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Leighton Enterprises' K239BG/95.7 (Grand Forks) and its AM originating station, KGFK/1590 (East Grand Forks), have segued from Variety Hits to "Classic Rock that Really Rocks," retaining the slogan "
The Forks." Leighton also recently launched "Classic Rock that Really Rocks" in St. Cloud. The format competes primarily with iHeartMedia Classic Rocker "KJ108" (KJKJ/107.5 Grand Forks). (3/12/2018)

A few new FM signals are on the air in the Twin Cities area:

K298CO/107.5 is on the air relaying the Conservative Talk format of "The Patriot" (WWTC/1280). Salem Media moved the translator license in from Wisconsin as a result of one of the AM revitalization filing windows. K298CO broadcasts with 250 Watts from the KYCR/1440 transmitter site in Golden Valley, delivering a strong signal to most of Minneapolis and the northwestern suburbs. However, coverage of the southern metro is limited by KBGY/107.5 (Faribault), which has historically sought audiences in the metro area. Another translator also occupies 107.5 in the far northern exurb of Princeton, and there's an application for a translator on the frequency in the northeast metro.

Meanwhile, 40-Watt KPJT-LP/99.1 is on the air in the northwestern suburb of Maple Grove carrying the We Have This Hope Christian Radio network. KPJT transmits from southeastern Maple Grove with a strong signal to parts of Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, and New Hope. KPJT is the farthest south signal of We Have This Hope Christian Radio, which includes four full-power stations, two other low-power stations, and one translator in northern Minnesota carrying Seventh-day Adventist programming from Lifetalk Radio.

A full list of translators and low-power FM stations in the Twin Cities area is available on the Twin Cities Class D/LPFM Stations page. (3/11/2018)

Scripps' WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee) is now carrying Grit on channel 4.4, which is a new additional channel for the station. Grit had previously seen on the DT3 subchannel of Sinclair's WCGV before the station left the air as a result of the spectrum auction earlier this year. WTMJ also carries NBC on 4.1, Laff on 4.2, and Escape on 4.3. (3/11/2018)

The FCC has denied a petition for reconsideration of its decision to delete the license of KAWK/105.1 (Custer) in the southern Black Hills. In a letter to former licensee Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, Audio Division Chief Albert Shuldiner says that FCC staff properly determined that KAWK's license had expired in 2009.

The saga began in 2002 when KAWK told the FCC it had been forced to vacate its licensed tower site on Mount Coolidge. The station was granted speical temporary authorizations to use an alternate site for several years. The FCC says KAWK neglected to reapply for use of the alternate site when it returned from a period of silence in 2009 and incorrectly stated on a resumption notice that it was using its licensed facility. FCC staff determined that because of this, KAWK's license expired as a matter of law on Oct. 22, 2009.

Shuldiner's letter says Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting's petition fails to show material error or provide new facts that would change the outcome. It also rejects the licensee's argument that the cancellation conflicts with a statute of limitations, saying that the licensee doesn't indicate the source or duration of the statute of limitations and that the issue took so long to resolve because of the licensee's own 2009 "misrepresentation."

Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting continues to own KFCR/1490 (Custer), which carries a Classic Rock format as "The Hawk." It has a construction permit to add FM translator K256DD/99.1. (3/7/2018)

After decades carrying music formats, Homeslice Media's KKLS/920 (Rapid City) and its FM translator, K284BA/104.7, have flipped to News/Talk. The former `80s and `90s "Smash Hits" outlet is now "KKLS News Corp" with local morning and afternoon news blocks, ABC News on the hour, and syndicated talkers including Chris Plante, Dave Ramsey, and Mark Levin. Ramsey and Levin had previously been heard on KIMM/1150 and K294BT/106.7 until its flip to Sports last fall. KKLS' new lineup competes with the longtime News/Talk format at Duhamel Broadcasting's KOTA/1380, which also runs local news blocks in the morning and afternoon and a schedule of more established syndicated talkers. Homeslice also runs regional Farm/Country outlet KBHB/810 (Rapid City) and several FM music formats. (3/6/2018)

After a month of stunting on social media, "Z-Rock 103.3" has launched on K277BS/103.3 (St. Cloud) and the HD3 signal of KZPK/98.9 (Paynesville-St. Cloud). The "Classic Rock that Really Rocks" format fits musically between the Hard Rock format of Tri-County Broadcasting's "Rockin' 101" (WHMH/101.7 Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) and the Classic Rock format of Townsquare Media's "103.7 The Loon" (KLZZ Waite Park-St. Cloud), the latter of which used a "Z103" slogan in the `90s. K277BS had previously relayed the News/Talk format of KNSI/1450 (St. Cloud), which is now instead heard on K257GK/99.3 (St. Cloud). (3/5/2018)

KIMT (Mason City-Austin-Rochester) has added Antenna TV on channel 3.4. The Heartland Media station also carries CBS on 3.1, MyNetworkTV on 3.2, and Ion on 3.3. Antenna TV is the 11th full-power commercial channel available in the market. (3/5/2018)

The "Resistance Radio" Liberal Talk format of WRRD/1510 (Waukesha-Milwaukee) is now being rebroadcast on WTTN/1580 (Columbus), giving the format a stronger signal in Madison and the potential for future FM coverage in the capital city.

WRRD majority owner Michale Crute announced on Friday afternoon that WRRD is operating WTTN through an agreement with its owner, Good Karma Broadcasting. Good Karma is the same company that sold WRRD to Crute's New WRRD, LLC last year.

WTTN had previously carried ESPN Deportes Radio (which was also carried on WRRD prior to its sale last year). It delivers a rimshot signal to Madison with a 5kW directional daytime signal but drops to just 4 Watts at night. It has a pending application for a 75-Watt FM translator on 92.7 transmitting from the Mendota area in northern Madison, which would deliver a good signal to most of the city.

WRRD also has a construction permit for its own 250-Watt FM translator on 101.7 in Milwaukee. (3/4/2018)

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that KLBB/1220 (Stillwater) plans to leave the air at the end of March. Owner Dan Smith tells the newspaper that it's been difficult running a small AM station on the edge of the Twin Cities and after selling the station's longtime tower site for development, he doesn't want to take the risk of investing in a new AM transmission plant. KLBB transmits with 5kW daytime and 254 Watts nighttime, nondirectional, from a site on Brick Street in Stillwater. The station has a pending application for a new 250-Watt FM translator on 107.5, which specified the Brick Street site but would have to be modified since the tower is due to be demolished. Smith tells the paper he has not had any luck finding a buyer. KLBB carries a Soft Oldies format with local sports and Packers football. The callsign was originally used with a similar format on KLBB/1400 (St. Paul) from 1982 until it became KMNV in 2005. (2/28/2018)

A belated note that South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Tribe has changed the format at KINI/96.1 (Crookston, NE-St. Francis, SD) after buying the station from the St. Francis Mission last fall for $1. As first noted by DX-midAMerica, KINI is now carrying a Top 40 format. While full-time Top 40 may be unusual for a tribal station, KINI's new format complements the mix of Native, Country, and Rock music heard on the tribe's KOYA/88.1 (Rosebud, SD). KINI, which is a commercial station, had previously carried a wide mix of Catholic and Native programming with some Adult Contemporary and Country music. St. Francis Mission noted on its website last year that it will get 10 hours of airtime per week for the next 15 years. KOYA broadcasts with 51kW/195m while KINI uses 90kW/152m (both class C1). (2/27/2018)

Two longtime radio stations in central Iowa are being sold to a company held by their general manager and a current minority owner in the station. According to a press release posted on Facebook, Trending Media is buying KFJB/1230 (Marshalltown) and "Kix 101" (KXIA/101.1 Marshalltown) from Marshalltown Broadcasting. The purchase price was not disclosed but may become known when the application to transfer the licenses becomes publicly available in the FCC database. Trending Media is owned by current KFJB/KXIA general manager Todd Steinkamp and Robert and Colleen Holtan; Robert Holtan owns 8 percent of current licensee Marshalltown Broadcasting, with other current shareholders based in Wisconsin and Michigan. Elsewhere, the Holtans' Decorah Broadcasting owns KDEC/1240 and KDEC-FM/100.5 (Decorah). Steinkamp has been with the stations for 15 years. KFJB carries a News/Talk format and KXIA carries Country with a rimshot signal to Ames. (2/24/2018)

Milwaukee has received its seventh and eighth FM signals relaying formats originating on AM, with several more potentially coming.

Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin reports that 99-Watt W241CI/96.1 has signed on, relaying the Gospel format of Joel Kinlow's WGLB/1560. The translator license was moved north from Illinois a result of the second 2016 AM Revitalization filing window.

Meanwhile, WTMJ/620 reports that its News/Talk/Sports format is now being relayed on 250-Watt W277CV/103.3. W277CV is owned by Frank Glass McCoy, who moved the translator north from Illinois using "Mattoon waiver," which allows translators to be moved farther than normal when they pledge to relay a specified AM station.

W277CV had originally sought to move to Milwaukee as a translator of WRRD/1510 but dropped that application and filed a new one to instead relay WTMJ. The change initially promoted an objection from WRRD, which later received a construction permit for a translator on 101.7 during the 2017 AM Revitalization filing window.

WGLB and WTMJ join AM stations WPTT/1540 (92.9), WJTI/1460 (97.9), WJYI/1340 (98.7), WZTI/1290 (100.3 and 107.3), WSSP/1250 (105.7), and WNOV/860 (106.5) in having FM translators. (See a complete list on the Wisconsin Radio Markets page.) WAUK/540 and WSJP/1640 also have pending applications for FM signals, leaving iHeartMedia's WOKY/920 and WISN/1130 as the only AM stations in Milwaukee not seeking translators. (2/24/2018)

The Minnesota Broadcasters Association has hired Stephen M. Usery as its interim executive director. Usery comes from a background in financial and operational management, including work with Oneworld Alliance, US Airways, Northwest Airlines, Sun Trust Banks, and Twin Cities PBS. The Association said in a news release that Usery's first priority will be to stabilize operations and work closely with the board, accounting, and legal advisors to create a budget, complete tax records, and provide updates to members. He will represent the MBA at the NAB State Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., this Sunday. (2/22/2018)

Sinclair Broadcast Group intends to sell a station in Des Moines, as well as WPIX (New York) and others, as part of a nationwide divestiture to gain regulatory approval of its acquisition of Tribune Media.

In a filing that appeared in the FCC database on Wednesday morning, Sinclair is seeking to transfer nearly two dozen full-power licenses to Sinclair Divestiture Trust, headed by Richard A. Foreman.

However, not all of the stations may be divested. For example, in Des Moines, Sinclair filed applications to place both NBC affiliate WHO/13.1 and FOX affiliate KDSM/17.1 into trust, but says it only actually intends to divest one of the stations but does not yet know which one will be sold.

Sinclair would retain all other current Sinclair and Tribune stations in the Upper Midwest.

Nationally, Sinclair seeks to divest a few other stations to comply with the national ownership cap, but different Sinclair filings submitted on the same day contain conflicting accounts of which stations will be spun off. Both filings say WPIX (New York) and KSWB-TV (San Diego) will be divested, while one also says WGN-TV (Chicago) will be divested. Read the documents here: 24-page document, 102-page document. (2/21/2018)

Four Ingstad family stations in North Dakota have shuffled, tweaked, or changed their formats as one FM simulcast begins and an AM trimulcast ends:

  • KXGT/98.3 (Carrington-Jamestown) is now simulcasting the "Farm News and Real Country" format of "Thunder 106-1" (KQLX-FM Lisbon-Fargo). Sister station "Big Dog 95.5" (KYNU Jamestown) also carries a Country format but is more music-intensive and focuses on New Country. (The 98.3 signal was actually KYNU's original home before a format swap in 2005.)
  • KXGT's former Classic Hits "Ted FM" format continues on K246AM/97.1 (Jamestown) and K274BH/102.7 (Valley City), originating on the HD2 signal of KRVX/103.1 (Wimbledon-Jamestown). K274BH had previously carried "Ted FM," while K246AM had relayed ESPN Radio from KQDJ/1400 (Jamestown); KQDJ has a construction permit for new FM translator K296HH/107.1 (Jamestown).
  • KDAK/1600 (Carrington) has dropped the ag-intensive "Dakota Country Radio" format that originates at KOVC/1490 (Valley City) and is now carrying Classic Hits as "The Cardinal." KDAK has a construction permit for new translator K261EW/100.1 (Carrington), but it appears it's not yet on the air.
  • KDDR/1220 (Oakes) has also dropped the "Dakota Country" simulcast but remains Country as "The Tornado" following the sign-on of translator K240CJ/95.9 (Oakes).

KOVC continues to carry an information-intensive Country format but appears to have dropped the "Dakota Country" slogan. It recently added FM translator K242CZ/96.3 (Valley City). (2/20/2018)

iHeartMedia's "Hot 102.5" has transitioned from Classic Hip-Hop/R&B to a contemporary Hip-Hop/R&B format, retaining the "Hot" slogan. The change was first noted by RadioInsight and happened Feb. 12. "Hot 102.5" is heard on the Educational Media Foundation's K273BH/102.5 (Fridley-Minneapolis), which transmits from the IDS Center, and the HD3 channel iHeart's KTCZ/97.1 (Minneapolis).

The new format competes primarily with Northern Lights Broadcasting's two-year-old "Go 95-3" (KZGO St. Paul-Minneapolis). Non-commercial outlet KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis) has served the African American community for four decades and currently carries an Urban Adult Contemporary format on its main channel, with current Hip-Hop and R&B on HD2.

102.5's change ends the unusual situation of having two Classic Hip-Hop formats in the Twin Cities; Cumulus Media continues to carry the format on its "105 The Vibe" trimulcast. (2/18/2018)

Salem Communications Conservative Talk station WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis) has applied to move from its longtime transmitter site in St. Louis Park to its studio site in Eagan, where it would be co-located with sister station KKMS/980.

WWTC currently transmits with 5kW using a non-directional pattern during the day and a directional pattern at night; it proposes using 10kW day and 15kW night from Eagan with slightly different daytime and nighttime directional patterns. (Various coverage maps are included in this engineering statement beginning on page 31.)

The move would improve WWTC's signal to St. Paul and the eastern and southern suburbs but slightly weaken its signal in the western suburbs.

The application did not specify a reason for the proposed move. Salem also recently moved the planned site for a WWTC translator on 107.5 FM from the St. Louis Park site to the KYCR/1440 site in Golden Valley, though Salem's KDIZ/1570 also transmits from the St. Louis Park site and has not applied to move.

WWTC is one of the oldest radio stations in Minnesota, having signed on in 1925 as WRHM, and has transmitted from St. Louis Park for more than 50 years, according to FCC history cards. (2/17/2018)

No double-dipping: The FCC has dismissed several Upper Midwest AM stations' applications for new FM translators because they had already applied for translators during a previous window. The FCC cited the earlier applications in dismissing proposed new FM translators for KMHL/1400 (Marshall, MN), KOWZ/1170 (Waseca, MN), and KHND/1470 (Harvey, ND). KMHL and KOWZ were both granted waivers to move translators during 2016 AM revitalization filing windows, and their new translators are both on the air. However, KHND's first application was dismissed for failure to file a required form by a deadline and the station was never granted a translator. (2/17/2018)

Gray TV is buying a second full-power station in the Fargo-Grand Forks market, My Network TV station KCPM/27 (Grand Forks), from Charles Poppen's G.I.G. of North Dakota, LLC for $255,000. KCPM recently returned to the air after having been silent for much of the past year due to problems delivering programming to the transmitter.

Gray also owns NBC affiliate KVLY-TV/11.1 (Fargo) and low-power CBS affiliate KXJB-LD (Horace-Fargo), the latter of which is simulcast on KVLY-DT2 and rebroadcast on LPTV stations in the Grand Forks and Mayville areas. KCPM is currently licensed for an 11.1kW signal but a news story posted on KVLY's website says the new owners will upgrade KCPM to cover the entire Fargo market. The article says management is still considering programming options for KCPM, which will get a new callsign.

Gray says in its filing that the purchase of KCPM should be allowed because of a recent FCC change that simplified rules to only restrict ownership of top-four stations; previously, Gray would have had to seek a waiver because the sale would have left fewer than eight TV ownership voices in the market. (2/12/2018)

NBC affiliate KNBN/21 (Rapid City) returned to DirecTV on Feb. 4, just in time for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. A retransmission consent dispute had taken the station off the satellite provider on Jan. 1. The Rapid City market covers the western third of South Dakota as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. (2/10/2018)

With the News/Talk format of KNSI/1450 (St. Cloud) now being relayed on new translator K257GK/99.3 (St. Cloud), original KNSI translator K277BS/103.3 (St. Cloud) is slated to split off with a different format. As first reported by RadioInsight, a Facebook page is teasing a March 5 flip to "Z Rock," originating on the HD3 signal of KZPK/98.9 (Payesville-St. Cloud). The stations are owned by Leighton Enterprises. "Z Rock" would compete with the Hard Rock format of Tri-County Broadcasting's "Rockin' 101" (WHMH/101.7 Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud) and the Classic Rock format of Townsquare Media's "103.7 The Loon" (KLZZ Waite Park-St. Cloud), the latter of which used a "Z103" slogan in the `90s. St. Cloud also has fringe reception of Twin Cities Hard Rocker "93X" (KXXR/93.7 Minneapolis). (2/8/2018)

Canadian regulators have approved a move to FM for CBC Radio One in Ear Falls. The CBC's CBOI will move from a 40-Watt signal on AM 690 to a 50-Watt signal on FM 95.5. The CRTC says it received no interventions to the application. The only other radio signal receiveable in Ear Falls, except for nighttime AM skywave, is a 50-Watt rebroadcaster of commercial Adult Contemporary outlet CKDR-FM (Dryden) on 97.5. (2/6/2018)

The FCC database is now listing applications for new FM translators that were filed during the most recent AM revitalization filing window, and 98 applications were filed in the Upper Midwest. Some of the applications conflict and will ultimately need to be resolved through amendments or an auction. As you might expect, the band is getting quite full after several rounds of translator and low-power FM applications, and many of the frequencies now being sought are more likely to receive interference complaints from existing stations (for example, five St. Cloud-area applications are one dial position away from Twin Cities signals). Many AM stations that already have translators have applied for new ones, presumably either allowing the original translator to be repurposed (to relay an HD2 channel, for example) or to cover a different area.

Several applications were filed in the Twin Cities area:

  • WCTS/1030 (Maplewood) seeks a 250-Watt translator on 97.9 in Plymouth (northwest metro), which is where WCTS' studio is located. It would use a directional antenna pointed to the west to avoid interence to LPFM stations in St. Paul and Lakeville. WCTS carries a non-commercial Christian format and is owned by Central Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • KLBB/1220 (Stillwater) seeks a 250-Watt translator on 107.5 from Stillwater, which is in the northeast metro. Salem's WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis) already has a construction permit for the same frequency in the west metro, and KBGY/107.5 (Faribault) can be heard in the south metro. KLBB is owned by Endurance Broadcasting and carries Soft Oldies and Talk.
  • WLOL/1330 (Minneapolis) seeks a 100-Watt translator on 105.3 in Minnetonka (west-central metro), which is on the same frequency as far north metro signal WRXP/105.3 (Cambridge). However, the new translator might not elicit complaints since WRXP's programming is in a simulcast with WWWM/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis). WLOL carries the Catholic "Relevant Radio" network.
Visit the 2018 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page for a full list of the applications. (The 2017 and 2016 applications are also linked from the lefthand column of this page.) (2/5/2018)

KHUB/1340 (Fremont) switched to Country as "The Big Dog" on Feb. 1 following the launch of K255DF/98.9 (Fremont). The new format includes gold from the `80s and `90s along with current Country and continues to include "Morning Fremont," local newscasts and sports play-by-play, and the statewide "Sports Nightly" show at 6 p.m. KHUB and "The Best Mix 105.5" (KFMT Fremont) are owned by the Seline family's Walnut Radio LLC and serve an area under the umbrella of the major Omaha stations, with fringe coverage of Omaha. (2/4/2018)

The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:

  • Indianola, IA: KXLQ/1490, K239CR/95.7, 99W [TL: Des Moines]
  • Sigourney, IA: KMZN/740 (Oskaloosa), K280GT/103.9, 250W
  • Jamestown, ND: KQDJ/1400, K296HH/107.1, 250W
  • Sheboygan, WI: WCLB/950, W297CK/107.3, 250W

Only 17 of the original 110 Upper Midwest applications filed during the window remain pending; 11 of those were part of mutually exclusive groups that may have resolved their conflicts through amendments. The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (2/3/2018)

JF Broadcasting, the owner of KWSD/36.1 (Sioux Falls), will pay a $17,500 civil penalty as part of a consent decree settling allegations of late public file documents and incorrect statments on an application. The station allegedly failed to place required issues/program lists and reports on children's programming commercial time in its public file in a timely fashion for several years beginning in 2007. It then asserted that the filings had been made on its 2013 license renewal application. The consent decree will terminate the investigation, and the FCC has agreed to a two-year license renewal for KWSD.

KWSD had past affiliations with PAX TV, The WB, The CW, and Me-TV, but had been silent for much of the past two years due to transmitter problems. It returned to the air as an independent in November. No program listings are available online, but its most recent public file reports list Shepherd's Chapel Family Bible Study, Wild America, children's programming, and reruns of a 1950's cooking show. KWSD is licensed for 36.9kW but has applied to increase to 1,000kW. (1/31/2018)

KCRG-TV reports that a Monday night car crash killed longtime eastern Iowa radio station owner Rob Norton, along with another driver, 28-year-old Jennifer Koenighain of Cedar Rapids. Norton, a 69-year-old Iowa City resident, was the president of KZIA, Inc. and owned 30 percent of the company. KZIA owns KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids), KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids), and four translators in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City that relay HD subchannels from KZIA. KZIA-HD2 and two of the translators carry a broad Classic Rock format called "Rob FM," named for Norton and harkening back to the music played on KRNA/93.9 (Iowa City) when Norton and Eliot Keller founded it in the 1970's. Services had not been announced as of Tuesday evening. (1/30/2018)

A second effort to establish a station on 107.7 in the Omaha market has apparently ended with the station returning to southeastern Nebraska. Last month, the FCC granted a license to cover for the Educational Media Foundation's KIMI/107.9 (Humboldt, NE). Previous owner Kona Coast Radio had attempted to move KIMI into the Omaha market, transmitting on 107.7 from a tower near Tabor, IA. However, complaints of interference to airplane navigation communications on an adjacent frequency at Offutt Air Force Base prevented KIMI's license from ever being granted. The station had special temporary authority to operate at reduced power from the Tabor site for several years. EMF has not applied for any new KIMI facility since the license to cover the Humboldt facility was granted on Dec. 28. Longtime readers will recall that before KIMI, Connoisseur Media attempted to activate KGGG/107.7 (Pacific Junction-Omaha) in the mid-2000's but was refunded its $4,397,250 FCC auction bid after similar complaints from Offutt. (KIMI and KGGG are not related to a translator that previously transmitted on 107.7 in Omaha.) (1/29/2018)

Several unrelated DTV subchannel announcements and updates:

Minneapolis: Tegna's KARE is adding Quest on channel 11.4. The adventure channel, which is a partnership of Tegna and Cooper Media, officially launches nationally on Monday (1/29) and has been showing a promo loop for a couple of weeks.

Rochester/Mason City: Tribune Broadcasting announced that Heartland Media's KIMT (Mason City-Rochester) will add Antenna TV. A post on the network's Facebook page said the addition will come in about 90 days, but Antenna TV's channel number on KIMT was not announced. KIMT currently carries CBS on 3.1, MyNetworkTV and syndicated programming on 3.2, and ION on 3.3.

Ottumwa: As previously reported, American Spirit Media's KYOU-TV added NBC on channel 15.2 on Jan. 24. Grit moved to 15.3 and Escape moved to 15.4, which is an update from KYOU's initial Facebook statement saying that Escape would be dropped. The new NBC channel does not carry local newscasts, instead filling traditional evening news timeslots with syndicated news/entertainment magazine shows. (1/28/2018)

The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:

  • Sheldon, IA: KIWA/1550, K264CW/100.7, 250W
  • Rochester, MN: KROC/1340, K245CX/96.9, 250W
  • St. Cloud, MN: WJON/1240, W237EU/95.3, 250W
  • Lincoln, NE: KLIN/1400, K257GN/99.3, 250W
  • Sioux Falls, SD: KSOO/1000, K272FZ/102.3, 250W
  • Sturgis, SD: KBHB/810, K288HB/105.5, 250W
  • Ashland, WI: WATW/1400, W267CS/101.3, 250W
  • Dodgeville, WI: WDMP/810, W245DE/96.9, 250W
  • Eagle River, WI: WERL/950, W285FS/104.9, 250W
  • Green Bay, WI: WDUZ/1400, W238DA/95.5, 250W
  • Merrill, WI: WJMT/730, W242CZ/96.3, 250W
  • Neillsville: WCCN/1370, W253CN/98.5, 250W
  • Seneca, WI: WPRE/980 (Prairie du Chien), W267CT/101.3, 250W

The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/27/2018)

Big Radio's WGEZ/1490 (Beloit) has gone off the air due to transmitter failure. The station tells the FCC in a notification of suspension of operations that the transmitter failed on Jan. 20, and WGEZ will remain silent pending an investigation and equipment repair or replacement. WGEZ's Classic Country format continues on W270CW/101.9 (Beloit), which is seeking special temporary authority to continue carrying WGEZ's programming while WGEZ itself is off the air. (1/25/2018)

A southern Iowa station owner is appealing the FCC's decision to revoke his license.

In December, the FCC's Audio Division sent Justin McLuckie a letter informing him that his license for KMYQ/97.1 (North English) was considered expired because McLuckie had allegedly failed to prove that KMYQ was on the air between 2013 and 2016. The FCC's inquiry stemmed from an effort to return KMYQ to the air in late September and to sell it to a company related to the Oskaloosa radio stations.

Now, McLuckie's counsel has filed a petition for reconsideration alleging that the FCC did not give McLuckie due process or adequate time to present evidence.

The petition includes a declaration from an engineer saying that he had been providing services for KMYQ for about four years and though the station did have periods of silence, it was never off the air for more than one year during his involvement. It also contains an affadavit from the owner of a grain elevator saying that, "to the best of my knowledge and belief, KMYQ-FM commenced broadcasting from my facility in April of 2013 and did so until the equipment was removed several years later."

The petition also includes copies of numerous receipts resulting from the 2017 work to return the station to the air, including $25,000 for a tower, $5,557.93 for an antenna, and $29.94 for two dozen tacos to feed the construction crew.

McLuckie's counsel also filed a motion for stay requesting that the license revocation be put on hold while the petition is considered. (1/22/2018)

The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:

  • Elkader, IA: KADR/1400, K244FQ/96.7, 250W
  • Grundy Center, IA: KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown), K224FM/92.7, 250W
  • Independence, IA: KQMG/1220, K241CX/96.1, 250W
  • Iron River, MI: WFER/1230, W250CQ/97.9, 250W
  • Marquette, MI: WZAM/970 (Ishpeming), W295CX/106.9, 250W
  • Menominee, MI: WAGN/1340, W261DM/100.1, 250W
  • Munising, MI: WQXO/1400, W249DR/97.7, 250W
  • Duluth, MN: KJOQ/1490, W265DO/100.9, 250W (see earlier item)
  • Hutchinson, MN: KDUZ/1260, K243CQ/96.5, 250W
  • Morris, MN: KMRS/1230, K299BX/107.7, 250W
  • New Prague, MN: KCHK/1350, K294DF/106.7, 250W
  • New Ulm, MN: KNUJ/860, K247CU/97.3, 250W
  • Owatonna, MN: KRFO/1390, K234DB/94.7, 250W
  • Theif River Falls, MN: KTRF/1230, K227DF/93.3, 250W
  • Theif River Falls, MN: KKAQ/1460, K253CL/98.5, 250W
  • Willmar, MN: KDJS/1590, K289CO/105.7, 250W
  • Hastings, NE: KHAS/1230, K281CW/104.1, 250W
  • McCook, NE: KNGN/1360, K252FV/98.3, 250W
  • Langdon, ND: KNDK/1080, K254DC/98.7, 250W
  • Valley City, ND: KOVC/1490, K242CZ/96.3, 250W
  • Custer, SD: KFCR/1490, K256DD/99.1, 250W
  • Milbank, SD: KMSD/1510, K236CU/95.1, 250W
  • Baraboo, WI: WRDB/1400 (Reedsburg), W247CY/97.3, 250W
  • Durand, WI: WRDN/1430, W297CH/107.3, 250W
  • Hurley, WI: WHRY/1450, W275CR/102.9, 250W
  • Park Falls, WI: WPFP/980, W276DJ/103.1, 250W
  • Rice Lake, WI: WJMC/1240, W243ED/96.5, 250W
  • Rice Lake, WI: WAQE/1090, W299CQ/107.7, 250W

The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/20/2018)

Twin Ports Radio LLC has signed on new FM translator W265DO/100.9 (Duluth), relaying NBC Sports Radio from KJOQ/1490. The 250-Watt translator received final approval Wednesday (1/17) and was on the air within a day. Twin Ports Radio, owned by Dan and Alana Hatfield, bought KJOQ and "92-1 The Fan" (WWAX Hermantown-Duluth) as part of the Red Rock Radio selloff last year. W265DO is the seventh FM translator to sign on in Duluth and the fifth to relay an AM station. (1/18/2018)

Some applications for FM translators that have been gathering dust at the FCC for 15 years may finally be sorted out this spring. A June 21 auction has been set for competing applications that were filed in a 2003 window and never resolved. In the Upper Midwest, the competing applications are in Dubuque ($750 minimum opening bid); Gladstone, MI ($750); Menominee, MI ($1,500); La Crosse ($2,500); and Oshkosh ($3,500). (Here's the full national list.) Only those groups which applied in the 2003 window are eligible to participate, and it's not clear whether all are still interested -- some associated with the original filings have since passed away. FM translators are much more in demand now than they were in 2003 since they can now be used to relay AM and HD2 signals, though AM station owners have had several opportunities to procure translators in the past two years. (1/17/2018)

For the first time in television history, Ottumwa will finally have a full set of network affiliates with the launch of the market's first primary NBC channel. American Spirit Media's KYOU-TV has announced that it will begin carrying NBC on channel 15.2 sometime around Jan. 24, just in time for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. NBC will be carried in HD, joining FOX on channel 15.1 (KYOU has been a FOX affiliate since its 1986 sign-on). Grit will move from 15.2 to 15.3 and Escape, currently on 15.3, will be dropped, according to the station's replies to comments on its Facebook page. KYOU will continue to carry a 9 p.m. newscast on its FOX channel and there was no mention of any local newscasts being carried on the NBC channel.

NBC has never had a primary affiliate in the Ottumwa-Kirksville area. KTVO/3 (Kirksville), which is the only other station in the market, had a secondary NBC affiliation in its first few decades on the air but dropped it in the 1970's. (It's now owned by Sinclair and carries ABC on 3.1 and CBS on 3.2.) Other NBC affiliates are too far away to be received over the air in Ottumwa, though NBC affiliate WHO-TV (Des Moines) was carried on the Ottumwa Area Translator System until the system left the air more than four years ago. Cable and satellite systems in the market carry either the Des Moines or Kansas City NBC affiliates; there was no initial mention of cable and satellite availability of KYOU's new NBC channel, though KYOU-DT2 is currently seen on Mediacom channel 103 in Ottumwa. (1/14/2018)

The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:

  • Creston, IA: KSIB/1520, K271CT/102.1, 250W
  • Decorah, IA: KDEC/1240, K235CT/94.9, 250W
  • Spencer, IA: KICD/1240, K273DD/102.5, 250W
  • Brainerd, MN: KVBR/1340, W236DF/95.1, 250W
  • Detroit Lakes, MN: KDLM/1340, K245CU/96.9, 250W
  • Eveleth, MN: KRBT/1340, W285FP/104.9, 250W
  • Minneapolis, MN: KSTP/1500 (St. Paul), K231BO/94.1, 2W directional (this was a remaining application from the 2016 window)
  • Ortonville, MN: KDIO/1350, K233DL/94.5, 250W
  • St. Cloud, MN: KNSI/1450, K257GK/99.3, 250W
  • St. Paul, MN: KFXN/690 (Minneapolis), K285CQ/104.9, 100W [TL: New Hope]
  • Staples, MN: KNSP/1430, K253CK/98.5, 250W
  • Winona, MN: KAGE/1380, K268DJ/101.5, 200W
  • Ainsworth, NE: KBRB/1400, K292HE/106.3, 250W
  • Cozad, NE: KAMI/1580, K224FL/92.7, 250W
  • Hastings, NE: KICS/1550, K224FK/92.7, 250W
  • Dickinson, ND: KDIX/1230, K264CV/100.7, 250W
  • Lisbon, ND: KQLX/890, K297BX/107.3, 250W
  • Mayville, ND: KMAV/1550, K255DG/98.9, 250W
  • Rugby, ND: KZZJ/1450, K221GN/92.1, 250W
  • De Forest, WI: WPDR/1350 (Portage), W255DE/98.9, 250W
  • Janesville, WI: WHA/970 (Madison), W262DD/100.3, 250W
  • Medford, WI: WIGM/1490, W296DL/107.1, 250W
  • Milwaukee, WI: WRRD/1510 (Waukesha), W269DL/101.7, 200W
  • Tomah, WI: WBOG/1460, W267CO/100.7, 250W

The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/13/2018)

Sinclair Broadcast Group has opted to return the license for "My24" WCGV/24.1 (Milwaukee) following the spectrum auction.

Sinclair sold WCGV's spectrum on RF channel 25 in the auction for $84,317,523 and had originally indicated that it would retain WCGV's license by channel-sharing with sister CW affiliate WVTV/18. However, following this week's shutdown of the WCGV transmitter, Sinclair filed a cancellation application with the FCC, which was quickly granted. The move comes as Sinclair seeks approval to buy Tribune Broadcasting, which owns FOX 6 (WITI), and surrendering WCGV's license could help alleviate some regulatory concerns.

Returning WCGV's license means a loss of must-carry rights for its "My24" programming and presumably also means Sinclair will eventually have to stop using virtual channel 24.1. For now, the station's website indicates "My24" is being seen on virtual channels 18.2 and 24.1, both originating from WVTV's transmitter.

WCGV had been on the air since 1980 and became the market's first FOX affiliate in 1987, switching to UPN in 1995 after FOX went to WITI/6 and then to MyNetworkTV in 2006 when UPN ended its run.

Three other Milwaukee-market stations that surrendered their bandwidth in the auction have kept their licenses and continue to offer programming through channel-sharing agreements. (1/10/2018)

CBS has returned the license of KCCO-TV/7 (Alexandria) following its shutdown last month. CBS sold the VHF bandwidth of KCCO, which was a satellite of WCCO-TV (Minneapolis), in the spectrum auction for $9,987,598 and the station left the air Dec. 30. WCCO has been added to a translator system in Alexandria, but KCCO's shutdown leaves some rural areas of western Minnesota without over-the-air access to CBS, joining NBC and FOX. The region is served by full-power ABC affiliate KSAX/42.1 (Alexandria) and PBS station KWCM/10.1 (Appleton). (1/10/2018)

A company with ties to other southern Minnesota stations is buying Fairmont's longtime AM-FM combo, KSUM/1370 and KFMC/106.5. City of Lakes Media is buying the stations from Charles V. Woodward's Woodward Broadcasting for $800,000. Documents filed with the FCC indicate the deal also includes non-compete and consulting agreements for Woodward, who has owned the stations for several decades. 1kW KFMC carries a Farm/Country format and 100kW KFMC carries Classic Rock. City of Lakes Media is headed by Matt Ketelsen of Lakeville, who owns 25 percent of the company. Other owners include Lynn Ketelsen of Owatonna (25%), David Legault of West Concord (25%), and The JRL Revocable Trust of 2015 (25%). The Ketelsens and the Trust also hold interests in 18 other radio stations in southern Minnesota, including two in St. James and five in the Mankato market. An engineering statement shows that the combination complies with ownership caps. (1/8/2018)

The FCC has begun granting applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window. It appears tiny KTGO/1090 (Tioga, ND) was the first station in the nation to be granted an FM translator under this round -- a construction permit for K224FJ/92.7 (Tioga) was granted on Dec. 29. It appears no other applications from the window were approved until the new year.

Here are applications that had been granted as of Friday, Jan. 5:

  • Cherokee, IA: KCHE/1440, K234CX/94.7, 250W
  • Council Bluffs: KLNG/1560, K268DI/101.5, 175W (added 1/5)
  • Indianola, IA: KNIA/1320 (Knoxville), K232FR/94.3, 220W
  • Marshalltown, IA: KFJB/1230, K230CB/93.9, 250W (added 1/5)
  • Webster City, IA: KZWC/1570, K268DH/101.5, 250W
  • Escanaba, MI: WCHT/600, W228DQ/93.5, 250W
  • Hancock, MI: WMPL/920, W297CD/107.3, 250W
  • Manistique, MI: WTIQ/1490, W253CG/98.5, 250W
  • Bemidji, MN: KBUN/1450, K261EV/100.1, 250W
  • Blue Earth, MN: KBEW/1560, K237GT/95.3, 250W
  • Glenwood, MN: KXRA/1490 (Alexandria), K289CL/105.7, 250W (added 1/5)
  • Windom, MN: KDOM/1580, K276GN/103.1, 250W
  • Carrington, ND: KDAK/1600, K261EW/100.1, 250W (added 1/5)
  • Tioga, ND: KTGO/1090, K224FJ/92.7, 250W
  • Alliance, NE: KCOW/1400, K223CY/92.5, 250W (added 1/5)
  • Fremont, NE: KHUB/1340, K255DF/98.9, 250W
  • Kearney, NE: KXPN/1460, K221GM/92.1, 250W
  • Norfolk, NE: KTIC/840 (West Point), K254CX/98.7, 250W
  • Mitchell, SD: KORN/1490, 101.3, K267CN/250W (added 1/5)
  • Pierre, SD: KCCR/1240, K255DE/98.9, 250W
  • River Falls, WI: WEVR/1550, W226CK/93.1, 250W
  • Shell Lake, WI: WCSW/940, W224DN/92.7, 250W

The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/4/2018, updated 1/5)

KFIL/1060 (Preston) has gone off the air due to transmitter problems. The station, a 1kW daytimer, tells the FCC that its transmitter failed on Dec. 2 and that replacement parts are on order. KFIL is owned by Townsquare Media and was last known to simulcast the "True Country" format of KFIL-FM/103.1 (Chatfield-Preston), occasionally breaking away for some syndicated talk shows. (1/2/2018)

A retransmission consent dispute took NBC affiliate KNBN/21 (Rapid City) off DirecTV as of Jan. 1. KNBN is owned by Rapid Broadcasting and is the only locally-owned station in the Black Hills, as well as one of the last locally-owned network affiliates in the country. The Rapid City market covers the western third of South Dakota as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. (1/2/2018)

News archive...

Newspaper/Web Articles

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Grit TV returns to Milwaukee's airwaves on Channel 4.4 (3/8)
Des Moines Register: Could Meredith buy WHO-TV or KDSM? (3/7)
Star Tribune: Keillor says sex talk was mutual, shares hundreds of e-mails (2/26)
Star Tribune: KARE's McNiff leaving 'Sunrise' for new duties at station (2/19)
Star Tribune: Source of Garrison Keillor allegations shocks those close to radio host (2/16)
MinnPost: Why the Twins returned to WCCO radio (2/15)
Iowa Public Radio: Legendary Iowa Broadcaster and Radio Pioneer Don Forsling Passes Away (2/8)
Star Tribune: KARE news director Jane Helmke steps down (2/12)
Duluth News Tribune: Dylan expert John Bushey dies at 56 (2/10)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jerry Bader cites Trump coverage for loss of WTAQ radio show (2/8)
Star Tribune: Carly Zucker's new KFAN show is station's first female-led program in a decade (2/7)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scripps, parent of WTMJ-AM and WKTI, putting all of its radio stations up for sale (1/25)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Reporter/anchor Michele McCormack out after 12 years at WDJT-TV (1/25)
Star Tribune: MPR says woman accused Keillor of 'dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents' (1/23)
Star Tribune: MPR's Tom Weber reassigned because of romantic relationship with Peggy Flanagan (1/12)
Older articles...