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FCC Monitor: Objection to Iowa Renewal

Dave Vickers, the general manager and minority owner of KROS/1340 (Clinton), has submitted informal objections to license renewal for Gendreau Broadcast’s KCLN/1390 (Clinton) and KMCN/94.7 (Clinton). Vickers alleges that his competitors’ online public files are incomplete and that KCLN is not reducing power at night.

The FCC cancelled the construction permit for K241CX/96.1 (Independence), which was not built by its Jan. 16 deadline. The translator had been granted during the AM revitalization effort to relay KQMG/1220.

The FCC granted KLOX/90.9 (Creston) a construction permit to replace its expired permit to upgrade from 500 Watts to 100kW. (01/25/2021)


Sinclair to Move CBS to Sioux City Subchannel

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s operation in Sioux City has announced plans to move the CBS affiliation in the market to a subchannel of its FOX affiliate.

On Feb. 4, CBS will move from KMEG/14.1 to channel 44.3 of KPTH, which will continue to carry FOX on 44.1. The CBS channel will continue to brand as “CBS14” despite no longer being seen on broadcast channel 14. The stations’ announcement suggests the CBS channel placement will remain unchanged on cable and satellite systems.

Sinclair owns KPTH and operates KMEG through an agreement with Waitt Broadcasting. KMEG has been a CBS affiliate since it signed on in 1967 and has been operated by KPTH since 2005.

The change will come a month after Sinclair made a similar move in Cedar Rapids, moving the market’s FOX affiliation from its longtime home to a subchannel of the CBS affiliate that Sinclair owns.

The Sioux City change will also result in a subchannel shuffle. 44.2 will continue to carry the MyNetworkTV prime time block, but the rest of its schedule will switch from DABL to TBD. DABL will move full-time to 14.1. Charge! will move from 44.3 to 14.2, replacing TBD, and Stadium will move from 44.4 to 14.4. Comet will remain on 14.3. (01/23/2021)


FCC Monitor: Youngers Colorado Broadcasting applied to move K295CB/106.9 Des Moines

MTN Broadcasting signed on new 250-Watt translator K224FM/92.7 (Grundy Center), which relays the Oldies format of KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown). KDAO is also relayed on K279AN/103.7 (Marshalltown).

Youngers Colorado Broadcasting applied to move K295CB/106.9 (Des Moines) to 94.1, remaining 132 Watts from its present transmitter site. The frequency change is needed because of the impending upgrade of KNWI/107.1 (Osceola). 94.1 was recently vacated by the former KDRA-LP. As previously reported, K295CB went off the air in November. It continues to list Birach Broadcasting’s KXLQ/1490 (Indianola) as is primary station even though KXLQ recently signed on K239CR/95.7 (Indianola-Des Moines) with a coverage area overlapping K295CB.

The FCC cancelled the construction permit for K234CX/94.7 (Cherokee), which had been granted in 2018 as part of the AM revitalization window to relay KCHE/1400. K234CX was not built by a Jan. 2 deadline.

The FCC cancelled the construction permit for K268DA/101.5 (Webster City), which had been granted in 2018 as part of the AM revitalization window to relay KZWC/1570. K268DA was not built by a Jan. 2 deadline. KZWC is also relayed on K225BZ/92.9. (01/18/2021)


New Owner to End Three ION Subchannels


The E.W. Scripps Company says it will discontinue three ION subchannels at the end of February following its purchase of the main ION network and its owned-and-operated affiliates.

ION Plus, Qubo, and Shop ION will end broadcasting by Feb. 28. Thursday’s announcement is not a surprise because Scripps had said when it purchased ION that it intended to move its Bounce, Court TV, Court TV Mystery, Grit, and Laff networks to the ION stations.

The networks will move to ION subchannels as contracts with existing affiliates expire.

The ION owned-and-operated stations KPXR (Cedar Rapids), and KFPX (Newton-Des Moines).

The affected networks are currently carried on the DT2, DT3, and DT4 signals of ION’s O&O’s. The Scripps announcement did not mention the fate of QVC on DT5 and HSN on DT6, but TV listings indicate Laff has already replaced QVC in some markets.

ION Plus is mostly carried on the O&O’s. (01/15/2021)


FCC Monitor: ION Sale Closes; Iowa DOT Returns LPFM Licenses


National

Scripps Media closed on its purchase of the ION owned-and-operated stations on Jan. 7. Stations in the deal include KPXR/48.1 (Cedar Rapids), KFPX/39.1 (Newton-Des Moines), KPXM/41.1 (St. Cloud-Minneapolis), and WPXE/55.1 (Kenosha-Milwaukee). 23 stations, none in the Upper Midwest, were divested to Inyo Broadcast Holdings.

Iowa

The Iowa Department of Transportation returned the licenses of its four low-power FM stations, which had carried automated traffic and road construction information along interstates in rural Iowa. The 100-Watt stations were: KDDI-LP/102.9 (Adair), KSDE-LP/104.9 (De Soto), KSOA-LP/94.5 (Sloane), and KUBH-LP/99.9 (Urbana). Iowa DOT Communication Technology Bureau Director Peter Huffman said they cancelled the licenses because they no longer share road information via LPFM stations.

Meanwhile, the FCC formally deleted the license of Drake University’s KDRA-LP/94.1 (Des Moines) on Jan. 5, more than 18 months after the university requested cancellation. Drake had notified the FCC of its decision to surrender the license in a June 2019 letter but said at that time that it might continue operations until Aug. 15, 2019.

Wennes Communications Stations’ KDEC/1240 (Decorah), which was forced to leave its licensed site last year, says its new transmitter site is not yet ready. KDEC will co-locate with 1kW time-share partner KWLC/1240 and says in a request for extension of special temporary authority that it anticipates beginning testing within three to four months. KDEC is temporarily operating at reduced power of 250 Watts with a longwire antenna. (01/12/2021)


TV Station Owner Quincy Media Up for Sale


Quincy Media, an owner of more than a dozen network affiliates in the Midwest, confirmed Thursday that it has put itself up for sale.

“We think the timing is right for our shareholders,” President and CEO Ralph M. Oakley said in a news release.

Quincy owns or operates 21 network affiliates in 15 markets, all but three of them in small and medium Midwestern markets. It holds two major network affiliations in five of the markets.

The company got its start in the newspaper business in 1926 and still owns two newspapers, as well as two radio stations in Quincy, Ill. It has more than 1,000 employees. In Iowa, Quincy owns KWWL/7 Waterloo/Cedar Rapids and in Southeastern Minnesota/Northern Iowa, KTTC/10 Rochester/Austin/Mason City. (01/08/2020)


FOX Moves to Subchannel in Cedar Rapids


Sinclair Broadcast Group has moved its FOX affiliation in the Cedar Rapids market to a subchannel of its CBS affiliate.

Second Generation of Iowa’s KFXA/28.1 (Cedar Rapids) had been the market’s primary FOX affiliate since it signed on in 1988, except for a period of silence in the mid-`90s.

On New Year’s Day, FOX programming was moved to channel 2.2 of Sinclair’s KGAN (Cedar Rapids) but is also still being simulcast on KFXA-DT1. It’s unclear from the station’s brief announcement if FOX will remain on both stations permanently or if it will leave KFXA eventually.

Sinclair has operated KFXA since the early 2000s and purchased its programming and equipment in 2008, but Second Generation of Iowa retained the KFXA license due to FCC ownership rules that prohibit the owner of one top-four station from buying another top-four station. However, ownership rules do not count subchannels as separate licenses, so KGAN-DT1 (CBS) and KGAN-DT2 (FOX) are considered to be the same license for regulatory purposes.

The stations switched to a joint news brand of “Iowa’s News Now” in early 2020.

The New Year’s Day change also resulted in a subchannel shuffle: getTV moved from 2.2 to 2.3, Comet moved from 2.3 to 28.5, and DABL moved from 2.4 to 28.6. Charge!, Grit, and Stadium continue on KFXA’s other subchannels. (01/02/2021)

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