WNOV carries a mix of Talk, R&B, and Gospel. It will be the fifth Milwaukee AM station to have its programming relayed on an FM translator. (6/17/2016)

More digital TV subchannels are coming to a half-dozen Upper Midwest markets as a result of a newly-announced deal between Nexstar Broadcasting and Katz Broadcasting. Nexstar stations will add some of the networks distributed by Katz: Grit, Escape, Laff, and Bounce. Nexstar's stations include WFRV (Green Bay), WLAX (La Crosse) and satellite WEUX (Chippewa Falls-Eau Claire), WJMN (Escanaba-Marquette), WOI and KCWI (Ames-Des Moines), WHBF (Rock Island-Quad Cities) and KGCW (Burlington-Quad Cities), and KCAU (Sioux City). It hasn't been announced exactly which networks will be carried by which stations or when they will launch. (6/16/2016)

The FCC has granted WCUP/105.7 (L'Anse) a transmitter move which will improve its signal to Houghton but weaken its signal to rural areas south of L'Anse. WCUP will join sister station WGLI/98.7 (Hancock-Houghton) on its tower in Hancock, with each station using 100kW/176m. (That reflects a slight increase in antenna height for WGLI from its current 100kW/159m.) WCUP "Eagle Country" and WGLI "The Rockin' Eagle" are owned by the Keewanaw Bay Indian Community. The KBIC had also applied to add a new station on 106.5 licensed to Baraga in 2014 using tribal priority, but the FCC rejected that application last year for being too close to an unused Canadian allotment. (6/15/2016)

KBPY/107.7 (Hay Springs-Chadron) has returned to full power nearly a year after a lightning strike destroyed its antenna. The station, owned by Kathleen Brown's Chadrad Communications, uses 50kW/142m and carries a Rock format. It had been using 42 Watts from Chadron since last August's storm. (6/15/2016)

Christian Heritage Broadcasting has returned the license for K252CW/98.3 (Ellendale). No reason for the decision was given in a surrender letter. The organization owns the Minnesota-based "Praise FM" network. (6/15/2016)

KIMT/3.1 (Mason City-Rochester) is getting its fourth owner in four years as a result of a national media deal. The station, currently owned by Media General, is among five that will be sold to USA Television MidAmerica Holdings, LLC for $115 million. Nexstar is in the process of buying Media General and is divesting the stations to gain federal approval of the merger. KIMT carries CBS on 3.1, MyNetworkTV on 3.2, and ION on 3.3. (6/13/2016)

Several Upper Midwest markets are affected by a national dispute between Tribune Broadcasting and DISH Network. WITI (FOX-Milwaukee), WHO (NBC-Des Moines), and WQAD (ABC-Moline) left DISH on Sunday evening as a the retransmission consent agreement between the two parties expired. The dispute also affects WGN America, Denver stations seen in much of western Nebraska (KWGN-CW and KDVR-FOX), and feeds of KWGN, KTLA, and WPIX seen in DISH's grandfathered SuperStation package. (6/13/2016)

Coloff Media, LLC is buying an FM translator to use for its KCNZ/1650 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo), which carries a Sports format. Coloff will pay Starboard Broadcasting $20,000 for K293CH/106.5 (Waterloo). The permit for the 250-Watt translator doesn't expire until 2019. It will be Coloff's second AM-on-FM translator in the Waterloo market; the company already owns K286CI/105.1 (Waverly-Waterloo) relaying Oldies-formatted KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo). The company has one full-power FM station in the Waterloo market, "Mix 93.5" (KCVM Hudson). (6/9/2016)

Homeslice Media Group's KKLS/920 (Rapid City) tells the FCC a new power line may have caused changes to its antenna pattern and it may have to downgrade as a result. KKLS normally uses 5kW daytime and 111 Watts nighttime with the same directional pattern day and night. The station says in a request for special temporary authority that a new Western Area Power Administration line was constructed a quarter-mile away from its two-tower array. After the construction, engineers noticed that one monitoring point was well above its limit and another was well below the limit. They believe the power line's metal structures are causing changes to KKLS' antenna pattern. The station has dropped its daytime power to 3.2kW and its nighttime power to 70 Watts. The filing says that due to "the difficulty in terms of time and financial resources," it's anticipated that KKLS will seek a non-directional pattern at a reduced power level. KKLS carries the syndicated "Smash Hits" `80s and `90s format and is rebroadcast on K284BA/104.7 (Rapid City). (6/8/2016)

Cornerstone Community Radio is buying K285GR/104.9 (Burlington) from the American Family Association for $30,000. The 50-Watt translator is not yet on the air and faces a Dec. 5 construction deadline. The application states it will relay Cornerstone's KMDY/90.9 (Keokuk), which carries Christian programming from a studio in Carthage, IL. (6/8/2016)

KKWZ/95.3 (Rugby) signed on Monday (6/6), according to its Facebook page. The station carries an Adult Contemporary format and is a sister to Country-formatted KZZJ/1450. It's the first FM signal to deliver a city-grade signal to Rugby. Rugby Broadcasters bought KKWZ and moved it west from Crary, where it had never operated other than for program testing. To "backfill," KQZZ/96.7 agreed to change its community of license from Devils Lake to Crary but continues to use the same facility. (6/7/2016)

Wisconsin Public Radio has signed on W256CZ/99.1 (Stevens Point), bringing the Ideas Network to the FM band in the city. W256CZ was moved to Stevens Point with a waiver under the FCC's AM revitalization window to relay WLBL/930 (Auburndale). The translator signed on Friday (6/3) using 29 Watts from a tower west of Stevens Point. W256CZ is the former W272CN/102.3 (Ashland), which had been the only analog outlet for WPR's HD2 Classical service. W272CN, originally W275AF/102.9, was no longer needed after WPR constructed two full-power stations in the Chequamegon Bay area. (6/7/2016)

"Lobo 97.7" (KBBX Nebraska City-Omaha) is temporarily operating at reduced power due to an antenna problem. KBBX normally uses 100kW/298m from a tower south of Omaha but has told the FCC that it's currently using 950W/40m from its studio site in southwest Omaha. The station, owned by Flood Communications of Omaha, says in a request for special temporary authority that its licensed antenna is malfunctioning, but that they hope the temporary facility will only be in operation for less than a month. KBBX carries a Regional Mexican format and the power reduction comes at a bad time, as iHeartMedia recently launched a direct competitor in the form of "El Patron" on K272FE/102.3 (Council Bluffs-Omaha) and KFFF-HD2. (6/6/2016)

Townsquare Media's KBYZ/96.5 (Bismarck) and KUSB/103.3 (Hazelton-Bismarck) are operating at reduced power due to antenna damage. In requests for special temporary authority filed with the FCC, the stations say their shared antenna was severely damaged by lightning on May 25. Replacement parts are on order. The current power level of the stations, which both normally broadcast with 100kW, was not specified. KBYZ carries Classic Rock as "The Fox" while KUSB is "US Country." (6/6/2016)

WREY/630 (St. Paul) has apparently dropped plans to construct a new tower site in the southeast Twin Cities metro. Earlier this year, the FCC granted WREY a construction permit to use 5kW daytime and 1.6kW nighttime from a new three-tower directional array near the oil refinery in Rosemount. Now, WREY has applied to remain at its present site in Woodbury, upgrading daytime power from 1kW to 3kW and dropping nighttime power slightly from 2.5kW to 2.4kW, using the same directional pattern day and night. (The current situation is unusual, as there are very few AM stations that actually increase power at night.) The Woodbury array is shared with WCTS/1030 (Maplewood), which owns the site. WREY is owned by Greg Borgen's 630 Radio, Inc. and carries a Spanish-language format as "Radio Rey." (6/6/2016)

The entire state of North Dakota, plus northwestern Minnesota, has been without ABC on DirecTV since Thursday (6/2) due to a retransmission consent dispute between DirecTV and Forum Communications. Forum owns ABC affiliates WDAY-TV/6.1 (Fargo), WDAZ/8.1 (Devils Lake-Grand Forks), and KBMY/17.1 (Bismarck). The outage coincides with the NBA Finals on ABC, though the date of the outage actually resulted from the end of an extension of a carriage agreement that originally expired earlier this year. A Q&A posted on WDAY's website suggests that carriage of subchannels is among the issues in dispute. Besides the outage of ABC, WDAZ offers the only Grand Forks-based TV newscasts. (6/5/2016)

Gray TV is continuing its expansion across the Upper Midwest, buying WBAY-TV/2.1 (ABC, Green Bay) and KWQC/6.1 (NBC, Davenport) from Nexstar for $270 million. Ownership caps require Nexstar to spin off the two stations as part of its purchase of Media General because it already owns other top-four stations in the two markets. Gray says WBAY and KWQC are the top-rated stations on their markets. The company already owns stations in five markets that border on either Davenport or Green Bay. It will own stations in four markets in Wisconsin and two in Iowa once the deal is completed. (6/3/2016)

After initially being denied a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of building a radio station, a Winnipeg man has been granted permission by a different regulator. Baldev Gill's CKYZ-FM/92.9 (Winnipeg) is now on the air testing with 50 Watts. The CRTC had denied Gill a license for a new 1.8kW (class A) station on 92.9 last year, saying that the proposed station's format would overlap with Dufferin Communications' CKJS/810 and that the market would be "highly challenged" to sustain a second ethnic station. But Gill later received permission from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to build a low-power station on 92.9. Gill told the Winnipeg Sun the station will be called Awaz 92.9 and will serve the East Indian community with at least 11 different languages per week. According to his original CRTC application, Gill was born in India and immigrated to Canada in 1969. He owns taxi, communications, propane, and auto repair businesses in Winnipeg and says he has had a passion for radio since childhood. 92.9 had previously been occupied in Winnipeg by Red River College/Cre-Comm Radio's CKIC-FM, which went silent in 2012. (6/2/2016)

Classic Hits outlet "92.7 The Drive" (KZDR Kindred-Fargo) has ended its format as another radio ownership shuffle begins in the Fargo market. On June 1, KZDR's Facebook page and website began referring listeners to a different Classic Hits outlet, "106.9 The Eagle" (KEGK Wahpeton-Fargo), since both stations are now owned by the same family. Robert Ingstad's Mediactive, LLC sold KZDR to Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge, which has obtained a construction permit to move KZDR south to Breckenridge, MN, to serve as a sister station to KBMW/1450. Meanwhile, Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge bought KEGK from Dakota Broadcasting. Separately, i3G Radio LLC -- owned by three members of the Ingstad family -- bought KQLX/890 (Lisbon) and KQLX-FM/106.1 (Lisbon-Fargo) from Dakota Broadcasting. Brooke Ingstad is also a minority partner with her father, James D. Ingstad, in Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which does business as Radio F-M Media, operating four full-power FM stations, two HD2-fed FM translators, and one AM station targetting Fargo-Moorhead. Almost every commercial radio station in the Fargo area has been sold at least once in recent years. (6/2/2016)

Christian broadcaster KCMI (Terrytown-Scottsbluff) has completed its move from 96.9 to 97.1, ending a years-long dispute over whether it should be required to change frequency. The move, first proposed in 2007, will allow KIMX/96.7 (Laramie, WY) to move to 96.9 in Nunn, CO, reaching Fort Collins. KCMI's Facebook page indicates its frequency switch happened on May 17. KCMI continues to use the same 100kW/211m (class C1) facility as before, but fought the move over the feared loss of 65,000 potential fringe area listeners due to interference from KELN/97.1 (North Platte) and KBCO/97.3 (Boulder, CO). In a 2012 decision, the FCC said that fringe reception is not protected by FCC rules and protecting KCMI's fringe reception would "would wreak havoc with the system of FM station spacing." There are translators relaying KCMI's programming in Sidney and rural Rushville. (6/1/2016)

Two new FM signals signed on this month in the eastern Twin Cities area: W279DD/103.7 (Hudson, WI) relays the Oldies format of WDGY/740 (Hudson), while K288GR/105.5 (Bayport, MN) relays the Spanish-language "Radio Rey" format of WREY/630 (St. Paul). Both translators broadcast from the WDGY tower east of Hudson with 250 Watts, though K288GR uses a directional antenna while W279DD uses a nondirectional antenna. The stations are owned by companies held by Greg Borgen. His 630 Radio, Inc. is also in the process of buying a translator in southern Minnesota with stated plans to move it to the Twin Cities to relay WREY; K288GR's license is not directly tied to WREY since it was approved using regular rules rather than a waiver. W279DD was moved in from southern Minnesota using a waiver under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. WDGY's Oldies format is also relayed on the HD2 signal of Hubbard Broadcasting's KTMY/107.1 (Coon Rapids-Minneapolis-St. Paul). (5/27/2016)

iHeartMedia has launched "102.3 El Patron" on K272FE/102.3 (Council Bluffs-Omaha) and the HD2 signal of KFFF-FM/93.3 (Bennington-Omaha). The new format, which includes the syndicated Piolin morning show, was first reported by RadioInsight. "El Patron" is Omaha's second Spanish-language FM signal, competing with Flood Communications' "Lobo 97.7" (KBBX-FM Nebraska City-Omaha). K272FE/KFFF-HD2 had previously simulcast the "Rock 94-9" format carried on K235CD/94.9 (Omaha) and KISO-HD2. K272FE and K235CD both transmit from the same tower in Omaha. (5/27/2016)

Results Broadcasting is buying translator W256AG/99.1 (Wausau) from Quicksilver Broadcasting for $22,500. The translator has relayed Quicksilver's WMZK/104.1 (Merrill) for nearly two decades. The agreement states Results plans to move W256AG under the AM revitalization window to relay either WOTE/1380 (Clintonville) or WTCH/960 (Shawano). WTCH does already have an FM translator, but since that translator was not approved using a waiver, it could be switched to a different input station. (5/25/2016)

The FCC has entered a consent decree with Jan Charles Gray's Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting that will result in the company paying a $25,000 fine and the FCC ending its invesigation into numerous alleged violations at six stations. They include KZMX/580 (Hot Springs), KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs), and four stations in Wyoming. Among other things, the FCC alleged that Mt. Rushmore failed to maintain a full-time management and staff presence at KZMX AM-FM during regular business hours, failed to make the stations available to an FCC agent for an inspection, and failed to operate KZMX-FM in accordance with its license. The consent decree requires Mt. Rushmore to establish operating procedures for employees to comply with antenna structure lighting, inspection, licensing, main studio, and public inspection file rules. Filings indicate KZMX AM-FM, along with Mt. Rushmore's KFCR/1490 (Custer) and KAWK/105.1 (Custer), are all currently off the air due to staffing problems. (5/23/2016)

New translator W284CW/104.7 (Madison) has been heard on the air, relaying the "Faith Radio" format of WNWC/1190 (Sun Prairie-Madison). WNWC owner University of Northwestern-St. Paul moved the construction permit for the translator south from Ashland under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. The 250-Watt translator rimshots the capital city from a tower in Sun Prairie. It also allows "Faith Radio" to be heard by more people at night, since WNWC uses just 21 Watts at night. Sister station "Life 102.5" (WNWC-FM) carries Contemporary Christian.

W284CW is the third of at least five AM-on-FM translators poised for Madison: Already on are WHA/970 (107.9) and WTSO/1070 (100.9), while WHFA/1240 and WHIT/1550 have construction permits for FM translators on 97.3 and 97.7, respectively. The area also has a half-dozen low-power FM stations. (5/23/2016)

Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio has completed a frequency swap and upgrade of its two signals in the Bismarck area: KPHA (Mandan) moved from 91.3 to 91.7, while KXRP (Bismarck) moved from 91.7 to 91.3. The two stations are now transmitting from a site south of Bismarck with 91.3 using 4.2kW/199m (class C3) and 91.7 using 25kW/199m (C2). The stations had to obtain a waiver to be allowed to use the same transmitter site due to their proximity on the dial. KPHA, which was the group's original station in the area, is carrying the Real Presence Radio network. KXRP, which the group bought from Family Radio, is listed as carrying Spanish Christian on the network's website, but reception reports indicate it continues to carry the English-language network for now. (5/23/2016, updated current KXRP programming 6/5)

K232FH/94.3 (Breckenridge-Wahpeton) has signed on, relaying the information-heavy Country format of KBMW/1450. The translator was moved in from Chamberlain, SD, under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. (5/21/2016)

K259CZ/99.7 (Devils Lake) has signed on, relaying the information-heavy Classic Country format of KDLR/1240. Double Z Broadcasting moved the translator in from Redfield, SD, under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. (5/21/2016)

The flurry of approval for FM translator moves of up to 250 miles under the AM revitalization filing window slowed in recent months, but a handful of construction permits have been issued since the last update here:

  • Waverly, IA: KWAY/1470, 96.3, 250W
  • Fosston, MN: KKCQ/1480, 96.7, 250W
  • Grafton, ND: KXPO/1340, 93.9, 250W
  • Sioux Falls, SD: KZOY/1520, 93.3, 250W (move of existing translator from 92.1; the station is promoting a Memorial Day frequency change)
  • Viroqua, WI: WVRQ/1360, 107.3, 250W

A running list of new FM translator facilities in the Upper Midwest under this filing window is posted here. More applications are likely once the filing window expands to include class A and B AM stations this summer. (5/21/2016)

KX News reported earlier this month that KKWZ/95.3 (Rugby) is expected to sign on in the near future. The station will carry an Adult Contemporary format and is the FM counterpart to Country-formatted KZZJ/1450. As earlier reported here, Rugby Broadcasters bought KKWZ from Edward Paul "Butch" De La Hunt for $80,000 and is moving its license from Crary to Rugby. It'll use 6kW/45m (class A) from the KZZJ tower. KKWZ will be the first city-grade FM signal for Rugby; KZZJ is the only other local signal in the small north-central North Dakota town and has been on the air since 1961. (5/21/2016)

NTV and NBC Nebraska reported earlier this month that Hastings College plans to take KFKX/90.1 off the air this summer. NTV's report said the decision comes amid changes in the journalism and broadcasting programs, while NBC Nebraska quotes a college official's concerns about fewer jobs in the industry. Both reports says the college has decided to let the license expire, though FCC records indicate the license is not actually set to expire until 2021. KFKX uses 780W/68m from a county-owned tower. (5/21/2016)

The following Christian broadcasters recently applied for licenses to cover, indicating these new stations are on the air or will be soon:

  • Refuge Media Group's 170-Watt K277CC/103.3 (Pennock-Willmar, MN), carrying Refuge Radio via KRGM/89.9 (Marshall) and restoring service lost when Refuge's previous Willmar translator was sold to a commercial broadcaster.
  • Radio 74 Internationale's 250-Watt K237FQ/95.3 (Bismarck).
  • He Will Provide Radio's 45-Watt KJIT-LP/106.7 (Bismarck), which had been off the air while it moved to a new transmitter site.
  • CSN International's 99-Watt K255CJ/98.9 (Briggs-Omaha). CSN operates the Calvary Satellite Network and Effect Radio, though the application had listed Calvary Chapel of Omaha's KZLW/90.1 (Gretna) as the station to be rebroadcast. 5/31 addition: K255CJ said in a 5/27 filing that it went silent on 5/9 due to a delayed structural report and a delayed lease.
  • Community Broadcasting's 250-Watt K277CD/103.3 (Beatrice, NE), carrying Bott Radio Network via KLCV/88.5 (Lincoln). (5/21/2016, updated 5/31)

VCY America is buying future FM translator W247BY/97.3 (Appleton) from Cornerstone Community Radio for $50,000. The application states that W247BY will carry VCY's programming from WVRN/88.9 (Wittenberg). W247BY's current construction permit calls for 55 Watts from a cell tower near the Outagamie County Regional Airport. (5/21/2016)

The location for a future Twin Cities FM translator is on the move: Santamaria Broadcasting has received FCC approval to move the transmitter for K239CJ/95.7 (St. Paul) from the IDS Center in Minneapolis to the longtime KMNV/1400 tower site on Frontenac Place, near I-94 and the Mississippi River, in St. Paul. The move will mean a stronger signal for St. Paul than originally intended but weaker coverage of the western suburbs (here's how coverage would look from the IDS Center compared with Frontenac Place.) Santamaria bought the translator from the Educational Media Foundation and moved it from Des Moines to the Twin Cities under the FCC's AM revitalization filing window. It will relay KMNV's "La Raza" Spanish-language format. (The Frontenac Place property has been home to a number of radio stations over the years, including 1400, K102, KFAN/1130, and REV 105. It is currently owned by Minnesota Public Radio and is the mailing address for Prairie Home Productions. KMNV's studio is in Minneapolis.) (5/17/2016, updated 6/1 with FCC approval)

The FCC has approved a community of license change that will allow Gray TV to keep two TV stations in Nebraska's panhandle. KNEP/4.1, formerly KDUH-TV, will change its community of license from Scottsbluff to Sidney but keep its current transmitter site 30 miles east of Scottsbluff. Sidney is in the Denver market, removing KNEP from prohibited co-ownership with KSTF/10.1 (Scottsbluff). Gray came to own both stations after picking up KSTF as part of its purchase of Yellowstone Holdings and KDUH-TV as part of its purchase of Schurz Communications. Gray recently launched "NBC Nebraska Scottsbluff" on 4.2 and 10.2 with several full-length newscasts based out of Scottsbluff. 4.1 apparently continues to relay ABC from Gray's KOTA-TV (Rapid City, SD), while 10.1 carries CBS from Gray's KGWN-TV/5.1 (Cheyenne, WY). This is actually the second community of license change for the former KDUH-TV, which was originally licensed to Hay Springs. (5/16/2016)

The FCC recently approved a daytime upgrade for WXYG/540 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud). Currently using 250 Watts day and night, WXYG will upgrade to 850 Watts during the day but continue to use 250 Watts at night. WXYG carries an Album Rock format as "The Goat" and is owned by Herbert Hoppe, who owns four AM stations and one full-power FM station in the market. It's relayed on W297BO/107.3 and the HD2 signal of WHMH/101.7. (5/11/2016)

Milestone Radio, LLC and the Educational Media Foundation are trading translators in a deal that will allow Milestone to continue relaying the "Big Q" Oldies format of WQPM/1300 (Princeton, MN) on a translator currently owned by EMF. The translator, K277AS/103.3 (Big Lake-Princeton), has already been relaying WQPM for more than a year. Milestone will get K277AS' license in exchange for W270CT/101.9 (Black River Falls, WI) and one year of free rent for EMF to continue operating its K221ES/92.1 (Albertville, MN) from a tower owned by Milestone. K277AS has a construction permit to move to 106.9 under the AM revitalization window, taking it off the crowded 103.3 frequency that has another translator to the west and a future low-power FM station to the east. (5/10/2016)

Hometown Broadcasting has extended its "Bug" Classic Hits format eastward by moving an FM translator to Oshkosh and flipping an AM station to a simulcast. In addition to its original home on WAUH/102.3 (Wautoma), "The Bug" is now also heard on WISS/1100 (Berlin) and W254CS/98.7 (Oshkosh), the latter of which Hometown moved to Oshkosh under the AM revitalization window. WISS and the translator, formerly W247AZ/97.3 (Berlin), had previously carried syndicated talk shows. WISS' local information elements were recently moved to WRPN/1600 (Ripon), which flipped to its own mix of News, Classic Hits, and syndicated talk following Hometown's purchase of the station. WISS and WRPN have overlapping coverage areas. (5/9/2016)

Saga Communications has signed on new FM translator W254CU/98.7 (Milwaukee), relaying the Christian Teaching and Preaching format of "Joy 1340" (WJYI). The station's Facebook page first mentioned the FM signal on Friday (5/6). W254CU uses 99 Watts from a tower at Saga's facility on Milwaukee's west side, delivering a strong signal to Milwaukee and several first-ring suburbs. Saga subsidiary Lakefront Communications, LLC moved the translator in from lower Michigan under the FCC's AM revitalization window. (5/9/2016)

Courier Communications is buying an FM translator in northern Wisconsin to move south for its WNOV/860 (Milwaukee). Courier will pay WRVM, Inc. $30,000 for W250AV (Park Falls). The translator is not currently on the air. The application includes a map showing that Courier intends to move the translator to Milwaukee on an unspecified frequency under the AM revitalization window. Longtime readers will recall that WNOV, when it was under different management in 2010 and 2011, was relayed on an FM translator that was eventually forced to leave the air by interference complaints from a Madison station. (5/5/2016)

Nicolet Broadcasting is buying translator W277BP/103.3 (Sturgeon Bay) from WRVM, Inc. for $38,000. The application states that Nicolet plans to use W277BP as a fill-in translator for its WRKU/102.1 (Forestville). The deal includes transmission equipment, but the application states that the buyer has permission to move the translator to a different site. (5/5/2016)

Full-length newscasts on Gray TV's new "NBC Nebraska Scottsbluff" channel are due to begin Thursday (5/5). "NBC Nebraska Scottsbluff" will be simulcast on channel 4.2 of KNEP (formerly KDUH-TV) and channel 10.2 of KSTF, as well as Charter cable channel 8 and DISH Network channel 11, according to a promo posted on the station's Facebook page. The newscasts originating from Scottsbluff will air weekdays at Noon, 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. and weekends at 10 p.m. They will apparently share some staff with other Gray TV stations in Nebraska, based on staff bios posted on the stations' websites. The change follows Gray's purchase of KDUH as part of the Schurz Communications deal. News updates from the station have suggested that 4.1 will continue to relay Gray ABC affiliate KOTA-TV (Rapid City) and 10.1 will continue to relay Gray CBS affiliate KGWN-TV (Cheyenne). Channel 10.2 had previously relayed Gray NBC affiliate KCWY (Casper). Gray has applied to change KNEP's community of license to Sidney, which is outside of the Cheyenne-Scottsbluff market, to comply with ownership caps that prohibit permanent co-ownership of the only two TV stations licensed to Scottsbluff. (5/4/2016; updated 5/10 to reflect KDUH-TV's callsign change to KNEP, which was effective in February but not updated in the FCC's database until May)

KMRV/1160 (Waukon), formerly KFXE, has dropped FOX Sports for Adult Contemporary as "99-1 The River" following the launch of translator K256CS/99.1. KMRV owner Wennes Communications bought the translator license from First Ventures Capital Partners and moved it up from Missouri as part of the AM revitalization window. Wennes also owns "Bluff Country 103.5" (KNEI Waukon) and Classic Hits KVIK/104.7 (Decorah). (5/4/2016)

New FM translator W299CD/107.7 (Richland Center) is on the air relaying the Soft Oldies format of WRCO/1450 (Richland Center). WRCO owner Fruit Broadcasting bought the translator from David Stout and moved it down from Bloomer as part of the AM revitalization window. The company also owns Country-formatted WRCO-FM/100.9 (Richland Center). (5/4/2016)

Longtime broadcaster Pat Kelly has announced his departure from KDAL/610 (Duluth). Kelly has co-hosted the morning show on the station since 2013 and has worked on radio and TV in the market for decades. His last day will be May 13, and another market veteran, Tom Hansen, will take his place on May 16. Hansen had worked as a sports anchor at KBJR-TV for decades. Hansen will join longtime KDAL personalities Pat Cadigan, Dave Strandberg, and Mark Fleischer on the morning shift and will also work in the newsroom. KDAL is owned by Midwest Communications and carries a News/Talk format. (5/3/2016)

Christian broadcaster VCY America has upgraded WQRM/850 (Duluth) to a daytime power to 50kW, making it the strongest AM radio signal in northeastern Minnesota. However, the station is limited to 14kW during critical hours (the hours after sunrise and before sunset). The daytime boost to 50kW improves WQRM's signal to parts of northeastern and east-central Minnesota where VCY's regional FM stations can't be heard. WQRM formerly used 10kW daytime and was known as WWJC until its sale to VCY two years ago. (5/1/2016)

Armada Media announced Friday that it's buying Eagle Radio's four stations in the Marquette and Escanaba markets. The stations are licensed to Radioactive LLC and have been operated by Eagle Radio; the press release did not say whether Armada was buying the licenses from Radioactive or assuming Eagle Radio's agreement to run the stations. They include "94.9 The Bay" (WUPZ Chocolay Township-Marquette), "96.7 Yooper Country" (WUPG Republic-Marquette), "100.3 The Point" (WUPT Gwinn-Marquette), and "107.3 The Eagle" (WUPF Powers-Escanaba). WUPZ carries Contemporary Hits, WUPG carries Classic Country, and WUPT and WUPF carry Classic Hits. Armada Media also owns five stations in the Escanaba/Manistique area that do business as Radio Results Network and five stations in the Menominee/Marinette area that do business as Bay Cities Radio. The Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based company also runs three groups in Nebraska and one on the Minnesota/South Dakota border. (5/1/2016)

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Newspaper/Web Articles

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WITI-TV leads overall, barely, in May sweeps (5/26)
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Star Tribune: 'Rosen's Sports Sunday' heads into its final inning (5/15)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV, WTMJ-AM take top honors at Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards (5/8)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rob Haswell named chief meteorologist at WITI, will keep his day job (5/2)
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