iowa media news

NEWS


CBS to Launch Lifestyle Network Featuring Martha, Emeril Reruns

CBS is building its first fully-owned subchannel network with the launch of a new lifestyle channel “Dabl” on Sept. 9. According to a news release provided to national trade publications, Dabl will draw on the libraries of Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. Besides cooking shows, the network will also carry home renovation, travel, and other lifestyle programming. The only other broadcast network currently in the lifestyle space is the non-commercial Create network carried on PBS subchannels. CBS will carry Dabl on subchannels of its owned-and-operated stations, which include WCCO/4 (Minneapolis). Variety reports that the network will pay for carriage in some non-CBS markets and offer a revenue share in others. CBS O&O stations also carry the Start TV network, which is owned by Weigel Broadcasting. CBS and Weigel had co-owned the Decades network when it first launched, but CBS stations later dropped the network. (6/18/2019)
Iowa FM Reapplies for Large Upgrade

VCY America’s KVCI/89.7 (Montezuma) has again applied for a large upgrade. The station currently transmits with 3.1kW/103m (class A) and has applied to move its transmitter to a site near Bussey, using 100kW/151m (class C1). The proposed upgrade would give KVCI a strong signal to Knoxville, Pella, and Oskaloosa and a rimshot signal to Newton. Des Moines would be just outside of its protected coverage area, and a translator is already using the frequency in the capital city. KVCI had applied for identical facilities in 2017, but the FCC dismissed the application the following year for failure to prosecute. VCY is a Milwaukee-based Christian and talk network. (6/12/2019)
Cedar Rapids FOX Affiliate Off DirecTV

A retransmission consent dispute has taken FOX 28 (KFXA Cedar Rapids) off DirecTV. KFXA is licensed to Second Generation of Iowa but operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which bought KFXA’s non-license assets 11 years ago. FOX 28 is operated alongside Sinclair CBS affiliate KGAN/2. The retransmission consent agreement between the two companies expired May 31. The agreement had been extended after originally expiring March 31. In tradition with the Kabuki theater theme for such disputes, each side blames the other: A statement posted on the KGAN/KFXA website says DirecTV “unilaterally decided to discontinue carriage” of KFXA and suggested that viewers consider another provider. Meanwhile, DirecTV put up a slate on channel 28 saying that “the owner of this channel has removed it.” The slate directs viewers to a website that says KFXA is seeking a “substantial fee increase.” Federal law allows stations to either opt for must-carry status (mandatory carriage without payment) or retransmission consent (carriage with payment). Since KFXA opted for retransmission consent, both sides must agree in order for the station to be carried. Broadcasting and Cable reported that a total of 17 stations owned by small companies are currently off DirecTV due to retransmission consent disputes. (6/3/2019)
Bryce Caldwell has been named VP & GM of KTTC Rochester.
(Courtesy: Quincy Media) KTTC Hires New GM

For the second time this year, Quincy Media’s KTTC (Rochester) has hired a new vice president and general manager. The company announced Friday that Bryce Caldwell will take over the position on June 24. Caldwell most recently served as the VP/GM of the FOX affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has also worked in management and sales in Nashville and Orlando. “We’ll be working hard to continue and enhance the leadership reputation of KTTC and our full product portfolio in serving Rochester’s vibrant and growing community. I believe strongly in local television’s role in delivering independent journalism, market leading weather coverage, quality content, and meaningful community involvement,” Caldwell said in a news release. Caldwell replaces Marvin Rhodes, who started at KTTC in January. The Rochester Post-Bulletin reported in March that Rhodes was no longer with the station. KTTC is an NBC affiliate and also runs SagamoreHill Broadcasting’s FOX 47 (KXLT). (6/3/2019)

KPTH Fox 44 celebrates 20 years on air

KPTH 20th anniversary KPTH FOX 44 is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Siouxland News spoke with past and present employees to take a look back at the last 20 years. Cherokee native Jacki Schmillen is one of the most memorable personalities in the history of KPTH right along with Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, and Simon Cowell with his merry band of talent judges. But none of that would have been possible in Siouxland if it hadn't been for a 2,000 ft tower built near Hinton. A transmitter high in the air that began sending out the FOX 44 signal on Mother's Day, May 9th of 1999. "I was really surprised they'd start a new station considering the other three had been here so long,” said Salesman Mark Dorcey. Dorcey, actually began working at the station, which was located in a South Sioux City mini-mall, before it went on the air. "And I didn't even realize when we started that we weren't going to have news. I was almost shocked, you can't have a TV station without news, Dorcey said. "You realized you were part of something a little bit different." Longtime creative services director Matt Rixner remembers the excitement. "This was kind of a scrappy upstart and that was kind of a cool feeling." "We made the station number one in being involved whether it was parades, or county fairs, or non-profits or any festival that was happening. We wanted to make sure we were there," said Jackie Schmillen. The station even teamed with Knoepfler Chevrolet to give away a new car to one of fifty entrants. "And the very first person who got a key, the car started!" KPTH also launched "Siouxland Idol", seeking talented singers from across the area who'd have a chance to appear on the big show. In 2008 during season 7, Sergeant Bluff teen Katie Admire made it all the way to Hollywood. "So, to see that talent just flourish and explode, especially on the national scene. What a treasure that we were able to do that with KPTH FOX 44." A 2005 merger with KMEG 14 and a move to Dakota Dunes added to the momentum. By October 9th of 2006, during the World Series, Siouxland got its first and only prime time newscast on FOX 44, and it had an instant impact. "We felt we had something good. But we didn't realize how much people wanted a 9 o'clock news," said Matt Rixner. The 9 o'clock news, and FOX 44 has undergone changes and expansion since 2006. Twenty years since we went on the air we look forward to serving you, our viewers, for the next 20 years! (5/28/2019)

Rochester, MN

New FM Signals in Rochester, Minnesota
New 250-Watt FM signals are on the air on Rochester, Minnesota. The translators were granted during the FCC’s AM Revitalization filing windows: iHeartMedia signed on K228FY/93.5 (Rochester), relaying “The Fan” Sports format from KFAN/1270. The FM signal began broadcasting in late April. K228FY’s sign-on comes about a month after Townsquare Media News/Talker KROC/1340 (Rochester) signed on K245CX/96.9. (5/24/2019)
Preston, MN (Austin/Rochester)

Southern Minnesota AM Station Back on Air

Townsquare Media’s KFIL/1060 (Preston) has returned to the air at reduced power following an April lightning strike. FCC filings indicate KFIL went off the air April 11 due to extensive lightning damage. The station said in its initial request for special temporary authority to remain silent that its antenna tuning unit and transmission line suffered extensive damage. A subsequent filing on May 23 says the station has been able to return to the air at about half of its normal 1kW daytime power. Repairs are underway to resume full-power operations. The daytimer relays KFIL-FM/103.1 (Chatfield). This item was originally posted May 22 and updated May 24. (5/24/2019)
Des Moines

Update: Des Moines FOX Affiliate Returns on NBC Subchannel

A day after a contractor was killed in a fall while trying to return Des Moines FOX affiliate KDSM to the air, the station’s programming has been moved to a subchannel of another station. Tribune Broadcasting NBC affiliate WHO-TV announced Wednesday that it had begun temporarily carrying the programming of KDSM, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, on channel 13.3. The move displaces both Antenna TV on 13.3 and This TV on 13.4. The two stations already had a relationship since WHO produces KDSM’s 9 p.m. newscast. KDSM had still been available on Mediacom cable since it went off the air last week due to a transmission problem, but DISH Network and DirecTV had been unable to carry the station since they receive its signal over the air. Posts on the station’s Facebook page indicate KDSM went off the air last Friday, May 17, and engineers found the problems to be bigger than they first expected. They learned that there had been a “catastrophic burn-out of the station’s transmission line.” A contractor, whose name has not been released, died Wednesday, May 22, after reportedly falling from about 1,000 feet up the 2,000-foot tower near Alleman. The station had made this post to Facebook a day before the fatality: KDSM FOX 17 Tower Update 5/21: Getting back on DirectTV, Dish and over the air continues to be our goal since we had the tower disruption late last week. The specific damage (for viewers that inquired) is due to a catastrophic burn-out of the station’s transmission line on the tower. Keeping our crew safe is also a top priority. Due to strong winds and predicted rain this afternoon, we will not be able to repair the tower today, as it is too dangerous to send the crew up to make the final repair. The weather forecast is expected to be better tomorrow except we could still have high winds. If the weather allows for the crew to safely go up the tower tomorrow, we expect to be back on the air sometime Wednesday afternoon. The KDSM FOX 17 tower is the highest priority tower of all the stations within our company and we are doing everything possible to get this fixed quickly and safely. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this outage This item was originally posted on May 21 and updated May 23. (5/24/2019)
Newell
The FCC has dismissed a northwestern Iowa station’s request for a temporary facility, alleging that the specified tower site is in the middle of a street. The application from Panther Communications’ KWIA/100.9 (Newell) requested special temporary authority to transmit from downtown Newell with 25 Watts, saying that the station’s licensed transmitter site elsewhere in Newell is no longer available to the licensee. Audio Division Senior Engineer Dale Bickel dismissed the application in a May 14 letter, saying: “The coordinates specified in the application map to the center of S. Fulton Street, just north of 3rd Street. It is obvious that no antenna supporting structure can be erected there, and no explanation by the licensee of what is intended has been supplied in the STA request. “ Last December, the FCC rejected a different proposed temporary facility for KWIA because it would have transmitted from Storm Lake and not provided a strong enough signal to Newell. The latest letter noted that KWIA has presumably been off the air since at least December since the filings said the licensed tower site is no longer available. KWIA was first licensed in 2015 with a 100-Watt facility. As a class A station, it could potentially be upgraded to 6kW to reach Storm Lake. (5/23/2019)
Preston, MN (Austin/Rochester)
Lightning Silences Southern Minnesota AM Station

Townsquare Media’s KFIL/1060 (Preston) went off the air April 11 due to extensive lightning damage. The station says, in a request for special temporary authority to remain silent filed with the FCC, that antenna tuning unit and transmission line suffered extensive damage. It wasn’t known at the time of the filing whether the transmitter had been damaged as well. The 1kW daytimer relays KFIL-FM/103.1 (Chatfield).(5/22/2019)
Alleman/Des Moines
Contractor Dies in Fall from Iowa TV Tower A contractor has died after falling from a central Iowa TV tower.

KDSM (Des Moines) confirmed the death at its transmitter site near Alleman in a post on its Facebook page: KDSM FOX 17 has been made aware of the tragic event that occurred at the tower site where KDSM’s antenna is located. A contractor was working on repairs to KDSM’s antenna when he fell and was fatally injured. At this time, no other details have been made available. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. As previously reported, KDSM has been off the air since last week due to a transmission line problem and the station had said Tuesday that workers were unable to climb the tower that day due to weather conditions. KCCI-TV quoted a Polk County Sheriff’s lieutenant in reporting that the contractor, who worked for PCI Communications, fell from about of 1,000 feet up the tower. KDSM is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, while the 2,000-foot tower is owned by American Tower. (5/22/2019)
Iowa City/Cedar Rapids/Waterloo:
After just three months as an owned-and-operated Azteca America affiliate, HC2 Broadcasting's KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) has switched its primary affiliation to Escape. The female-oriented network of movies and crime dramas is predominately carried on subchannels in other markets. Additionally, KWKB moved Light TV from 20.2 to 20.5 and added Laff on 20.2, Grit on 20.3, Bounce on 20.4, and infomercials on 20.6. DT1 is 720 HD, while DT2-DT4 are in 480 widescreen and DT5-DT6 are 480 4:3. KWKB transmits from West Branch, providing broadcast coverage to Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and the Quad Cities, with cable carriage of its primary channel in Waterloo and Dubuque. (5/6/2019)

Waterloo/Mason City/Rochester:
Quincy Media has added 20 new subchannels in Iowa and Minnesota markets. In addition to the Court TV reported earlier, Quincy has also added Justice Network on the DT5 signals of KWWL (Waterloo), and KTTC (Rochester). Additionally, KXLT (Rochester) added Laff on DT3, Escape on DT4, and Quest on DT5, and KTIV (Sioux City) is now carrying ION on its DT5 channel. (5/2/2019)

Oelwein/Waterloo, IA/Rochester, MN:
Several Upper Midwest FM stations have recently requested special temporary authority from the FCC to operate at reduced power due to facility issues: Townsquare Media's "Q92.3" (KKHQ Oelwein-Waterloo) is operating at 50 percent of its usual 100kW while the station waits for the arrival of a transmitter retrofit. The station transmits from Oelwein, which is about 25 miles northeast of Waterloo. Townsquare Media's KROC-FM/106.9 (Rochester) is operating at 20 percent of its usual 100kW due to an issue with its transmission line and antenna. KROC-FM transmits from the KTTC(TV) tower near Ostrander, about 30 miles south of Rochester, and is relayed on K293CV/106.5 (Rochester). (4/30/2019)

Des Moines/Sioux City/Waterloo/Mason City, IA/Rochester, MN:
Court TV has announced its founding affiliate roster, which includes more than a dozen Upper Midwest stations. The broadcast network, a revival of the former cable channel, launches May 8 on most stations. The network's website lists the following affiliates:
Des Moines, IA: WHO/13.4, which currently carries ThisTV, beginning in November
Sioux City, IA: KTIV/4.4
Waterloo, IA: KWWL/7.4
Rochester, MN/Mason City, IA: KTTC/10.4 (4/25/2019)
Cedar Falls/Waterloo/Boone
Three Upper Midwest stations won National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Radio Awards at the NAB's annual convention in Las Vegas. The region's winners include Iowa stations Fieldview Broadcasting's KWBG/1590 (Boone, IA), and Coloff Media's "Mix 93.5" (KCVM Cedar Falls-Waterloo). The stations were among ten winners nationally, chosen from a pool of 50 finalists, for the award that recognizes "outstanding year-round commitment to community service." (4/9/2019)
Omaha/Council Bluffs:
Walnut Radio's "Boomer Radio" Oldies format in Omaha has added a fifth signal: KOTK/1420 (Omaha), which has dropped Conservative Talk. "Boomer" is also heard on KOBM/1490 (Omaha), two FM translators, and a full-power FM signal just north of the metro. KOTK and KOBM have essentially the same coverage areas, but the simulcast could potentially allow Walnut to provide some separate programming on Boomer's two FM translators (K233CO/94.5 and K281CJ/104.1) by designating each as a translator of the separate AM signals. (K233CO had relayed KOTK's previous Conservative Talk format until it switched to "Boomer" in November.) KOTK's previous lineup, known as "The Answer," had included Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved. (3/31/2019)

Rochester, MINNESOTA:
Townsquare Media has signed on K245CX/96.9 (Rochester) relaying the Talk format of KROC/1340. The new translator launched at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 28, with KROC's local hour. Its syndicated lineup includes Mike Gallagher, Clark Howard, and Sean Hannity. The 250-Watt translator was obtained during an AM revitalization filing window. (3/29/2019)
Davenport/Quad Cities/Ames/Des Moines:

Tegna is entering Iowa with the purchase of spinoffs from the Nexstar-Tribune merger in two markets: Tribune ABC affiliate WQAD/8 (Moline-Quad Cities), Nexstar ABC affiliate WOI-DT/5 (Ames-Des Moines), and Nexstar CW affiliate KCWI/23 (Ames-Des Moines). The stations are part of a $740 million deal that includes 11 stations in eight markets nationally. Separately, Nexstar is selling eight stations in seven markets (none in the Upper Midwest) to Scripps for $580 million. For Iowa, the move represents a splitup of Nexstar and Tribune's current holdings: The new Nexstar will retain Tribune NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 (Des Moines) and Nexstar CBS affiliate WHBF/4 (Rock Island-Quad Cities), which also operates FOX affiliate KLJB/18 (Davenport). Tegna is known for competitive operations nationally and could bring a new level of competition to the two markets, battling with Nexstar's stations in both markets along with Hearst CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines) and Gray NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport). Tegna's press release quotes CEO Dave Lougee as calling the stations "an excellent strategic and financial fit" and refers to key markets ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Tegna does not have any other stations in Iowa, but does own NBC affiliates KARE/11 (Minneapolis) and KSDK/5 (St. Louis). Nationally, Nexstar is keeping Tribune's WGN-TV (Chicago) and KTLA (Los Angeles), but is selling WPIX (New York) to Scripps. (3/20/2019)
Omaha/Council Bluffs:
Family Radio has dropped plans for an FM translator in Omaha. The Christian radio network had received a construction permit for K239CO/95.7, which would have used just 2 Watts, relaying programming from KYFR/920 (Shenandoah, IA) to a small part of southern Omaha. No reason for the decision is listed in public FCC records, but it appears the station was facing its deadline to sign on. A low-power FM station serves a different part of Omaha on the same frequency. (3/7/2019)
Omaha/Council Bluffs:
The FCC has approved a plan for Walnut Radio's KOBM/1490 (Omaha) to co-locate its transmitter with new sister station KCRO/660, leaving its longtime home in the Midtown/Hanscom Park neighborhood. FCC records indicate KOBM's current tower, located in a residential area, is 70 years old. The KCRO site is six miles to the northwest. At its current site, KOBM uses 1kW nondirectional day and night, which is standard for class C AM stations; at the KCRO site, KOBM will continue to use 1kW during the day but will drop to 240 Watts at night. KOBM serves as the flagship for the "Boomer" Oldies format, which is relayed on several FM signals. (3/7/2019)
Cedar Rapids/Waterloo:
Gray TV's KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids) has added two new subchannels, H&I on 9.4 and Start TV on 9.5. Several other Gray stations have also added the channels in recent months. The station says the channels are also being carried by IMON cable, and that channel 9.2, which carries MyNetworkTV and local and syndicated programming, has been updated to HD. KCRG is a primary ABC affiliate and also carries Antenna TV on 9.3. (3/1/2019)

Iowa City/Cedar Rapids/Waterloo:
KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) has switched to Azteca America following its recent sale to HC2 Broadcasting. The change marks the first time that Spanish-language TV has been available over the air in eastern Iowa. KWKB has cable carriage across the Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque market and its broadcast signal also reaches the Quad Cities. Under its previous ownership, KWKB had been affiliated with WB and then the CW, followed by ThisTV for the past several years. It continues to carry Light TV on 20.2. (2/22/2019)
Waterloo/Cedar Falls:
Coloff Media has launched "Corn Country" on K293CH/106.5 (Waterloo) and the HD2 signal of KCVM/93.5 (Hudson-Waterloo). The 250-Watt translator signed on last fall with Christmas music. The "Corn Country" playlist includes some current songs and gold going back to the 1970's. Coloff also operates Adult Contemporary, Oldies, and Sports formats in the Waterloo market. (2/20/2019)
Sioux City:
The broadcaster who's been operating "La Fiesta 97.1" in Sioux City since late 2017 is seeking FCC approval to buy the station outright. The application to transfer K246CJ/97.1 (Sioux City) and its AM originating station, KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE), from John Small's Cup O' Dirt, LLC to Joaquin Garza's La Fiesta 971, LLC was filed during the federal government shutdown and accepted for filing this week. The purchase price is $200,000, according to a document filed with the FCC. Garza's Fiesta Radio, LLC has been operating the stations under a time brokerage agreement since November 2017. (2/7/2019)

Omaha/Council Bluffs/Davenport(Quad Cities): Two more Gray TV stations have added Start TV subchannel network: WOWT (Omaha) and KWQC (Davenport) are both now carrying the network on channels 6.5. As already reported here, WOWT-DT3 switched to H&I last month and Gray's WBAY (Green Bay) added H&I and Start on its DT4 and DT5 channels last week. (2/5/2019)
Omaha/Council Bluffs/Lincoln:
Walnut Radio has received FCC permission to move two Omaha FM translators obtained during the AM revitalization filing windows. K293CJ/106.5, which relays the Christian Talk format of KCRO/660, has received a construction permit to move to Lincoln on 106.7 as K294DJ; 106.5 has already gone silent pending the move. Meanwhile, K281CJ/104.1, which relays the "Boomer" Oldies format from KOBM/1490, has received a construction permit to move to 106.5 and relocate to Council Bluffs. Moving east will reduce overlap with K233CO/94.5, which also relays KOBM in the western part of Omaha. The move will leave KCRO without an FM translator in Omaha unless another one is obtained. (2/1/2019)
RF CHANNEL CHANGES:
The following stations have recently changed RF broadcast channels due to the national spectrum auction repack, but likely remain on their former virtual channel numbers:
Dubuque, IA: KFXB/40.1 moved from RF 43 to RF 14. The Christian Television Network station serves remote parts of the Cedar Rapids and Madison markets. ,
Marshalltown, IA: KDAO-CD moved from RF 44 to RF 17.
Roseau, MN: Five translators owned by Roseau County recently moved to new channels, but programming information is not yet known.
Worthington, MN: KTTW-FOX translator K22HJ moved to channel 18 as K18MO. (1/17/2019)
Rochester/Austin/Mason City:
A southern Minnesota TV general manager is moving to a station in another market. Quincy Media NBC affiliate KTTC/10 (Rochester) announced Friday that Marvin Rhodes has been hired as the station's GM; he will also oversee FOX 47 (KXLT), a SagamoreHill Broadcasting station which Quincy operates through a shared services agreement. Rhodes has worked at United Communications CBS/FOX affiliate KEYC/12 (Mankato) since 2013. (1/12/2019)
Omaha/Council Bluffs:
Antenna TV is off the air in Omaha after an affiliation change. At the start of the year, Gray TV's WOWT replaced Antenna with H&I on channel 6.3. The classic TV network had been seen on KMTV in 2015 before moving to WOWT in 2016. The network responded to a viewer comment on its Facebook page by saying that it's looking for a new Omaha affiliate. (1/7/2019)
NATIONAL: The non-commercial Air1 network has kicked off the new year with a new format, switching from Christian Hits to Worship music. The new playlist is kicking off with 10,000 songs in a row. Air1 is operated by the Educational Media Foundation, which also runs the larger K-Love Adult Contemporary Christian network. Air1's outlets include KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids), & KAIP/88.9 (Wapello, IA). (1/1/2019)