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WISCONSIN:
Another three new low-power FM stations recently signed on in the Madison area, while one existing station has temporarily fallen silent.
WIDE-LP/99.1 (Madison) went off the air in late July, saying its tower was moved to Monona for new LPFM station WALK-LP/103.7, which signed on in August carrying Christian programming that had previously aired part-time on WIDE-LP. WIDE-LP, which will continue to air a Community/Variety format, has received a construction permit to move its transmitter to a new site about a mile to the east of its former location on the west side of Madison. Meanwhile, the First Unitarian Society of Madison has signed on WMUU-LP/102.9 (Madison) from a tower downtown, carrying Christian music and programming covering social, moral, spiritual and ethical topics, including one program from the Pacifica network. And WVMO-LP/98.7 (Monona), owned by the City of Monona, is on the air carrying a variety of community programming. (9/3/2015)

OTHER NEW LOW-POWER FM STATION SIGN-ONS:
-Fairmont, MN: KYEJ-LP/90.1, owned by Fairmont Area Catholic Radio.
-St. Cloud, MN: KZYS-LP/105.1, owned by the St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization.
-Black Earth, WI: WISY-LP/92.5, owned by Mazomanie Music Conservatory Limited.
-Rice Lake, WI: WYRL-LP/105.5, owned by the Barron County Law Enforcement Association and carrying a Variety/Community format.
-Wisconsin Rapids, WI: WRBP-LP/92.5, owned by the Calvary Chapel of Wisconsin Rapids as "Wisconsin Rapids Bible Perspective." (9/3/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Mid-West Management is buying an FM translator to use for its WAYY/790 (Eau Claire). The company will pay Edgewater Broadcasting $26,000 for the construction permit for W286CK/105.1 (Eau Claire). The current CP for W286CK calls for 250 Watts from Hallie, but a coverage map submitted with the license transfer application suggests it will apply to move the transmitter into Eau Claire. It's one of several new translators coming to town, as the owner of WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) is also buying an FM translator and iHeartMedia has two permits of its own. (9/2/2015)

IOWA:
Iowa's last locally-owned commercial TV station is getting out-of-state owners as Gray TV buys KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) for $100 million. The sellers retain The Gazette newspaper, which will continue a news partnership with KCRG.

Gray has already closed on its purchase of most of KCRG's non-license assets and is operating the station while it awaits FCC approval of the license transfer. KCRG is Gray's first station in Iowa; the company has been on a buying spree in recent years and now owns stations in all of the markets in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, as well as stations in three of Wisconsin's five markets.

KCRG had been locally-owned since it signed on in 1953, but it's become increasingly difficult for standalone TV stations to operate in an industry where group ownership has become the standard. In a press release, Gazette President and CEO Chuck Peters said, "We realized that we have done all we can do as a single television station with the business and for the people of KCRG TV9."

Gazette sold the former KCRG radio, now KGYM/1600, to KZIA, Inc. about a decade ago.

KCRG is a primary ABC affiliate and also carries syndicated programming and AntennaTV on its subchannels. It is the top-rated station in the mid-sized market, which also includes Waterloo, Iowa City, and Dubuque, and competes with a Quincy NBC affiliate and a Sinclair CBS/FOX virtual duopoly. (9/1/2015)

WISCONSIN:
La Crosse's Family Radio is buying translator K222AG/92.3 (La Crosse), which has already been heard carrying the company's WIZM/1410. Family Radio is paying William E. Bruring $80,000 for the translator. It had relayed KNXR/97.5 (Rochester, MN) prior to its change from Easy Listening to Hot Adult Contemporary. WIZM carries a News/Talk format. (9/1/2015)

MINNESOTA:
The Minnesota State Fair is normally dominated by Twin Cities, rather than Minnesota, media, but visitors are encountering some "Greater Minnesota" voices this year. The Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations (Ampers) has set up a booth featuring live broadcasts by member stations from around the state. Stations participating include KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud), KFAI/90.3 (Minneapolis), KBEM/88.5 (Minneapolis), KKWE/89.9 (White Earth), KQAL/89.5 (Winona), WTIP/90.7 (Grand Marais), KUMD/103.3 (Duluth), and KMSU/89.7 (Mankato). Also new at the fair this year are KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis), a joint booth for "La Raza" (KMNV/1400 St. Paul) and "Telemundo Minnesota" (KJNK-LD/25 Minneapolis), and Twin Cities Public Television. The fair started August 27 and continues through Labor Day. (8/31/2015)

WISCONSIN:
After just eight months, "The Party" has ended at W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee) and WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee) in favor of Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel format. The change took place on Tuesday (8/25). The AM/translator combo, owned by the Milwaukee Radio Alliance, had launched a `70s-`80s-based Rhythmic Oldies format after stunting with all-Christmas last year. (8/30/2015)

MICHIGAN:
WYKX/104.7 (Escanaba) is operating at greatly reduced power after its tower collapsed during a storm last Thursday (8/20) morning. The station, which normally uses 100kW, tells the FCC it returned to the air about 12 hours after the collapse using a 174-Watt transmitter and a one-bay antenna from a high-rise building. It's requesting a 90 day special temporary authority. WYKX is owned by KMB Broadcasting and carries a Country format known as "Kix Country." (8/24/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Conservative Talk station WOGO/680 (Hallie-Eau Claire) is poised to get an FM translator. Station owner Stewards of Sound is buying the construction permit for translator W276CP/103.1 (Bloomer) from Edgewater Broadcasting for $22,000. The current CP for W276CP calls for transmitting from a site north of Eau Claire, but it has applied to move to the Hallie area midway between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and rebroadcast WOGO. (8/2142015)

IOWA/ILLINOIS:
iHeartMedia has debuted an Alternative format on its first HD2/translator combo in the Quad Cities. "Alt 104.5" launched on Friday afternoon on K283BV/104.5 (Davenport) and the HD2 signal of WLLR/103.7 (Davenport). The 250-Watt translator signal is enough to reach most of the population of the Quad Cities. (8/21/2015)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
Quincy Newspapers intends to move the Duluth CBS affiliation to a subchannel of NBC affiliate KBJR/6 (Superior-Duluth) if the FCC approves Quincy's purchase of KBJR, according to a recent amendment to the proposed sale. KDLH/3 (Duluth), which has carried CBS since 1955 has been run by KBJR since 2005, would become a primary CW affiliate owned and operated by SagamoreHill Broadcasting.

The new plan is the second change to Quincy's efforts to buy KBJR from Granite Broadcasting, along with satellite KRII/11 (Chisholm) and stations in the Peoria, Fort Wayne, and Binghamton markets. A month after the original deal was filed last year, the FCC approved new rules on joint sales agreements (JSA's) that ban agreements like the current KBJR-KDLH setup. In light of the new rules, Quincy and Granite modified their original deal late last year to remove SagamoreHill as a buyer of KDLH and WPTA/21 (Fort Wayne), with plans for Malara Broadcast Group to retain ownership of the stations and have Quincy assume Granite's agreement to run them. But the FCC had still not acted on the license transfer applications, and Quincy formally withdrew an application associated with the second plan last week.

Under the new plan, which the parties say comes "after consultations with Media Bureau staff and in response to concerns raised by the staff," operations would continue as they currently exist for nine months after closing. After nine months, the Duluth CBS affiliation would move to a KBJR subchannel and SagamoreHill would assume day-to-day operations of CW affiliate KDLH with its own management, operations, and sales staffs. KBJR would retain its MyNetworkTV subchannel in addition to its NBC affiliation.

Elsewhere, Quincy would move Fort Wayne's NBC and MNT affiliations to subchannels of ABC affiliate WPTA, and the current Fort Wayne NBC affiliate (WISE-TV/27) would become a CW affiliate owned by SagamoreHill. The document does not specify whether Quincy will retain more than one affiliation in Peoria, where the Granite station currently operates two other stations that will establish their own sales forces. The Binghamton station has no JSA.

Even if the stations were not being sold, the new FCC rules would require the existing JSA's to be unwound by the end of next year, unless the rules are overturned by Congress or the courts.

Regular readers may recall that Gray TV recently made similar moves in North Dakota, where the Fargo CBS and Bismarck FOX affiliations were moved to subchannels and the former affiliates were sold off to other groups. (8/19/2015)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
CBS affiliates WISC-TV/3.1 (Madison) and WKBT/8.1 (La Crosse-Eau Claire) are off DISH Network amid a retransmission consent dispute, which began last Thursday. The outage affects about 23 counties in Wisconsin and two in Minnesota. The stations are owned by Morgan Murphy Media. (8/18/2015)

MINNESOTA:
There are now two competing Classic Hip-Hop/R&B formats in the Twin Cities after Cumulus Media flipped "Sports Radio 105 The Ticket" to the format on Friday afternoon.

"105 The Vibe" has a lineup of syndicated personalities including Tony Zazza, Ms EKlass, and Zakk. It's made up of WGVZ/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis), WGVX/105.1 (Lakeville), and WRXP/105.3 (Cambridge) and competes directly with iHeartMedia's two-month-old "Hot 102.5," heard on K273BH/102.5 (Fridley-Minneapolis) and the HD3 signal of KTCZ/97.1 (Minneapolis).

The format, which has shown ratings spikes in other markets since its debut last year, focuses on Hip-Hop and R&B hits of the 1990's and 2000's. It's a strange twist of fate that two companies are competing for the Classic Hip-Hop/R&B audience while no commercial station in the market actually focuses on current Hip-Hop/R&B. Songs that cross over into the Top 40 are played on iHeartMedia's KDWB/101.3 (Richfield-Minneapolis) but others are only played on non-commercial KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis).

"Vibe" is the ninth format the three 105 signals have aired since being paired up two decades ago. "105 The Ticket" aired CBS Sports Radio and was, by far, the lowest-rated of the eight previous formats, barely registering a measurable audience in the most recent Nielsen Audio survey in the face of competition from two other all-Sports formats.

Coverage has always been a challenge for the 105's. Though 105.7 now transmits from the IDS Center and the other signals cover the southern and far northern suburbs, the three stations combined still only provide a good (60 dbu) signal to about two-thirds of the market. However, that's still more than 102.5 reaches with its 250-Watt signal from IDS. (8/14/2015)

IOWA:
KMEG/14.2 (Sioux City) is now carrying Decades, replacing Grit TV, which moved to KPTH/44.3 (Sioux City). Both channels had earlier carried Azteca America. KMEG and KPTH are operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group and carry CBS and FOX on their primary channels, along with a mix of This TV and MyNetworkTV on 44.2. (8/12/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Quincy Newspapers is bringing Decades TV to its Wisconsin stations, according to the Decades website. It's listing a Sept. 2 start date for Decades programming on WKOW/27.3 (Madison), WAOW/9.3 (Wausau), WXOW/19.3 (La Crosse), and WQOW/18.3 (Eau Claire). The channels all currently carry ThisTV. All of the stations are primary ABC affiliates. (8/12/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Madison has two new DTV subchannels with the recent addition of Movies! and H&I TV on channels 57.2 and 57.3 of WBUW (Janesville-Madison). Both networks are owned by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. WBUW is a primary CW affiliate. (8/12/2015)

MICHIGAN:
Results Broadcasting is buying the construction permit for translator W237ED/95.3 (Iron Mountain) from David Stout for $19,000. The CP is for a 250-Watt translator broadcasting from a tower owned by the buyer. Results, owned by Bruce Grassman, owns three FM stations in the market and states on the application that W237ED will relay WHTO/106.7 (Iron Mountain). (8/11/2015)

MINNESOTA:
KJGT/88.3 (Waconia) is now carrying "Kinship Christian Radio" programming from KJLY/104.5 (Blue Earth) following KJLY owner Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting's purchase of the station from Jagerita Radio. The previous owner had programmed a local music mix on the station since signing it on in 2012. KJGT covers the far southwestern Twin Cities suburbs and is the farthest-north full-power station of KJLY's network, which now includes seven full-power stations and 13 translators stretching from the Twin Cities to central Iowa. (8/11/2015)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
KJRC/89.9 (Rapid City) is now carrying Catholic programming from Real Presence Radio following the North Dakota-based network's purchase of the station from Family Stations. It had previously carried Family Radio as KQFR. The FCC has also approved an upgrade from the present 2.3kW/562m to 25kW/494m, remaining at Terry Peak but improving coverage of Rapid City. (8/11/2015)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee) is fighting plans by WREY/630 (St. Paul) to upgrade, saying the proposed new facility would cause interference to WTMJ's nighttime signal in the Green Bay area. WTMJ filed an informal objection alleging that WREY failed to conduct a full nighttime interference study. WREY is proposing a new three-tower array near the oil refinery in Rosemount, which would use 5kW daytime and 2.8kW nighttime with the same northward directional antenna pattern day and night. The station currently uses 1kW day and 2.5kW night from the WCTS/1030 (Maplewood) site in Woodbury, the latest in a series of facilities since 630's longtime site on Radio Drive in Woodbury was sold for development in 1994. WTMJ had also objected to an application from WREY, then WDGY, in 2002 for similar interference concerns, which prompted changes to that application. WREY is owned by Greg Borgen and runs a Regional Mexican/Tropical format as "Radio Rey." (8/10/2015)

NEBRASKA:
A lightning strike has greatly reduced the power at KBPY/107.7 (Hay Springs-Chadron). KBPY normally uses 50kW/144m from a tower near Hay Springs but is now using just 46 Watts at -15m, enough to cover Chadron but not other areas. The station says the lightning strike destroyed its antenna and it may take more than a half-year to submit an insurance claim and install a new antenna. KBPY signed on in 2011 and carries a mainstream Rock format. It and KCSR/610 (Chadron) are owned by Kathleen R. Brown's Chadrad Communications. (8/7/2015)

WISCONSIN:
Seehafer Broadcasting is buying two more radio stations in Manitowoc, a move that will give it ownership of all six stations in the local market. Seehafer will pay Cub Radio $925,000 for Country WCUB/980 (Manitowoc) and Classic Hits WLTU/92.1 (Manitowoc). The deal was filed two days after Seehafer's $380,000 purchase of Easy Listening WEMP/98.9 (Two Rivers) from Mark Heller's Metro North Communications received FCC approval. Seehafer already owns Full Service WOMT/1240 (Manitowoc), Classic Rocker WQTC/102.3 (Manitowoc), and Adult Contemporary WLKN/98.1 (Cleveland-Manitowoc). (8/7/2015)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
Red Rock Radio's WXCX/105.7 (Siren, WI) has flipped to "The Fan," dropping a four-year-old "Sam FM" Variety Hits format. WXCX is the first Wisconsin-licensed station to carry the FAN Network, which originates at iHeartMedia's KFXN-FM/100.3 (Minneapolis). WXCX carries NBC Sports Radio at night and is also a Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Wild affiliate. NBC Sports Radio also airs on Red Rock's WCMP/1350 (Pine City, MN), which is where WXCX's studio is located. It is the seventh of Red Rock's 25 stations to flip to a Sports format in the past year. The station provides the only city-grade signal to much of Burnett County, which has a small year-round population but attracts an influx of cabin owners from the Twin Cities during the summer. (Some Twin Cities visitors may find it confusing, though, since a competing Sports station airs on 105.7 in the metro - at least for now.) (8/5/2015)

ALPHA MEDIA BUYS DIGITY:
Alpha Media announced Tuesday that its buying 116 radio stations in 26 markets from Digity, LLC, including more than 50 stations in the Upper Midwest. The purchase price, according to a document filed with the FCC, is $264 million, subject to adjustment. Digity's local markets include former Three Eagles, GoodRadio.TV, and NextMedia groups in Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell/Newton, and Mason City, Iowa; Albert Lea/Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls, Minnesota; Columbus and Lincoln, Nebraska; Brookings, Madison, and Watertown, South Dakota; and Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Complete listings of the Digity stations are available in the radio market and radio station listings under "regional resources.") Alpha will own 251 stations in 47 markets once the deal is complete, making it one of the largest radio group owners by number of stations. (8/4/2015, updated with purchase price 8/12)

IOWA:
The FCC has reinstated the license of translator K238AN/95.5 (Ames) after granting the station's petition for reconsideration. The license had been deleted earlier this year after a mitake on a 2012 license renewal application that said K238AN was off the air. Owner Fourthstream Media says the station was never actually off the air when it was licensed. The translator had previously relayed Contemporary Christian "Pulse 99.5" (KPUL-FM Winterset-Des Moines); a notice posted its website indicates K238AN is off the air because of "technical and filing issues" following KPUL-FM's move to 101.7 earlier this year. (8/4/2015)

NEW LOW-POWER FM'S ON THE AIR:

  • Carroll, IA: KFIM-LP/102.1, owned by Carroll Impact Educational Association and carrying Christian programming as "Real 102.1"
  • Detroit Lakes, MN: KAWD-LP/88.1, owned by Christian Media, Inc.
  • St. Cloud, MN: WROJ-LP/96.1, with a Christian "The Rock FM" format and owned by Rock FM Communications
  • Dodge, ND: KXRF-LP/100.3, owned by Prairie Center Broadcasting and carrying Christian programming
  • Hot Springs, SD: KJFP-LP/92.7, owned by Joy Community Fellowship SBC and carrying Christian music. The station is on the air from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily, according to its Facebook page.
  • Sun Prairie, WI: WLSP-LP/103.5, owned by the Sun Prairie Community Foundation and carrying community programming. (8/3/2015)

    IOWA/MINNESOTA/NEBRASKA/WISCONSIN:
    DTV America is picking up a handful of low-power TV stations in the Upper Midwest from Three Angels Broadcasting Network as part of an 32-station, $3 million deal. The regional stations included are K20KF-D Davenport; W39DD-D Dodge Center, MN; K48NP-D Duluth; K25NK-D Rochester; K26JQ-D Lincoln; K25MM-D Omaha; and W30BU Green Bay. The Dodge Center and Duluth stations are not yet on the air, and the Green Bay station has not yet been converted to digital. DTV America operates the Minneapolis Telemundo affiliate and hold dozens of CP's for new LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest. (8/3/2015)

    IOWA:
    The FCC recently granted construction permits for several new FM stations in Iowa:

    Asbury/Dubuque: Canton (Illinois) Seventh-Day Adventist Church received a CP for a new non-commercial station on 98.7 in Asbury after being tentatively selected earlier this year. The new class A station will use 3.5kW/133m from southeast of Dubuque. Three other groups had also applied for the frequency, but the FCC said they all failed to meet a requirement that the frequency provide the first or second non-commercial service to at least 10 percent of the population in its coverage area. The permittee operates an existing station near Peoria.

    Des Moines: The University of Northwestern-St. Paul received a CP for a translator on 100.7. K264BD will transmit from the KCCI-TV building in downtown Des Moines with 99 Watts. It will rebroadcast the Contemporary Christian format of "Life 107.1" (KNWI Osceola), which is also relayed by KNWM/96.1 (Madrid).

    Iowa City: Extend the Dream Foundation received a CP for a 100-Watt low-power FM station on 105.3. (8/1/2015)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    The owner of KZOY/1520 and K221FO/92.1 (Sioux Falls) has told the FCC that it still expects the sale of the stations to a pawn shop owner to close, despite the seller suing the buyer.

    The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that Cup O' Dirt LLC has filed suit against Chuck Brennan's Badlands Pawn over the way the purchase has been handled. Cup O' Dirt's John Small tells the paper he's upset that Brennan announced the sale in December, two months before the $1.5 million asset purchase agreement was signed, and says the `80s Hits station has lost advertisers and employees as a result of the early announcement. Brennan has indicated that the station will change to a Rock format originating from his new pawn shop complex on Thanksgiving Day. The paper reports the two sides are also fighting over access to money in an escrow account.

    The same week the lawsuit was filed, Cup O' Dirt's attorney filed a notice of extension of consummation with the FCC, indicating that the sale has not yet been completed but is still expected to close.

    The newspaper article does not mention that Brennan's Badlands Airtime LLC has also received FCC approval to buy KCFS/94.5 (Sioux Falls) from the University of Sioux Falls in a deal also valued at $1.5 million. KCFS has also applied to upgrade to 25kW/88m, far stronger than K221FO's 99-Watt signal. (7/31/2015)

    IOWA:
    Ownership of KCHE/1440 and KCHE-FM/92.1 (Cherokee) is transferring from father to son. After more than three years of operating the stations through a local marketing agreement, Simon Fuller's Better Broadcasting Corp. is buying the stations from Jeff Fuller's J&J Radio Corp. for $1.35 million. Jeff Fuller is also the majority owner of Five Star Communications, which owns two stations in Vermillion, SD. (7/31/2015)

    IOWA/MINNESOTA/SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Media General stations returned to Mediacom cable systems late Wednesday night (7/29) after a retransmission consent dispute that lasted 15 days. The stations affected the most were NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport) and CBS affiliate KIMT/3 (Mason City), which are in areas where Mediacom is the core city cable provider. CBS affiliate KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) was also affected with cable outages in the Brookings area and southwestern Minnesota, though Sioux Falls itself is served by a different provider. The stations' subchannels were also affected. (7/30/2015)

    MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN/MICHIGAN:
    The Duluth TV market now has the unique distinction of having three subchannels available via satellite after the launch of MeTV affiliate WDIO-DT2 (Duluth) on DISH Network channel 13 this week. Satellite providers generally don't carry subchannels, but "CW2" (KDLH-DT2 Duluth) and "My9" (KBJR-DT2 Superior-Duluth) are both carried by DISH as well. DirecTV's Duluth package includes CW2 but not the other subchannels. Satellite usage is high in the market, which stretches from the Canadian border to the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, because its large geographic size prohibits over-the-air reception in many areas. (7/30/2015)

    NORTH DAKOTA/MINNESOTA:
    "Duke" has chased "Willie" out of Fargo: Days after Classic Country "Duke FM" launched on KMJO/104.7 (Hope-Fargo), KQWB/1660 (West Fargo-Fargo) has dropped its "Willie" Classic Country format for Sports. KQWB had carried ESPN Radio from 2007 until flipping to Oldies in 2012 and then "Willie" last year; it is now carrying FOX Sports Radio. The change may have happened the day after "Duke" launched, according to an unattributed update on Wikipedia. KQWB is owned by James Ingstad's Radio F-M Media and is the only AM station in the group. (7/29/2015)

    NEBRASKA:
    The panhandle city of Kimball no longer has any radio licenses after Cedar Cove Broadcasting returned the license for KBHM/88.3 (Kimball), which filings indicate had actually never been on the air for more than a few days at a time since receiving its license in 2011. Attorneys for Cedar Cove Broadcasting asked the FCC in a letter last month to cancel its license, along with applications for a facility change and license transfer, with no explanation for the decision. KBHM was formerly KVAM. Cedar Cove Broadcasting is owned by Victor Michael, whose Laramie Mountain Broadcasting also returned the license for KIMB/1260 (Kimball) earlier this year after a decade of limited operations. The existence of the non-commercial FM station had been necessary for KIMB, under earlier ownership, to obtain a construction permit to move to move to Ogallala, but that move was never made. (7/29/2015)

    ONTARIO:
    Canadian regulators have approved a move to FM for CBC Radio One in Nakina. A new 50-Watt transmitter on 98.1 will replace 40-Watt CBLN/1240, which relays CBQT/88.3 (Thunder Bay). Nakina is a former township now located within the amalgamated Municipality of Greenstone. (7/29/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    The De La Hunt family's Normin Broadcasting has applied to move an FM translator to the Verndale area to replace some of the FM coverage lost when it sold off KSKK/94.7 (Staples), which the new owner moved out of the area. The family's KSKK/1070 (Verndale), formerly KVKK, assumed KSKK's Adult Contemporary format and would be relayed on K285FB/104.9 if the FCC approves a waiver to move K285FB's transmitter to the KSKK site east of Verndale. K285FB recently increased its antenna height to widen its coverage area, qualifying it for a so-called "Mattoon waiver" that allows FM translators to move farther than they are otherwise allowed to move. If approved, K285FB's 250-Watt signal would cover the area between Staples and Wadena but wouldn't have nearly the coverage of the former 50kW signal of KSKK/94.7. (7/28/2015)

    IOWA:
    iHeartMedia's "Y95-7" (KOSY Anamosa-Cedar Rapids) has completed an upgrade improving coverage of Cedar Rapids. The station previously used 6kW/100m (class A) from a site west of Anamosa and is now using 18kW/118m (C3) from the longtime WMT/600 tower site north of Marion. A directional antenna is used to limit interference to KZAT/95.5 (Belle Plaine). "Y95-7" is in a three way Contemporary Hits competition with locally-owned KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids) and Townsquare Media's "i107-1" (KRQN Vinton-Cedar Rapids), not to mention additional CHR outlets from the Quad Cities and Waterloo that can also be heard in Cedar Rapids. (7/27/2015)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    The dispute over the sale of KXMZ/102.7 (Box Elder-Rapid City) to Pandora Media continues without the national media coverage that came with two earlier FCC decisions on the matter. ASCAP has been fighting the sale because of Pandora's stated intention of using its ownership of KXMZ to seek lower online music streaming rates. ASCAP has now filed a petition for reconsideration of last month's decision to approve the sale, saying it contains "significant errors and inaccuracies." The group believes that it did have standing to file for a petition to deny because it says lower royalty rates are an injury or harm to ASCAP. ASCAP also contends that the FCC's Audio Division deviated from a declaratory ruling released in May when it issued its decision in June. In an opposition to the petition for reconsideration, Pandora says ASCAP is misreading the rules and the FCC got it right the first time. KXMZ carries an Adult Top 40 format called "Hits 102.7." (7/27/2015)

    WISCONSIN:
    Gray TV CBS affiliate WSAW/7 (Wausau) has added FOX on channel 7.3, simulcasting low-power "FOX 55" (WZAW-LD/55.1 Wausau). Gray launched WZAW-LD at the beginning of the month to assume the programming and channel position of WFXS-DT/55.1 (Wittenberg), which went silent after Gray bought the rights to its programming. (FCC ownership caps prohibited Gray from buying WFXS outright, but LPTV stations are not subject to ownership caps.) Many viewers had complained that they could no longer receive FOX after 55.1 downgraded to 15kW, the maximum allowed for LPTV stations. FOX replaces Heores & Icons TV on channel 7.3; WSAW continues to carry MyNetworkTV and other syndicated programming on 7.2, while WZAW-LD also carries Me-TV on 55.2 and Movies! on 55.3. (7/27/2015)

    WISCONSIN:
    Midwest Communications is buying an FM translator to use for WHBL/1330 (Sheboygan). It'll pay Edgewater Broadcasting $34,000 for 250-Watt W268BR/101.5, which is not yet on the air. WHBL carries a News/Talk format. W268BR is one of nine FM translators licensed or permitted in Sheboygan, more than any other city in the region. (7/27/2015)

    IOWA:
    The operator of Family Radio is selling one FM station and one FM translator in Iowa to the operator of the "K-Love" and "Air-1" networks. The Educational Media Foundation will pay Family Stations $553,750 for two stations and four translators in three states, including KIFR/89.5 (Fort Dodge) and K208FV/89.5 (Ames). A main studio waiver request says KIFR will carry "K-Love." (7/24/2015)

    FCC CRACKDOWN ON SILENT RADIO STATIONS:
    The FCC's Audio Division has begun an apparent crackdown on the practice of new radio stations going silent immediately after their license is granted.

    As first reported by the CommLawBlog, radio licenses issued since July 2 contain this condition: "Grant of this license application is conditioned on continuous operations of the licensed facility for the twelve-month period following grant. Failure to do so will result in the rescission of this grant, dismissal of the license application and the forfeiture of the associated construction permit pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 73.3598(c) unless licensee rebuts presumption that authorized facilities were temporarily constructed."

    The condition has appeared on full-power radio station licenses, both commercial and non-commercial, but not on FM translator, low-power FM, or low-power TV licenses. There have not been any full-power TV licenses issued since last year, so it's not clear if the condition might apply to TV.

    The condition means a station can't apply for special temporary authority to remain silent within one year of the license being granted, unless it can prove the facilities were intended to be on the air permanently. For the past decade or so, it has been a regular occurrence for new stations to apply for a license to cover and then immediately apply for authority to remain silent once the license is granted. The move gave station owners more than the three years specified in construction permit deadlines to get the new station on the air.

    In one extreme case, Radioactive LLC had two FM stations in rural Iowa which were licensed for seven years but were never on the air for more than one day per year during that time, according to the stations' filings with the FCC. Earlier this year, Radioactive surrendered the licenses, saying they did not return to the air for the February 2015 broadcasts required to keep the licenses. Federal law automatically cancels licenses when stations are silent for one year.

    The FCC has not made a formal announcement of this new condition. (7/23/2015)

    NORTH DAKOTA/MINNESOTA:
    Midwest Radio Fargo-Moorhead has made changes at two of its stations, upgrading an Adult Contemporary format, adding Classic Country, and dropping Rock. On Wednesday, the "Mix" Adult Contemporary format moved from KMJO/104.7 (Hope-Fargo) to KRWK/101.9 (Fargo), displacing "Rock 102." 104.7 then picked up the "Duke FM" Classic Country format that Midwest Communications carries in several other markets. Midwest had launched "Rock" and "Mix" after buying the stations two years ago. 101.9 has a slightly stronger signal in Fargo-Moorhead than 104.7 due to its tower location. "Duke FM" works in tandem with Midwest's "Froggy 99.9" (KVOX-FM Moorhead-Fargo) in competition with James Ingstad's "Bob 95 FM" (KBVB/95.1 Barnesville-Fargo). Midwest also owns Contemporary Hits outlet "Y94" (WDAY-FM/93.7 Fargo) and two AM stations in the market. (7/22/2015)

    IOWA:
    Perry again has a voice on the FM dial now that M&M Broadcasting has signed on K259AT/99.7, relaying the Oldies/Classic Hits format of KDLS/1310 (Perry). The translator broadcasts with 250 Watts from KDLS' tower site east of Perry and was moved in from Boone, where it remains licensed. KDLS' former FM partner, KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry), was sold to another group and moved into the Des Moines market seven years ago. (7/21/2015)

    WISCONSIN:
    The UW Board of Regents, on behalf of UW-La Crosse, has surrendered its construction permit for a new low-power FM station on 89.9 in La Crosse. The Regents did not state the reason for the decision in its letter to the FCC. The station was to have carried UWL student programming, which is currently heard on a web stream. The Regents and the Educational Communications Board operate two Wisconsin Public Radio stations based on the UWL campus. (7/20/2015)

    NORTH DAKOTA:
    Fledgling network Heroes & Icons TV now has the unusual fortune of having primary full-power affiliations in both of North Dakota's TV markets. H&I, which focuses on classic crime, western, and war shows, is being carried on Ravi Kapur's KRDK/4.1 (Valley City-Fargo) and Legacy Broadcasting's KNDB/26.1 (Bismarck) and KNDM/24.1 (Minot). The stations were all sold off last year after Gray TV acquired the rights to their former big-four network affiliations and moved them to subchannels of its own stations. H&I is operated by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting and is a sister to MeTV, the leading digital subchannel network. KRDK also carries a half-dozen other channels, including Weigel's Decades and Movies! networks. (7/16/2015)

    IOWA:
    FOX 15 (KYOU-TV Ottumwa) is apparently planning to add a newscast in the near future, with job postings for a news reporter/anchor and executive producer. The station did not respond to an inquiry seeking additional information. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and is one of only two stations in the small market, which also includes Kirksville, MO. Its competitor, Sinclair ABC/CBS affiliate KTVO/3.1 (Kirksville, MO), has a long-established news department. (7/15/2015)

    NEBRASKA:
    A belated note that KDJL/99.5 (Kilgore-Valentine) is on the air, rebroadcasting sister station KSDZ/95.5 (Gordon). KDJL apparently signed on in late June. The stations carry a unique blend of Cumulus Media's Real Country format during the day and a syndicated Classic Hits format at night as "The Twister." KDJL uses 25kW/87m (class C3) from a tower north of Valentine and replaces a translator, K258AI/99.5, that had relayed KSDZ in Valentine. KSDZ and KDJL are owned by DJ Broadcasting, which won the construction permit for 99.5 with a $2,500 bid in a 2013 auction and moved it from Rosebud, SD to Kilgore, NE. (7/14/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    Facing a lawsuit over use of the name "KORN Country," KKOR-FM/92.1 (Waseca-Owatonna) has switched its name to "Krue Country" and reverted to its previous callsign, KRUE. The change restores the slogan that had been used on the frequency with different formats from 1993 until the "KORN Country" launch two years ago. The Mason City Globe Gazette reported last month that KKOR owner Main Street Broadcasting had been sued by Riverfront Communications, owner of KORN/1490 (Mitchell, SD), alleging that Main Street didn't have permission to use the KORN name. Meanwhile, sister Main Street Broadcasting station KRUE/1170 (Waseca) has reverted to the KOWZ callsign, matching that of the group's third station, KOWZ-FM/100.9 (Blooming Prairie). (7/13/2015)

    NEW LOW-POWER FM STATIONS ON THE AIR, OR SOON TO BE:

  • KCIZ-LP/103.5 (Brunswick, MN) tested its signal last month and will eventually be on the air with a community/variety format as "Lakes 103."
  • KTWH-LP/99.5 (Two Harbors, MN) tested its signal on Saturday (7/11) and will eventually be on the air with a community/variety format.
  • KMKP-LP/106.5 (Holdrege, NE), KNKP-LP/104.3 (Imperial, NE), and KMAY-LP/102.7 (York, NE) are on the air carrying the "Spirit Catholic Radio" network.
  • KXYM-LP/98.9 (Belcourt, ND) is on the air carrying the "Real Presence Radio" Catholic network.
  • WSWJ-LP/104.7 (Hager City, WI-Red Wing, MN) is on the air with Christian programming.
  • WADR-LP/103.5 (Janesville, WI) is on the air with a community/variety format.
  • WASB-LP/96.5 (Stanley, WI) is on the air with Catholic programming.
  • WILW-LP/96.3 (Waupaca, WI), owned by the City of Waupaca, signed on last month carrying Oldies and plans to debut a broader format this coming Thursday (7/16). It will carry city council meetings and some rebroadcasts of programs from the city's cable TV channel.
  • WAUP-LP/99.1 (Waupaca, WI) signed on Saturday (7/11) with a mix of Oldies and Album Rock, with plans for a broader community/variety format. (7/13/2015)

    IOWA:
    Horizon Broadcasting is selling KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield) to Tri-Rivers Broadcasting for $190,000. The buyer owns KMEM/100.5 (Memphis, MO), and this deal restores a co-ownership of the two stations that had been in place from 2005 to 2009. KOJY currently carries a Southern Gospel format along with American Radio Missions Foundation's KRNF/88.7 (Montezuma), which is being sold to VCY America. Both Horizon Broadcasting and American Radio Missions Foundation are headed by Doug Smiley of Pella. (7/13/2015)

    MICHIGAN:
    There are several recent updates from Ironwood to pass along:

  • West Central Michigan Media Ministries is buying W220DP/91.9 from WRVM, Inc. for $4,000. The buyer operates the "Strong Tower Radio" network heard on WUPJ/90.9 (Escanaba), WIHC/97.9 (Newberry) and several stations in the lower peninsula. 7/19 addition: W220DP is currently carrying "K-Love," also heard on WIMK/88.3 (Ironwood)
  • WUPM/106.9 is now using a taller temporary tower after its April tower collapse. It's not immediately clear what wattage or antenna height is currently being used, but the station says on its Facebook page that the signal is going out about 40 to 50 miles. WUPM normally uses 53kW/151m (class C1) but had been using just 170 Watts with a repurposed translator.
  • Late last month, the FCC finalized a $10,500 fine against J&J Broadcasting for public file and tower registration violations at WJMS/590 and WIMI/99.7. The FCC agreed to reduce the fine from the $13,000 that had originally been proposed. (7/13/2015)

    NEBRASKA:
    The Nebraska Broadcasters Association plans to induct Marty Riemenschneider and Chuck Stevens into its Hall of Fame next moth. Riemenschneider spent 44 years in the industry, working his way up to serve as Mitchell Broadcasting's group head before becoming the NBA's President/Executive Director in 2002. He retired at the end of last year. Stevens worked in Lincoln radio and TV for 52 years, starting at KOLN-TV/10 and eventually retiring from KFOR/1240 in 2012 after 30 years there. Riemenschneider and Stevens, who will be the 93rd and 94th members of the NBA Hall of Fame, will be inducted on August 11 in Omaha during the association's 81st annual convention. (7/13/2015)

    SOUTH DAKOTA:
    K296FI/107.1 (Pierre) remains off the air following storms that moved through central South Dakota on June 22. The station, which normally rebroadcasts the Classic Country format of KGFX/1060 (Pierre), tells the FCC in a request for special temporary authority to remain silent that new equipment has been ordered to replace damaged equipment. The storm also knocked "River 92.7" (KGFX-FM Pierre) and "100.1 The Eagle" (KJBI Fort Pierre) off the air for a few days. The stations are owned by Janice Ingstad's James River Broadcasting Company. (7/13/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    WELY-FM/94.5 (Ely) is dropping its longtime Adult Alternative/Folk format for Classic Rock. The Ely Echo reports the change is officially beginning Monday, though the station has already incorporated some Classic Rock into its playlist. The paper reports the station will continue to carry hourly newscasts, the Twins, the Vikings, and weekend programs including a Saturday morning polka show. WELY-FM and WELY/1450, which carries syndicated Talk and Sports, are the only commercial radio stations in the iconic town on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The new format will compete directly with Red Rock Radio's KAOD/106.7 (Babbitt), which carries a Classic Rock that originates at KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). Minnesota Public Radio recently brought its "The Current" Adult Alternative service to Ely on translator W267BV/101.3. WELY AM-FM is owned by the Bois Forte Tribal Council. (7/11/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    Less than three years after signing on WBKK/820 (Wilton-Bemidji), the De La Hunt family is selling it to non-commercial broadcaster Real Presence Radio. The Catholic network will pay Edward Paul De La Hunt's Bemidji Radio Inc. $225,000 for WBKK. The station, which currently carries a mix of Conservative Talk and Oldies with CBS News on the hour, uses 10kW day and 750 Watts night from a three-tower array north of Itasca State Park. The deal does not include WBKK translator K276EP/103.1 (Bemidji) or several other stations operated by the De La Hunt family in the area. Real Presence Radio is currently heard on affiliate KBJI-LP/106.3 (Bemidji). The network owns two AM stations in the Red River Valley and four full-power FM stations in western North Dakota; it's in the process of buying KQFR/89.9 (Rapid City, SD) and expects that deal to close in the next three months. (7/8/2015)

    MINNESOTA:
    Country-formatted "Bob 95 FM" (KBVB/95.1 Barnesville-Fargo) has signed on satellite station KDLB/94.5 (Frazee-Detroit Lakes), restoring coverage of the lakes area that was lost when KBVB moved its transmitter closer to Fargo six years ago. KDLB, formerly KSKK/94.7 (Staples), signed on about ten days after KSKK left the air (see below) and uses 11kW/150m (class C3) from a tower near Detroit Lakes. The stations are owned by James Ingstad's Radio Fargo-Moorhead, which does business as Radio FM Media. KDLB competes locally with Leighton Enterprises' KRCQ/102.3 (Detroit Lakes). (7/7/2015)

    NEBRASKA:
    Flood Communications of Beatrice, LLC is buying KWBE/1450 (Beatrice), KUTT/99.3 (Fairbury-Beatrice), and KGMT/1310 (Fairbury) from Rick Siebert for $7 million. The stations serve an area south of Lincoln and will be sisters to Flood's groups in the Nebraska City/Omaha and Norfolk areas. The company is also in the process of buying low-power TV stations in Beatrice, Columbus, Norfolk, Grand Island, and Hastings. (7/7/2015)

    WISCONSIN:
    Gray TV has taken over the FOX affiliation in the Wausau market, buying the programming and other non-license assets of WFXS/55.1 (Wittenberg-Wausau) to operate alongside existing CBS affiliate WSAW/7 (Wausau).

    WFXS went silent on July 1 and its entire lineup, including FOX programming and the Me-TV and Movies! subchannels, moved Gray's recently-acquired low-power station WZAW-LD (Wausau), which is using WFXS' former virtual 55.1 to 55.3 channels. WFXS owner Davis Televison indicated in an FCC filing that it plans to return the WFXS license after selling the non-license assets to Gray. The purchase price was not disclosed in a press release announcing the deal.

    Gray could not buy WFXS' license because ownership caps prohibit one company from owning more than one of the top four full-power TV stations in a market. However, LPTV stations are not covered by ownership rules.

    The assets sold include the WFXS transmitter, which had broadcast with 685kW as WFXS but is now being used by WZAW-LD at reduced power of 15kW, the maximum allowed for low-power TV stations, according to a request for special temporary authority approved by the FCC. The LPTV station had originally been permitted to transmit on channel 33, but Gray told the FCC that it needed to use channel 31 because it couldn't secure a channel 33 transmitter in time for its desired July 1 airdate.

    Since WZAW-LD is transmitting on WFXS' former RF channel and remapping to its former PSIP channels, some viewers in the immediate Wausau area may not notice the change. However, the LPTV signal can't reach outlying areas of the market such as Rhinelander and Marshfield, and some viewers have already taken to the station's Facebook page to complain.

    WFXS had signed on in 1999 as part of a wave of station startups that completed FOX coverage of small markets. It had carried a 9 p.m. newscast produced by Quincy ABC affiliate WAOW/9 (Wausau), and WSAW says it'll launch its own 9 p.m. newscast on WZAW-LD this fall.

    Gray TV has been acquiring multiple big-four network affiliations in many markets, including Lincoln, Fargo, and Bismarck. Its recent purchase of LPTV stations in Sioux Falls and Rapid City may indicate a desire to create similar setups in those markets. (7/1/2015)

    News archive...

    Newspaper/Web Articles

    Milwaukee Business Journal: Bill Hurwitz retiring from Milwaukee Radio Alliance, says stations still not for sale (9/3)
    The Dudek Abides: Milwaukee radio ratings for August (9/3)
    Star Tribune: WCCO news anchor Mike Binkley bowing out of TV after 34 years (9/2)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Host of children's shows had long and varied career (8/29)
    Quad-City Times: Jillene leaves WLLR after blazing social media trail> (8/28)
    Des Moines Register: Ames community radio beats the odds (8/30)
    Star Tribune: It takes two? Twin Cities suddenly home to twin retro-rap stations (8/29)
    The Forum (Fargo): Eagle 106.9 FM switches to 'music focus throughout the entire day,' Kjar joins radio group full-time (8/27)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Country-fied WKTI-FM hires first 2 full-time on-air personalities (8/25)
    Star Tribune: Jamie Yuccas leaving WCCO for CBS's Newspath in New York (8/21)
    WKBT: News anchor steps down from News 8 at Six; Remains anchor of News 8 at Five (8/21)
    Star Tribune: Rap battle: Old-school station The Vibe 105 debuts opposite Hot 102.5 (8/20)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: WCCO-TV names Ann Ouellette as general manager (8/13)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: St. Paul native joins FOX 9 morning news (8/12)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: KARE11's Blake McCoy leaving for NBC News (8/11)
    Quad City Times: 'Local 4' adding 4 p.m. newscast this fall (8/10)
    Lincoln Journal Star: KFRX continues its radio ratings dominance (8/10)
    Star Tribune: Minnesota Public Radio implements layoffs and program changes (8/9)
    MinnPost: Why the Pohlads bought BringMeTheNews and what they're going to do with it (8/7)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Meterologist Lauren Casey leaving WCCO-TV (8/6)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WRIT-FM keeps No. 1 spot in Milwaukee radio ratings race in July (8/6)
    The Dudek Abides: State Native New Morning Anchor At WDJT, Replaces Kuester (8/5)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: American Public Media's sale of Florida stations disputed (8/3)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV continues overall lead in July ratings sweeps (7/30)
    Winnipeg Sun: Adler quitting, CJOB layoffs sign that change needed in radio (7/30)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: 'Wits' radio variety show canceled (7/27)
    Wisconsin State Journal: On Wisconsin: Low power and all local (7/26)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: MPR lays off 9 in newsroom (7/23)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Morning drive co-host Jordan Lee named program director at Radio Milwaukee (7/22)
    KFGO: Longtime KFGO forecaster Terry Spies dies (7/21)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WTMJ reporter-anchor Tom Murray leaving TV station for ministry (7/20)
    WITI: Steve Haywood, a fixture in Milwaukee sports radio scene since the 90s has passed away (7/19)
    MinnPost: What upcoming changes at MPR will actually mean for listeners (7/9)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Bob Sansevere joins Tom Barnard's podcast network (7/13)
    Star Tribune/C.J.: Reelz CEO provided life line for Miss USA contestants (7/13)
    Lincoln Journal Star/Jeff Korbelik: Radio's Tom Stephens bouncing back from heart attack (7/13)
    Dudek Abides: WRIT #1; Did WKTI take bite out of WMIL? (7/13)
    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Former KARE11 anchor Roxanne Battle pens book about finding happiness (7/10)
    Des Moines Register: Iowa Public Radio streaming Studio One 24 hours a day (7/9)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WJMR-FM drops Tom Joyner show for 2nd time in 3 years (7/8)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WTMJ-AM hires news co-anchor for its morning show (7/7)
    Star Tribune: Are changes afoot at MPR? (7/1)
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Kidd O'Shea leaving WMYX for TV job in D.C. (7/1)
    Older articles...