Mid-West Management's W286CK/105.1 (Eau Claire) has signed on relaying the News and Sports format of WAYY/790 (Eau Claire). The 185-Watt translator broadcasts from a tower near Mid-West's facility. With the translator's sign-on, WAYY has dropped mentions of its AM frequency from its website and social media feeds. AM 790 also has a construction permit to reduce its nighttime power from 5kW to 123 Watts, which will allow the station to drop two aging towers. W286CK's sign-on came days after iHeartMedia signed on FM translators for its two AM stations in the market; Mid-West also has a construction permit for W240DC/95.9 to relay its WEAQ/1150 (Chippewa Falls). (7/27/2016)
Educational Media Foundation's K285GP/104.9 (Millard-Omaha) has signed on carrying the Christian Hits "Air1" network via the HD3 signal of iHeartMedia's KGOR/99.9 (Omaha). The 70-Watt signal originates in the Crown Point antenna farm in north-central Omaha. EMF's "K-Love" network is already heard in the region on KMLV/88.1 (Ralston-Omaha), and the group has also purchased KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA), which is expected to carry "Air1." (7/27/2016)
iHeartMedia's K268CY/101.5 (Cedar Rapids) has signed on relaying the Classic Country format of KMJM/1360 (Cedar Rapids). The translator, which was moved in from Stocktown under the AM revitalization window, is broadcasting with 30 Watts from the site of sister station WMT/600 north of Marion. The facility provides only fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids itself. The translator had formerly been permitted for 250 Watts from the station's studio on Collins Road, but sought a change to the WMT site as it faced an August construction deadline. (7/27/2016)
Hastings College has quickly found a buyer for KFKX/90.1 (Hastings), despite TV reports earlier this year that the college intended to "return the license." Christian broadcaster Community Broadcasting, which operates the Bott Radio Network, is buying KFKX for $37,500. KFKX is licensed for 780 Watts and went silent at the end of June due to changes in the college's programs. Bott programming is currently carried on 250-Watt translator K260BK/99.9 (Hastings). (7/26/2016)
Northfield Media, owner of KYMN/1080 (Northfield), is buying an FM translator to relay KYMN. The company is buying W280DF (Sandstone) from Refuge Media for $55,000, with stated plans of moving it to Northfield under the AM revitalization window. KYMN carries a variety of programming with a community-based format. (7/25/2016)
Another new FM signal is on the air in Milwaukee, as Bustos Media has debuted "La 93.7" on W229CQ/93.7 (Milwaukee) and the HD2 signal of WDDW/104.7 (Sturtevant-Milwaukee). "La 93.7" carries Latin Adult Contemporary and some Regional Mexican. WDDW carries Regional Mexican from "La Gran D" network, and the two stations compete with El Sol Broadcasting's "97.9 La Caliente" (W250BN/97.9 and WJTI/1460 West Allis-Milwaukee). (7/22/2016)
Red Rock Radio is selling its five stations in northwestern Wisconsin to Zoe Communications for $750,000. The stations include WXCE/1260 (Amery), WLMX-FM/104.9 (Balsam Lake), WXCX/105.7 (Siren), WHSM/910 (Hayward), and WHSM-FM/101.1 (Hayward). WXCE, WXCX, and WHSM all carry Sports formats, while WLMX carries Variety Hits and WHSM-FM carries Country. The buyer has a local programming and marketing agreement to operate the stations prior to closing. Zoe owns four full-power stations, as well as two HD-fed FM translators, serving the Spooner, Rice Lake, and Baldwin areas. Red Rock, a Duluth-based sister company to Fargo-based TV owner Red River Broadcast Company, retains ownership of 20 radio stations in northeastern and north-central Minnesota. WXCX is currently co-located with Red Rock's AM-FM combo in Pine City and will move its studio to Zoe's facility in Shell Lake. (7/22/2016)
Most Duluth TV and radio stations have returned to the air after damage from a thunderstorm early Thursday morning (7/21) knocked out power to Duluth's FM/TV antenna farm and about 75,000 homes and businesses across the Northland. The storm hit at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, knocking almost every FM and TV station in the Twin Ports off the air. As of 7:45 a.m. Thursday, the only Observation Hill stations transmitting were PBS station WDSE-TV/8, Wisconsin Public Radio's WSSU/88.5 and KUWS/91.3, and Minnesota Public Radio's WSCN/100.5, the latter of which went off the air later Thursday. AM stations appeared to be unaffected, except for power outages at studios. TV stations were able to provide a feed to Charter cable during the transmitter outage, and WDIO-TV/10 (your reporter's place of employment) remained in continuing coverage for 12 hours Thursday despite not having power at its Observation Hill headquarters. By Friday evening, only KUMD/103.3 and KZIO/104.3, the latter of which transmits from a rural site north of the city, remained off the air. (7/22/2016)
Quincy Newspapers has begun to implement changes at its recently-acquired TV operation in Duluth, with changes to newscasts and a longtime network affiliation set to move in a few weeks.
Announcements are now running saying that CBS will move from KDLH/3.1 (Duluth) to KBJR/6.2 (Superior-Duluth) at 10 a.m. on Aug. 1, though CBS will retain its channel 3 position on cable and satellite. KDLH, originally KDAL-TV, has been the Northland's CBS affiliate since 1955. Quincy is making the change because it agreed to stop selling ads on KDLH as a condition of its purchase of KBJR from Granite Broadcasting. KBJR is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries MyNetworkTV on 6.2, which will presumably move to 6.3. KDLH, owned by SagamoreHill, will become a primary CW affiliate.
The changes that may actually be more noticable to viewers deal with newscasts. KBJR debuted a new news set, Quincy's graphics package, a new evening co-anchor, and a second morning anchor this week. Meanwhile, the CBS channel is taking a two-week break from airing local news. The CBS Evening News has returned to the traditional 5:30 timeslot, and program listings indicate the new CBS lineup will include local newscasts at 6 and 10 p.m. and from 5 to 7 a.m. Up until last week, KDLH had aired live newscasts at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and a recorded newscast at 10 p.m.
KBJR also dropped the "Northland's NewsCenter" slogan and has stopped mentioning "Range 11," which referred to satellite station KRII/11.1 (Chisholm). (7/19/2016)
iHeartMedia signed on two new FM signals in Eau Claire on Monday, bringing second Classic Hits and Conservative Talk stations to the FM dial.
W254CN/98.7 (Eau Claire) relays WBIZ/1400, which dropped its longtime Sports format for Classic Hits as "The Brew." The translator was moved in from Houlton under the FCC's AM revitalization window. "The Brew" takes on Mid-West Management's "Greatest Hits 98.1" (WISM-FM Altoona); iHeartMedia had managed WISM up until this month as Adult Contemporary outlet "Mix 98.1" until Aloha Station Trust spun it off to Mid-West. WBIZ's old Facebook page says "The Brew" will still carry some local sports. WBIZ's format change leaves Mid-West's WAYY/790 (Eau Claire) as the only Sports-formatted station in the market.
Meanwhile, W292EG/106.3 (Eau Claire) has apparently completed its transmitter move into the heart of the city. W292EG relays the Conservative Talk format of WMEQ/880 (Menomonie), which mentioned that it "can now also be heard on the FM dial" on its Facebook page Monday. The translator had actually been operating for a few months from a site west of town, but the rural facility didn't provide a strong signal to Eau Claire itself. W292EG is the second FM signal in the area carrying Conservative Talk; W276CP/103.1 relays Stewards of Sounds' WOGO/680 (Hallie).
These likely won't be the last new FM signals for Eau Claire, as Mid-West has construction permits for two translators of its own on 95.9 and 105.1. (7/18/2016)
Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio is buying translator K234BR/94.7 (Rapid City) from Spearfish Radio for $35,000. K234BR already carries Real Presence Radio via KJRC/89.9 (Rapid City). The extra signal is needed because KJRC transmits from Terry Peak and is somewhat difficult to receive on portable radios in the city. (7/18/2016)
The FCC has dismissed an application from Tri-State Broadcasting Association's KJTF/89.3 (North Platte) to upgrade over possible interference to KWNB/6 (Hayes Center). KJTF had applied to upgrade from 690 Watts to 80kW. Stations on the lower end of the FM band are required to prevent interference to TV stations on channel 6, but KJTF had initially asserted that the protection didn't apply to digital TV stations. KWNB's owner vehemently disagreed. KJTF then dropped the claim that channel 6 didn't need to be protected but asserted the interference wouldn't be as bad as KWNB claimed. The FCC dismissed the application with a letter from the Audio Division saying that while some interference is allowed, KJTF's proposed upgrade would cause interference for too many people. Tri-States is a Christian broadcaster which also owns two other stations in North Platte. (7/13/2016)
New low-power FM station KNNA-LP/95.7 (Lincoln) is on the air carrying Lutheran programming as "The Cross." The station is owned by Good Shephard Community Radio and broadcasts with 100 Watts from Good Shephard Lutheran Church. (7/13/2016)
The FCC has deleted the license of KWOP/88.7 (Fort Dodge) for having been off the air for over a year, in violation of federal law. The FCC says the station, which was owned by Church Planters of America, went silent on Dec. 9, 2014, and did not respond to a warning letter sent in May. KWOP had been licensed for 690 Watts and had a construction permit to upgrade to 100kW. (7/13/2016)
A new FM station that was once poised to serve Thunder Bay, ON, is instead setting its sights on the much smaller community of Grand Marais, MN. Resonance Media Group is facing an August 22 deadline to sign on its new station on 96.9. The station, which does not yet have a callsign, was originally slated to be licensed to Grand Portage and transmit with 100kW/273m (class C1) from an existing tower on Mount Maud, providing a rimshot signal to Thunder Bay and Grand Marais.
Now, Resonance has applied to change the new station's community of license to Grand Marais, where it would transmit with 2kW/182m (class C3). (Note: this item has been updated to reflect an amendment changing the proposed new facility.) Resonance president Matt Butler tells NorthPine.com the new station will be locally programmed, but isn't revealing format plans yet.
Resonance won the new frequency in a 2013 FCC auction. Multi-Cultural Diversity Radio also won two new 100kW Grand Portage stations in that auction, but construction permits haven't yet been issued for MCDR's new stations, presumably because their applications specified construction of a new tower. MCDR is headed by Samir Abumayyaleh of Minneapolis.
Grand Marais and Grand Portage are in Cook County, a popular tourist destination with a year-round population of just over 5,000 people. It is currently served by only one locally-programmed station, WTIP/90.7 (Grand Marais), which carries local news, play-by-play sports, and music shows hosted by community members. The only commercial station in the county, WXXZ/95.3 (Grand Marais), relays a Duluth-based Classic Rock format. Minnesota Public Radio's News and Classical networks also have transmitters in Grand Marais, and two Duluth-based Christian stations have translators in the city. (7/11/2016)
Native Communications has ended the Rhythmic Hits format at CIUR-FM/104.7 (Winnipeg) and replaced it with "NOW Country 104.7." The frequency had originally launched with a Hip-Hop format for aboriginal youth in 2009 as "Streetz FM" and switched to "Rhythm 104.7" in 2014. "Rhythm" had registered a 1.3 share in the Numeris Spring (February 29–April 24, 2016) 12+ ratings, far behind several other stations with similar formats. Native Communications also runs the provincewide NCI-FM network, heard on CICY-FM/105.5 (Selkirk-Winnipeg), which also carries a format that's mostly Country. The two stations compete with Jim Pattinson Group's "QX104" (CFQX-FM/104.1 Selkirk-Winnipeg) for the Country audience in Winnipeg. (7/9/2016)
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul's KNWS/1090 (Waterloo) has signed on FM translator K224FA/92.7, relaying its "Faith Radio" programming. The 250-Watt translator was moved in from Wisconsin under the FCC's AM revitalization window. KNWS is the third of Northwestern's five "Faith Radio" AM stations in the Upper Midwest to get an FM translator, and is also the third AM-on-FM translator in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Northwestern also owns "Life 101.9" (KNWS-FM) in Waterloo. (7/6/2016)
The CW has been added on Nexstar's KXMA/2.1 (Dickinson), KXMB/12.2 (Bismarck), KXMC/13.2 (Minot), and KXMD/11.2 (Williston). The stations, which are also CBS affiliates, have dropped their 24-hour weather channel but continue to offer the stream online. This is the first time the CW has had a broadcast affiliate in the western North Dakota market, which also still lacks a MyNetworkTV station and never had a WB broadcast affiliate. The CW, and the WB prior to that, had been seen on the cable-only "KMWK" channel. (7/1/2016, added channel numbers 7/4)
The FM translator of KDWA/1460 (Hastings) has moved from 97.9 to 97.7 as W249DK. The frequency change removes it from fringe area interference from a low-power FM station in Lakeville. The translator first signed on in the spring, and it appears the frequency change happened in mid-June. (7/1/2016)
New low-power FM station WKJJ-LP/101.3 (Milwaukee) has signed on carrying community programming and a mix of Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. WKJJ-LP will share time with WPJQ-LP, and the stations share a joint website and Facebook page. Both are licensed for 12 Watts. WKJJ-LP is owned by Inner City Development Project, while WPJQ-LP is owned by Faith Community Development Corp. (7/1/2016)
Following up on an item from a couple of weeks ago, the FCC has approved a construction permit for an FM translator to move to 106.5 in Milwaukee to relay WNOV/860. W293CX will 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, updated 7/1)
Mid-West Management's "Greatest Hits" format in the Eau Claire market has moved down the dial from WDRK/99.9 (Cornell-Eau Claire) to WISM-FM/98.1 (Altoona-Eau Claire). The move to the new frequency, which is stronger in Eau Claire, came at the start of the month and the start of the Fourth of July weekend and followed a few days of stunting on 99.9. The change follows Mid-West's purchase of WISM from the Aloha Station Trust. It had previously been operated by iHeartMedia as Adult Contemporary outlet "Mix 98.1." To comply with ownership caps, Mid-West donated WDRK's license to Blugold Radio LLC, a group held by members of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. According to Blugold Radio's Facebook page, 99.9 is now carrying a local music mix created by UWEC students. A press release earlier this year said the station will also carry some programming from Wisconsin Public Radio's News & Classical Music network, duplicating programming already available in Eau Claire but reaching new listeners in Barron County. (6/29/2016, updated 7/1)
Midwest Communications is buying the construction permit for a future FM translator in Sioux Falls from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $35,000. The FCC application to transfer the license states Midwest will use K258CU/99.5 to relay its KELO/1320. KELO's News/Talk format is already simulcast on KELQ/107.9 (Flandreau-Sioux Falls), but its rimshot signal is not as strong in Sioux Falls as other stations. Midwest already has another translator, K251BH/98.1, relaying the Sports format of KWSN/1230. (6/29/2016)
Midwest Communications is buying another FM translator to use for one of its AM stations in Duluth. The deal calls for Midwest to pay David M. Stout $47,500 for W269CV (Chippewa Falls, WI). The application to transfer the license, filed with the FCC, states that Midwest will apply to move the translator license to Duluth on an undisclosed FM frequency to relay KDAL/610 (Duluth). Regular readers may recall that Midwest has also purchased a translator in Moose Lake, MN, and obtained a construction permit to move it to Duluth as W251CD/98.1 to relay WDUL/970 (Superior-Duluth). W251CD is not yet on the air. (6/28/2016)
Riverfront Broadcasting has changed the formats at its two recently-purchased stations in Keokuk. KOKX/1310 has dropped Soft Oldies for Country, while WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage, IL-Keokuk) has dropped Adult Contemporary for Classic Hits as "Z93." The formats also stream through a new website, radiokeokuk.com. Under previous ownership, KOKX and WCEZ had been sisters to FM stations carrying Classic Hits and Classic Rock formats, but they were sold to the non-profit Educational Media Foundation. KOKX-FM/95.3 (Keokuk) is currently silent but is slated to carry the "K-Love" Contemporary Christian network, while KRNQ/96.3 (Keokuk) is carrying the Spanish Christian "La Nueva Vida" network. (6/27/2016)
Leighton Radio Holdings is buying an FM translator that it intends to move to Fergus Falls under the AM revitalization window. Leighton will pay iHeartMedia $20,000 for K253BK/98.5 (East Grand Forks). K253BK recently signed on and has been heard relaying KKEQ/107.1 (Fosston). The application states that Leighton will move it to 92.1 in Fergus Falls to relay KJJK/1020, which currently carries a Sports format. (6/27/2016)
Cumulus Media has "parked" another out-of-state heritage callsign in Minnesota, changing the callsign of WGVZ/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis) to WWWM-FM. The callsign had been used for several decades in the Toledo, Ohio, market until Cumulus changed the former WWWM-FM/105.5 (Sylvania) to WQQO last week. The new WWWM-FM continues to carry the "Vibe" Classic Hip-Hop and R&B format in simulcast with suburban signals WGVX/105.1 (Lakeville) and WRXP/105.3 (Cambridge). 105.7 is the core station of the trimulcast, transmitting from the IDS Center in Minneapolis. WRXP is another "parked" callsign, having been used in New York City until 2013. The WGVZ callsign had been a holdover from the short-lived "V105" format that aired on the stations in 2001. (6/26/2016)
KOAQ/690 (Terrytown-Scottsbluff) and FM translator K269DO/101.7 (Scottsbluff) have stopped carrying the "Juan" Spanish Variety Hits format and are advertising "El Toro" as coming soon on their website. As of Wednesday (6/22), KOAQ was silent and K269DO was on open carrier. The stations are operated by Armada Media's Bluffs Broadcasting. (6/26/2016)
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)
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)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Obituary: Local radio personality Dick Driscoll rubbed elbows with likes of Elvis (7/19)
Lincoln Journal Star: Is Coby Mach returning to Lincoln radio? (7/18)
Star Tribune: DJ/music director/hype man Peter Parker 'lives and breathes hip-hop' at Go 95.3 (7/15)
Star Tribune: MPR reporter and news editor Toni Randolph dies at 53 (7/5)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Public TV drops 'InterChange,' 'I Remember' (6/27)
CBS Sunday Morning: Garrison Keillor signs off (6/26)
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa broadcasting legend Bob Brooks dies at 89 (6/25)
Grand Island Independent: Hastings College radio station says ‘goodbye’ as art and media departments merge (6/24)
St. Cloud Times: Sauk Rapids station to play entire music library (6/24)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'Whad'Ya Know?' host gets ready to sign off, still looking for answers (6/23)
Star Tribune: Be well, Garrison, and keep in touch (6/17)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV adds Franklin native Lindsey Slater to weather team (6/8)
WGBA: Moravchik named News Director of NBC26 (6/1)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WITI-TV leads overall, barely, in May sweeps (5/26)
Star Tribune: Is Chris Thile ready to replace Garrison Keillor on 'A Prairie Home Companion'? (5/20)
NetNewsCheck: In Green Bay, WLUK Tops Social Media (5/16)
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)