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The first Christmas flip of the season? Kind of. The HD2 signal of WXXM/92.1 (Sun Prairie-Madison) is being used to originate iHeartRadio's "North Pole Radio" format, which consists mainly of Christmas favorites from the `50s and `60s. It's not clear exactly when WXXM-HD2 began carrying the format. iHeartRadio uses HD2 channels of many of its stations to originate national programming carried on the iHeartRadio platform. (10/17/2017)

The owner of two radio stations in south-central Iowa is seeking FCC approval to buy a third station in the region, which the buyers put back on the air one day before its license was due to expire. The deal calls for newly-formed KMYQ Media LLC to
buy KMYQ/97.1 (North English) from Justin McLuckie for $2,500. KMYQ Media is owned 10 percent by Greg Watts and 90 percent by Mahaska Media Group LLC, which is held by Branden Muhl, the co-owner of KBOE-FM/104.9 and KMZN/740 (Oskaloosa). Watts is the GM of the station and tells the FCC that KMYQ returned to the air at full power on Sept. 27. McLuckie had taken KMYQ off the air on Sept. 27, 2016 and says in the asset purchase agreement that he had removed KMYQ's equipment in anticipation of letting the license expire due to the "economic infeasibility relating to the continued operation of the station." KMYQ is licensed for 3.9kW/40m (class A) serving a rural area between Oskaloosa and Iowa City. Its current format is uknown. KMYQ was first licensed in 2012 but has repeatedly received FCC permission to remain silent. A 2014 deal to sell the station to a Kansas-based broadcaster was never consummated. (10/16/2017)

iHeartMedia has brought Adult Standards back to Cedar Rapids on KMJM/1360. The new "Leo 1360" is named in honor of the late Leo Greco, who hosted the "Variety Time" show on sister station WMT/600 for several decades before his death in 2011. "Variety Time" continues on WMT Sunday mornings from 7 to Noon and is simulcast on "Leo 1360." The new format also includes NBC News. The KMJM callsign is a holdover from when the station carried a similar format in the early 2000's, which was followed by Sports and then Classic Country. KMJM is rebroadcast on 30-Watt K268CY/101.5, which is licensed to Cedar Rapids but has only a deep fringe signal to the city due to its location at the WMT transmitter site northeast of Marion. (10/10/2017)

KNCY/1600 (Nebraska City) has reverted to Classic Country, a format it had carried until adding a simulcast on K288GS/105.5 (Nebraska City) in 2014. The stations had carried an information-heavy Classic Hits format for the past several years, first as "Big Apple News Radio" and then "News Channel Nebraska." The new "Otoe County Country" format on KNCY/K288BS launched Monday, Oct. 9, and carries a pre-1990 playlist complementing the Country format of sister station "B103" (KBIE/103.1 Auburn-Nebraska City). The stations are owned by Flood Broadcasting, which also operates a local cable channel under the "News Channel Nebraska" name and has radio stations and low-power TV stations elsewhere in the state. (10/10/2017)

A Christian broadcaster is spinning off a commercial AM station it recently acquired as part of a merger. Galaxie Broadcasting LLC is buying WJUB/1420 (Plymouth) from The Family Radio Network, formerly known as Evangel Ministries, for $90,000. Evangel merged earlier this year with Jubilation Ministries, which had owned WJUB and WSTM/91.3 (Kiel). Galaxie, owned by Stuart A. Muck of Fond du Lac and David J. Hendrickson of Waldo, has been operating WJUB under a local marketing agreement since August. WJUB carries an Adult Standards format as "The Breeze." (10/10/2017)

When is good news also bad news? When your market ranking goes up despite losing households. Nielsen Media's newly-released market rankings for the 2017-2018 TV season show Fargo rose three spots in the rankings to market 113, while Duluth and Rapid City each rose two spots to numbers 140 and 170, respectively. However, Nielsen's 2017-2018 numbers compared with 2016-2017 show all three markets, and many others, lost TV households as the number of TV households fell 2.2 percent nationally. Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, and Cheyenne-Scottsbluff each rose one spot in the market rankings, while all otehr Upper Midwest markets were either flat or fell on the list. (10/9/2017)

An Alternative format has launched on the St. Cloud area's W293CS/106.5, originating on the HD3 signal of Tri-County Broadcasting's WHMH/101.7 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud). The translator had previously relayed the Adult Standards format of Tri-County's WMIN/1010 (Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud). The switch to Alternative, which apparently happened about a month ago, comes after Townsquare Media dropped "REV 96-7" in favor of Classic Hits "The River" on KZRV (Sartell-St. Cloud). 106.5's format does not have a name other than its frequency and is positioned as the "new rock alternative" and "music for a new generation." It apparently has no web or social media presence; here is an audio sample of the imaging. (10/8/2017)

Iowa Public Radio has signed on new translator K284CN/104.7 (Ames), relaying the IPR News network from WOI/640. The new 250-Watt signal transmits from a tower near WOI's studio on the Iowa State University campus. It's the only FM outlet carrying IPR News 24 hours per day, since other IPR FM signals either carry a mixture of News and "Studio One" Adult Alternative programming or 24-hour Classical. The translator permit was moved west from Iowa City as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. (10/8/2017)

The FCC has dismissed an informal objection from a Cedar Rapids station and will allow a new station to have a stronger signal to the city than originally permitted. Plus Charities' KMMK/88.7 (Coggon), which is not yet on the air, has been seeking a "Raleigh waiver" to move its transmitter closer to Cedar Rapids with 25kW/94m (class C3), adding most of Cedar Rapids to its 60 dbu contour. Kirkwood Community College, the owner of KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids), objected, saying Raleigh waivers are only supposed to be used to upgrade existing stations, not new stations. The FCC has now stated that new permittees can be eligible for a Raleigh waiver and granted KMMK's application. The action also extended KMMK's deadline to get on the air to 2020. (10/6/2017)

Big Radio has announced plans to launch a `90s Hits format on two FM signals along the stateline. "The Beat 92.3 and 98.9" is slated to launch Monday, Oct. 9, on W222AU/92.3 (Beloit) and W255CZ/98.9 (Janesville), both of which will relay WBEL/1380 (South Beloit, IL). W255CZ was moved west from Michigan as a result of the AM revitalization window and W222AU was purchased from another local broadcaster. The change will displace a broad Oldies format currently heard on WBEL, a 5kW station with regional coverage. "The Beat" lineup will include Micki Morgret in the mornings, Paul Michaels middays, Liz Rudolph afternoons, and Wayne "Grizzly" Adams evenings. The station is operated by Ben Thompson and his father, Scott. (10/5/2017)

KEYC/12 (Mankato) has announced plans to add a morning newscast in January. "KEYC News 12 This Morning" will air from 6 to 7 a.m. on the station's primary CBS channel, anchored by Lisa Cownie, Kelsey Barchenger and Meteorologist Tom Clements. The station currently airs half-hour newscasts at Noon, 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 on its main channel and at 9:00 on its FOX subchannel. KEYC is the only station in the Mankato market, competing with Twin Cities stations. (10/3/2017)

Members of the Ingstad family are adjusting their radio holdings in the Red River Valley. Three members of i3G Media LLC are buying out the fourth member, with Robert J. Ingstad, Todd Ingstad, and Tallie Ingstad Colville buying out Tami Ingstad Knudson's shares in the company for $50,000. (The four are siblings.) i3G currently owns KQLX/890 (Lisbon) and KQLX-FM/106.1 (Lisbon). It is also the proposed assignee of KBMW/1450 (Breckenridge) and KBMW-FM/92.7 (Breckenridge), which i3G is buying from Brooke Ingstad's Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge LLC for $925,000. Radio Wahpeton Breckenridge retains ownership of KEGK/106.9 (Wahpeton-Fargo). Brooke Ingstad also owns 11 percent equity in a company headed by her father, James Ingstad, which owns six stations in the Fargo market.

In another recently-filed deal, five members are exiting Scott Hennen's Bakken Beacon Media LLC and one is entering. The company owns WZFG/1100 (Dilworth-Fargo) and KTGO/1090 (Tioga). Gregory Butler, Eugene Graner, Fred Evans, Kathleen Neset, and Walter Grotte are selling their combined 77.4 percent equity in the company for $538,130. After the transaction is completed, Hennen and Steven Hallstrom will each own 50 percent of the company. (10/3/2017)

A Black Hills Talk station is getting a new owner: its afternoon host. Nate Brown's Black Hills Broadcasting LLC is buying KIMM/1150 (Rapid City) and K294BT/106.7 (Rapid City) from Aasen Publishing for $175,000. Brown, who owns all of the equity in the buying company, hosts a Sports talk show on the station from 2 to 4 p.m., according to the KIMM website. The buyer will take over operations of the station on Oct. 30 through a time brokerage agreement. (10/2/2017)

iHeartMedia has done some tweaking at its Contemporary Hits station in Cedar Rapids amid a three-way Top 40 battle. KOSY-FM/95.7 (Anamosa-Cedar Rapids) has changed its slogan from "Y95-7" to "Hot 95.7," keeping Elvis Duran's syndicated morning show and adding Ryan Seacrest in middays. Local hosts air in the afternoon and evening. "Hot 95.7" battles locally-owned "Z102.9" (KZIA) and Townsquare Media's "i107.1" (KRQN Vinton-Cedar Rapids), as well as rimshot signals from Townsquare's Quad Cities and Waterloo CHR outlets. (10/2/2017)

KLBF/89.1 (Lincoln-Bismarck) has returned to the air and is now carrying Christian Talk and Teaching from the Faith Radio Network. The change follows University of Northwestern-St. Paul, which owns the Faith Radio Network, buying KLBF from the Educational Media Foundation. Bismarck is the westernmost city where the network is heard and is one of the few markets where Northwestern operates a Faith Radio station but not a local Contemporary Christian format. (10/2/2017)

Wisconsin Public Radio has signed on a new FM signal in Wausau, bringing full-time analog reception of its Ideas Network to the city for the first time. W267BB/101.3 carries the Ideas Network's News/Talk format via the HD3 channel of WHRM/90.9 (Wausau), which carries WPR's NPR News & Classical Music network on its main channel. W267BB was purchased from WRVM Inc. and upgraded to 250 Watts. The Ideas Network is also heard on 54-Watt WLBL-FM/91.9 (Wausau), which shares time with WXPW/91.9 (Wausau). WLBL-FM is on the air weekdays from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 5 p.m. to Midnight, with no Saturday broadcast. (9/30/2017)

The Upper Midwest has come out largely in the clear after the FCC looked for conflicts among this summer's applications for new FM translators under the AM revitalization window. Out of 108 pending applications in the Upper Midwest, only 11 are in conflict. They are:

MX Group 66: KVTK 102.1 (Vermilion, SD), KYNT 102.1 (Yankton, SD)
MX Group 82: WATK 99.5 (Antigo, WI), WXCO 99.5 (Wausau, WI)
MX Group 83: KFIZ 99.9 (Fond du Lac, WI), WVCY 99.9 (Oshkosh, WI)
MX Group 84: WFDL 93.9 (Fond du Lac, WI), WLAK 93.9 (New Holstein, WI), WOSH 93.9 (Oshkosh, WI)
MX Group 85: WDLS 92.7 (Baraboo, WI), WTTN 92.7 (Madison, WI)
(full national list)

Conflicting applicants now have until November 29 to reach settlement agreements or modify their application to specify a different frequency. Applications that are still in conflict after that date will head to auction. The release of the mutually exclusive list could mean that the FCC will soon act on some of the non-conflicting applications. (9/28/2017)

Hubbard Broadcasting's WDIO-DT (Duluth) and WIRT-DT (Hibbing) have added ION Television on channels 10.3 and 13.3 in 720p HD. ION's launch coincides with the stations' DT2 channel, which carries MeTV, being upgraded to 720p HD, joining the ABC HD signal on DT1. The addition of ION continues a trend of the network adding subchannel affiliates in markets where it doesn't own a primary station.

In other Twin Ports subchannel news, Quincy Media's KBJR-DT3 (Superior-Duluth) has dropped two hours of syndicated programming from 9 to 11 p.m. in favor of more content from Heroes & Icons Network, which now airs 20 hours per day unless pre-empted by local sports broadcasts. KBJR-DT3 is branded "My9" for the MyNetworkTV lineup that runs from 7 to 9 p.m. (9/27/2017)

Red River Broadcast Corporation's FOX affiliates in the Duluth and Fargo markets are now carrying Antenna TV programming from 2 to 5 a.m. The stations, KQDS-TV/21.1 (Duluth) and KVRR/15.1 (Fargo), continue to carry Antenna TV on their DT2 channels, but the addition gives Antenna TV some exposure in households whose provider doesn't carry the network. The classic TV programming replaces a weather loop, which continues in the 5 a.m. hour on both stations. (9/27/2017)

The Center for Communication and Development's KMOJ/89.9 (Minneapolis) has added two HD subchannels, including one simulcasting a central Minnesota station. KMOJ-HD2 is now carrying "the New Urban Hip-Hop sound" as "The Ice," complementing the Adult R&B format heard on KMOJ's main channel. A news release says "The Ice," which will also stream online, targets the 12-24 demographic with "established national and emerging artists from the Twin Cities and beyond." Meanwhile, KMOJ-HD3 is now relaying St. Cloud State University's KVSC/88.1 (St. Cloud), which features student-produced music and news programming. (9/26/2017)

WLAK/1530 (New Holstein) has returned to the air, carrying the same the Oldies format as WGBW/1590 (Denmark-Green Bay) with ABC Information Network news at the top of the hour. WLAK is a 350-Watt daytimer with rimshot coverage of Appleton and Oshkosh from a tower north of Chilton. The stations are owned by Mark Heller. (9/26/2017)

Cochise Broadcasting is donating KHSK/100.9 (Allen) to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska as a result of a consent decree that was reached in May. KHSK is among nine radio stations that Cochise agreed to donate or surrender after an FCC analysis concluded that many of Cochise's stations had sought repeated periods of silence in their last license period. FCC filings indicate KHSK has only been on the air for several days in the past several years. Though KHSK is currently licensed for just 100 Watts, it has in the past had construction permits for a class C3 facility that would have provided rimshot coverage of Sioux City, Iowa, and Vermillion, South Dakota. (9/25/2017)

A celebration of life is set for Oct. 1 for longtime radio station owner John R. Linder, who died Friday, Sept. 22, at the age of 63 following a battle with cancer. Linder spent his entire career in radio, following his father Don and grandfather Harry, and his death comes two years after that of his father.

Linder had an interest in companies that own 17 radio stations in the Mankato, Marshall, Owatonna, Rochester, and Willmar markets, and other members of the Linder family own several more stations in Willmar. Additionally, Linder Farm Network programming airs on two dozen Minnesota stations.

The Linder stations are known for their strong commitment to local programming, bucking the trend of automation and syndication that has dominated the radio industry in recent decades. Linder was also known for treating his employees like family, with longtime KTOE personality Pete Steiner telling the Mankato Free Press that Linder would quietly advance a paycheck for an employee in need.

The celebration of Linder's life will be held at the Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery in Kasota on Sunday, Oct. 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. More details are available in the obituary on Mankato Mortuary's website. (9/24/2017)

KBAD-FM/94.5 (Sioux Falls) has gone silent less than two years after signing on with a mainstream Rock format, with owner Chuck Brennan blaming regulatory oversight of his Dollar Loan Center for the shutdown of KBAD and his other businesses. KBAD had launched with much fanfare on Thanksgiving 2015, promising 24-hour live programming and coverage of special events at Brennan's Badlands Pawn complex. The station's website says the KBAD-FM license and its 8,800 square-foot studio/office building are now for sale for minimum bids of $945,000 each. Brennan's Badlands Airtime, LLC purchased the frequency, formerly KCFS, from the University of Sioux Falls for $1.5 million in 2015 and upgraded it to 25kW. The Sioux Falls radio market is dominated by Midwest Communications and Townsquare Media, which both appear to be at the market cap for FM stations. (9/24/2017)

The Minneapolis-based FAN Network has added two affiliates:

In southwestern Minnesota, KWOA/730 (Worthington) and K262AR/100.3 (Worthington) apparently began carrying the network about a month ago. KWOA's website says it carries the FAN Network from 5:30 a.m. to Noon and 3 to 6:30 p.m., with NBC Sports Radio running evenings and overnights. Farm programming runs from Noon to 3 p.m. The station, owned by Absolute Communications II, had previously carried Soft Oldies and Joe Soucheray's syndicated afternoon show. AM 730's 1kW daytime signal has a wide coverage area across the region and can be heard in Sioux Falls, SD.

In north-central Minnesota, Hubbard Broadcasting's KNSP/1430 (Staples) began carrying the FAN Network earlier this month, with ESPN Radio running in evenings and overnights. KNSP had rebroadcast the Country format of KWAD/920 (Wadena) for about a quarter-century, though the stations have overlapping coverage areas. Hubbard stations in Brainerd and Bemidji also carry the FAN Network. (9/22/2017)

The MyNetworkTV lineup is now running later in the Twin Cities. FOX 9+ (WFTC), formerly known as My 29, is now running MyNetworkTV's prime time block of off-network reruns from 9 to 11 p.m. MNT airs from 7 to 9 p.m. Central time in most markets, but has allowed many affiliates to deviate from that time. The lineup had run from 8 to 10 p.m. last season on WFTC. MNT is operated by KMSP/WFTC parent Fox Entertainment Group. (9/20/2017)

W259BC/99.7 (Baraboo) and its originating station, WRPQ/740 (Baraboo), have flipped to Variety Hits as "Max FM," with a playlist heavy on `80s and `90s but also including current and recent hits. The change from Adult Contemporary follows Kory Hartman's purchase of the stations. Baraboo is also the community of license for Entercom Madison Classic Hits outlet WOLX/94.9, which carries a `70s-based playlist. (9/18/2017)

Independent Communications' KTTW (Sioux Falls) has added Cozi TV on channel 7.3. KTTW is a primary FOX affiliate and also carries This TV on 7.2. Cozi TV had previously been seen in Sioux Falls on Red River Broadcast Co.'s KDLT/46.2, which switched to Antenna TV last year. (9/17/2017)

In addition to the Omaha launch reported below, Stadium Network has also launched on channel 28.4 of KFXA (Cedar Rapids), channel 14.4 of WCWF (Suring-Green Bay), and channel 57.4 of WIFS (Janesville-Madison). Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns WCWF and operates KFXA, is a partner in the sports network. WIFS is owned by Byrne Acquisition Group. (9/17/2017)

Midwest Communications has brought the "Jack FM" Classic Hits/Classic Rock format to Fargo, displacing the "Mix 101.9" Adult Contemporary format on KRWK/101.9 (Fargo). RadioInsight reports the format launched at Midnight Tuesday morning (9/12) and notes that Midwest has also reserved Jack FM domain names that could be used in other markets. "Mix" was the only mainstream Adult Contemporary format in the market but lacked the heritage often associated with AC success. 101.9 has been home to several formats in the past two decades, including Country, Rock, and Talk. The format change leaves the Ingstad Adult Top 40 outlet "Big 98-7" (KLTA-FM Moorhead) as the closest thing to AC in Fargo. The "Jack FM" playlist mainly overlaps with two other Ingstad family outlets, Classic Hits station "106.9 The Eagle" (KEGK Wahpeton-Fargo) and Classic Rocker "107.9 The Fox" (KFPX Kindred-Fargo). (9/12/2017)

Several more Upper Midwest stations have added new subchannel network Light TV, which carries family-friendly classic TV shows. The network first launched in the region on KMSP/9.5 (Minneapolis) over the summer. It's also now on KDMI/19.3 (Des Moines), KWKB/20.2 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids), and WIWN/68.2 (Fond du Lac-Milwaukee). Light TV replaces The Works on KWKB-DT2 and Evine TV on WIWN-DT2.

Elsewhere, KXVO (Omaha) has added Stadium Network on 15.4. KXVO operator Sinclair Broadcast Group is one of the partners in the network. (9/10/2017)

TV listings indicate FOX 18 (KLJB Davenport) will begin airing a two-hour morning show on Monday, Sept. 18. It'll be the only live local newscast in the 7 to 9 a.m. timeslot, competing with the network morning shows and a repeat of WQAD's morning show on MyTV8.3. KLJB also carries an hour of news at 9 p.m. It's owned by Marshall Broadcasting and operated by Nexstar Broadcasting, which also owns CBS affiliate WHBF/4.1 and CW affiliate KGCW/26.1. (9/7/2017)

Minnesota Public Radio's "The Current" has signed on a third FM signal in Duluth: K231BI/94.1 began carrying the Adult Alternative network last week. It joins the rimshot signal of KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors), which has carried "The Current" since June, and W215CG/90.9 (Duluth), which first brought the network to the Twin Ports last year. W215CG's programming originates on the HD2 signal of MPR News station WSCN/100.5 (Cloquet-Duluth). MPR bought KZIO and K231BI, which formerly carried an Active Rock format, from Red Rock Radio for $300,000 earlier this year and had taken K231BI off the air while it moved the transmitter to its own tower. The future of 90.9 has not been announced -- its coverage area is within 94.1's, and updated logos on the station's social media accounts do not include 90.9. MPR bought W215CG from Family Stations for $45,000 in 2015. MPR's stations are among nine public radio signals in the Twin Ports/Cloquet area. (9/6/2017)

Milwaukee PBS has eliminated two music channels ahead of the sign-off of one of its two broadcast channels. The Classical and Jazz had aired on channels 36.4 and 36.5 of WMVT (RF channel 35), and the station says its contracts to run the music expired on Aug. 31. WMVT will leave the air Jan. 8 as a result of the spectrum auction, and the station says WMVS (RF 8) will carry all six remaining channels currently seen on WMVS and WMVT. Milwaukee Area Tech College is receiving $84.9 million to take WMVT's transmitter off the air. Milwaukee is the only city in the Upper Midwest lacking a daily Classical music outlet on analog FM radio. (9/5/2017)

A new FM signal has brought a "Party" to suburban Milwaukee. As first reported by RadioInsight, WTKM/1540 (Hartford) has dropped its "Cruisin' 1540" Oldies format in favor of a broad Classic Hits mix as "Party 92.9" simultaneously with the launch of translator W225CP/92.9. WTKM has changed its callsign to WPTT. W225CP transmits from Menomonee Falls with 200 Watts, reaching suburbs including Mequon and Brookfield that are outside of WPTT's main coverage area. W225CP was moved from Saukville as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window and remains licensed to that community. WPTT/W225CP is owned by Tomsun Media, which also owns unique Classic Country, Polka, and Talk outlet WTKM-FM/104.9 (Hartford). (9/1/2017)

New FM translator K243CO/96.5 (Boone-Des Moines) has signed on, relaying the Spanish-language format of "La Reina" (KDLF/1260 Boone-Des Moines). K234CO broadcasts with 250 Watts from the Alleman antenna farm north of Ankeny, rimshotting the capital city. KDLF owner Latin World Broadcasting moved the translator license from western Iowa as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. K243CO is the third Spanish-language FM signal in Des Moines, competing with Latin Broadcasting Corporation's "La Ley" (KDLS-FM/105.5 Perry-Des Moines) and the recently-launched "La Patrona" on Youngers Colorado Broadcasting's K295CB/106.9. The 96.5 frequency in Des Moines had briefly been occupied by iHeartMedia's "96.5 Country," a translator/HD2 format which moved to 96.9 as "The Bull" (K245CO Millman-Des Moines) earlier this year to get an upgrade. (8/29/2017)

FOX's KMSP/WFTC (Minneapolis) has announced plans to add a 7 p.m. newscast starting Sept. 18. "FOX 9+ News at 7" will air on FOX 9+, which is a rebranding of WFTC, formerly My29, that was first reported here earlier this month. The half-hour newscast will be anchored by Naomi Pescovitz, who worked at ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5 before taking a job in Indianapolis a few years ago. Minneapolis has not had a 7 p.m. newscast since the end of Twin Cities Public Television's "NewsNight Minnesota" in the early 2000's, and WFTC has not aired a newscast since 2006. FOX 9+ will also repeat the 10 p.m. newscast from FOX 9 (KMSP) at 11 p.m. FOX 9+ (WFTC) is seen on broadcast channel 9.2, cable channel 10 on major systems, and satellite channel 29. (8/28/2017)

Several stations have recently told the FCC that they're operating at reduced power for various reasons:

  • Townsquare Media's KLYV/105.3 (Dubuque) told the FCC in an Aug. 7 filing that a July 6 power surge caused damage to its transmitter, forcing it to operate at about 5 percent of its usual 50kW.
  • Minnesota Public Radio's KRSU/88.5 (Appleton, MN) says it's been operating at 45 percent of its normal 100kW since August 12 due to transmitter failure.
  • Radio Plus Bay Cities' WSFQ/96.3 (Peshtigo, WI-Menominee, MI) says its antenna was struck by lightning on Aug. 10 and is operating with about 20 percent of its normal 50kW.
  • Real Presence Radio's WWEN/88.1 (Wentworth-Superior, WI) says it recently suffered a lightning strike and is operating at about ten percent of its usual 850 Watts. (8/22/2017)

The FCC has approved an upgrade for W235CT/94.9 (St. Paul). The translator signed on last fall relaying the "Radio Rey" format of WREY/630 with 250 Watts from Wells Fargo Place in downtown St. Paul. It now has a construction permit to use 99 Watts from Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis, increasing its antenna height. As previously reported, the move will improve 94.9's signal to Minneapolis and the western suburbs while retaining most coverage of St. Paul, but the signal to eastern suburbs will be weakened. (8/18/2017)

Gospel Music Omaha's KCUG-LP/100.3 (Omaha) has signed on with a 24-hour Urban Gospel format. The station transmits with 20 Watts from a location in North Omaha used in the past by two other stations. Its website indicates KCUG-LP officially launched August 1. (8/17/2017)

Classical Iowa Public Radio station KICL/96.3 (Pleasantville) tells the FCC it has completed a move of its transmitter to Knoxville, putting Pella within the station's city-grade coverage area and improving its fringe coverage of Oskaloosa. KICL remains class A, now using 5.4kW at 100m. The move from a site west of Knoxville reduces KICL's fringe signal to Des Moines, but the network has other signals in the capital city. (8/17/2017)

Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network morning host Joy Cardin has announced plans to retire from the network on Sept. 29. Cardin has been with the network since 1986 and has hosted the 6 to 9 a.m. timeslot since Tom Clark retired 14 years ago. She writes in a farewell note that she will miss the morning conversation with listeners, but not the 1 a.m. alarm. Cardin's departure will come months after Kathleen Dunn retired, leaving Larry Meiller as the only long-running daily host on the Ideas Network. WPR says Kate Archer Kent will take over the Ideas Network morning show on an interim basis, but says it is conducting a national search for a new host and "is exploring ideas for a new Wisconsin-based show to be launched next year." (8/16/2017)

There's no longer a station identifying as "channel 29" in the Twin Cities, though WFTC-TV continues to exist. The FOX-owned station has switched its identity from My29 to FOX 9+, tagging onto the identity of sister station KMSP/FOX 9. FOX has recently made similar moves in other markets. WFTC's programming, including the My Network TV prime time lineup, apparently remains unchanged. WFTC's over-the-air signal is on RF channel 29 but has actually been remapped to virtual channel 9 for several years, mixing with channels originating from KMSP's RF9 signal. The station is only seen on channel 29 on satellite TV lineups.

Twin Cities Public Television made a similar change during the 2009 digital transition, dropping the "channel 17" identity of KTCI-TV in favor of "TPT Life" and remapping it to channel 2, mixing with channels from KTCA. Hubbard Broadcasting's Independent KSTC-TV has maintained its 45TV identity after moving to virtual channel 5.2 several years ago, mixing with KSTP-TV's channels. Satellite providers carry TPT Life on channel 17 and 45TV on channel 45. (8/11/2017)

The syndicated "1A" will replace retiring Ideas Network host Kathleen Dunn, Wisconsin Public Radio announced this week. Dunn is retiring after a 44-year radio career, the last 24 years of which were at WPR, and will host her last show in the 1 to 3 p.m. weekday timeslot on Thursday (8/10). The Ideas Network will continue to carry "Science Friday" in the timeslot on Fridays, and "1A" will debut Monday (8/14). The network retains state-produced morning, midday, and afternoon drive programs. The Ideas Network will also adjust its evening lineup, with CBC's "As It Happens" and "Q" moving up an hour to 7 and 8, respectively. The BBC's "Newsday" will debut at 9, followed by a rotation of shows at 10. "Political Junkie with Ken Rudin" and "The Dinner Party Download," which had aired Fridays, are leaving the lineup. The full schedule is posted here. (8/9/2017)

110 Upper Midwest AM stations filed for FM translators during the most recent filing window, according to FCC records made public Tuesday (8/8). A complete list is here. 110 is a pretty large number considering that only class C and D AM stations were eligible, and many stations already have translators. (Class C stations are the 1,000-Watt stations operating on "graveyard" frequencies and Class D stations are those that use less than 250 Watts at night.)

There were several applications in the Twin Cities area:

  • KFXN/690 (Minneapolis) seeks a 100-Watt translator on 104.9 from its New Hope transmitter site, providing a strong signal to North Minneapolis and parts of the northwest metro.
  • KQSP/1530 (Shakopee) seeks a 250-Watt translator on 99.1 from the WLOL/1330 transmitter site in Savage, providing a strong signal to Bloomington, Burnsville, and parts of some other southwestern suburbs.
  • WEVR/1550 (River Falls, WI) seeks a 250-Watt translator on 93.1 from its tower site northwest of town, providing a strong signal to Hudson and some affluent suburbs along the St. Croix River.
About a dozen Upper Midwest stations are seeking translators on the edges of their existing coverage areas, potentially allowing them to enter nearby larger markets. They include:
  • Two stations north of Madison are seeking translators closer to the capital city. Good Karma Broadcasting's WTTN/1580 (Columbus) is seeking a translator on 92.7 transmitting from Maple Bluff, while Magnum Broadcasting's WPDR/1350 (Portage) is seeking a translator on 98.9 in the Madison suburb of De Forest.
  • Two other Magnum Broadcasting stations north of Madison are seeking translators in Baraboo. WRDB/1400 (Reedsburg) would be heard on 97.3 in Baraboo and WDLS/900 (Wisconsin Dells) would be relayed on 92.7, though the original WDLS translator application specifies a site in Illinois in an apparent error.
  • KXLQ/1490 (Indianola, IA), which was reportedly being heard on a separately-owned translator in Des Moines, seeks a translator on 95.7 in Des Moines.
It appears that there are few conflicts among the regional applications, and many could be granted quickly. Another translator filing window will open later this year for all AM stations, including the larger class A and B signals. (8/8/2017)

The owner of a future Milwaukee FM signal is making another attempt at getting FCC approval to change the station to be rebroadcast on the translator. Frank McCoy's W277CV/103.3 has a construction permit to move from its present site along the Wisconsin-Illinois border to a tower in Milwaukee, relaying Liberal Talker WRRD/1510 (Waukesha-Milwaukee). As previously reported here, McCoy had dropped an attempt to amend the construction permit to switch to Conservative Talker WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee) after WRRD pointed out that the input station could not be amended since the permit was granted based on a "Mattoon waiver." Now, McCoy has filed a new application, rather than an amendment, to move the translator to Milwaukee as a WTMJ translator, again using a "Mattoon Waiver." The legal distinction may be small, but it may be enough to get FCC approval. (The filing of the new application was delayed because of an FCC freeze during a filing window for new translators, for which WTMJ did not qualify.) WRRD co-owner Michael Crute wrote on Facebook last month that McCoy told him he was making the change because Scripps Broadcasting, WTMJ's owner, offered more money. (8/7/2017)

Townsquare Media has shuffled formats on three stations in Sioux Falls, swapping two decades-old AM formats and dropping one FM format in favor of a simulcast with AM. The KXRB Classic Country format and callsign have moved from AM 1000 to AM 1140, formerly KSOO, with a simulcast on the new KXRB-FM/100.1 (Brandon-Sioux Falls). 100.1 was formerly Adult Contemporary outlet "Easy 100.1" KDEZ. Meanwhile, the KSOO callsign and News/Talk format has moved from 1140 to 1000. The changes took place at 6 a.m. Monday (8/7) according to KSOO's Facebook page. The new KXRB-FM could help sister Townsquare Country outlet KIKN-FM/100.5 (Salem-Sioux Falls) in its battle with Midwest Country outlet KTWB/92.5 (Sioux Falls), and could perhaps also dissuade Midwest from bringing its "Duke FM" Classic Country format to the market. The swap also improves KXRB's AM nighttime coverage -- both 1000 and 1140 use 10kW during the day, but 1000 drops to 100 Watts at night while 1140 is 5kW at night. Meanwhile, a post on the old "Easy 100.1" website is telling listeners to tune to the Hot Adult Contemporary format on sister station "Mix 97.3" (KMXC Sioux Falls).

Historical footnote: FCC history cards indicate that the current 1140 license had used the KSOO callsign since its 1920's sign-on; the station was on different frequencies before being moved to 1140 as part of the NARBA reallocation in 1941. The history cards for AM 1000 indicate the KXRB callsign had been on that frequency since its 1969 sign-on. (8/7/2017)

KKIN/930 (Aitkin) has dropped NBC Sports Radio in favor of Soft Oldies, restoring a format that had aired on the station for decades before the 2014 switch to Sports. The locally-automated "Adult Standards 930" features light hits from the 1950's to 1980's and is positioned as "America's Best Music." The change follows R&J Broadcasting's purchase of the station, and five others in the area, from Red Rock Radio last year. (8/1/2017)

Robert J. Ingstad is buying back two Aberdeen-area AM stations that one of his companies sold to a non-commercial Christian broadcaster 13 years ago. Ingstad's KKAA, Inc. will buy KKAA/1560 (Aberdeen) and KQKD/1380 (Redfield) from Family Stations for $85,000, which is $10,000 more than Family Stations had paid for KKAA/KQKD in 2004. That divestiture had come as Ingstad's Radio Ranch merged its other stations with Clear Channel's former group in the Aberdeen market, but the former Ingstad group is now owned by Prairie Winds Broadcasting. The asset purchase agreement states that the buyer has the right to apply for FM translators for the stations under the current filing window. (8/1/2017)

News/Classic Hits outlet WPDR/1350 (Portage) will get an FM outlet as owner Magnum Communications upgrades an existing translator to relay WPDR. W290AL/105.9 (Baraboo) has been on the air for almost 20 years relaying WBDL/102.9 (Reedsburg) with just 4 Watts. The FCC has approved a plan to move W290AL's transmitter to a tower near Devil's Lake State Park and upgrade to 250 Watts, relaying WPDR. The translator should have a good signal to both Portage and Baraboo, with possible fringe coverage of Wisconsin Dells and Sauk City. (7/27/2017)

After a short burst of media attention, the owner of an FM signal poised to move into Milwaukee has dropped an application to change its feed from a Liberal Talk outlet to a Conservative Talk outlet. Frank McCoy's W277CV/103.3 is currently licensed for a small coverage area along the state line and has a construction permit to move to a tower in Milwaukee and relay WRRD/1510 (Waukesha-Milwaukee). Last Monday, McCoy filed an application specifying a different site with Scripps' WTMJ/620 (Milwaukee) listed as the new input station. However, WRRD filed an informal objection pointing out that since the original construction permit to move to Milwaukee had been obtained using a "Mattoon Waiver," the specified input station could not be changed for four years. FCC records indicate the application to switch to WTMJ was dismissed last Friday at McCoy's request. (7/25/2017)

W235CT/94.9 (St. Paul), which signed on last fall relaying the "Radio Rey" format of WREY/630, has applied to move its transmitter to Minneapolis. W235CT currently transmits with 250 Watts from Wells Fargo Place in downtown St. Paul and is instead seeking to use 99 Watts from Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis. The move would improve 94.9's signal to Minneapolis and the western suburbs while retaining most coverage of St. Paul, but the signal to eastern suburbs would be weakened. (7/23/2017)

Hubbard Radio is asking the FCC to consider an amended application to move an FM signal into Minneapolis to relay its "1500 ESPN" (KSTP St. Paul). Earlier this month, the FCC rejected an AM Revitalization application to move K235BP (Bemidji) to Minneapolis on 94.1 over concerns about potential interference to WFNU-LP/94.1 (St. Paul). Hubbard has now amended the application to specify a 2-Watt directional signal from the IDS Center, down from 10 Watts in the original application. The lower wattage puts more distance between the coverage areas of the proposed translator and WFNU-LP. Hubbard separately filed a petition for reconsideration asking the FCC to consider the amendment. (7/23/2017)

The "Air 1" Christian Hits FM signal that recently moved from Minneapolis to St. Paul now has FCC permission to move back to Minneapolis. Educational Media Foundation's W225AP/92.9 had been transmitting with 99 Watts from the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis since 2015 but received an interference complaint from KKJM/92.9 (St. Joseph-St. Cloud). W225AP obtained a construction permit to move its transmitter to Metropolitan State University in St. Paul with 250 Watts and told the FCC the new facilty was ready to go on the air earlier this month. Several days later, it applied to move back to its prior facility in Minneapolis with no explanation of how the KKJM complaints had been addressed, and the FCC has granted the application. (7/23/2017)

Sound in Spirit Broadcasting's "Lift FM" (KQLF/88.3 Ottumwa) has expanded is coverage to Fairfield on translator W272AL/102.3. W272AL, owned by the Fairfield Monthly Meeting of Friends, had previously carried WDLM-FM/89.3 (East Moline, IL) and switched over to KQLF on July 19. On the same day, KQLF received a construction permit to move to 88.1 and widen its coverage area to the southwest. It will transmit from a site near Blakesburg and upgrade to 4.5kW/112m. "Lift FM" carries Christian praise and worship music, along with teaching. (7/23/2017)

VCY America's recently-acquired KVCI/89.7 (Montezuma) has applied for a big upgrade. KVCI currently transmits with 3.1kW/103m (class A) from a tower 10 miles north of Montezuma and is requesting 100kW/151m (class C1) from a tower near Bussey, about 30 miles southwest of Montezuma. The 100kW facility would deliver a good signal to Pella, Knoxville, Chariton, Albia, and Oskaloosa, with a rimshot signal to Ottumwa. However, a Calvary Satellite Network translator currently occupies the frequency in Des Moines. VCY America operates a Christian network based in Milwaukee. (7/23/2017)

The FCC has granted an on-frequency booster for KMGO/98.7 (Centerville) in Ottumwa. KMGO-1 will transmit with 99 Watts. Boosters, which are much rarer than translators, operate on the same frequency as the primary station and can use up to 20 percent of the primary station's power as long as the booster stays within the primary station's coverage area. KMGO has a separate, pending application to move its transmitter west (farther away from Ottumwa) to the Melrose area. (7/23/2017)

A belated note that Nicolet Broadcasting's W277BP/103.3 (Sturgeon Bay) is carrying a Classic Country format originating on the HD2 signal of WBDK/96.7 (Algoma). A reader points out that the change was reported on the station's news website back in February. (7/23/2017)

The four TV stations in Milwaukee and one in west-central Minnesota that agreed to surrender their spectrum have now been told they must turn off their transmitters by Jan. 23, 2018. The FCC set the deadline in a public notice on Thursday, saying that the U.S. Treasury is now sending payments to all of the winning stations in the spectrum auction. The stations will be able to request up to two 90-day extensions. The Milwaukee-market stations surrendering their spectrum are Milwaukee Area Tech College's WMVT, Sinclair Broadcast Group's WCGV, VCY America's WVCY-TV, and Weigel Broadcasting's WMLW-TV. In Minnesota, CBS' KCCO-TV Alexandria surrendered its spectrum. All of the stations told the FCC that they intend to retain their licenses through channel-sharing agreements in which the station's programming and virtual channel will originate on another station's transmitter. However, Sinclair said in a filing last month that WCGV is "not a party to a channel sharing agreement" and that it intends to surrender WCGV's license in an effort to gain regulatory approval of its purchase of Tribune Broadcasting. (7/20/2017)

WDAY/970 (Fargo) says its new FM translator has signed on. K226CL/93.1 was moved south from Rolla as a result of last year's AM revitalization window. It transmits with 250 Watts from a tower near the Red River, giving it full coverage of the Fargo-Moorhead area after the FCC relaxed a rule that originally would've limited the translator's main signal to Moorhead due to WDAY's transmitter location 25 miles southeast of town. WDAY is the only radio station owned by Forum Communications, which also owns numerous regional daily newspapers and all of the ABC-TV affiliates in North Dakota. The radio station's News/Talk format includes local daytime talk shows, simulcasts of WDAY-TV newscasts, Red River Farm Network programming, and non-political syndicated talk at night. (7/20/2017)

Simmons Broadcasting's KAOC/105.1 (Cavalier) is at reduced power following a lightning strike that damaged its antenna systen. The FCC has granted the station special temporary authority to operate at about 25 percent of the usual 100kW while it waits for delivery of new antenna bays. KAOC carries a Country format as "Maverick 105." (7/20/2017)

A northeast Twin Cities metro church that bought a southeast metro FM signal last year is now buying a northeast metro FM signal to go with it. Maranatha Assembly of God Church will pay Refuge Media Group $50,000 for W219DT/91.7 (North Branch). W219DT has relayed the Christian Hits "Refuge" format from WJRF (Duluth) since its 2007 sign-on, originally on 91.9. The application to transfer the license states that W219DT will relay the church's WAJC/88.1 (Newport). WAJC's 5.52kW signal, transmitting from Coates, does not reach Forest Lake, though the station's Facebook page says its main studio is in Forest Lake. Simultaneously with the application to transfer W219DT's license, the translator applied to move its transmitter south to Stacy, which is closer to Forest Lake. (7/19/2017)

A sizeable new FM signal is on the air in rural northwestern Minnesota: We Have This Hope Christian Radio's KOLJ-FM/91.7 (Warroad) has moved to 91.1, bumping up its power from 250W to 75kW in the process. The station moved its transmitter from Warroad to a site south near Wannaska, delivering a strong signal to Roseau and a region of sparsely-populated farmland and forests with few other strong signals. KOLJ uses a directional antenna to limit the signal towards CKXL-FM/91.1 (St. Boniface-Winnipeg). It simulcasts Christian programming, including LifeTalk Radio Network, with several other northern Minnesota stations. (7/18/2017)

WJJH/96.7 (Ashland) has switched from mainstream Rock to Classic Rock, keeping its longtime "J96" slogan. WJJH had carried Classic Rock for decades until switching to mainstream Rock in 2010. It's one of four stations owned by Heartland Communications in the Ashland area, with the others carrying Country, Classic Hits, and Conservative Talk. (7/17/2017)

KMHL/1400 (Marshall) is off the air after a Friday morning fire at its transmitter, which is adjacent to the studio facility for KMHL and three FM sister stations. The station reports that work had been done on the tower Thursday and the suspected cause is electrical. KMHL's News/Talk format continues to be heard on translator K269GR/101.7, which the article says was just moved to the KMHL tower from rural Vesta. As previously reported, KMHL Broadcasting's KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) has also been off the air for a few months while its tower near Lake Benton is reconstructed after a December 2015 windstorm; KKCK's Contemporary Hits format is temporarily being heard on KNSG/94.7 (Springfield). (7/15/2017)

The FCC has approved a plan to change a longtime Eau Claire station's community of license to a nearby rural community so a sister station can improve its signal to the city. Mid-West Management's WIAL/94.1 will change its community of license from Eau Claire to Elk Mound, allowing WECL/92.9 to change its community of license from Elk Mound to Lake Hallie. WECL will also move its transmitter to the WIAL site in the Town of Seymour, just outside Eau Claire, with 5.8kW/91m. WIAL will retain its current 100kW facility.

WECL carries an Active Rock format as "The X" and WIAL carries Adult Contemporary as "I94." Content on the two stations will not have to change since the FCC does not require any particular programming to serve communities of license, other than the legal ID, but it does not approve applications that remove a community's only license.

WECL has been the only station licensed to Elk Mound, population 878. The Village of Lake Hallie, a recently-incorporated suburban area between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, has no other full-power radio licenses, though WOGO/680 and WWIB/103.7 are both licensed to the Town of Hallie, from which the Village of Lake Hallie was carved. (7/11/2017)

The FCC has dismissed an application to move an FM translator into the Twin Cities over concerns about interference to an existing low-power FM station. During last year's AM revitalization filing window, Hubbard Radio applied to move a translator license from Bemidji to Minneapolis, where it would have transmitted on 94.1 with 10 Watts from the IDS Center. The translator would've relayed Hubbard's "1500 ESPN" (KSTP St. Paul) and would've used a directional antenna to limit the signal towards WFNU-LP/94.1 (St. Paul). WFNU objected, saying the proposed translator would prevent reception by some current listeners. The FCC has now decided that WFNU has provided sufficient evidence of WFNU listenership within the translator's proposed coverage area and dismissed the application. (7/9/2017)

The FCC has approved a plan to downgrade one FM station so Armada Media's Radio Results Network can add another FM station in the Escanaba market while complying with ownership caps. Armada's WCMM/102.5 (Gulliver) cut power from 100kW to 60kW so its city-grade coverage area would not overlap with WMXG/106.3 (Stephenson), which Armada's AMC Escanaba Parters LLC is buying from the Estate of Lyle Evans. The FCC recently approved both WCMM's downgrade and the sale of WMXG. WCMM carries a Country format known as "The Moose," while Armada is programming a Classic Country format on WMXG as "The Maverick" under a local marketing agreement. (7/9/2017)

Paradis Broadcasting's KXRZ/99.3 (Alexandria) has upgraded from 6kW/85m (class A) to 12kW/82m (class C3). The upgrade improves KXRZ's signal to outlying communities such as Osakis, Sauk Centre, and Glenwood. The station carries a Hot Adult Contemporary format as "Z99." (7/9/2017)

Alpha Media has signed on 130-Watt translator K268DF/101.5 (Lincoln) relaying the Sports format of KLMS/1480, which includes ESPN Radio and the Jim Rome Show. The translator license was moved west from Iowa a sa result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. (7/9/2017)

Real Presence Radio's KZTW/104.1 (Tioga-Williston) is operating at reduced power after a lightning strike. The station normally uses 100kW at 160m above average terrain, but tells the FCC it is currently using 800 Watts at 90m after the lightning strike destroyed its antenna and damaged its transmitter. A request for special temporary authority says the station plans to return to full power within six months. Real Presence Radio is a non-commercial Catholic network. (7/9/2017)

Agnus Dei Communications, operator of the Catholic-formatted "Lamb Radio," has returned two of its rural South Dakota licenses to the FCC. KTUT/89.5 (Frankfort) and KSJW/100.9 (Murdo) had both been licensed for the FCC minimum of 100 Watts but had upgrade potential; KTUT had a construction permit to increase to 67kW/172m. "The Lamb Radio" is still heard on KSTJ/91.3 (Hartford), KSTJ-LP/104.3 (Sioux Falls), and KSJP/88.9 (Ipswich-Aberdeen). (7/9/2017)

Midwest Communications has signed on 250-Watt translator W236CO/95.1 relaying the News/Talk format of WSAU/550 (Wausau). The translator was moved in from Marshfield and remains licensed to that city, though it now transmits from Wausau. WSAU's programming is also relayed on WSAU-FM/99.9 (Rudolph-Stevens Point). (7/9/2017)

New Twin Cities FM translator W248CU/97.5 has signed on relaying the "Faith Radio" format of KTIS/900. W248CU is licensed to Minneapolis but transmits from downtown St. Paul with 250W directional, augmenting FM coverage of Faith Radio already available from K214DF/90.7, which transmits from downtown Minneapolis. The translator license was moved down from the Iron Range as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window.

W248CU's sign-on has prompted KPPS-LP/97.5 (St. Louis Park) to request special temporary authority to increase its power from 50 Watts to 100 Watts, alleging "destructive interference" from W248CU within KPPS-LP's protected contour. The FCC quickly denied the request, saying increases in power are not granted through special temporary authority. KPPS-LP has also filed an informal objection to W248CU's license to cover application. The low-power station has a construction permit to move to 88.9 but says the cost of the change will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. (7/5/2017, updated with STA denial 7/6)

Cozi TV has added a primary, full-power affiliation in Milwaukee on WIWN/68.1. The station began carrying the classic TV network in mid-June. WIWN is licensed to Fond du Lac but transmits from Milwaukee on RF channel 5, remapping to channel 68. SonLife Broadcast Network, formerly seen on 68.1, has moved to 68.8; WIWN also carries home shopping, infomercials, and LATV on its other subchannels. Cozi TV had previously been seen on channel 4.3 of WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee) and channel 38.3 of WTSJ-LD (Milwaukee). (7/5/2017)

A much-belated note that the Contemporary Hits format of KKCK/99.7 (Marshall) is temporarily being heard on co-owned KNSG/94.7 (Springfield-Marshall) while work is underway at the KKCK transmitter site. KKCK's tower near Lake Benton was toppled in a December 2015 storm, and the station has had a reduced coverage area since then. KNSG began simulcasting KKCK in late April, and the tower work began in May. KNSG normally carries Classic Hits and has more of a Minnesota coverage area than KKCK, which delivers a city-grade signal to the Brookings, SD, area when it's at full power. KKCK's new antenna height will be reduced from 282m to 213m above average terrain, but the 100kW signal will still reach most places it did before. (6/30/2017)

Sinclair Broadcast Group now says it may have to spin off a station in Des Moines and will take a Milwaukee station off the air to comply with ownership caps as part of its purchase of Tribune Broadcasting.

In Des Moines, Tribune owns NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 and Sinclair owns FOX affiliate KDSM/17. Sinclair's CEO had said during a May conference call that the company didn't think it would be required to sell any overlapping stations, but a new filing reveals plans to divest stations in ten markets, including Des Moines, to comply with a rule that prohibits a company from owning more than one of the top four stations in a market. There was no indication which station would be spun off.

In Milwaukee, the filing reveals that Sinclair intends to relinquish the license of MyNetworkTV station WCGV/24.1 as it buys Tribune FOX affiliate WITI/6, which will be co-owned with Sinclair CW affiliate WVTV/18.1. Sinclair sold WCGV's spectrum during the incentive auction but would've been able to retain WCGV's license, virtual channel, and must-carry rights through a channel-sharing agreement. The new filing says that WCGV does not have a channel-sharing agreement with any other station and intends to go off the air.

The deal also includes Tribune ABC affiliate WQAD/8.1 (Moline-Quad Cities); Sinclair does not own any existing stations in the Quad Cities. (6/28/2017)

Townsquare Media's KZRV/96.7 (Sartell-St. Cloud) has dropped Active Rock for Classic Hits as "The River," positioned as "Central Minnesota's Greatest Hits." The `60s to `80s hits format debuted early Tuesday (6/27). It has no direct competition in St. Cloud, but is under the umbrella of iHeartMedia's "Kool 108" (KQQL/107.9 Anoka-Minneapolis) due to KQQL's north metro transmitter location. The previous "Rev" format had been on the air for ten years and worked in tandem with Townsquare Classic Rocker "The Loon" (KLZZ/103.7 Waite Park-St. Cloud) in competition with Tri-County Broadcasting's "Rockin' 101" (WHMH/101.7 Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud). (6/27/2017)

KXZT/107.9 (Newell) is on the air relaying the Classic Country format of sister station KRKI/99.5 (Keystone-Rapid City), which has also changed its name from "The Range" to "True Country." KXZT transmits with 4.8kW/455m (class C3) from the Terry Peak transmitter site near Lead, covering the northern Black Hills. KRKI transmits from the southern Hills and also has an on-frequency booster in Rapid City. The stations are owned by Bad Lands Broadcasting, which bought KXZT last year. (6/22/2017)

WWWI/1270 (Baxter-Brainerd) has flipped back to NBC Sports Radio, ending a simulcast with "Talk 100" (KLKS/100.1 Pequot Lakes-Brainerd). The simulcast had begun when R&J Broadcasting began operating the stations last year. (6/22/2017)

Several years after buying a Black Hills radio station in an effort to secure lower royalty rates for online streaming, Pandora Media is selling the station to another local group. Haugo Broadcasting will pay Pandora $300,000 for "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City), according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. KXMZ's Adult Top 40 format will join Haugo Rocker "K-Sky" (KSQY/95.1 Deadwood-Rapid City), Country outlet "Kick 104" (KIQK Rapid City), and "ESPN Rapid City" (KTOQ/1340 and K289AI/105.7 Rapid City). (6/19/2017)

"Milwaukee's True Oldies Channel" has signed on a second FM frequency. The format, originating on WZTI/1290 (Greenfield-Milwaukee), is now being rebroadcast on the southeast suburban signal of W297BY/107.3. Radio/DX Information from Wisconsin reported the sign-on in late May. The 250-Watt translator is licensed to Franklin but transmits from Oak Creek. W297BY was formerly W270CT (Black River Falls) and moved as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. WZTI's programming is also relayed on W262CJ/100.3 (Milwaukee). (6/17/2017)

A suburban Milwaukee school district has dropped plans for a low-power FM station. The Whitefish Bay School District has returned the permit for WFBW-LP/103.3 (Whitefish Bay), saying it had been unable to find financial or other community support for the station. WFBW-LP had faced an October construction deadline. (6/17/2017)

"Retro Radio, The Bug" has moved its Oshkosh translator frequency from 98.7 to 98.3. The translator was originally signed on in Oshkosh as W254CS/98.7 last year and recently moved to 98.3 as W252DR, getting a slight bump in power to 250 Watts. The Classic Hits format originates on WISS/1100 (Berlin), and the translator was moved from Berlin to Oshkosh as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. The format is also heard on WAUH/102.3 (Wautoma). (6/17/2017)

WCCY/1400 (Houghton) and its FM translator, W257CZ/99.3, have dropped Soft Oldies for Hot Adult Contemporary as "The Lift." The format debut came Friday (6/16) amid Bridgefest, which celebrates the city's lift bridge. DX-midAMerica reports that WCCY continues to carry ABC hourly newscasts and Detroit Tigers baseball, and will add Finlandia University sports. WCCY's flip comes after a recent transition at crosstown "Mix 93.5" (WKMJ Hancock-Houghton) from its longtime Hot AC format to mainstream AC. WCCY had carried a Soft Oldies format for decades and had continued the format after the addition of W257CZ a few years ago. Houghton Community Broadcasting owns WCCY/W257CZ along with Classic Hits "97.7 The Wolf" (WOLV Houghton) and Country "K-Bear 102.3" (WKHB Houghton). (6/16/2017)

Mount Rushmore Broadcasting and its president, Jan Charles Gray, have filed a petition for reconsideration of the FCC's decision to cancel the license of KAWK/105.1 (Custer). The FCC cancelled KAWK's license in May, saying that it found in a review of records that the station had not broadcast from an authorized facility from 2009 to 2012. Gray argues, among other things, that he should not be punished for mistakes made by his attorneys, that the "small geography error" caused no harm, and that not having a seven-year statute of limitations is "not the main stream of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence." Gray also makes a personal plea to new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, saying that the action began during the previous administration but he hopes that Pai "has a different view of common courtesy, and reasonableness." Mount Rushmore Broadcasting also owns KFCR/1490 (Custer), KZMX/580 (Hot Springs), and KZMX-FM/96.7 (Hot Springs), as well as stations in Wyoming. (6/16/2017)

Custer County Broadcasting has signed on K242CU/96.3 (Broken Bow), relaying the Country format of KCNI/1280 (Broken Bow). The translator was moved down from South Dakota as a result of last year's AM revitalization filing window. (6/13/2017)

A silent suburban Twin Cities AM station is getting a new owner: Nevada Radio, LLC is buying KQSP/1530 (Shakopee) from Yong W. Kim's Broadcast One, Inc. for $200,000. KQSP went off the air last October, citing financial reasons, and must return to the air by this October to retain its license. It had most recently carried a Tropical format as "La Picosa." KQSP is licensed for 8.6kW daytime but only 10 Watts at night from a two-tower directional array near the Minnesota River in Chanhassen. Nevada Radio, LLC owns one AM station in Nevada and is held by Floyd Brown of Anthem, AZ, and Fred Weinberg of Washoe Valley, NV. (6/13/2017)

Minnesota Public Radio has signed on one of its two new stations in the Duluth area. After about five days of broadcasts, MPR formally announced the sign-on Monday (6/12) of KZIO/104.3 (Two Harbors-Duluth) carrying "The Current" Adult Alternative network. Translator K231BI/94.1 (Duluth), which had previously relayed KZIO, remains silent, but MPR says in a press release that 94.1 will begin carrying The Current later this summer. KZIO has used a translator for most of its existence because its 50kW signal, originating from a tower just east of Duluth, suffers greatly from Duluth's hilly topography and intermodulation interference.

No announcement has been made regarding the future of original Current translator W215CG/90.9 (Duluth), which uses 99 Watts and has a smaller coverage area than 250-Watt K231BI. Both transmit from the Duluth antenna farm. The Current's updated logo for Duluth includes 94.1 and 104.3, but not 90.9. W215CG programming originates on the HD2 channel of WSCN/100.5 (Cloquet-Duluth).

The Current is planning a station event in Duluth in July. (6/10/2017, updated 6/12)

Two days after Citytv announced an expansion of its local news programming, CTV has announced an expansion of its own that will bring 5 p.m. TV news back to Manitoba. Ten CTV owned-and-operated stations will add 5 p.m. newscasts by fall, including CTV Winnipeg (CKY/7) and CTV Northern Ontario (seen on CHBX/2 Sault Ste. Marie and others). While 5 p.m. has long been a standard time for news in the U.S., there hasn't been a TV newscast at that time in Manitoba since CBC-TV moved its local newscast to 6 p.m. two years ago. (6/7/2017)

Armada Media's Radio Results Network has asked the FCC to let it drop power at one of its stations in the Upper Peninsula in an effort to gain approval of the purchase of another station. Armada is seeking FCC approval to buy WMXG/106.3 (Stephenson) to add to its Escanaba group, which has four existing FM stations. Armada had originally argued that the area had the 30 signals required under ownership rules to allow one company to own five FM signals, but the FCC's Audio Division disagreed with that assessment, according to a new filing from another Armada station. Armada's WCMM/102.5 (Gulliver) has requested special temporary authority to drop from 100kW to 60kW, slightly weakening its signal to Escanaba and removing city-grade overlap with WMXG. WCMM has separately applied to use the 60kW facility permanently. WCMM's STA filing says that Armada believes it will be in compliance with ownership rules for the WMXG purchase of WCMM is weakened. WCMM carries a Country format known as "The Moose," while Armada is programming a Classic Country format on WMXG as "The Maverick" under a local marketing agreement. (6/6/2017)

Citytv has announced plans to resume local newscasts in Winnipeg as part of a national expansion of the CityNews brand. Citytv Winnipeg (CHMI-DT Portage la Prairie) will air hour-long newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. starting Sept. 4. Citytv Winnipeg had canceled its evening newscasts about a decade ago but continued to have a news department until ending the Winnipeg version of Breakfast Television two years ago. As noted by, Rogers posted jobs for photojournalists in Winnipeg a few weeks ago. CityNews will be the fourth English-language TV news department in Winnipeg, joining CTV News (CKY), Global Winnipeg (CKND), and CBC (CBWT). CityNews will compete with all three stations at 6:00, but will be the only full-length newscast starting at 11:00. (6/5/2017)

Midwest Communications is spinning off two northeastern Minnesota stations it bought last year from Red Rock Radio. It'll sell WXXZ/95.3 (Grand Marais) and KAOD/106.7 (Babbitt), as well as KAOD translator W288AI/105.5 (Ely), to Aurora Broadcasting LLC for $75,000. Aurora is headed by Matt Butler, who formerly worked at WELY in Ely and says the stations will be "very local and unique." The stations currently relay Midwest's KQDS-FM/94.9 (Duluth). (6/5/2017)

Get ready for the next round of new FM signals: The FCC says it will begin taking applications for new FM translators to relay AM signals on July 26. The opportunity follows up on a window last year that allowed existing translators to be moved up to 250 miles. Once again, class C and D stations will get first crack since they have the weakest signals (AM class C's are the 1kW stations transmitting on 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490, while class D's are those that use less than 250 Watts at night). The first round of applicants will get an opportunity to amend their proposed facilities to resolve any conflicts before the larger class A and B AM stations can apply. Despite the rush of new translators in the past few years, a majority of AM stations still do not have an FM translator. However, with the recent sign-on of new translators and low-power FM stations, the dial in large cities like Minneapolis and Milwaukee is likely too crowded for any new translators with full-market coverage. (6/1/2017)

News archive...

Newspaper/Web Articles

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'Central Time' co-host Veronica Rueckert leaving Wisconsin Public Radio (10/11)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WKTI names radio vet Carol Vonn to fill morning-drive hosting slot (10/10)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Local DJ at Las Vegas shooting: 'The more I think about it, the more scared I get' (10/2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Public Radio names interim replacement for 'Joy Cardin Show' (9/27)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee PBS to put 'Black Nouveau,' other shows in monthly rotation (9/27)
WDAY-TV: 'This magical life:' Sandy Buttweiler leaving local radio (9/25)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Karen Dalessandro joins WKTI, 6 months after 'retiring' from WMIL (9/25)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Longtime Milwaukee meteorologist Scott Steele has left WTMJ-TV (9/22)
WISC-TV: Radio personality 'Sly' to return to Madison airwaves (9/5)
Star Tribune: WCCO fires news director Mike Caputa (8/30)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Amy Hockert will anchor new 'Fox 9 News at 11' morning newscast (8/31)
KSTP-TV: KQRS Radio Host Tom Barnard Sued by the Estate of His Late Attorney (8/31)
KDLT: Local ‘Professor Of Country Music Radio’ Signs Off After 50+ Years (8/24)
WDAY: Radio legend Don Dresser dies (8/20)
Lincoln Journal Star: Jeff Korbelik: The Eagle is Lincoln's top radio station (8/12)
Star Tribune: MPR's Kerri Miller to host new national radio show (8/9)
Rochester Post Bulletin: 'It was never a job for me' (longtime KROC host retires) (8/5)
Duluth News Tribune: 'The time is right': After 38-year career at KBJR, Barbara Reyelts looks to next chapter (8/6)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wes McKane leaves WMYX morning show, Entercom (8/1)
Des Moines Register: Longtime Des Moines radio personality Pam Dixon dies at 59 (7/29)
KWWL-TV: Waterloo radio station celebrates 75 years on air (7/27)
WXOW-TV: Community members help radio personality the midst of flooding (7/26)
Star Tribune: Weatherman Paul Douglas is back on the Twin Cities airwaves (7/20)
Pioneer Press: Longtime Pioneer Press columnist and 'Rajah of the Records' Bill Diehl dies at 91 (7/19)
Pioneer Press: Barb Abney returns to radio as co-host of new KFAI morning show (7/19)
KFGO's Tom Wynn announces retirement (7/17)
KSTP-TV: Count on Dave: How Forecasting Has Evolved in Dave's 40 Years at KSTP (7/17)
City Pages: KFAI taps Barb Abney, Miss Brit to host new morning show (7/17)
Star Tribune: KARE 11 TV reporter Jay Olstad bids farewell (7/14)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Kathleen Dunn, longtime Wisconsin radio voice, to retire in August (7/5)
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Former state lawmaker to head Waterloo African-American radio station (6/28)
KWWL-TV: Iowa radio station celebrates 50 years (6/27)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WISN-TV shuffles its weekday morning, weekend news anchors (6/23)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WRIT-FM makes it 25 straight months at No. 1 overall in Milwaukee radio (5/18)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT-TV names a new news director (5/12)
Omaha World-Herald: Spanish language broadcasts of state soccer tournament a hit with Hispanic communities (5/11)
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Reporter cited for Chris Soules video (5/2)
Duluth News Tribune: The Fan 92.1 being sold to new local owner (5/1)
Star Tribune: Longtime anchor Tim McNiff to return to KARE 11 'Sunrise' on Tuesday (4/28)
Star Tribune: Ex-Tom Barnard sidekick Terri Traen no longer working at KQRS (4/25)
Obituary: Michael Phillips, former Eau Claire radio owner and WDGY's "Charlie Van Dyke" (4/16)
Star Tribune: MPR to name its headquarters after founder Bill Kling (4/14)
New York Post: Pranksters sued by TV company over WEAU morning show antics (4/13)
Des Moines Register: Longtime Des Moines radio personality Pam Dixon to retire (4/10)
Omaha World-Herald: Radio host, TV weathercaster Frank Bramhall, 83, was a familiar voice in Omaha (4/7)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WLDB-FM names new morning host, drops CV & Van (4/3)
Star Tribune: How you can cut the cord and discover TV antenna benefits (4/1)
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