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SOUTH DAKOTA:
Catholic broadcaster Real Presence Radio is
buying KBAD-FM/94.5 (Sioux Falls) from Chuck Brennan's Badlands Airtime, LLC, for $945,000. The sale price is exactly what Brennan asked for the KBAD license when he took the Rocker off the air last September after less than two years on the air, blaming regulatory oversight of his Dollar Loan Center. Prior to Brennan's ownership, 94.5 was non-commercial station KCFS, owned by the University of Sioux Falls. Real Presence Radio currently owns ten other stations in the Upper Midwest, including one in Rapid City, and is also in the process of buying two others. Sioux Falls is already served by another Catholic station, "Lamb Radio," which airs on KSTJ-LP/104.3 (Sioux Falls) and rimshot signal KSTJ/91.3 (Hartford). (4/23/2018)

IOWA:
New station KMMK/88.7 (Coggon-Cedar Rapids) is on the air carrying Cathlic programming. KMMK transmits 25kW/94m (class C3) from a tower near Coggon with a directional antenna pointed south, providing rimshot coverage of Cedar Rapids. Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based group, was granted the station after New Bohemia Group returned its construction permit for the frequency. KMMK obtained "Raleigh waiver" to improve its planned coverage of Cedar Rapids after the FCC denied an informal objection from second-adjacent KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids). Raleigh waivers allow upgrades for non-commercial FM stations when the actual interference to other non-commercial stations would be minimal. KMMK is named after St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, who is considered the patron saint of amateur radio. (4/23/2018)

NEBRASKA:
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association is buying an FM translator in Scottsbluff. The Association will pay Armada Media $40,000 for K269DO/101.7, which was last known to relay KOAQ/690 (Terrytown). The buyer also owns KNEB-FM/94.1, KNEB/960, and KNEB translator K262CU/100.3 and has applied to move K269DO to KNEB-FM's transmitter site in the Wildcat Hills south of Scottsbluff. The application states K269DO will relay KNEB-FM. (4/23/2018)

MINNESOTA:
KZJZ/106.7 (Babbitt-Ely) and WVVE/95.3 (Grand Marais), formerly KAOD and WXXZ, are stunting with a mix of radio-themed Alternative songs as "Radio North of Ordinary." Aurora Broadcasting purchased the stations last year, and the stunting began Friday, April 20. They had previously relayed the Classic Rock format of KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth) under previous owner Midwest Communications. KZJZ is one of three commercial radio stations in the Ely area and WVVE is the only commercial radio station on the North Shore. KZJZ is also rebroadcast on W288AI/105.5 (Ely). (4/22/2018)

MICHIGAN (UPDATED):
Sovereign Communications' "99.5 Yes FM" (WYSS Sault Ste. Marie) and "Country 105" (WMKD/105.5 Pickford-Sault Ste. Marie) were knocked off the air Thursday when their tower partially collapsed. A station Facebook post says no one was injured and the cause is not yet known, but strong winds are suspected. A subsequent Facebook update said WYSS was back on the air at low power, but there was no word about WMKD. The stations continue to stream online. FCC records indicate the 330-foot tower was built in 1972. The incident happened the same day that one person was killed in a tower collapse in Missouri. (4/19/2018, updated 4/20)

IOWA:
Riverfront Broadcasting has laid off the employees at "Radio Keokuk" and is looking for a buyer, according to a report by Tri-States Public Radio. Riverfront has owned the stations, Country-formatted KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and Classic Hits "Z93" (WCEZ/93.9 Carthage, IL-Keokuk), since 2016. The company's Carolyn Becker told TSPR that the stations will be closed unless new owners are found. The stations had been part of a four-station group under longtime owner W. Russell Withers, Jr. Following Withers' death, the group's two largest FM signals were sold to Christian broadcasters while KOKX and WCEZ were sold to Riverfront. The city of more than 10,000 people has no other local commercial radio stations but does receive rimshot signals from several Quincy and Burlington-market stations. Riverfront also owns stations in eight other small communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. (4/19/2018)

IOWA/WISCONSIN/ILLINOIS:
Several new digital TV subchannels have recently launched:

Des Moines: Nexstar's WOI-DT (Ames) added Grit on 5.3 and Cozi TV on 5.4, while sister station KCWI (Ames) added Quest on 23.4. Grit had previously been seen on Sinclair's KDSM-DT3 until being replaced with Charge! a year ago.

Milwaukee: WIWN added Quest on channel 68.3, replacing infomercials. WIWN is licensed to Fond du Lac but transmits from Milwaukee.

Quincy: TV listings indicate Quincy Media's flagship station, WGEM-TV, has added MeTV on 10.4. The station also carries NBC on 10.1, CW+ on 10.2, and FOX on 10.3. (4/17/2018)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
A longtime South Dakota TV station won't be returning to the air, though most viewers continue to receive the programming the station had carried via cable or satellite.

Gray TV has returned the license of KABY-TV/9 (Aberdeen), which had acted as a longtime satellite of ABC affiliate KSFY (Sioux Falls). No reason for the decision was given in a cancellation application, though the station had told the FCC in 2015 that its tower did not pass an inspection and needed to be deconstructed immediately. The 1300-foot tower midway between Aberdeen and Watertown was 52 years old at the time.

Filings indicate the station left the air in 2015 and returned briefly in early 2016 and 2017 to retain its license. The license was formally cancelled on April 6. Gray has moved the KABY callsign to a low-power TV station in Sioux Falls.

A job posting indicates KSFY continues to maintain a one-person news bureau in Aberdeen, and KSFY can still be seen on cable and satellite in the area. Though KSFY is the only network affiliate that can no longer be received over the air in Aberdeen, the station had told the Watertown Public Opinion in 2015 that only about 2,500 households were affected by KABY going off the air, which represents about 1 percent of households in the overall Sioux Falls market.

KSFY is still rebroadcast on KPRY/4.1 (Pierre).

Broadcasting Yearbooks indicate KABY first signed on in 1958 as KXAB-TV, a locally-operated NBC/ABC affiliate under the ownership of North Dakota Broadcasting (a logo seen in a 1962 TV Guide also included CBS, in addition to the other networks). KXAB-TV became a satellite of KSOO-TV (Sioux Falls) as KCOO-TV in 1970 and later became KABY, switching to ABC along with KSFY in 1983. After several ownership changes, Gray TV has owned the stations since 2014. (4/15/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Leighton Enterprises has signed on two new FM signals in Winona. K254CM/98.7 relays the News/Talk format of KWNO/1230, while K268DJ/101.5 relays "KG Country" from KAGE/1380. The translators join Leighton's three full-power FM stations in Winona, which carry Hot Adult Contemporary, Country, and Classic Hits formats. (4/12/2018)

MINNESOTA:
The FCC has granted a big FM translator upgrade in southwestern Minnesota. Wallace Christenson's K257FP/99.3 (Pipestone) has been on the air for several years relaying the Farm/Country format of KLOH/1050 (Pipestone) with 250 Watts from KLOH's tower site. K257FP has now been granted a move to the KSMN-TV tower near Chandler, where its 250-Watt signal will transmit from 343 meters above average terrain, giving it fringe coverage stretching from Pipestone to Worthington. Such large coverage areas for translators are more common in larger cities such as Minneapolis, where tall towers are more readily available. The Chandler tower is also used by Christenson's KISD/98.7 (Pipestone) and KJOE/106.1 (Slayton). (4/12/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA:
New FM translator K264CV/100.7 (Dickinson) is on the air relaying News and Classic Hits from KDIX/1230. The stations are owned by Starrdak, Inc., which has no other stations and competes with iHeartRadio's group of three stations and two other standalone FM's in Dickinson. (4/12/2018)

IOWA:
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul is proposing an upgrade to one of its Des Moines area signals and is simultaneously buying a western Iowa station that it would have to modify to allow the Des Moines upgrade.

"Life 107.1" (KNWI Osceola) has applied to upgrade to 100kW/299m (class C1) from a tower south of Winterset, improving the station's rimshot signal to Des Moines. The station has targeted Des Moines for decades, though the capital city is outside of the city-grade contour from its current 30kW/193m (class C2) facility.

To make way for KNWI's upgrade, KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison) would move to 104.9 but keep its current 6kW facility.

Meanwhile, Northwestern subsidiary UNW Media Holdings LLC has reached an agreement to buy KDSN-FM and KDSN/1530 from Mikadety Radio Corporation for $1.25 million. Mikadety is owned by Michael and Kathy Dudding, who have been with KDSN for 25 years. The stations carry a large amount of local news and farm information, with a mix of Adult Contemporary and Classic Rock on FM and Country and Polka on AM. They deliver the only city-grade signals to Denison.

Northwestern does not own any other stations outside of rated markets. (4/11/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Salem Media has is seeking FCC approval to move another station away from a longtime AM transmission site in St. Louis Park. KDIZ/1570 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis) has applied to move to the longtime 1440 transmission site near Highway 55 and Highway 100 (Lilac Drive) in Golden Valley, changing power slightly from the current 3.8kW day and 230 Watts night to 4kW day and 220 Watts night, non directional. 1570 has been at the St. Louis Park site for a little over 20 years. As earlier reported here, the St. Louis Park site's original occupant, WWTC/1280 (Minneapolis), has already applied to move to the KKMS/980 site in Eagan. The moves of 1280 and 1570 would leave no stations at the St. Louis Park site, which has been in use for more than 50 years. (4/10/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Fox Television Stations plans to add another daily hour of news to its stations in Minneapolis this July, according to a statement provided to the national trades. KMSP/FOX 9 will add a half-hour at 6:30 p.m., competing with existing local newscasts on KSTP/ABC and KARE/NBC at 6:30 and creating a two-hour block of early news on KMSP. WFTC/FOX 9+ will add a half-hour at 7:30 p.m., expanding the newscast that launched at 7 p.m. last fall. The additions will bring the two stations to a combined 12 hours of local programming per weekday, including locally-produced "The Jason Show." (4/9/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA:
BEK Sports Network is buying two western North Dakota TV stations, KNDB/26.1 (Bismarck) and KNDM/24.1 (Minot), from Legacy Broadcasting, LLC, for $950,000. The stations already carry BEK programming, including North Dakota high school and college sports. BEK has no other broadcast interests and also provides cable TV, internet, and phone services in rural south-central North Dakota. Legacy had purchased KNDB and KNDM, formerly FOX affiliates KNDX and KXND, from Gray TV for a combined $150,000 in 2014; Gray had been required to divest the full-power licenses because of ownership caps and moved the KNDX/KXND callsigns to low-power TV stations in Dickinson and Williston. (4/9/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Real Presence Radio is buying KQAQ/970 (Austin) from Hometown Broadcasting of Austin and plans to switch the station's Classic Country format to non-commercial Catholic. The sale price is $450,000, with the transfer of KQAQ's transmitter site to the buyer seen as a donation with $150,000 value. The deal also includes a future FM translator for KQAQ at 94.3 being sought in the AM revitalization filing window. KQAQ uses a highly directional signal with 5kW day and 500 Watts night, providing a strong signal to Rochester and Albert Lea day and night and also a strong signal to Mason City during the day. KQAQ will be the tenth full-power station for Grand Forks-based Real Presence Radio, which has stations across the Upper Midwest. Hometown Broadcasting retains ownership of Classic Rock outlet "Power 96" (KQPR/96.1 Albert Lea). (4/9/2018)

MINNESOTA:
ION owned-and-operated station KPXM-TV/41.1 (St. Cloud-Minneapolis) is expected to move to a new RF channel and leave its longtime transmitter site in the coming months.

KPXM currently transmits on RF channel 40 and will move to RF channel 16 as part of the spectrum auction repack. The original plan was to move to 16 in April 2019, but the FCC recently granted KPXM special temporary authority to move to the new channel around June 1. The move will allow spectrum auction bid winner T-Mobile to begin using its new bandwidth earlier than planned.

KPXM has transmitted from a site north of Big Lake since the 1980's but tells the FCC that it has been unable to negotiate lease terms with the tower owner, American Towers, to accomodate the station's post-repack operations. The 1,509-foot Big Lake tower is the tallest in Minnesota and has no other broadcast tenants.

Instead, KPXM has applied to move about 15 miles east to the KQQL/107.9 site in Nowthen, which is owned by Vertical Bridge Towers. KPXM will use 470kW from the new site, down from 1,000kW at the current site. A map submitted as part of the application shows the new coverage area would be within the existing area, with some coverage lost to areas west and north of St. Cloud (see page 5).

KPXM's move to RF channel 16 will force Catholic station K16HY-D (St. Paul) to move to a new channel or leave the air. (4/8/2018)

IOWA: (UPDATED)
A western Iowa AM station is the latest to seek a downgrade rather than replace an aging tower array. KCIM/1380 (Carroll) is currently licensed 1kW day and night with different daytime and nighttime directional antenna patterns coming from a three-tower array. The station proposes to drop to 500 Watts day and 28 Watts night using a single-tower, nondirectional facility. The 28-Watt nighttime signal would still be enough to provide interference-free reception to Carroll. Last October, KCIM received special temporary authority to transmit with 500 Watts day and 250 Watts night, non-directional, saying it was having problems with its directional facility. In recent years, stations in Sioux City, Eau Claire, and Rapid City have also reduced power rather than replace multiple towers. (4/8/2018, added STA info 4/12)

IOWA:
William Penn University's KIGC/88.5 (Oskaloosa) has gone off the air. The station tells the FCC in a notification of suspension of operations that it went silent on March 5 when its tower was blown over in a wind storm. KIGC normally transmits with 1kW carrying a variety of music. (4/8/2018)

IOWA:
The purchase price of two stations in Marshalltown is $850,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. As first reported here in February when the sale was announced in a press release, Trending Media is buying KFJB/1230 (Marshalltown) and "Kix 101" (KXIA/101.1 Marshalltown) from Marshalltown Broadcasting. 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, updated 4/8 with sale price)

MANITOBA:
CKYZ-FM (Winnipeg) has moved from 92.9 to 96.9 ahead of the planned move of CKJS from AM 810 to FM 92.7. The 50-Watt CKYZ, owned by Baldev Gill, carries East Indian programming as "Radio Awaz." (4/8/2018)

COMPETING FM TRANSLATOR APPLICATIONS:
The FCC has identified 75 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new FM translators filed in the fourth and final AM revitalization window. In the Upper Midwest, they include:

  • Waterloo, IA: Coloff Media (KCFI Cedar Falls) and NRG Media (KPTY Waterloo) both applied for 101.5.
  • St. Cloud, MN: Townsquare Media (KXSS Waite Park) applied for 93.9, while Herbert Hoppe (WXYG Sauk Rapids) applied for 94.3.
  • Stillwater, MN/Amery, WI: Endurance Broadcasting (KLBB Stillwater) and Zoe Communications (WXCE Amery) both applied for 107.5.
  • Grand Forks, ND/Crookston, MN: Gopher Communications (KROX Crookston) applied for 92.3, while Real Presence Radio (KWTL Grand Forks) applied for 92.5.
  • Wadena/Verndale, MN: De La Hunt Broadcasting (KSKK Verndale) and HBI Radio (KWAD Wadena) both applied for 101.3.
  • Brainerd, MN: De La Hunt Broadcasting (NEW-1210 Pine River) and HBI Radio (KLIZ Brainerd) both applied for 105.1.
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Townsquare Media (KXRB) and University of Northwestern-St. Paul (KNWC) both applied for 107.5.
  • Manitowoc, WI: Seehafer Broadcasting applied for translators for both of its stations (WOMT Manitowoc and WCUB Two Rivers) on 97.1.

The competing applicants now have until June 14 to modify their applications or reach settlement agreements to resolve the conflicts. The owners of dozens of other stations that sought translators during the window can breathe easier knowing that their applications face no competition. Click here for a complete list. (4/4/2018)

MINNESOTA:
KLBB/1220 (Stillwater-Minneapolis-St. Paul) went off the air as planned at midnight on the evening of Saturday, March 31, as new owners prepared to take possession of the station's longtime transmitter site.

KLBB signed off with a message from owner Dan Smith thanking listeners and those who have worked at the station over the years, into Frank Sinatra's "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)." Here's the audio recorded from KLBB's web stream. The station's last days drew coverage from KSTP-TV and KARE 11.

It's not clear whether the frequency will return to the air from a new site -- Smith said in his signoff, "We're not sure what the future has in store." The station's Facebook page links to a survey asking people if they are willing to offer their skills or financial support. Federal law gives KLBB up to a year to return to the air.

KLBB had transmitted with 5kW day and 254 Watts at night, nondirectional, from Brick Street in Stillwater and also has an application for a new FM translator on 107.5, which could serve the northeastern metro. (4/1/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Public Radio is adding "The Daily" to its schedule on Monday as sister organization American Public Media begins distribution of the half-hour show produced by the New York Times. "The Daily" will air weeknights at 6:30 p.m. on MPR News. "Marketplace" will move up a half-hour to 6 p.m., cutting a half-hour from "All Things Considered," which continues from 3 to 6 p.m. MPR News is heard on two dozen full-power signals in Minnesota and neighboring states. (4/1/2018)

MINNESOTA:
Longtime central Minnesota radio station owner Herbert Hoppe, known for constructing the only directional AM quadplex radio tower field in the U.S., has died. An obituary says says Hoppe died Wednesday at the age of 83.

Hoppe founded Tri-County Broadcasting and signed on WVAL/800 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud), named for his wife Val, in 1963. WHMH/101.7 was added in 1979 and WVAL moved to 660 and upgraded in the 1980's. But Hoppe wasn't done with AM, adding a new WVAL/800 in 1999 (with 660 becoming WBHR), followed by WMIN/1010 in 2008 and WXYG/540 in 2010 (here's an article Mark Persons and Mark Mueller wrote for Radio World about the unique project).

More recently, WXYG increased its daytime power, the group added two FM translators, and applied for four more translators in the most recent AM revitalization filing window.

Outside of broadcasting, Hoppe raised seven children, hunted, and was sometimes called "Father Arbor Day." Services are set for Tuesday, April 3. (3/29/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Two Wisconsin AM stations recently indicated in FCC filings that they have completed some significant facility changes.

In the Milwaukee market, Joel Kinlow's WGLB/1560 (Elm Grove) upgraded its daytime power from 185 Watts to 2.5kW. It retains its 250-Watt nighttime signal and drops to 700 Watts during critical hours (the two hours after sunrise and before sunset). In an unique situation, WGLB uses different daytime and nighttime directional patterns and is non-directional during critical hours. The station carries a Gospel format.

In Eau Claire, Mid-West Management's WAYY/790 has dropped its nighttime power from 5kW directional to 123 Watts non-directional. The station continues to run 5kW non-directional during the daytime. The change allows WAYY to drop two aging towers that had been required for the nighttime signal while still retaining an interference-free signal to Eau Claire (page 10). WAYY is relayed on an FM translator and identifies as "Sports Talk 105.1." (3/28/2018)

WISCONSIN: (UPDATED)
Cumulus Media is divesting Country-formatted "Nash FM 104.9" (WPCK Denmark-Green Bay) as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. According to the company's FCC application to transfer its licenses to a reorganized group of shareholders, Green Bay is one of four markets nationwide where Cumulus has more stations than allowed by ownership caps. The company's filing says it can only have four FM stations in a market the size of Green Bay but currently has five. WPCK and the three other stations are being transferred to the Mainstay Station Trust, headed by Elliot Evers, who also heads a few other divestiture trusts. Cumulus previously had WKRU/106.7 (Allouez-Green Bay) in a different trust from 2009 to 2011 but took it out of trust after changing the community of license of WOGB/103.1 from Kaukauna to Reedsville, which is outside the boundaries of the Green Bay market. However, WOGB is was re-designated as being "home" to the Green Bay market in 2014 and counts towards the ownership cap. (3/27/2018, added new trust info 3/28)

MINNESOTA:
Lucas Carpenter's Crystal Media Group LLC is buying the Albany radio stations from Dennis Carpenter's StarCom LLC for $2.925 million. The stations include Country-formatted KDDG/105.5, Farm/Country/Old Time station KASM/1150, and KASM translator K299BT/107.7. KDDG simulcasts "Bob FM" with KLCI/106.1 (Elk River-Minneapolis) and KBGY/107.5 (Faribault). (3/27/2018)

NEBRASKA:
KNEN/94.7 (Norfolk) has reverted to Classic Rock as "94 Rock," restoring a format the station had run up until three years ago. Flood Communications had flipped the 100kW station to Classic Hits as "News Channel Nebraska" in 2015 around the same time it launched a low-power TV station of the same name in Norfolk. NCN reports that "94 Rock" relaunched Monday at 3 p.m. after a nine hours of repeating REO Speedwagon's "Roll With the Changes," a stunt which reportedly prompted calls to local police. Flood's Norfolk group also includes Country outlet "US92" (KUSO/92.7 Albion). (3/26/2018)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (2/5-3/23):
The FCC grants of new translators following last year's AM revitalization window have slowed to a trickle, as most applications have now been acted upon. The following translators have been granted since the last update here:

  • Charles City, IA: KCHA/1580, K277DM/103.3, 169W
  • International Falls, MN: KGHS/1230, W237EX/95.3, 250W
  • O'Neill, NE: KBRX/1350, K260DO/99.9, 150W
  • Redfield, SD: KQKD/1380, K260DG/99.9, 250W
  • Marinette, WI: WMAM/570, W283DD/104.5, 250W (may already be on air)

The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. Additional aplications filed this year are listed on the 2018 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (3/25/2018)

MINNESOTA:
One partner in a Hmong-language Twin Cities AM station has bought out the other. Kongsue Xiong paid Xeng Xiong $135,000 for his half of Asian American Broadcasting LLC, which is the licensee of KFXN/690 (Minneapolis). An FCC filing says the transaction is part of an agreement settling a lawsuit about "disputes over business operations." KFXN is one of three Hmong-language stations in the Twin Cities area but the only one with a core metro signal; it has a construction permit for a new 100-Watt FM translator on 104.9 from its tower site in New Hope. (3/22/2018)

WISCONSIN:
Woodward Communications is buying WBJZ/104.7 (Berlin) from Caxambas Corporation for $720,000. WBJZ carries a Contemporary Hits format as "B104.7" and has a rimshot signal to Oshkosh. Woodward owns several other FM stations serving the Appleton/Oshkosh market. The deal does not include WBJZ's "programming materials" or advertising agreements and says, "There are no employees of seller available for buyer to hire." The deal does include a non-competition agreement with Caxambas' Steven J. Peterson. (3/22/2018)

NEBRASKA/IOWA:
It turns out the saga over 107.7 in the Omaha area isn't over after all, as the Educational Media Foundation has applied to move KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA) into the immediate Omaha metro.

Under the new proposal, KIMI would be licensed to Ralston, NE, using 300 Watts at 310 meters (class A) from Omaha's Crown Point antenna farm. EMF's KMLV/88.1 (Ralston, NE-Omaha) would change its community of license to Malvern to backfill for KIMI but keep its current 59kW/390m facility at Crown Point. EMF also operates 70-Watt K285GP/104.9 (Millard, NE) from Crown Point with K285GP carrying the Air1 network and KMLV carrying K-Love.

The new application comes a few months after the FCC granted a license to cover KIMI on 107.9 in Humboldt, NE. The station also has special temporary authority to transmit from the Malvern site on 107.7.

As documented here over the years, two previous attempts to launch stations on 107.7 rimshotting Omaha from the south have been thwarted by complaints of interference to airplane navigation communications at Offutt Air Force Base, which is on the southern side of the Omaha metro. This time, KIMI is proposing to transmit from the northern metro with only rimshot coverage of Offutt. (3/19/2018)

NORTH DAKOTA/MINNESOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

WISCONSIN:
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

IOWA/MINNESOTA:
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)

WISCONSIN:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA/NEBRASKA:
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)

WISCONSIN:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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 DIVESTITURE:
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)

NORTH DAKOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA/NORTH DAKOTA:
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)

NORTH DAKOTA: (UPDATED)
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

ONTARIO:
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)

MORE APPLICATIONS FOR NEW FM TRANSLATORS:
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)

NEBRASKA:
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)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (1/29-2/2):
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
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)

IOWA:
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)

NEBRASKA/IOWA:
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)

IOWA/MINNESOTA:
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)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (1/22-1/26):
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)

WISCONSIN:
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)

IOWA:
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)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (1/16-1/19):
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

FM TRANSLATOR AUCTION SET:
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)

IOWA:
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)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (1/8-1/12):
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)

WISCONSIN:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (12/29-1/5):
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)

MINNESOTA:
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)

SOUTH DAKOTA:
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

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Jamestown Sun: Around the world to the prairie: New KSJB program director worked in Finland, Russia (4/21)
Des Moines Register: The Round Guy is fired from KBOE; longtime media personality says he's done with radio (4/20)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Let it snow? WLDB-FM brings back holiday music (briefly) to match the weather (4/18)
Star Tribune: Paul Douglas talks conservative values and climate change in PBS' new 'Nova' special (4/16)
Star Tribune: MPR, Garrison Keillor reach agreement (4/13)
Star Tribune: Al Austin, a pioneer in Twin Cities investigative journalism, dies at 83 (4/10)
Star Tribune: WCCO meteorologist Kylie Bearse bids farewell to Minneapolis before heading to Denver (4/2)
Star Tribune: KQ's Tom Barnard, 3 others are newest Minnesota Broadcasting Hall inductees (4/2)
Star Tribune: KLBB-AM, radio home of Stan Turner and Green Bay Packers football, prepares to sign off (3/29)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Digital TV subchannels Decades, This and Movies! are back on Spectrum cable (3/29)
Duluth News Tribune: 'The little station that could': Grand Marais-based WTIP celebrates 20th year on air (3/25)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: After a half century on the air, Stan Turner is signing off from KLBB -- for now (3/24)
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...