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MINNESOTA:
Southern Twin Cities metro translators K218DK/91.5 (Bloomington) and K293BA/106.5 (Elko) have switched to the "Kinship Christian Radio" format of KJLY/104.5 (Blue Earth) following their sale to KJLY owner Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting. The translators had previously carried the "Refuge Radio" Christian Hits format originating at WJRF/89.5 (Duluth), and K218DK had been one of WJRF's oldest translators. The duo represents the northernmost reach of the "Kinship" network, which includes eleven other translators and six full-power stations stretching into central Iowa. (1/26/2015)

ILLINOIS/IOWA:
A belated note that WDLM/960 (East Moline-Quad Cities)
switched to Spanish-language Christian programming from Radio Moody on Jan. 5. Sister station WDLM-FM/89.3 continues to carry English-language Christian programming from Moody Radio, which made a similar move with its AM station in Chicago three years ago. (1/26/2015)

MANITOBA:
Canadian regulators have denied an application for a new ethnic commercial FM station in Winnipeg. Gill Broadcasting had applied for a 1.8kW/55m (class A) station on 92.9, a frequency left vacant when Red River College/Cre-Comm Radio's CKIC-FM went silent in 2012. The station would have carried a minimum of eleven different languages per week, with Punjabi/Hindi accounting for the largest amount at 70 hours. The CRTC found 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. It also rejected one intervenor's request that the CRTC make call for applications for new radio stations, stating that 92.9 is not the last available frequency in Winnipeg. (1/22/2015)

NORTH DAKOTA:
The FCC has upheld its decision to grant a construction permit for a new FM station in the Jamestown market to Christopher Falletti, throwing out a petition to deny from Two Rivers Broadcasting, which had competed with Falletti in a 2012 auction for the new station on 92.3 licensed to Medina. Two Rivers is owned by Janice Ingstad, whose companies own six stations in the Jamestown/Valley City area. Falletti's original application specified use of a tower owned by Ingstad, but Two Rivers says Falleti never had reasonable assurance that he would actually be able to use the tower. Falletti later amended his application to specify a different tower. The FCC says its rules do allow winning bidders for new stations to make curative amendments to their applications, meaning Falleti's original application was not fatally flawed. Falletti has until July 6 to build the new station, which will use 60kW/98m (class C1). It does not yet have a callsign. (1/22/2015)

ONTARIO:
CBC/Radio-Canada is seeking permission for a large downgrade to its CBC Radio One station in Dryden. CBQH/100.9 currently uses 100kW/120m (class C1) and would drop to 1.3kW/105m (A). It would also relocate its transmitter from a site east of town to a TBayTel tower in town also used by Radio-Canada station CKSB-6-FM/102.7 and commercial station CKDR-FM/92.7. The downgrade would remove about 3,000 people from CBQH's total coverage area, representing about 20 percent of the current potential audience. CBC says the existing tower is deteriorating but did not explain why it's also seeking a downgrade, though it cited budget challenges as the reason for recent downgrades in Fort Frances. In recent years it has also cut staff in Thunder Bay and shut down the vast majority of its TV transmitters, including the one that had served Dryden. (1/22/2015)

MICHIGAN:
New low-power FM station WNOA-LP/103.9 (Marquette) is on the air carrying Catholic programming. The 100-Watt station is owned by Claves Regni Ministries, doing business as Northern Apostle Radio. (1/22/2015)

MINNESOTA:
In what is starting to seem like a daily occurrence, plans for a new national DTV subchannel network have been announced. FOX Television Stations will launch the new Buzzr network in all 17 of its markets, which include Minneapolis, this summer. Buzzr will carry classic game shows, a genre virtually ignored by the dozens of existing subchannel networks. FOX's owned and operated stations in Minneapolis are KMSP (RF 9) and WFTC (RF 29), which carry FOX on 9.1 and 9.9, MyNetworkTV on 9.2, Movies! on 9.3, and Bounce on 9.4. (1/20/2015)

WISCONSIN:
A new FCC filing clears up recent changes at a pair of north-central Wisconsin radio stations. Control of Barracuda Broadcasting/Quicksilver Broadcasting, licensee of WMZK/104.1 (Merrill-Wausau) and WJMT/730 (Merrill), has returned to its previous owners after a judge vacated a ruling appointing a receiver for the company. The court had appointed John Wirth to act as receiver on Nov. 25 and the FCC approved the transfer of control in December, but Wirth was removed as receiver in a Jan. 5 order. That means David Winters again has control of the companies. WMZK reverted to its previous "Z104" Classic Rock format days after the court order, dropping an eight-month old "Magic 104" Hot Adult Contemporary format that had been implemented by Michael Enfelt's Radio One Communications, LLC when it was operating the stations through a time brokerage agreement. (1/20/2015)

IOWA:
FOX affiliate KYOU-TV/15 (Ottumwa) has added Grit on channel 15.2, with a slide saying sister subchannel network Escape is coming soon to 15.3.

Meanwhile, KWKB (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) has dropped channel 20.2 after the market's Antenna TV affiliation moved to KCRG-DT/9.3 (Cedar Rapids). KWKB carries CW on its main channel. (1/20/2015)

MINNESOTA:
Justice Network launches nationally on Tuesday evening with affiliates including channel 11.3 of KARE (Minneapolis). The new subchannel carries "true crime" programs with an initial lineup consisting almost entirely of shows which previously aired on the truTV cable channel. KARE carries NBC on 11.1 and WeatherNation TV on 11.2. (1/20/2015)

NORTH DAKOTA:
Movies! Network is coming to former CBS affiliate KRDK-TV/4 (Valley City-Fargo), according to a press release reported by TVNewsCheck on Monday. It's not immediately clear whether KRDK will carry Movies! on its primary channel or a subchannel. As reported last week, the station formerly known as KXJB recently returned to the air as KRDK carrying infomercials on channel 4.1. Reception reports have indicated that the station is also broadcasting several subchannels with no programming at the moment. Ravi Kapur's Major Market Broadcasting bought the station from Parker Broadcasting last year as Gray TV moved KXJB's longtime CBS affiliation to KVLY-TV/11.2 (Fargo). (1/19/2015)

NEBRASKA:
The FCC has approved another duopoly in the Lincoln-Tri Cities market, allowing Pappas Liquidating Trust to buy FOX affiliate KFXL-TV/51.1 (Lincoln) from Stanley Trapp for $300,000. Pappas also owns ABC affiliate KHGI/13 (Kearney), which carries KFXL-branded FOX programming on channel 13.2, and has been operating KFXL through a local marketing agreement. Though the Lincoln-Tri Cities market is several ownership groups short of the federal minimum for duopolies, the FCC apparently agreed (no statement or letter was released) with Pappas' argument that the sale should be allowed because the two stations' coverage areas do not overlap. Gray TV, owner CBS affiliate KOLN/10 (Lincoln), was previously allowed to create a duopoly in the market through a failing station waiver and eventually converted the station it bought, KSNB/4 (Superior), into an NBC affiliate. KFXL does not carry KHGI's main channel of ABC programming. Lincoln has a separately-owned ABC affiliate, Citadel's KLKN/8, an unusual situation resulting from the market's large geographic size. The other commercial station in the market is Legacy Broadcasting's KNHL/5 (Hastings), a former NBC affiliate which is now silent. (1/19/2015)

IOWA:
A retransmission consent dispute has taken ABC affiliate KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) off DirecTV. The station says the original agreement expired Dec. 31, and the outage began on Thursday afternoon (1/15) after two extensions. (1/15/2015)

NORTH DAKOTA:
Reception reports indicate KRDK-TV/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo), formerly KXJB, is back on the air and showing infomercials. Ravi Kapur's Major Market Broadcasting bought the station from Parker Broadcasting last year as Gray TV moved KXJB's longtime CBS affiliation to KVLY-TV/11.2 (Fargo). (1/15/2015)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
KZKK/105.1 (Huron) has gone silent as it prepares to move out of town. Riverfront Broadcasting, which owns stations in Huron and Pierre, bought KZKK from Dakota Communications and obtained a construction permit to move to 92.1, dropping from 6kW to 2kW. It then asked the FCC for special temporary authority to remain silent, stating that KZKK went off the air Dec. 23 after Riverfront completed construction of the 92.1 facility. The filing states that Riverfront plans to apply for a new transmitter site and community of license once the FCC grants a license to cover the frequency change. The Country format that Dakota Communications had run on KZKK had been moved there in 2009 from the former KZNC/99.1 (Huron), which was moved to the Watertown market. Dakota Communications still operates Country-formatted KOKK/1210 (Huron), Classic Rocker KJRV/93.3 (Wessington Springs-Huron), and Hot Adult Contemporary "Tiger 95.3" (KIJV/1340 Huron and translator K237EL/95.3 Huron). (1/15/2015)

WISCONSIN:
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that new subchannel Decades will be carried on channel 58.4 of WDJT (Milwaukee) when the network begins its soft launch Thursday with a binge-watching marathon of its entire classic TV library. The new network, a partnership of CBS and Weigel Broadcasting, will offer a different theme each day with a different schedule of TV shows and movies when it formally launches in May. 58.4 had previously carried Weigel's experimental TouchVision service, which continues to air nationally for an hour in the morning on Weigel's Heroes & Icons Network, seen on channel 49.3 of WMLW (Racine-Milwaukee). Weigel owns both WMLW and WDJT, which carry a combined eight channels including CBS. (1/14/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Live Well Network will live longer, at least in Green Bay. WBAY-TV announced Tuesday that ABC, which runs LWN, has decided to keep the network on the air for "another couple of months," and that WBAY will contine to carry LWN on channel 2.3. Just four days earlier, WBAY had announced that new subchannel network Decades would replace LWN on Friday, Jan. 16. Decades' formal launch isn't until May, but the network is having a soft-launch on Jan. 16 with binge-watching marathons of every show in its library. WBAY also carries ABC on 2.1 and weather programming on 2.2. As previously reported, the Milwaukee and Minneapolis LWN affiliates are among those which have already switched to other networks. (1/14/2015)

IOWA:
It turns out Sioux City will lose a channel due to the national end to Live Well Network. Former LWN affiliate KCAU writes on its Facebook page, "KCAU, at this current time, has no plans to put new programming on our 9.2 channel." 9.2 had carried LWN prior to November, when it began a simulcast if competing NBC affiliate KTIV/4 due to KTIV's transmission problems. The Nexstar station carries ABC on 9.1 and had carried weather programming on 9.2 prior to switching to LWN in 2012. (1/13/2015)

WISCONSIN:
WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee) has switched channel 4.3 to classic TV network Cozi TV, replacing the soon-to-be silent Live Well Network. WTMJ carries NBC on 4.1 and weather programming on 4.2.

In another recent development, WIWN/68.1 (Fond du Lac), which transmits from Milwaukee, has dropped WeatherNation TV following its sale to Milwaukee Media, LLC. It's now carrying Sonlife Broadcasting Network on 68.1 and infomercials on 68.2. (1/13/2015)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
Gray TV is buying a low-power TV station in Rapid City, a move sure to spark speculation about the company's plans in the market. Gray, which operates two big-four affiliations in many small markets, bought FOX 7 (KEVN) last year and is now buying K23KK-D (Rapid City) from DTV America. The deal calls for a purchase price of $100 and a closing simultaneous with DTV America's purchase of a low-power station from Gray in West Virginia. The paperwork also says K23KK-D will apply for a facility change. It's currently licensed for 3kW with a directional antenna pattern and has a construction permit for 3kW non-directional, though the Black Hills limit the signal to the west. Gray also runs the ABC affiliate in Sioux Falls, the NBC and FOX affiliates in Bismarck, the CBS and NBC affiliates in both Fargo and Lincoln, and the CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates in North Platte. (1/12/2015)

NEBRASKA/IOWA (UPDATED):
Gray TV NBC affiliate WOWT/6 (Omaha) has returned to Cox Cable after a retransmission consent dispute took the station off Cox for about four days. Cox is the major cable provider for Omaha, Council Bluffs, and suburban areas. The dispute also affected Gray stations in Topeka and Wichita. (1/7/2015, updated 1/12)

MINNESOTA:
St. Cloud State University has signed on new low-power FM station KVEX-LP/97.5 (St. Cloud), which is carrying a student-run `90s Alternative format called "Radio X." SCSU also runs longtime Alternative outlet KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud), which is simulcasting "Radio X" on its HD2 channel. KVSC-HD2 had already been running Alternative Classics. (1/12/2015)

WISCONSIN:
WMZK/104.1 (Merrill-Wausau) has reverted to its previous "Z104" slogan with a Classic Rock format, dropping a "Magic 104" Hot Adult Contemporary format after eight months. The change to Hot AC had come after Michael Enfelt's Radio One Communications, LLC began operating WMZK and WJMT/730 (Merrill) through a time brokerage agreement during the process of purchasing the stations from Barracuda Broadcasting/Quicksilver Broadcasting, but it's not immediately clear who's operating the stations now. In November, a judge appointed John Wirth to act as a receiver for Barracuda/Quicksilver. (1/12/2015)

IOWA:
NBC affiliate KTIV/4 (Sioux City) says it's back at full power after a November transmission line failure. KTIV had been transmitting from a temporary antenna at a lower spot on its tower while new transmission line was installed. KTIV's main NBC channel has also been simulcast on channel 9.2 of competitor KCAU, which will end Monday. (9.2 had previously carried Live Well Network, which is leaving the air nationally -- there's no word yet what will appear next on 9.2.) KTIV also carries CW+ on 4.2 and MeTV on 4.3. (1/10/2015)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
The FCC has finalized a $8,000 fine against Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises for alleged lighting violations at the KOTA/1380 (Rapid City) tower site. The FCC had proposed a $10,000 fine last year but agreed to reduce the amount based on Duhamel's history of compliance. Duhamel said it had intentionally turned the lights off on its center tower in 2005 based on an informal opinion from a Federal Aviation Administration representative that it would be OK to turn off the lights, but the FCC says the FAA officially denied KOTA's request in 2005 and again after the FCC issued a Notice of Violation in 2013. (1/10/2015)

MANITOBA:
Manitoba has one less TV news operation after Citytv Winnipeg (CHMI/13 Portage la Prairie) canceled "Breakfast Television." Beginning Jan. 12, Citytv will partially simulcast 92.1 CITI-FM's "Wheeler In The Morning with Philly and Rena" from 6 to 9 a.m. Metro News reports that 14 people have been laid off and Citytv will no longer cover news events, but some Citytv employees have been retained to conduct interviews and host entertainment segments when the radio station is playing music. "Breakfast Television," which competed with local morning shows on CTV's CKY-TV/7 and Global's CKND/9, had been Citytv Winnipeg's only news production for years. (1/7/2015)

MINNESOTA:
KSTP-TV (St. Paul), a primary ABC affiliate, will begin carrying Heroes & Icons TV on channel 5.7 on Monday, Jan. 12. H&I replaces Live Well Network, which is leaving the air nationally. Sister station KSTC-TV carries H&I's companion network, Me-TV, on channel 5.3, as well as an independent lineup on 5.2, Antenna TV on 5.4, and This TV on 5.6. (1/6/2015)

MINNESOTA:
After more than four days of stunting, KTWN-FM/96.3 (Edina-Minneapolis) has debuted an Alternative format as "Go 96-3 FM." An introductory message at the format's 3 p.m. Monday debut promised that the new format would be local, diverse, and modern. "Go 96-3" competes primarily with iHeartMedia's "Alt 93.3" (KQQL-HD2 and W227BF) and Minnesota Public Radio's "The Current" (KCMP/89.3). The station had ditched its former "K-Twin" Adult Alternative/Classic Hits format on New Year's Day and stunted with a computerized voice reading random song lyrics and movie quotes. KTWN-FM, which will continue to carry Twins baseball, is a standalone station owned by the Pohlad family's Northern Lights Broadcasting. It has a weaker signal than the major Twin Cities FM stations, broadcasting with 19kW/77m (class C3) from New Hope. (1/5/2015)

MINNESOTA:
Christian broadcaster VCY America has applied to increase the daytime power of WQRM/850 (Duluth) to 50kW, but the station would remain daytime-only and would have to reduce its power to 14kW during critical hours (the hours after sunrise and before sunset). WQRM would keep its existing non-directional antenna site along the St. Louis River in the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood. The power boost would not add any large cities to WQRM's main coverage area, but it would improve fringe coverage of the Iron Range and other rural areas surrounding the Twin Ports. (1/5/2015)

MINNESOTA:
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul has signed on new translator K232EK/94.3 (Rochester), relaying the Contemporary Christian format of KTIS-FM/98.5 (Minneapolis). The 115-Watt translator broadcasts from a tower east of Rochester. (1/3/2015)

DTV SUBCHANNEL CHANGES:
A number of stations added or switched subchannels around the start of the year, many as part of a deal for Sinclair Broadcast Group stations to add Grit TV. The following changes are noted via reception reports or listings:

  • KFXA (Cedar Rapids) switched 28.2 to Grit TV, moving ZUUS Country to 28.3.
  • KDSM (Des Moines) switched 17.3 from ZUUS Country to Grit TV.
  • KMEG (Sioux City) switched 14.2 from Azteca to Grit TV. Azteca had been the only spanish-language channel in the market.
  • WUCW (Minneapolis) switched 23.3 from ZUUS Country to Grit TV.
  • KMTV (Omaha) switched 3.2 from Live Well to Antenna TV.
  • KXVO (Omaha) added 15.3 carrying Grit TV.
  • WMSN (Madison) switched 47.3 from ZUUS Country to Grit TV.
  • WCGV (Milwaukee) added 24.3 carrying Grit TV.
    More changes are expected at mid-month when Live Well Network ceases broadcasts nationally. (1/2/2015)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    KKLS/920 (Rapid City) and its FM translator, K284BA/104.7, emerged from the Christmas holiday with an `80s and `90s "Smash Hits" format. The change follows the station's sale to Homeslice Media Group, which bought KKLS and KBHB/810 (Sturgis) last year from Schurz Communications when Schurz needed to divest stations due to its purchase of a TV station in the market. Prior to the sale, KKLS had run a Classic Hits format as "The Hills," simulcast on K248BT/97.5 (Rapid City). Schurz retained K248BT and turned into a translator of another station. More recently, KKLS and K284BA had been running an Adult Contemporary format before going all-Christmas in November. (1/1/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    96.3 "K-Twin" (KTWN-FM Edina-Minneapolis) has ditched its Adult Alternative/Classic Hits format and is stunting with a computerized voice reading random song lyrics and movie quotes. The voice promises that a new local radio station will debut Monday at 3 p.m. KTWN-FM, which also carries Twins baseball, is a standalone station owned by the Pohlad family's Northern Lights Broadcasting. It has a weaker signal than the major Twin Cities FM stations, broadcasting with 19kW/77m (class C3) from New Hope. The "K-Twin" identity has been in use for three years, but ratings have remained low despite playlist tweaks and a few key staffers recently exited the station. (1/1/2015)

    WISCONSIN:
    Gray TV's WSAW (Wausau) has added Heroes & Icons TV on channel 7.3, replacing weather programming. H&I is a new subchannel from Wiegel Broadcasting carrying classic TV westerns, crime dramas, and superhero shows. WSAW carries CBS on 7.1 and syndicated programming, including MyNetworkTV, on 7.2. (12/30/2014)

    MICHIGAN:
    A sister company to Armada Media is buying a group of five radio stations in the Escanaba area. The $1.8 million asset purchase agreement calls for AMC Partners, LLC, to buy the Lakes Radio/Radio Results Network group, which includes News/Talker WCHT/600 (Escanaba), Hot Adult Contemporary "Magic 97" (WGLQ/97.1 Escanaba), Country WCMM/102.5 (Gulliver-Escanaba), Classic Hits "Kool 105.5" (WGKL Gladstone-Escanaba), and Oldies "Cruisin' 1490" (WTIQ Manistique). AMC Partners, LLC, is headed by Christopher Bernier of Fond du Lac, Wis., and has the same mailing address and many of the same principals as Armada Media Corporation, which owns four Upper Midwest radio groups. Bernier is also the majority shareholder of the Radio Plus Bay Cities Group in nearby Menominee, Mich., and also heads a radio group in the Fond du Lac area. Lakes Radio, Inc. is headed by Tom Koser of Rice Lake, Wis., who owns 73 percent of the company. (12/29/2014)

    NEBRASKA:
    iHeartMedia has launched a Rock format on two recently-launched translators in Omaha after a couple of months stunting with Christmas music, but the way the translators are set up suggests another format may eventually be headed for one of them. K235CD/94.9 (Omaha) and K272FE/102.3 (Council Bluffs-Omaha) are now "Rock 94-9 and 102-3," with 94.9's programming originating on the HD2 channel of KISO/96.1 (Omaha) and 102.3 coming from the HD2 of KFFF/93.3 (Bennington-Omaha). The new format primarily competes with Journal Broadcasting's "Z92" (KEZO/92.3 Omaha). K235CD and K272FE carry separate iterations of the same playlist, with imaging mentioning "Rock 94-9 and 102-3" on both frequencies but separate top-of-the-hour ID's. Both transmit from a tower at the WOWT-TV building with virtually identical coverage areas, though K235CD's 110 Watts go slightly farther than K272FE's 99 Watts. The similar coverage areas and separate feeds for each translator suggest that "Rock" may not be the long-term plan for both. (12/27/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    The Milwaukee Radio Alliances's WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee) and W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee) have ended two months of "Elf" Christmas music stunting and started "The Party". The Rhythmic Oldies playlist includes pop hits from the 1960's to 1980's. WZTI's most recent identity prior to "The Elf" was "Martini Radio," which started out in March 2013 with a Nostalgia/Lounge playlist but had more recently added soft pop hits of the '70s and '80s. (12/27/2014)

    MINNESOTA:
    A local group is making an attempt to bring local TV back to Alexandria and central Minnesota. The region was once its own market but is now within the Minneapolis-St. Paul viewing area, and economic factors led both KCCO/7 and KSAX/42 to drop news updates that had aired within Minneapolis newscasts. Now, former KSAX employees Jason Hirsch and Mark Anthony have launched "KoolTV" on channel 21.3 of Selective TV's K21GN-D (Alexandria) and streaming at kooltv-mn.com, with hopes of getting regional cable coverage from Bemidji to St. Cloud and Redwood Falls. Current programming consists of classic TV shows and movies in the public domain, but the station's ultimate goal is local programming. Plans for 2015 include a local morning show, locally-originated newscasts at 5, 6, and 10 p.m., and St. John's University football, among other programs. (12/23/2014)

    MINNESOTA:
    Shortly after returning to the air, KBEK/95.5 (Mora) is operating at reduced power. The station tells the FCC in a request for special temporary authority that the main transmitter suffered a catastrophic failure. KBEK is using a backup transmitter generating about 5kW ERP, about one-fifth of the normal 25kW, while it pursues repairs or possible replacement of the transmitter. Genesis Technology Communication LLC is in the process of buying KBEK from Colleen McKinney. (12/22/2014)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    A tower collapse has taken VCY America translator K258AG/99.5 (Mitchell) off the air. VCY tells the FCC in a notification of suspension of operations that the 310-foot tower west of Mitchell, which VCY owns, was knocked down during a snowstorm on Dec. 15. FCC records indicate the tower was constructed in 2007. VCY says repairs or a replacement will be made shortly. (12/19/2014)

    NORTH DAKOTA:
    More of western North Dakota's oil patch can now hear Catholic teaching and preaching with the sign-on of KZTW/104.1 (Tioga-Williston) carrying the "Real Presence Radio" network. The new station uses 100kW/160m (class C1), widening the programming that had already been available on translator K206EI/89.1 (Williston). "Real Presence Radio" signed on in 2004 and now reaches most of the population of North Dakota with include six full-power stations, two translators, and two low-power FM affiliates. (12/18/2014)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Me-TV affiliate KWSD/36.1 (Sioux Falls) is off the air due to transmitter problems, according to a notification of suspension of operations filed with the FCC. The station says it has been off the air since Nov. 21 and hopes to resume operations in a timely fashion. KWSD is owned by James F. Simpson's JF Broadcasting, a sister company to the licensee of the Rapid City NBC affiliate. (12/17/2014)

    NEBRASKA:
    The FCC has fined Cochise Broadcasting $7,000 for main studio violations at KOMJ/1490 (Omaha). The fine stems from an FCC agent's unsuccessful attempts to inspect KOMJ's main studio in August 2013. According to the forfeiture order, Cochise "accepts the finding that its former main studio was not fully staffed" and said it has made changes to come into compliance. The Commission's Enforcement Bureau had also proposed a $10,000 fine for alleged public file violations, but determined that Cochise did not actually violate public file rules. Cochise is in the process of selling KOMJ to Walnut Radio, LLC, a deal which received FCC approval last week. (12/16/2014)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    The FCC has cleared the way for another big FM signal to sign on in the Black Hills, rejecting a competing application from an existing broadcaster which the FCC says still has a chance to upgrade. Alex Media won the new station on 94.3 licensed to Lead in a 2012 FCC auction with a $45,000 bid. 94.3 cannot be constructed to deliver a strong signal to Rapid City due to existing stations; the FCC Audio Division's action this month approves Alex Media's plan to construct the new station to 96.7, using 100kW/501m (class C) from an existing tower on Terry Peak, home to many other major Black Hills FM signals. To make way for the new station, Mount Rushmore Broadcasting's KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs) will be required to move to 96.3 but will keep its current power level and coverage area. KZMX-FM fought the change, saying the move would prevent it from upgrading in the future. The FCC found that KZMX-FM actually would still be able to apply for an upgrade on 96.3, and also questioned whether the station would've actually upgraded on 96.7 since it has been off the air for most of the past two years and has not taken advantage of the upgrade potential in the three decades the station has been licensed. Alex Media will have to pay for KZMX-FM's frequency change. FCC records indicate KZMX-FM is currently silent due to staffing reasons, along with sister stations KZMX/580 (Hot Springs) and KFCR/1490 and KAWK/105.1 (Custer). (12/16/2014)

    MINNESOTA:
    D&K Distributors is buying the Todd County AM/FM combo of KEYL/1400 (Long Prairie) and KXDL/99.7 (Browerville) from Prairie Broadcasting in exchange for settling a debt of $123,058.32. D&K is owned by Doug Frauenholtz of Prior Lake, a Twin Cities suburb. (12/14/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    The E.W. Scripps Company will be allowed to keep a duopoly in the Green Bay market once it completes its merger with Journal Communications. In approving the merger, the FCC included a new failing station waiver for MyNetworkTV station WACY-TV/32.1 (Appleton-Green Bay). The Green Bay market has fewer than the eight voices required for TV duopolies, but Journal was able to purchase WACY to operate alongside its "NBC26" (WGBA Green Bay) in 2012 through a failing station waiver. The FCC agreed that WACY continues to meet the definition of a failing station because it still has low ratings, isn't desirable to buyers as a standalone station, and would have negative cash flow if it operated independently. Once the merger of Journal and Scripps is completed, the former Journal broadcast stations will be kept as part of Scripps and the two companies' newspapers, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, will be split off into a separate company called Journal Communications. Journal's other broadcast holdings in the Upper Midwest include two radio stations and NBC affiliate WTMJ/4.1 in Milwaukee and five radio stations and CBS affiliate KMTV/3.1 in Omaha. (12/14/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    World Radio Link is transferring two Wisconsin FM translators, two translators in Michigan, and the construction permit for a full-power FM station in Georgia to sister organization Edgewater Broadcasting for a total of $350,000. The Wisconsin translators are W242BB/96.3 (Medford) and W256BE/99.1 (Lancaster), the latter of which has a construction permit to move its transmitter to Dubuque, Iowa. W256BE is licensed for 10 Watts from Lancaster and has a construction permit to use 205 Watts from Dubuque. Clark Parrish of Twin Falls, Idaho, is the contact representative for both organizations. (12/14/2014)

    NEBRASKA:
    King Forward, Inc. is selling K29GL (Lincoln) to DTV America for $30,000. Both companies are headed by John Kyle of Florida. (12/14/2014)

    IOWA:
    Nexstar Broadcasting has announced plans to rebrand ABC affiliate WOI-DT/5 (Ames-Des Moines) as "Local 5 News" starting Jan. 5. The station will debut a new anchor team: Jack Miller, who once worked in Cedar Rapids, will anchor evening newscasts alongside station veteran Stephanie Angleson, who currently anchors the morning newscast. The new "Good Morning Iowa" will be anchored by Sabrina Ahmed and Elias Johnson. WOI is also gettig equipment upgrades and a refreshed news set. Nexstar recently bought the station, currently branded as "ABC5," from Citadel Communications, which failed to pull the station out of a decades-long ratings drought. Nexstar is also in the process of buying Pappas CW affiliate KCWI/23 (Ames-Des Moines), which does not have a full news department but does run a local morning show. (12/11/2014)

    MANITOBA:
    CBC-TV has announced plans to change the news schedules at its stations around Canada next fall, including Winnipeg's CBWT/6. Instead of carrying a 90-minute block of news at 5 p.m., CBWT will carry a 60-minute 6 p.m. newscast. The change could leave the province without any 5 p.m. TV newscast unless one of the market's other TV stations chooses to enter the timeslot. CBC Manitoba's only other TV newscast is a 10-minute broadcast at 11 p.m. Meanwhile, CBWT will drop a simulcast of CBC News Network in the 6 a.m. hour in favor of a simulcast of CBC Radio One programming. The CBC announced the changes as part of a press release touting plans for new smartphone apps and more frequent website updates. (12/11/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    WRJN/1400 (Racine) has dropped several syndicated talk shows and replaced them with a mix of `50s to `80s hits, as well as Christmas music in the evening hours. Local information-based programming continues in morning and afternoon drive. The change coincides with the flip of FM sister station WEZY/92.1 (Racine) from Adult Contemporary to "Q92 Country" targetting Racine and the southern Milwaukee metro area. Magnum Broadcasting recently bought the stations from Bliss Communications. WRJN has been on the air since 1926, making it one of the oldest stations in the country. (12/9/2014)

    ALL-CHRISTMAS UPDATE:
    Santa's list got longer Monday (12/8) as Westwood One's syndicated Adult Standards format and the non-commercial Family Radio network both switched to all-Christmas formats. The Westwood One network, which has affiliates including KLBB/1220 (Stillwater-Minneapolis), WNAM/1280 (Neenah-Menasha-Appleton), and KRNT/1350 (Des Moines), had already been playing a significant amount of Christmas music since Thanksgiving along with some songs from its regular Soft Oldies playlist. Meanwhile, Family Radio has set aside most of its regular schedule of Christian teaching and preaching in favor of traditional Christmas music. Follow the full list of this year's flips here. (12/8/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    New station WEMP/98.9 (Two Rivers) is on the air carrying an Easy Listening/Soft Oldies format. The official sign-on came Sunday (12/7) at 4 p.m., a year after the station first conducted testing. WEMP uses 6kW/89m from the WLKN/98.1 (Cleveland) tower south of Manitowoc, with a main coverage area extending as far south as Sheboygan. It's owned by Mark Heller's Metro North Communications. Heller plans to begin simulcasting WEMP's programming on WLWB/1530 (New Holstein) next week. He also owns Oldies-formatted WGBW/1590 (Denmark-Green Bay). (12/8/2014)

    NEBRASKA:
    Classic TV network Antenna TV is coming to Omaha in January, according to an announcement on the network's Facebook page. Antenna TV will be carried on KMTV/3.2, replacing Live Well Network, which is leaving the air nationally. KMTV, owned by Journal Broadcasting, carries CBS on its main channel. (12/6/2014)

    MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
    CBS-owned stations, including WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis), are back on DISH Network after a brief outage due to a retransmission consent dispute. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The dispute affected stations in 17 markets, as well as Showtime and some other CBS-owned national networks. The stations were off DISH Friday evening but returned by Saturday morning. (12/5/2014, updated 12/6)

    MINNESOTA/MICHIGAN:
    Learfield Communications is now the owner of state news and farm networks in Minnesota and Michigan, adding to its existing networks serving Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. It bought the Minnesota News Network, Minnesota Farm Network, Michigan Radio Network, and Michigan Farm Radio Network from Saga Communications for an undisclosed price. Learfield Sports already has a presence in Minnesota, distributing Golden Gophers sports broadcasts. (12/4/2014)

    IOWA:
    The Antenna TV affiliation in the Cedar Rapids market is moving from KWKB/20.2 (Iowa City) to KCRG-DT/9.3 (Cedar Rapids). The Gazette, which is co-owned with KCRG, reported in Monday's print edition that KCRG-DT3 will begin carrying the classic TV network on Jan. 19, 2015. 9.3 will carry news and weather updates from KCRG-TV9 News during Antenna TV programming. KCRG-DT3 currently carries Live Well Network, which is leaving the air nationally. (12/3/2014)

    IOWA:
    Saga Broadcasting has brought more "More" to Iowa: The former "Lite 104.9" (KLLT Spencer) is now "More 104.9," with a freshened-up version of Adult Contemporary. The move came Monday, a month after the FCC database says its callsign was changed to KMRR. Saga also runs "More 104" (KMYR/104.1 Ames-Des Moines). (12/3/2014)

    NORTH DAKOTA:
    Longtime CBS affiliate KXJB-TV/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo) went silent Sunday night (Nov. 30) after its program lineup was moved to channel 11.2 of Gray TV NBC affiliate KVLY-TV (Fargo). Gray made the move after buying KVLY because new FCC rules limit shared services agreements like the one that had allowed KVLY to run KXJB for the past decade. Gray exercised an option to buy KXJB and then sold the station's license to Major Market Broadcasting for $75,000. Major Market Broadcasting, headed by Indian American journalist Ravi Kapur of San Francisco, will have to change the station's callsign and come up with new programming. KVLY ran a story about KXJB's 60-year history on its Sunday night newscast. Gray recently made similar moves in the Bismarck and Lincoln markets, but this move marks the first time a legacy "big three" network has been moved from a primary affiliation to a subchannel in the Upper Midwest. The addition of "KX4" on channel 11.2 moves Me-TV to 11.3. (12/2/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    WEZY/92.1 (Racine-South Milwaukee) has dropped its longtime Adult Contemporary format in favor of Country as "Q92" following Magnum Broadcasting's purchase of the station. Owner Dave Magnum said research found that Country music fans in the South Milwaukee/Racine area would like another radio option. The format launched early Tuesday morning after the installation of a new antenna and new audio processing system. Magnum plans to change the station's callsign to WMKQ. The company also recently bought Country-formatted WBWI/92.5 (West Bend), which serves the northern Milwaukee metro area, along with WRJN/1400 (Racine) and WBKV/1470 (West Bend), bringing its total to 16 radio stations and three low-power TV stations in Wisconsin. (12/2/2014)

    NEBRASKA:
    KAMI/1580 (Cozad) is now carrying an all-Christmas format amid the Nebraska Rural Radio Association's purchase of the station. New sister station KRVN says KAMI will carry a Classic Country format beginning Dec. 29. As reported here last week, NRRA is buying KAMI from Community Broadcasting for $87,500 and is operating the station under a local marketing agreement. Community Broadcasting, operator of the Christian-formatted Bott Radio Network, will retain KCVN/104.5 (Cozad). (12/1/2014)

    IOWA:
    The FCC has deleted what might've been a new rimshot FM station for the Waterloo market. Commission records indicate KCOO/103.9 (Dunkerton) had been off the air since at least Feb. 29, 2012, far longer than the one year maximum set by federal law. On Oct. 7, the FCC Media Bureau's Audio Division sent a letter to KCOO owner Magnolia Radio Corp. giving it 30 days to prove that KCOO had been on the air. The license was deleted on Nov. 21. It doesn't appear KCOO was ever on the air for anything other than testing. Ace Radio Corp. won the construction permit for the 6kW/95m station in 2006 with a $455,000 bid. Ace sold the CP to Magnolia as part of a nine-station deal in 2009; Magnolia applied for KCOO's license to cover in 2011, followed by a series of requests for special temporary authority to remain silent. A 2012 plan to sell the station to Matinee Media was never consummated. (12/1/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    The former WNLI/88.5 (Sturgeon Bay) is back on the air as WPVM, relaying the Christian format WRVM/102.7 (Suring), but is operating at lower power than before. WRVM, Inc. says in a request for special temporary authority filed with the FCC that its purchase of WNLI from the Educational Media Foundation didn't include the station's former transmitter, which was more than 40 years old and had become unreliable. 88.5 had used 50kW/158m but is now using 15kW/158m. The station has applied to keep 15kW as its current facility, which will mean a downgrade from class C1 to C2. (12/1/2014)

    WISCONSIN:
    The FCC has granted the sale of WMZK/104.1 (Merrill-Wausau) and WJMT/730 (Merrill) after rescinding its earlier approval of the deal due to a paperwork error. The FCC's Audio Division said in August that the stations had failed to provide adequate public notice of the sale from Quicksilver Broadcasting/Barracuda Broadcasting to Radio One Communications, LLC. The FCC has now approved the $595,000 deal after giving the stations a second chance to run on-air announcements and notices in the newspaper. The new owner has already been operating the stations under a time brokerage agreement. (12/1/2014)

    News archive...

    Newspaper/Web Articles

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: 89.3 The Current celebrates 10 years on the air (1/13)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Patrick Hammer temporarily delivers weather on KARE-TV (1/12)
    Jamestown Sun: AM 600’s Bob Sands dies Thursday at 73 (1/10)
    The Forum: Veteran local broadcaster known as “Captain Jim” dies at 88 (1/7)
    Milwaukee Business Journal: WTMJ-AM back in the ag-news business (1/7)
    Duane Dudek: WKLH, WHQG owner Saga reaches agreement with Nielsen (1/7)
    KCCI-TV: KXNO radio host abruptly resigns (1/7)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WMIL-FM still leads ratings, but WTMJ-AM, Christmas music see gains (12/30)
    Racine Journal Times: Don Rosen let go from WRJN (12/29)
    KIMT-TV: Radio personality faces deportation (12/29)
    Star Tribune: Radio personality Joyce Lamont dies at 98 (12/29)
    Rapid City Journal: Fired radio sales exec claims age and sex discrimination (12/24)
    Star Tribune: Time again to fire up the yule log video (12/23)
    Radio Magazine: Local Radio Spotlight: Koser Radio Group (12/1)
    Des Moines Register: Burnside joins Miller, KXNO (12/18)
    Austin Daily Herald: KSMQ settles tower dispute (12/14)
    Jamestown Sun: KSJB regains full signal strength (12/13)
    WJON: Jodi Huisentruit’s Mother Dies Without Answers In Daughter’s Disappearance (12/11)
    Ames Tribune: Looking for a new home; After 65 years, KURE to leave ISU’s Friley Hall (11/29)
    Star Tribune: Tom Barnard signs on for five more years at KQRS (12/4)
    Norfolk Daily News: Norfolk station switching sports affiliates (12/3)
    Star Tribune: Longtime Twin Cities TV exec announces retirement (11/19)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Riverwest Radio in Milwaukee receives coveted FCC license (11/17)
    Jamestown Sun: Longtime Fargo weatherman's goal to be useful, not perfect (11/17)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rearranging on-air assignments at WTMJ-TV (11/13)
    Older articles...