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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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