iowa media news

NEWS



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)