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WISCONSIN:
A pair of shared-time low-power FM stations in Milwaukee has gone off the air after losing their tower site. Faith Community Development Corporation's WPJQ-LP/101.3 and Inner City Development Project's WKJJ-LP/101.3 carry a mixture of Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Notifications of suspension of operations filed with the FCC say the stations went silent on Sept. 10 and they are working to find a new tower site. (9/20/2018)

MINNESOTA/SOUTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Numerous stations have recently informed the FCC that they are operating at reduced power for various reasons:

NEBRASKA:
The owner of four small non-commercial stations in Nebraska and three other states has surrendered their licenses after an FCC inquiry into their operational status. They include KTTE/90.1 (Humboldt, NE) and other stations Better Public Broadcasting Association had owned in Colorado and Oklahoma.

The FCC began an investigation into KTTE's status after the owner of the station's licensed tower site alleged that it hadn't had a transmitter there since 2013. Last month, the FCC sent a letter asking Better Public Broadcasting to provide documentation of the station's operation since 2014. A trustee for the organization then sent a letter surrendering the licenses of KTTE and the other three stations, saying that they had left the air due to "health issues with the primary member of the licensee."

It doesn't appear KTTE ever offered any long-term programming - it had applied for its license to cover in 2012 and, a month later, filed what would be the first in a series of requests for special temporary authority to remain silent. Its existence as a licensed station allowed KIMI/107.9 to move from Humboldt to Malvern, IA, since FCC rules wouldn't otherwise have allowed a change that removed a community's only license. (9/19/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Christensen Broadcasting has signed on two FM translators in southwestern Minnesota with large coverage areas, using one to relay an AM station and the other to carry a format originating on an HD Radio subchannel. K231DG/94.1 and K257FP/99.3 both transmit from the KSMN-TV tower near Chandler with 250 Watts and antennas at about 343 meters above average terrain, giving them coverage roughly equivalent to that of a 3kW/91m station (the original maximum for class A stations). The translators have strong signals to Slayton and fringe coverage of Worthington, Luverne, and Pipestone. K231DG relays the Farm/Country format of Christensen's KLOH/1050 (Pipestone). K257FP had previously transmitted from Pipestone and relayed KLOH, but now carries a Contemporary Christian format originating on the HD3 signal of Christensen's KJOE/106.1 (Slayton) as "KD Radio." KJOE as well as Christensen's KISD/98.7 (Pipestone), which carries Oldies, also transmit from the Chandler tower. (9/15/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
Midwest Communications' KQSF/95.7 (Dell Rapids-Sioux Falls) has switched to Contemporary Hits, dropping its previous Classic Hits format but keeping the "Q95.7" name with an updated logo. The syndicated format debut came after a few days of stunting with dramatic readings of well-known song lyrics. The new "Q95.7" competes directly with Townsquare Media's "Hot 104.7" (KKLS-FM Sioux Falls), which has been operating at reduced power since April due to storm damage. This is apparently the first time since the early 1980's that the city has had two competing local Top 40 stations. KQSF rimshots Sioux Falls with a 25kW signal from north of town and is part of a seven-station cluster that also includes Country, Adult Contemporary, Rock, Talk, and Sports formats. (9/13/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA:
The University of North Dakota is selling its pair of Grand Forks radio stations to Prairie Public Broadcasting, which has been providing programming on the stations for nearly two decades. The sale price is $220,000. KUND-FM/89.3 carries Prairie Public's main network of NPR News and Classical music, while KFJM/90.7 is the flagship for an Adult Alternative, Folk, and Jazz format heard mostly on HD2 signals elsewhere in the state. The sale also includes translator K202BK/88.3 (Thief River Falls, MN). The stations compete for public radio listeners with Minnesota Public Radio's News and Classical networks. (9/13/2018)

MINNESOTA:
A network of signals in the far northern Twin Cities metro area has switched from "Big Q" Oldies to a Rock-based Classic Hits format as "The Killer Bee." The format is heard on WLKX/95.9 (Forest Lake), W298CE/107.5 (Big Lake-Princeton), WQPM/1300 (Princeton), and the HD3 signals of KLCI/106.1 (Elk River) and KDDG/105.5 (Albany). Outside of morning drive, the format runs without announcers and promises no more than one commercial break per hour. "The Big Q" had first launched on KLCI-HD4 in 2013 and was added on WQPM and the translator in 2014 and WLKX in 2015. The stations are co-owned with the Country "Bob FM" network heard on KLCI, KDDG, and KBGY/107.5 (Faribault). (9/12/2018)

IOWA:
KYOU-TV (Ottumwa) has added CW on channel 15.4, replacing Escape. The change happened on Sept. 1. KYOU also carries FOX on 15.1, NBC on 15.2, and Grit on 15.3. The CW didn't have a previous over-the-air home in the small Kirksville-Ottumwa market, which has only two stations. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and operated by Raycom, which is in the process of buying the station outright as Raycom itself is sold to Gray TV. (9/11/2018)

MINNESOTA:
After the cancellation of Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse's afternoon shows, "1500 ESPN" (KSTP) has moved its former midday team to afternoon drive. Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad, who had previously been heard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., are now joined by Manny Hill and doing a show from 3 to 6 p.m. "until further notice," it was announced Monday afternoon. KSTP is running ESPN Radio at other times. The Hubbard Radio station also has several full-time positions open which Mackey Tweeted are for a "new digital, Minnesota sports media platform."

Soucheray and Reusse's show had also been syndicated regionally. KDAL/610 (Duluth), WNMT/650 (Nashwauk-Hibbing), WJON/1240 (St. Cloud), and KWLM/1340 (Willmar) have all replaced Soucheray and Reusse with the syndicated Markley and Van Camp, airing from 1 to 4 p.m. on KDAL and KWLM and 2 to 5 on WNMT and WJON. (9/10/2018, added KDAL/WNMT info 9/11)

IOWA:
A non-profit group headed by the general manager of a commercial radio station in south-central Iowa is buying a financially-challenged non-commercial station in northeastern Iowa. The Postville Chamber of Commerce signed on KPVL/89.1 (Postville) in 2002 with a goal of unifying the diverse meatpacking community, but long-term funding failed to materialize and the station ended most programming efforts in 2015. Recently, KPVL has been operating at reduced power with a mix of Classic Hits. Now, Community Public Media is buying the station for $100. The buyer is headed by Rick Watts, who is also the GM of KBOE/KMZN in Oskaloosa, with his wife Elisa Watts as well as Alex Watts also involved in the organization. Its mission statement says it intends to reflect the diversity of the community and serve its "education, information, cultural, and entertainment needs." (9/9/2018)

WISCONSIN:
The FCC has approved the sale of WBJZ/104.7 (Berlin) to Woodward Communications, dismissing a petition to deny from a company that had formerly operated the station. Martini Broadcasting had programmed WBJZ with a Hot Adult Contemporary format since 2008, but owner Caxambas Corporation reached a deal to sell the station to Woodward earlier this year. Woodward is now using the station to rebroadcast Rocker "Razor 94.7" (WZOR Mishicot-Green Bay). Martini contended that it had the right of first refusal to buy the station, but Caxambas says that right expired in 2013. Now, the FCC's Audio Division says that Martini lacks standing to file a petition to deny and instead treated the complaint as an informal objection, but says Martini failed to show that Woodward is not a qualified licensee or that the sale would not be in the public interest. The letter notes that the Commission leaves contractual disputes to the local courts and that there has been no court order preventing the transfer of the license. (9/9/2018)

IOWA:
UNW Media Holdings is spinning off a pair of western Iowa small-town stations it bought earlier this year. Crawford County Broadcasting, which has ties to two other stations in the region, is buying KDSN/1530 and KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison) for $1.15 million.

That's $100,000 less than UNW Media Holdings, a subsidiary of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, paid for the stations when it bought them from Mikadety Radio Corporation earlier this year.

UNW bought the stations as it proposed moving KDSN-FM to 104.9, retaining its current 6kW, so that Northwestern's KNWI/107.1 (Osceola-Des Moines) can upgrade. Closing will not take place until the FCC has approved the modification applications for both KDSN-FM and KNWI, though the buyers began operating the stations under a time brokerage agreement on Sept. 1.

Crawford County Broadcasting is owned by J.C. Van Ginkel, James M. Field, and Rodney R. Christensen, who also own KNOD/105.3 (Harlan) and KJAN/1220 (Atlantic) through different companies. (9/5/2018)

DTV CHANNEL CHANGES:
The transition to fall has brought changes to digital TV lineups in several markets:

Quad Cities: Gray TV's KWQC added H&I TV on channel 6.4.

Marquette: H&I's website says the network is "coming soon" to WZMQ/19.5.

Milwaukee: Channel 12.2 of WISN-TV made its anticipated switch from Movies! Network to Justice Network. Movies! moved to WYTU-LD/63.3, which is owned by Movies! distributor Weigel Broadcasting. Meanwhile, the new Start TV network launched on WDJT/58.5 and WYTU-LD/63.2. WYTU-LD2 had previously carried This TV; Weigel Vice Chairman Neil Sabin told the Journal Sentinel that ThisTV was not renewed.

Minneapolis: Channel 4.2 of CBS' WCCO-TV, and satellite KCCW/12.2 (Walker), made their anticipated switch from Decades to Start TV. Decades' website says a Minneapolis new affiliate is "coming soon." (9/4/2018)

ONTARIO:
Acadia Broadcasting has brought Classic Hits back to Thunder Bay, switching CJUK-FM/99.9 from "Magic" Hot Adult Contemporary to `70s, `80s, and `90s hits as "The Bay." The new format kicked off Labour Day weekend at Noon on Friday, Aug. 31, with a launch promo recounting the big concerts Thunder Bay has seen since amalgamation in 1970. Acadia had previously run Classic Hits on CKTG-FM/105.3 "The Giant" until switching it to "Country 105" in 2014. CJUK's previous "Magic" format had fit musically between two Dougall Media stations, AC-formatted CKPR-FM/91.5 and the Contemporary Hits "Energy" format on CKED-FM/103.5 and CFQK-FM/104.5. Numeris A12+ ratings for the most recent period available, Fall 2017, showed CJUK ranking fourth out of the five commercial stations in the market of 111,000 people. It had been known as "Magic" since its 2001 sign-on. (8/31/2018)

IOWA/SOUTH DAKOTA:
Saga Broadcasting has launched a Classic Country format called "The Outlaw" on signals in Sioux City in Yankton. The new format, first reported by RadioInsight, originates on the HD2 signal of WNAX-FM/104.1 (Yankton) and is relayed on K260BO/99.9 (Yankton) and K283AG/104.5 (Sioux City). The Sioux City signal had relayed WNAX-FM's primary channel for two decades, while K260BO signed on seven years ago relaying WNAX/570's News/Farm/Talk format. WNAX, which has a blowtorch signal covering parts of five states, is now being heard on new translator K245DA/96.9 (Yankton). (8/31/2018, updated 9/7 with K245DA sign-on)

ILLINOIS/IOWA/MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
A retransmission consent dispute between Quincy Media and DISH Network has taken dozens of stations off DISH nationwide, including 15 in the Upper Midwest. The outage began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 after two extensions. It affects ABC affiliates in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Wausau, the CBS affiliate in Duluth, the FOX affiliate in Quincy, NBC affiliates in Quincy, Waterloo, Sioux City, Rochester, and Duluth, CW affiliates in Waterloo, Sioux City, and Wausau, and the MyNetworkTV channel in Duluth.

The dispute hits Duluth especially hard since, besides the three channels listed above, CW affiliate KDLH has already been off DISH for three months and Independent station KCWV (not associated with Quincy) has been off the air completely for about a month. KDLH first went off DISH because of a dispute between DISH and then-owner SagamoreHill Broadcasting. Quincy closed on a deal to buy KDLH from SagamoreHill on Aug. 1 and KDLH has not returned to DISH, even though SagamoreHill stations have returned. The dispute and outage mean the Duluth locals package now has just four of its previous nine channels. (8/31/2018)

MINNESOTA:
A name well-known in southern Minnesota broadcasting is coming to northern Minnesota. For $10, John David Linder is buying a 40 percent interest in Twin Ports Radio, licensee of "92.1 The Fan" (WWAX Hermantown-Duluth), "The Jock" (KJOQ/1490 Duluth), and KJOQ translator W265DO/100.9 (Duluth). Linder has an interest in 18 southern Minnesota radio stations. Additionally, Dwayne Megaw is buying 20 percent interest in Twin Ports Radio for $4. Megaw is the operations manager for Linder's Mankato group and has no other broadcast holdings. After the closing, existing co-owner Dan Hatfield will retain 40 percent of Twin Ports Radio while Alana Hatfield will exit from ownership. Hatfield, who is also an officer and director for the non-commercial "The Refuge" Christian Hits network, bought WWAX/KJOQ from Red Rock Radio last year. (8/31/2018)

WISCONSIN: (UPDATED)
WFDL/1170 (Waupun-Fond du Lac) and W277AC/103.3 (Waupun) are broadcasting with reduced power after their shared tower collapsed during a storm Tues., Aug. 28. A request for special temporary authority filed with the FCC says WFDL is using 100 Watts from a long wire antenna. A post on the station's Facebook page says new translator W229DE/93.7 (Fond du Lac) remains on the air carrying WFDL's Oldies format. The stations are owned by Radio Plus, Inc. (8/31/2018, updated with FCC filing 9/4)

ONTARIO:
The CBC has signed on new station CBLM-FM/107.5 (Marathon), bringing CBC Radio One service to FM on a long stretch of Lake Superior's North Shore. CBLM-FM transmits with 3.935kW/280m (class B) from an existing CBC tower in Neys Provincial Park west of Marathon, replacing CBLM/1090 (Marathon) and CBEH/1010 (Terrace Bay). The AM transmitters, which both use 40 Watts, are running announcements saying they will leave the air in September. 40-Watt CBLB/1340 (Schreiber), which is just outside of the main coverage areas of CBLM-FM and CBQY/98.9 (Nipigon), will remain on the air. Besides being on FM, the sign-on of CBLM-FM fills in a previous coverage gap between Marathon and Terrace Bay. The CBC has also applied to move CBLW/1010 (White River) to FM. All of the stations relay CBQT/88.3 (Thunder Bay). (8/28/2018)

MINNESOTA:
iHeartMedia has launched KFAN+ on K244FE/96.7 (Calhoun Beach-Minneapolis), displacing Pride Radio. KFAN+ is a sister format to longtime local sports talker K-Fan (KFXN-FM/100.3) and originates on a KFXN-FM HD subchannel, with KFAN+ carrying FOX Sports Radio. A similar pairing had previously been in place with KFXN/690 (Minneapolis) before iHeart donated the AM facility to a Hmong broadcaster in 2011. Pride Radio had launched on K244FE three years ago with a mix of Dance and Pop for the LGBT community. (8/27/2018)

IOWA/MINNESOTA/NORTH DAKOTA:
The following new FM translators are on the air:

  • Charles City, IA: K277DM/103.3, relaying the Oldies format of KCHA/1580
  • Aitkin, MN: K276GQ/103.1, relaying the Soft Oldies format of KKIN/930
  • Beulah, ND: K293CS/106.5, relaying the Sports format of KDKT/1310 (8/23/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has signed on new station KIPI/93.5 (Eagle Butte). KIPI transmits with 100kW/203m (class C1) and provides the first strong signal to parts of the Cheyenne River Reservation. The commercial station began formal broadcasting on Wednesday, Aug. 15, and is planning an open house for Aug. 31. Its schedule includes local information, Native American programming, and a variety of music including Country, Pop, and R&B. (8/23/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA:
Grit TV has come to western North Dakota on KNDB/26.3 (Bismarck) and KNDM/24.3 (Minot). The addition follows BEK Sports Network's purchase of the stations, which also carry H&I TV and BEK Prime programming on DT1 and BEK Sports 24/7 on DT2. (8/23/2018)

NEBRASKA/SOUTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Several stations have recently filed special temporary authority requests with the FCC after damage from storms and other issues:

  • "Mix 97-3" (KMXC) and "Hot 104.7" (KKLS-FM Sioux Falls) continue to broadcast with reduced facilities after an April storm caused a partial tower collapse at their shared site. Both stations have replaced temporary one-bay antennas with temporary two-bay antennas. KMXC increased power to 18.4kW/204m, down from the usual 100kW/260m, while KKLS-FM is now up to 14.7kW/220m, compared with its usual 100kW/299m.
  • KINI/96.1 (Crookston, NE-St. Francis, SD), which normally uses 90kW, is at reduced power after a June 14 storm damaged its intermediate power amplifier. The filing says KINI is using 4.5kW (apparently transmitter power output).
  • WIZM-FM/93.3 (La Crosse) has been transmitting at 40kW since Aug. 2, down from its usual 100kW, due to water damage to its transmitter caused by a leaky roof. An FCC filing says it appears the transmitter will have to be replaced. (8/23/2018)

IOWA/ILLINOIS:
A Christian station in southeastern Iowa is getting its third owner in its 17-year history. Sound in Spirit Broadcasting is buying KMDY/90.9 (Keokuk) and W209CH/89.7 (Quincy) from Cornerstone Community Radio for $150,000. Sound in Spirit Broadcasting also owns a station in Ottumwa, while Cornerstone owns six stations in Illinois. The deal includes KMDY's transmitter and tower near Nauvoo, Illinois, but does not include any studio equipment. The KMDY callsign is derived from its original owner, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, which signed the station on in 2001 and sold it to Cornerstone in 2006. (8/22/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Months after KCCO-TV/7 (Alexandria) went off the air permanently, Hubbard Radio's KIKV-FM/100.7 (Sauk Centre-Alexandria) has applied to move from KCCO's tower to a nearby tower owned by Hubbard's KSAX-TV. The towers near Westport are two miles apart, and KIKV will keep its 100kW signal while slightly increasing its antenna height from 241 to 267 meters above average terrain. The future of the 60-year-old KCCO-TV tower, owned by CBS, is unknown. 100.7 originally signed on as KCMT-FM in 1971 as a sister station to what was then KCMT-TV. (8/22/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
Saga Broadcasting's "Pure Oldies" format is now on the air in Mitchell, replacing ESPN Radio on K278BJ/103.5 and the HD3 signal of KMIT/105.9. ESPN had aired on the translator/HD3 combo since 2015. Besides Country-formatted KMIT, Saga also owns a full-power Classic Hits station and a translator/HD2 combo carrying an Adult Contemporary format in Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Nedved Media signed on new translator K267CN/101.3 (Mitchell) earlier this year, relaying the News/Talk/Sports format of KORN/1490. Nedved also owns full-power FM stations carrying Country and Hot AC formats. (8/22/2018)

WISCONSIN:
HC2 Station Group is buying WPVS-LP/29 (Milwaukee) from Polnet Communications for $400,000. The station is currently off the air and licensed for an analog signal north of Milwaukee, but has a construction permit to transmit digitially on channel 9 from Milwaukee. HC2 also owns WTSJ-LD/38 (Milwaukee). (8/22/2018)

MINNESOTA:
iHeartMedia has tweaked "Cities 97" (KTCZ Minneapolis) to a hybrid of Adult Alternative and Hot Adult Contemporary, returning the station to a playlist similar to what it had carried before a transition to Hot AC several years ago. The new format uses a modified slogan of "Cities 97.1" under the positioner "Uniquely Twin Cities." With the move, RadioInsight points out that morning co-host Greg Thunder and midday host Madison are out.

The tweaked format includes a sampling of 1990's and 2000's Adult Contemporary gold that has essentially been homeless in the market for five years, distinguishing "Cities" from a crowded market of stations in the broader Alternative genre. Other outlets include the Adult Alternative format on Minnesota Public Radio's "The Current," Alternative on Northern Lights' "Go 96.3" (KQGO), and Alternative on iHeart's own "Alt 93.3" (KQQL-HD3/W227BF).

KTCZ is positioning the change as "born in 1984, reborn in 2018," referring to the year the "Cities 97" launched, and is running promos from former longtime program director Lauren MacLeash about the station's return to its roots. "Cities" had been one of the first major Adult Alternative stations and later evolved to include some Classic Rock in the 1990's and then some pop.

As a Hot AC outlet, KTCZ had competed directly with Hubbard's #1-rated "KS95" (KSTP-FM/94.5), theoretically acting as a flanker to lower KS95's ratings closer to those of iHeart Contemporary Hits outlet KDWB/101.3. However, Nielsen Audio ratings show that KS95 has been a few tenths of a point ahead of KDWB in the 6+ ratings over the past several months despite CHR's summer surge, while KTCZ ranked last among the ten commercial 100kW FM's in the market in four of the last six months. (8/20/2018)

NEBRASKA:
Scripps Broadcasting is selling stations in four markets, including Omaha, to Alabama-based SummitMedia. The $47 million sale is the last in a series of four deals that will take Scripps out of the radio business; a plan to sell Scripps' two Milwaukee stations to Good Karma Brands was announced last month. In Omaha, the deal includes Rocker "Z92" (KEZO/92.3), Classic Rocker "CD 105.9" (KKCD), Contemporary Hits outlet "Channel 94-1" (KQCH), Adult Contemporary station "Star 104.5" (KSRZ), and "ESPN 590" (KXSP). The sale will separate the radio group from Scripps CBS affiliate KMTV/3.1 after 11 years of co-ownership by Journal and then Scripps. (8/15/2018)

WISCONSIN:
WISN-TV (Milwaukee) says it will switch its channel 12.2 from Movies! Network to Justice Network on Sept. 1. WISN-TV is a primary ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television. Movies! is operated by Weigel Broadcasting, which owns several stations in Milwaukee, but there's no immediate word whether Movies! will get a new home on the dial. (8/15/2018)

WISCONSIN:
The broad Soft Oldies "MeTV FM" format has launched on the HD2 signal of Entercom's WMYX/99.1 (Milwaukee), replacing Radio Disney. A news release from Envision Networks, which distributes the format, says the radio format will receive promotion on the local MeTV affiliate, WBME-CD. MeTV is owned by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. (8/15/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Dodge Point Broadcasting has debuted "Z-Rock" on new translator W245DE/96.9 (Dodgeville), originating on WZRK/810. The AM signal was formerly WDMP, which had simulcast the "Outlaw Country" format of WDMP-FM/99.3. The new format was first noted by RadioInsight and apparently launched on Aug. 9, based on a post on WDMP-FM's Facebook page. "Z-Rock" has no Rock competition in Dodgeville, which is otherwise only served by WDMP-FM and fringe signals from Madison and Dubuque. The WZRK callsign had previously been used on an unrelated and now-defunct station in Lake Geneva. (8/15/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The owners of KDWA/1460 (Hastings) are buying KQPR/96.1 (Albert Lea). The deal calls for D&Z Broadcasting, owned by Daniel and Barbara Massman of Hastings, to pay Gregory Jensen's Hometown Broadcasting $750,000 for KQPR, which carries a Classic Rock format. The coverage areas of KDWA and KQPR do not overlap except for some fringe coverage northwest of Rochester. Hometown recently sold its other station, KQAQ/970 (Austin), to a non-commercial Catholic broadcaster. (8/14/2018)

NEBRASKA:
The airstaff of Contemporary Christian station KGBI-FM/100.7 (Omaha) is out after the University of Northwestern-St. Paul closed on its $3.15 million purchase of the station from Salem Media. A post on the station's Facebook page says Aug. 3 was the last day for Dave & Kristen in the Morning, Jack Swanda, and Shari Stone. FCC filings indicate the sale closed on Aug. 6. UNWSP has openings for a KGBI program director and an office manager posted on its website. UNWSP operates Contemporary Christian stations in numerous other cities and is converting KGBI to non-commercial status.

Meanwhile, the buyer of Salem's other Omaha stations began operating the stations under a local marketing agreement on Aug. 8. An asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC indicates that Hickory Radio is buying KCRO/660, KOTK/1420, K233CO/94.5, and K293CJ/106.5 from Salem for $1.375 million. Hickory is a sister company to Walnut Radio, which owns KOMJ/1490, K281CJ/104.1, and several stations north of Omaha.

Salem had purchased KGBI, KCRO, and KOTK for a combined $12.05 million in three separate transactions in 2005. (8/13/2018)

IOWA: (UPDATED)
Sinclair CBS affiliate KGAN/2.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Television station KRIN/32.1 (Waterloo) are back on the air after a lightning strike knocked them off the air sometime around August 7. IPTV reported that KRIN was using lower power than usual; it was not clear if KGAN was back at full power. Both stations transmit from a tower near Walker, midway between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, and a KGAN reporter says in a Facebook post that a thunderstorm damaged KGAN's feedline in at least two places. KGAN's primary CBS channel was temporarily being carried on channel 28.2 of KFXA (Cedar Rapids), displacing Charge. The tower, owned by Gray TV, is also home to Gray's KCRG-TV/9.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Radio's KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls), but there's no indication of KCRG or KUNI being affected. (8/9/2018, updated 8/12)

MINNESOTA:
KSTP/1500 (St. Paul) will get a new daytime schedule and more than a dozen other Minnesota stations will have to change their lineups next month when KSTP drops several hosts, including regionally-syndicated Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse.

Soucheray announced news of the cancellation of his "Garage Logic" show Friday, and the Star Tribune reports that "1500 ESPN" is also dropping shows hosted by Reusse, Phil Mackey, and Judd Zulgad after Sept. 7. KSTP Vice President and General Manager Dan Seeman told the paper that the move is the result of changes in the media landscape and that new programming for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. is still in the works.

Soucheray and Reusse have been fixtures at the 50kW station since 1983, first hosting a weekly sports show. Soucheray began his "Garage Logic" show, a mixture of Minnesota chit-chat and conservative-leaning politics, in 1993 when KSTP ran a News/Talk format. The show continued in an earlier timeslot when KSTP flipped to Sports in 2010. Currently, "Garage Logic" airs from 1 to 3. Then, Reusse joins Soucheray for an hour of "Sports Talk" at 3 and "The Ride with Reusse" runs from 4 to 6.

Mackey announced that he and Zulgad will remain at Hubbard Broadcasting in other capacities.

Soucheray and Reusse's programs are syndicated to more than a dozen stations in Minnesota. (8/11/2018)

TRIBUNE TERMINATES SINCLAIR MERGER:
Following the FCC's July 19 decision to have an administrative law judge review the proposed merger of Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune announced Thursday that it is ending its attempt to merge with Sinclair.

Tribune also filed a lawsuit against Sinclair, claiming Sinclair breached a provision of its contract requiring it to seek regulatory approval as quickly as possible. Tribune alleges Sinclair delayed the deal by engaging in "unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations" in an effort to keep control of as many stations as possible, rather than divest them. The proposed deal went through several iterations in regulatory filings, including changes in whether Tribune's WGN-TV Chicago would be sold and whether Sinclair would continue to provide services to stations that had been sold.

Sinclair responded with a statement from its CEO saying they are "extremely disappointed" with the deal's collapse and saying that Sinclair "fully complied with our obligations under the merger agreement and tirelessly worked to close this transaction."

In the Upper Midwest, the only divestiture would have been Sinclair's KDSM Des Moines, with the new company keeping Tribune's WHO-DT Des Moines along with Tribune stations in the Quad Cities and Milwaukee and Sinclair stations in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, and other smaller markets. Sinclair had already returned the license of the former WCGV/24.1 (Milwaukee), which sold its bandwidth in the spectrum auction but could have kept its license through a channel-sharing arrangement. (8/9/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Heartland Communications Group is buying two stations in north-central Wisconsin from Results Broadcasting for $440,000: Country-formatted "Coyote 93.7" (WCYE Three Lakes-Rhinelander) and "Sports Radio 96.5" (WHOH Rhinelander). Heartland, which owns six other stations in Eagle River and Ashland, took over the stations through a time brokerage agreement on Aug. 1. The deal does not include future stations in Crandon and Tomahawk that Results won in a 2013 auction. Results also retains nine other stations in Antigo, Clintonville, Shawano, and Iron Mountain. (8/8/2018)

IOWA:
Two Catholic radio stations remain off the air by the tornado that struck Marshalltown last month. KCRM-LP/96.7 and KDNH-LP/101.5 have filed notices of suspension of operations with the FCC, saying the July 19 tornado destroyed the tower they had used along with their antennas and studios. KCRM-LP normally carries EWTN Radio, while KDNH-LP carries sister Spanish-language network Radio Catolica Mundial.

The tornado also destroyed a tower used for the studio-transmitter link at KFJB/1230 and KXIA/101.1, but they were able to return to the air the next day after establishing new feeds. (8/7/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network is adding several shows to its schedule beginning this weekend and dropping several others. The new shows include "It's Been A Minute" (Saturday noon and Sunday 6 a.m.), "Hidden Brain" (Saturday 2 p.m.), and "Livewire" (Saturday 4 p.m.) Shows leaving the schedule include "Travel with Rick Steves," "Podcast Playlist," and "On the Media." Here's a complete rundown. The Ideas Network, a News/Talk service, is heard on 17 full-power stations across Wisconsin. (8/7/2018)

IOWA:
Saga Communications has launched a Variety Hits format called "Chuck FM" on K255CY/98.9 (Spirit Lake), originating on the HD3 signal of sister station KMRR/104.9 (Spencer). The launch comes a month after Saga launched "Pure Oldies" on K252EX/98.3 (Spencer) and KMRR-HD2. Saga acquired K255CY in 2016 and had previously used it to relay "CD Country 107.7" (KICD-FM Spencer). K255CY doesn't reach Saga's home base in Spencer, but KMRR and KICD-FM both provide strong signals to Spirit Lake. The popular summer vacation spot is also served by several FM stations operated by Community First Broadcasting. (8/2/2018)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
DirecTV has added "My9" (KBJR-DT/6.3 Superior-Duluth) to its Duluth market lineup. The Quincy Media channel, already carried on DISH Network and cable providers, is carried in SD on DirecTV channel 9. "My9" is named for the MyNetworkTV prime time lineup but the bulk of the channel's programming comes from the Heroes & Icons network. It also features college and high school sports. (8/1/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The MyNetworkTV lineup is no longer airing in prime time in Minneapolis after affiliate FOX 9+ (WFTC) moved MNT back another hour. MNT airs from 7 to 9 p.m. Central time in most markets, but WFTC moved it back one hour in 2016 and then another hour last year with the launch of a 7 p.m. newscast. After the recent addition of another half-hour of news at 7:30, WFTC is now airing syndicated programming from 8 to 10 followed by the MNT lineup from 10 to Midnight. MNT is operated by KMSP/WFTC parent Fox Entertainment Group. (7/30/2018)

WISCONSIN:
A decades-old radio-TV pairing in Milwaukee is slated to end with Scripps Broadcasting's sale of WTMJ/620 and WKTI/94.5 to Good Karma Brands. Scripps announced the $16 million deal Friday, saying it was just the second in what will be a series of sales of all of its eight radio groups, including Omaha (a deal to sell Scripps' Tulsa group was announced last month). The Milwaukee sale will pair Good Karma ESPN affiliate WAUK/540 (Jackson-Milwaukee) with the Conservative Talk format of WTMJ, which is relayed on W277CV/103.3, and WKTI's Country format. The deal will separate WTMJ radio from WTMJ-TV/4.1 for the first time in the TV station's 70-year history. (7/27/2018)

NEBRASKA:
Salem Media is selling its remaining two stations in Omaha to a local broadcaster. Salem announced Wednesday that it will sell KCRO/660, KOTK/1420, and their FM translators to Hickory Radio, an affiliate of Walnut Radio, which also owns one station in Omaha and several stations just north of the city. The sale price was not immediately announced. Salem is also in the process of selling Contemporary Christian outlet KGBI-FM/100.7 (Omaha) to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul; the deal received FCC approval earlier this month but has not yet closed. KCRO "The Word" carries Christian preaching and talk and is relayed on K293CJ/106.5, while KOTK "The Answer" carries Conservative Talk and is relayed on K233CO/94.5. The press release says they'll keep their current formats and branding. Walnut owns KOMJ/1490 and K281CJ/104.1, which carry a "Boomer" Oldies format. Salem had entered Omaha in early 2005 with the purchase of KGBI from Grace University and bought KCRO from Eternal Broadcasting and KOTK from Journal Broadcast Group later that year. (7/25/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Updating an item first reported here a few weeks ago, the FCC has approved full-time operation for KUOM-FM/106.5 (St. Louis Park). The U of M station sought permission to use the frequency full-time after St. Louis Park Public Schools returned the license of KDXL/106.5. The FCC formally cancelled KDXL's license on July 16 and approved KUOM-FM's application the same day. The 6-Watt KUOM-FM, transmitting from western Minneapolis, carries the student-run "Radio K" Alternative format in a simulcast with KUOM/770 (Minneapolis) and two FM translators. (7/23/2018)

MINNESOTA:
DISH Network has added Telemundo affiliate KJNK-LD/25 to its Minneapolis locals package. KJNK is the first Spanish-language station, and the first low-power TV station, to be carried by a satellite provider in the market. The station is owned by HC2 Broadcasting and operated by Hispanic Television Broadcasting of Minnesota. (7/19/2018)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
A new digital subchannel network called "Start TV" is scheduled to launch on September 3 with charter affiliates in Minneapolis and Milwaukee. The network, a partnership between Weigel Broadcasting and CBS, will target women with a lineup of procedural dramas including "The Closer," "Medium," "The Good Wife," "Crossing Jordan," and "Cold Case." A press release says programs will be shown at the same time seven days a week with multi-hour blocks for headliner programs. "Start TV" will be carried from launch on CBS owned-and-operated stations including WCCO-TV (Minneapolis) and several Weigel stations, including an unspecified channel in Milwaukee. TVNewsCheck reports that Start TV will displace Decades, another Weigel/CBS network, on some CBS stations, but it was not clear if WCCO would be one of them. Weigel tells TVNewsCheck that it's committed to the Decades network and has already found other affiliates in several markets. Weigel also runs MeTV, H&I, and Movies! Network. (7/18/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The Educational Media Foundation is working to move its main Twin Cities "Air 1" signal back to Minneapolis. W225AP/92.9 had been transmitting from the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis with 99 Watts, but was forced to leave that facility after interference complaints from KKJM/92.9 (St. Joseph-St. Cloud). W225AP has been transmitting from St. Paul with 250 Watts since last summer. Now, it's applied to move back to Minneapolis with 250 Watts using a directional antenna to limit the signal to the northwest, protecting KKJM. "Air 1," which carries a Christian Rock format, is also heard on K249ED/97.7 in the far northwest metro. (7/17/2018)

IOWA:
Educational Media Foundation "K-Love" station KLFG/89.5 (Fort Dodge) has completed an upgrade that expands its coverage area to include more of north-central Iowa. KLFG now transmits with 34kW/257m (class C1) from the Iowa Public Television tower near Bradgade. The station had previously transmitted from a tower closer to Fort Dodge with 17kW/111m (class C3). (7/17/2018)

ONTARIO:
Christian broadcaster CJOA-FM/95.1 (Thunder Bay) is asking regulators for permission to add a secondary transmitter in Nipigon, saying residents of the community have asked for the coverage. The 50-Watt station would transmit on 92.5 from the roof of a hardware store. CJOA is owned by United Christian Broadcasters Media Canada. Nipigon is also served by a secondary transmitter of a commercial station based in Marathon, CBC and Radio-Canada transmitters, and rimshot signals from several Thunder Bay stations. (7/17/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Christian broadcaster WRVM, Inc. has applied to move its new central Wisconsin signal to Wausau. WXVM/104.1 (Merrill) is currently licensed for 7.4kW/188m (class C2) from a tower near Merrill and has applied to move its transmitter to Wausau with 8.3kW/144m (class C3). The move would improve reception in Wausau but cut 104.1's signal to the north. However, that area is already served by WRVM's WHJL/88.1 (Merrill), which transmits from a tower north of Merrill. (7/17/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The FCC has approved construction permits that will move two AM stations away from a longtime western Twin Cities transmission site. Salem Media's WWTC/1280 and KDIZ/1570 currently transmit from a site in St. Louis Park that WWTC has used since the 1960's. The CP's call for WWTC to co-locate with sister KKMS/980 at its site in Eagan, while KDIZ will co-locate with sister KYCR/1440 at its site in Golden Valley. WWTC currently transmits with 5kW, nondirectional daytime and directional nighttime, and will upgrade to 10kW day and 15kW night from Eagan, with different day and night directional patterns. KDIZ will make a small change from 3.8kW day and 230 Watts night, nondirectional, to 4kW day and 220 Watts night, nondirectional. (7/16/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Townsquare Media's KDHL/920 (Faribault) plans to drop four towers from its seven-tower array, which is in a high-profile spot along I-35. KDHL is currently licensed for 5kW with different daytime and nighttime directional patterns using four towers during the day and six at night. However, the station has been operating at reduced power since 2014 due to damage to the antenna system. It's now filed an application with the FCC to use 3.3kW day and 1kW night with different day and night patterns from the three towers that would remain. Despite the power reduction, KDHL's daytime coverage would be similar to its former facility (see page 12 of this document). "The Mighty 920" carries a farm-focused Classic Country format covering much of south-central Minnesota and has a rimshot signal to the Twin Cities. (7/16/2018)

NEW FM SIGNALS ON THE AIR:

  • Iowa City, IA: KICI-LP/105.3, carrying a Community/Variety format
  • Hutchinson, MN: K243CQ/96.5, relaying news, farm, and music programming from KDUZ/1260
  • Omaha, NE: K268DI/101.5 (Council Bluffs), relaying the Christian format of KLNG/1560.
  • Overton, NE: K224FL/92.7, relaying Classic Country from KAMI/1580 (Cozad). (The translator is actually licensed to Cozad but transmits from near Overton.)
  • Merrill, WI: W242CZ/96.3, relaying the News/Oldies format of WJMT/730 with the updated slogan of "Bluejay 96.3" (7/15/2018)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN:
The FCC has approved Quincy Media's purchase of a second full-power station in the Duluth market. As previously detailed here, Quincy owns NBC/CBS affiliate KBJR-TV/6 (Superior-Duluth) and is buying CW affiliate KDLH/3 (Duluth) from SagamoreHill Broadcasting for $792,577, subject to adjustment. KDLH has been located in KBJR's building since 2005, but Quincy has not been able to sell ads on KDLH since its 2016 purchase of KBJR due to FCC rules that were in place at that time. KDLH's longtime CBS affiliation was moved to KBJR-DT2 in 2016, and KBJR-DT2 assumed KDLH's channel 3 position on cable and satellite systems. Now, outright co-ownership of KBJR and KDLH is being allowed because KDLH has fallen to fifth in the ratings since the 2016 affiliation switch. No programming changes have been announced, but there is no rule preventing Quincy from moving the CBS affiliation, branded as "CBS3," back to KDLH. A similar Quincy purchase in Fort Wayne, Indiana, also received FCC approval. (7/15/2018)

NEBRASKA:
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association has launched a Classic Country format in Scottsbluff. "The Trail" is heard on K269DO/101.7 and originates on the HD2 signal of the NRRA's KNEB-FM/94.1, which carries a mainstream Country format on its primary channel. Online, "The Trail" replaces a web-only Contemporary Hits format called "The Beet" that had streamed through KNEB's website. The NRRA also operates Farm/Talker KNEB/960 (Scottsbluff), which is relayed on K262CU/100.3. K269DO had previously been owned by Armada Media and relayed KOAQ/690 (Terrytown-Scottsbluff) when Armada ran that station; KOAQ is now running a competing Classic Country format under Legacy Broadcasting's management. The KNEB stations also compete with two other FM Country stations in the panhandle. (7/12/2018)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
Eastern Twin Cities metro signal W279DD/103.7 (Hudson, WI) has returned to the air after receiving special temporary authority from the FCC to transmit at reduced power. As previously reported here, the translator of WDGY/740's Oldies format was forced to leave the air last month after the FCC determined that interference complaints from listeners of WWIB/103.7 (Hallie-Eau Claire) had not been resolved. W279DD had been using 250 Watts but is now using 100 Watts while it tries to resolve the complaints, and has also applied to implement the use of a directional antenna to limit the signal towards WWIB. (7/11/2018)

MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN (UPDATED):
CBS Sports Radio has returned to Midwest Communications' WDUL/970 (Superior-Duluth). The station had been rebroadcasting the Conservative Talk format of sister station WDSM/710 (Superior-Duluth) since early June but returned to the Sports format within days of a report here about the simulcast. WDUL's 1kW coverage area is contained within WDSM's 10kW coverage area. WDUL is the only one of Midwest's three Twin Ports AM stations without an FM translator. (7/9/2018, updated 7/11)

MINNESOTA:
Twin Cities Catholic TV station K14RB-D (St. Paul), formerly K16HY-D, has returned from the air. The low-power station owned by St. Michael Broadcasting had been bumped off the air in late May when KPXM-TV/41.1 completed its spectrum repack RF channel change from 40 to 16. K14RB-D returned to the air Monday, July 9, after a new antenna was installed on the IDS Center and continues to transmit with 15kW, the maximum for LPTV stations. It carries a bulletin board on 14.1, EWTN on 14.2, and other Catholic programming on 14.3. (7/10/2018)

NEBRASKA/SOUTH DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
The following RF channel changes have recently occurred due to the national TV band repack:

  • Columbus, NE: NCN/Telemudo station KMJF-LD moved from channel 48 to 16.
  • Aberdeen, SD: KTTW-FOX translator K39CZ-D moved to channel 36 as K36NW-D.
  • Lead, SD: KNBN-NBC translator K40GS-D moved to channel 35 as K35MW-D, and also upgraded to 15kW.
  • Pringle, SD: SDPB-PBS translator K39LT-D moved to channel 36 as K36NX-D.
  • Coloma, WI: WPT-PBS translator W48DB-D moved to channel 29 as W29ET-D.
  • Fence, WI: WPT-PBS translator W45CD-D moved to channel 30 as W30DZ-D.
  • Green Bay, WI: NBC affiliate WGBA/26.1 moved from channel 41 to 14.
  • Green Bay, WI: WPT-PBS station WPNE/38.1 moved from channel 42 to 25.
  • Sayner, WI: WSAW-CBS/FOX translator W42DH-D moved to channel 21 as W21DS-D. (7/10/2018)

MINNESOTA:
KFMC/106.5 (Fairmont) has dropped Classic Rock for Classic Hits as "106.5 Lakes FM." The new format launched with Prince's "1999" on Monday, July 9, at Noon after a weekend of stunting with a loop of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport." The change comes a month after City of Lakes Media, headed by Matthew Ketelsen, completed its purchase of KFMC and KSUM/1370 from Woodward Broadcasting. The Classic Rock format had run since 2003. (7/9/2018)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (6/18-7/6):
The FCC has recently granted the following new FM translators as a result of the AM Revitalization filing windows:

  • Waterloo, IA: KXEL/1540, K263BZ/100.5, 250W
  • Williston, ND: KEYZ/660, K277DR/103.3, 250W
  • Mobridge, SD: KOLY/1300, K270CU/101.9, 250W
  • Fort Atkinson, WI: WFAW/940, W277DV/103.3, 250W
  • Green Bay, WI: WGBW/1590, W250CV/97.9, 250W
  • Madison, WI: WTTN/1580 (Columbus), W224EG/92.7, 75W
  • Milwaukee, WI: WJTI/1460 (West Allis), W273DQ/102.5, 75W
  • Minocqua, WI: WLKD/1570, W289CT/105.7, 250W

One application was dismissed:

  • Sauk Rapids, MN: WBHR/660, 95.7, 250W (FCC letter)

Meanwhile, several new FM translators are due to be granted as a result of FCC Auction No. 83:

  • Dubuque, IA: University of Northwestern-St. Paul won 104.3 with a $16,000 bid in the 17th round.
  • Menominee, MI: Sister Grace won 98.9 with a $5,500 bid in the ninth round.
  • Gladstone, MI: Sister Grace was the only bidder for 103.9 and won with a $750 bid.
  • La Crosse, WI: Sister Grace was the only bidder for 107.3 and won with a $2,500 bid.
  • Oshkosh, WI: Sister Grace won 95.5 with a $12,000 bid in the 11th round.

The applicants must pay their winning bids by July 30, and construction permits won't be issued until the payments have been made. (7/6/2018)

MINNESOTA:
A tiny west suburban Twin Cities FM station has quietly shut down: St. Louis Park Public Schools has returned the license for KDXL/106.5. The 8-Watt station had operated during school hours, carrying programming from St. Louis Park High School. The school district did not give a reason for the shutdown in a letter to the FCC. The school board held a special meeting about the station in February, but minutes from subsequent meetings don't contain any mention of KDXL.

KDXL first signed on at 91.7 in 1978 and later moved to 106.7, which it later had to vacate when a translator began using the same frequency in the east metro. It was one of the last of the now-discontinued class D educational stations still on the air.

For the past 15 years, KDXL had been in a rare time-share agreement with the University of Minnesota's KUOM-FM/106.5. KDXL had the right to use the frequency from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days, and KUOM-FM used the frequency at other times. KUOM-FM has now applied to use the frequency full-time. 106.5 was the first foray into FM broadcasting for KUOM/770's "Radio K" format, which is now heard on larger translator signals on 104.5 in Minneapolis and 100.7 in Falcon Heights. (7/5/2018)

ILLINOIS/IOWA:
A western Illinois station recently completed its move closer to the Quad Cities. On June 25, WQUD (Erie, IL) moved from 105.5 to 107.7 and began transmitting with 6kW/97m (class A) from a tower between Moline and Geneseo, giving the station a strong signal to most of the Quad Cities area. To allow for the move, WLLT (Polo, IL) moved from 107.7 to 94.3 and WSSQ (Sterling, IL) moved from 94.3 to 105.5. Both WLLT and WSSQ retained their former coverage areas. WQUD is owned by JMRW LLC and carries a broad mix of Rock and Country from the 1960's to today. (7/5/2018)

IOWA:
Jonathan A. Mason's JAM Media Solutions is buying a set of radio stations in Muscatine from WPW Broadcasting for $965,000. The stations, Classic Rocker KMCS/93.1 and a Classic Country format on KWPC/860 and K236CF/95.1, serve an area just west of the Quad Cities. (7/3/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Longtime Twin Cities radio host John Hines has announced plans to partially retire later this year. WCCO Radio announced Hines' decision Friday, saying he will move into a part-time/fill-in role after the State Fair. Hines has been with WCCO since 2009, but may be better known as the co-host of popular morning shows on KSTP/1500 in the late 1970's, the defunct WLOL-FM/99.5 in the 1980's, and K102 (KEEY-FM) in the 1990's and early 2000's. The announcement quotes Hines as saying he is thankful to his listeners and to WCCO for allowing him to extend his career. (6/29/2018)

IOWA:
Saga Broadcasting has launched a new signal and a new format in Spencer. K273DD/102.5 has signed on relaying the News/Talk format of KICD/1240, which had previously been relayed on K252EX/98.3. K252EX is now carrying Saga's "Pure Oldies" format, which originates on the HD2 signal of KMRR/104.9. K273DD was granted as part of the FCC's AM Revitalization effort and is required to relay KICD, while K252EX was obtained earlier without a waiver and can relay any station. (6/29/2018)

IOWA:
iHeartMedia has signed on new translator K254DL/98.7 (Sioux City), relaying "La Preciosa" from KWSL/1470. The new 250-Watt FM signal was granted as a result of the FCC's AM Revitalization effort. "La Preciosa" is the second Spanish-language format on FM in Sioux City, competing with the "Fiesta" on K246CJ/97.1 (Sioux City) and KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE). Nielsen Audio says the market is about 18 percent Hispanic. (6/29/2018)

MINNESOTA:
K39GG (Aitkin), which had relayed FOX affiliate KQDS-TV/21 (Duluth) and was one of the last analog TV signals still on the air in Minnesota, has gone off the air. K39GG would have been required to move to a lower channel due to the spectrum auction repack but did not apply for a change during a recent filing window. Owner Red River Broadcast Corp. told the FCC in a notification of suspension of operations that it decided to take the translator off the air because Aitkin is outside of the Duluth market. At one time, all of the Duluth commercial stations had translators in Aitkin, but the others left the air more than a decade ago, leaving Aitkin with only a few distant signals.

Down the road in Brainerd, KSAX-ABC translator K16BQ recently converted from analog to digital. The lineup includes KSTP-ABC on 16.1, KSTC-45TV on 16.2, and KSTC-MeTV on 16.3. (6/28/2018)

IOWA/MISSOURI:
The Ottumwa Courier reports that new NBC affiliate KYOU-DT2/15.2 will launch a 10 p.m. newscast on July 16. KYOU has carried a 9 p.m. newscast on its primary FOX channel for the past several years, and the station's news director tells the paper that NBC required it to add the 10:00 newscast after adding the network earlier this year. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and operated by Raycom. It will apparently be the first 10:00 news competitor for Sinclair ABC affiliate KTVO-TV/3.1 (Kirksville-Ottumwa) in its 63-year history. (6/27/2018)

WISCONSIN/MINNESOTA:
An eastern Twin Cities metro FM signal is seeking permission from the FCC to return to the air at reduced power after an interference complaint from another station forced it to go silent. W279DD/103.7 (Hudson, WI) had signed on in 2016, relaying the Oldies format of WDGY/740 with
250 Watts from WDGY's tower site east of Hudson. Christian broadcaster WWIB/103.7 (Hallie-Eau Claire) filed an interference complaint last year, citing reports of reception problems from ten listeners in areas between the two stations' primary contours. After much back and forth between the two sides, FCC Audio Division Senior Deputy Chief James Bradshaw issued a letter on June 11 determining that W279DD had not resolved eight of the complaints and ordering the translator to leave the air immediately. W279DD has now requested special temporary authority to return to the air at 100 Watts or less to see if the interference can be eliminated. The STA request also says W279DD intends to apply for use of a directional antenna that would limit coverage to the east. WDGY's programming is also carried on W221BS/92.1 (St. Paul), which is unaffected by the dispute. (6/27/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA:
The company that's been operating a new FM station along the North Dakota/South Dakota border for the past year is buying its license. Jeff Hallen's HiRange Media Corp. will pay Midnation Media $65,000 for KZRN/102.3 (Hettinger), which carries a mix of Country and Classic Rock as "The Range." KZRN is the only strong commercial FM signal in the town of about 1,200 people and competes with a longtime local AM station, Schweitzer Media's KNDC/1490. (6/26/2018)

IOWA:
The price for the previously-reported sale of two Keokuk radio stations is $245,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. Keokuk Broadcasting, owned by Leah Jones and Michael Greenwald, is buying KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage, IL-Keokuk) from Riverfront Broadcasting. Longtime station employee Jones teamed up with city councilor Greenwald to buy the stations after Riverfront laid off staff and put the stations up for sale earlier this year. The buyers began operating the stations under a programming agreement on June 1. (6/26/2018)

NATIONAL TV MERGER:
Gray TV has announced plans to merge with Raycom Media in a $3.6 billion deal that will create the nation's third-largest broadcast TV group. The combined company will own stations in 92 markets reaching 24 percent of U.S. households, with a Gray/Raycom station ranked first or second in the vast majority of those markets. Gray owns stations in more than a dozen Upper Midwest markets; Raycom's only regional operation is FOX/NBC affiliate KYOU (Ottumwa), which is licensed to American Spirit Media. (Raycom formerly owned several other stations in the Upper Midwest, two of which are now already owned by Gray.) Gray and Raycom have overlap in nine markets outside of the Upper Midwest, and the companies say they will divest one station in each of those markets rather than go through the FCC's new waiver process to allow top-four combinations (though Gray may be able to retain the network affiliations of the divested stations on subchannels and/or low-power stations, as it has done in other markets). A newspaper group owned by Raycom will be spun off. (6/25/2018)

IOWA:
Phil Falcone's HC2 Broadcasting is buying KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) from KM Communications for $1.85 million. George W. Kimball of Kozacko Media Services served as exclusive broker for the deal. HC2 owns several other full-power stations in other parts of the country has been assembling a group of hundreds of low-power TV stations. KWKB transmits with 1,000kW from its own 1,345-foot tower in West Branch, giving it coverage of both Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. The Bae family started KWKB in 1999 and retains ownership of WOCK-CD (Chicago). KWKB was originally a WB affiliate and later a CW affiliate and currently carries ThisTV and Light TV. (6/21/2018)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (6/8-6/15):
After dismissing an informal objection to nearly 1,000 applications for new FM translators nationwide, the FCC has acted quickly to approve applications filed during the most recent AM Revitalization filing window. Most proposed facilities in the Upper Midwest have now been granted construction permits. (470 applications were granted nationwide on June 8 alone, representing nearly half of all pending FM translator applications at that time.)

The most recent grants include two new signals for the Twin Cities metro area: News/Talker KQSP/1530 (Shakopee) will be relayed on a 250-Watt translator on 99.1 broadcasting from the WLOL/1330 tower in the southwestern suburb of Savage, and WLOL's Catholic format will be rebroadcast on a 100-Watt translator on 105.3 in the western suburb of Minnetonka. The new translators will reach only a portion of the metro since the Twin Cities FM dial has already been filled by other translators and low-power FM stations.

Here are the new translators granted between June 8 and 15:

  • Emmetsburg, IA: KLGZ/1600 (Algona), K267CS/101.3, 250W
  • Boone, IA: KWBG/1590, K268DS/101.5, 250W
  • Cedar Rapids, IA: KGYM/1600, K272GB/102.3, 250W
  • Davenport, IA: KBOB/1170, K281DB/104.1, 250W
  • Des Moines, IA: KBGG/1700, K300DO/107.9, 99W
  • Granger, IA: KDLS/1310 (Perry), K232FX/94.3, 250W
  • Keokuk, IA: KOKX/1310, K227DO/93.3, 250W
  • Mount Pleasant, IA: KILJ/1130, K253CN/98.5, 250W
  • Sioux City, IA: KWSL/1470, K254DL/98.7, 250W
  • Escanaba, MI: WDBC/680, W233CT/94.5, 250W
  • Austin, MN: KQAQ/970, K232FY/94.3, 250W
  • Bemidji, MN: KPMI/1300, W232DS/94.3, 250W
  • Bemidji, MN: WBKK/820 (Wilton), K254DJ/98.7, 250W
  • Bemidji, MN: KKBJ/1360, K292HK/106.3, 250W
  • Benson, MN: KSCR/1290, K278CX/103.5, 250W
  • Grand Rapids, MN: KOZY/1320, K226CV/93.1, 250W
  • Mankato, MN: KFSP/1230, K292HI/106.3, 250W
  • Minnetonka, MN: WLOL/1330 (Minneapolis), K287CH/105.3, 100W
  • Rochester, MN: KFAN/1270, K228FY/93.5, 250W
  • Sauk Rapids, MN: WMIN/1010, W266DT/101.1, 250W
  • Sauk Rapids, MN: WVAL/800, W272EG/102.3, 250W
  • Shakopee, MN: KQSP/1530, W256DT/99.1, 250W
  • Walker, MN: KAKK/1570, K229DJ/93.7, 250W
  • Gurley, NE: KSID/1340 (Sidney), K224FP/92.7, 250W
  • North Platte, NE: KOOQ/1410, K251CP/98.1, 250W
  • Bismarck, ND: KBMR/1130, K281DC/104.1, 250W
  • Fargo, ND: KVXR/1280 (Moorhead), K252GC/98.3, 250W
  • Hettinger, ND: KNDC/1490, K294DG/106.7, 250W
  • Jamestown, ND: KSJB/600, K261FC/100.1, 250W
  • Oakes, ND: KDDR/1220, K262DH/100.3, 250W
  • Hot Springs, SD: KZMX/580, K252GD/98.3, 250W
  • Huron, SD: KOKK/1210, K286CU/105.1, 250W
  • Lemmon, SD: KBJM/1400, K285HH/104.9, 250W
  • Baraboo, WI: WRPQ/740, W249EA/97.7, 250W
  • Eau Claire, WI: WAYY/790, W228EG/93.5, 250W
  • Green Bay, WI: WJOK/1050 (Kaukauna), 103.7, 170W
  • La Crosse, WI: WIZM/1410, W294CU/106.7, 250W
  • Marshfield, WI: WDLB/140, W254DL/98.7, 250W
  • Pewaukee, WI: WSJP/1640 (Sussex), W260DP/99.9, 250W
  • Plymouth, WI: WGXI/1420, W253CW/98.5, 250W
  • Ripon, WI: WRPN/1600, W226CQ/93.1, 250W
  • Waukesha, WI: WAUK/540 (Jackson), W266DR/101.1, 104W
  • Wisconsin Rapids, WI: WFHR/1320, W248DE/97.5, 250W

Meanwhile, one application was dismissed: WTTN/1580 (Columbus) had applied for a 75-Watt translator on 92.7 in Madison, but the FCC said it had prohibited overlap with WMBZ/92.5 (West Bend). The application was reinstated a few days later after the station modified its application and filed a petition for reconsideration.

Full summaries of the new translators proposed and granted during the four AM Revitalization filing windows are linked on the left side of this page under "More Information." (6/15/2018, updated Madison item 6/19)

MINNESOTA/NEBRASKA/WISCONSIN:
Several new FM translators have recently filed for licenses to cover, meaning they are now on the air or will be soon:

  • International Falls, MN: R&J Broadcasting's W237EX/95.3, granted as part of the AM revitalization filing window and relaying Classic Hits-formatted KGHS/1230.
  • West Point, NE: The Nebraska Rural Radio Association's K252EG/98.3, relaying the Farm/Country format of KTIC/840. The translator was moved from Norfolk to West Point over a number of years.
  • Hurley, WI: Baroka Broadcasting's W275CR/102.9 is on the air relaying the Oldies format of WHRY/1450 (Hurley-Ironwood, MI). The translator was granted as part of the AM revitalization filing window. Your reporter has already DX'ed the new signal from across Lake Superior at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota! (6/14/2018)

MINNESOTA:
For the fourth time in six years, Cumulus Media has "parked" an out-of-market callsign in Minnesota. "Parking" is the practice of holding onto a callsign by putting it on a small station where it won't get much attention. In the latest move, Cumulus has parked heritage Chicago callsign WLUP on the former WRXP/105.3 (Cambridge), which is one of three signals in the Twin Cities-area "Vibe 105" Classic Hip-Hop simulcast. FCC records say the change was official June 12. The WRXP callsign, once used in New York, had been parked in Cambridge since 2013. Before that, the frequency hosted the WNSH callsign before Cumulus moved it to New York to launch "Nash FM." Another "Vibe 105" station, WWWM-FM/105.7 (Eden Prairie-Minneapolis), has hosted a callsign parked from the Toledo market since 2016. (6/12/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Woodward Communications is adding a simulcast of its "Razor 94.7" (WZOR Mishicot-Green Bay) on a station with rimshot coverage of Oshkosh: social media posts say WBJZ/104.7 (Berlin) will begin simulcasting the Hard Rock format on Tuesday, June 12, at 3 p.m. Woodward is in the process of buying WBJZ from Caxambas Corporation and has been stunting with 1,047 hours of commercial-free Rock.

WBJZ formerly carried a Hot Adult Contemporary format programmed by Martini Broadcasting. As previously reported here, Martini filed a petition to deny the transfer of the station's license to Woodward, saying it had first right to purchase the station. Caxambas responded by saying that Martini's right to buy the station expired in 2013 and that Martini lacks standing to file the petition, which prompted a response from Martini asserting that it does have standing and saying that subsequent dealings gave it the right to buy the station. The FCC has not yet acted on the petition or the application to transfer the license. (6/11/2018)

IOWA:
The FCC has denied efforts to resurrect a south-central Iowa FM license.

The FCC's Audio Division deleted KMYQ/97.1 (North English) in December, saying the license was considered expired because owner Justin McLuckie had allegedly failed to prove that KMYQ was on the air between 2013 and 2016. McLuckie's counsel filed a petition for reconsideration in January alleging that the FCC did not give McLuckie due process or adequate time to present evidence, as well as a motion for stay.

The latest letter from Audio Division Chief Albert Shuldiner says McLuckie failed to show a material error by the FCC or raise facts not previously known. Specifically, the FCC says it still did not receive adequate documentation showing that KMYQ was on the air for several years prior to an effort to return the station to the air in late September 2017. The letter also says McLuckie had been granted an additional 30 days to respond. (6/11/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
The FCC has issued a public notice extending the deadline for petitions to deny Gray TV's proposed combination of the ABC and NBC affiliates in Sioux Falls to July 9. As previously reported here, Gray owns ABC affiliate KSFY/13.1 is seeking a waiver of the "top four" rule to allow it to buy NBC affiliate KDLT/46.1 from Red River Broadcast Corp. for $32.5 million. KSFY ranks second in the market, and KDLT ranks third. Rules normally forbid a company that owns one top-four station from buying another top-four station, but the FCC said last year that it would consider waivers of the rule (see the earlier story for Gray's argument about why a waiver should be granted). The Sioux Falls proposal is one of the first tests of the new waiver process nationwide. (6/9/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The post-spectrum repack channel lineup for the Twin Cities may be solidifying after some displaced low-power TV stations modified their plans. All stations transmitting on RF channels above 36, as well as some LPTV stations displaced by full-power stations changing channels, have to move. There had been competing applications for channels 18 and 20 in the Twin Cities, but those conflicts were resolved last week when one applicant from each channel instead applied to VHF. Telemundo affiliate KJNK-LD would move from 25 to 8, while KTCJ-LD would move from 50 to 13. VHF DTV signals have proven more difficult to pick up, but the stations could benefit from lower channel numbers if they are allowed to use their RF channels as their PSIP virtual channels.

If all applications are approved, the Twin Cities RF DTV lineup would be:
8 KJNK-LD (moving from 25)
9 KMSP-TV (9.9)
11 KARE
13 KTCJ-LD (moving from 50)
14 K16HY-D (moving from 16)
15 KWJM-LD
16 KPXM-TV (41.1) (moved from 40)
18 KHVM-LD (moving from 48)
19 KKTW-LD
20 KMBD-LD (moving from 43)
21 WUMN-LD (moving from 17)
22 WUCW (23.1)
23 KTCI-TV (2.3)
29 WFTC (9.1)
30 KSTC-TV (5.2) (moving from 45)
31 WDMI-LD
32 WCCO-TV (4.1)
33 K33LN-D
34 KTCA-TV (2.1)
35 KSTP-TV (5.1)
36 KMQV-LD (moving from 49)

Some of the LPTV stations are not currently on the air. (6/6/2018)

IOWA/ILLINOIS:
A Keokuk city councilor has teamed up with a longtime Radio Keokuk employee to buy the two local radio stations, KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage-Keokuk). Mike Greenwald and Leah Jones announced their purchase on Facebook last Friday, June 1. The deal has not yet appeared in the FCC database. KOKX/WCEZ owner Riverfront Broadcasting had laid off the stations' employees in April and announced it was looking for a buyer. KOKX carries Country and WCEZ carries Classic Hits as "Z93." (6/5/2018)

WISCONSIN:
New FM translator W224DN/92.7 (Shell Lake) has signed on carrying Hard Rock as "Ink 92.7," originating on WXNK/940 (Shell Lake). WXNK was formerly Conservative Talker WCSW and changed its callsign Friday, June 1. The stations are owned by Zoe Communications, which was granted W224DN as part of the AM Revitalization filing windows. The 250-Watt signal has a strong signal to Shell Lake and fringe coverage of Rice Lake, Spooner, and Siren. (6/3/2018)

IOWA:
Nexstar ABC affiliate KCAU/9 (Sioux City) was temporarily hosted on a competitor's subchannel when storm damage forced it off the air. The station reports that it went off the air during a thunderstorm Friday night and returned by TUesday. KCAU's main ABC channel was temporarily carried on channel 4.3 of Quincy's KTIV, displacing MeTV. The move returns a favor KCAU paid to KTIV when KTIV experienced transmission problems in 2014 - at that time, KTIV's main NBC channel was made available on a KCAU subchannel. KCAU-ABC also remained in its usual cable and satellite channel positions during the broadcast outage. (6/3/2018, updated 6/7)

MINNESOTA:
ION's KPXM-TV/41.1 (St. Cloud-Minneapolis) has completed an RF channel change that also included a move from its longtime transmitter site near Big Lake. KPXM was bumped off its RF channel 40 position by the spectrum auction repack and relocated to RF 16. As previously reported here, the station also moved its transmitter 15 miles east to the KQQL/107.9 site in Nowthen after failing to come to an agreement with the owner of the Big Lake tower. With the move and channel change, KPXM reduced power from 1,000kW to 470kW, though coverage maps show the signal strength to the Twin Cities metro should be about the same as it was before (see page 5).

KPXM's channel change forced Catholic station K16HY-D (St. Paul) to leave the air. The station has applied to move to channel 14 and says on its website that it hopes to return to the air around June 20. (6/1/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
Ownership of two Black Hills stations is changing as Steven E. Duffy sells his interests in stations that are already operated by the buyer. New Generation Broadcasting LLC is buying KZLK/106.3 (Rapid City) from Duffy for $497,775. Separately, Duffy is redeeming his 20.59 percent equity in Western South Dakota Broadcasting LLC, licensee of KZZI/95.9 (Belle Fourche-Rapid City), $240,000. The numerous other members of Western South Dakota Broadcasting include members of the Duhamel and Duffy families, and others. Duhamel Broadcasting already operates both stations, as well as another owned by New Generation Broadcasting, as part of a five-station group. (6/1/2018)

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