The FCC has denied the Educational Media Foundation's application to change the community of license for a western Iowa station. KILV/107.5 (Castana, population 147), which carries EMF's "K-Love" network and has a rimshot signal to Sioux City, would have changed its community of license to Whiting (population 762) but kept its current transmitter site and 25kW facility. (Whiting is in the same county as Castana and is already the community of license for Powell Broadcasting's KKYY/101.3, which targets the Sioux City market). Though KILV is the only station licensed to Castana and the FCC generally doesn't allow changes that remove a community's only radio license, EMF argued that Castana should no longer be considered a community for allotment purposes due to its dwindling population and lack of businesses and full-time government employees. The FCC disagreed, noting that Castana is still incorporated and its population was already tiny when KILV signed on in 2001. Since KILV's coverage area would not change and stations are not required to target programming to their community of license, EMF's motivation for wanting to move KILV's icense is not completely clear. The application mentions EMF's desire to be in contact with more community leaders, though KILV would still not have had any local programming. (12/31/2017)
Several stations in Iowa and Wisconsin are part of a proposed $13.3 million fine against Sinclair Broadcast Group for alleged violations of sponsorship identification rules. The fine is the largest ever proposed for such a violation, covering more than 1,700 instances in which Sinclair stations allegedly broadcast paid news stories or full-length programs without proper disclosures. The Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture says CBS affiliate KGAN/2.1 (Cedar Rapids) is accused of 30 violations, FOX affiliate KFXA/28.1 (Cedar Rapids) is accused of 29 violations, FOX affiliate WLUK/11.1 (Green Bay) is accused of 29 violations, and ABC affiliate KHGI/13.1 (Kearney) is accused of 21 violations, all in 2016. Most of the alleged violations are for paid news stories for Huntsman Cancer Institute that aired in local newscasts. (A paid news story is different from routine sponsorships in which the advertiser gets a commercial and billboard near a feature story or segment but does not control the editorial content.) Sinclair has 30 days to either pay the fine or seek a reduction or cancellation. The NAL comes as Sinclair seeks federal approval to buy Tribune Broadcasting. (12/21/2017, added Nebraska 12/22)
The FCC has cancelled the license of a south-central Iowa radio station despite last-minute efforts by another area station to keep it alive. KMYQ/97.1 (North English) had been silent and faced a Sept. 28 deadline to return to the air. Though KMYQ's prospective buyers in Oskaloosa provided documentationthat KMYQ returned to the air at full power on Sept. 27, the FCC had another concern: Whether KMYQ was actually on the air between 2013 and 2016. In October, the FCC's Audio Division sent the licensee a letter asking him to provide documentation that the station had been on the air, citing concerns about its frequent requests for special temporary authority to remain silent. Federal law says that stations automatically lose their license if they're silent for more than one year. The FCC now says in a Dec. 15 letter that the licensee failed to provide adequate documentation that KMYQ had been on the air, and that its license actually expired as a matter of law in 2014. (12/18/2017)
Nexstar Broadcasting's WOI-DT/5 (Ames-Des Moines) has asked the FCC for permission to replace its VHF Low transmitter with a UHF transmitter. The ABC affiliate, which currently transmits on RF channel 5, would move to RF channel 34 with 835kW/566m from the TV tower farm north of Des Moines. It could continue to remap to virtual channel 5. The move is possible because Family Educational Broadcasting returned the license of KEFB/34 (Ames) last year and the channel was not reassigned to anyone else in the spectrum auction repack. As part of its application, WOI-DT submitted documentation of 66 complaints of reception problems. Digital TV stations transmitting on VHF Low (channels 2-6) are often difficult to receive with indoor antennas and are also susceptible to interference from electronic devices and power tools, as well as e-skip interference in more remote parts of the viewing area. Most former analog VHF Low stations chose to relocate to UHF in the digital transition, and WOI-DT is the only Iowa-licensed TV station still broadcasting on VHF Low (it was under different ownership at the time of the transition). Nexstar also owns CW affiliate KCWI/23.1 (Ames-Des Moines), which already transmits on UHF. (12/8/2017)
The Classic Hits format at Saga Broadcasting's KIOA/93.3 (Des Moines) now has an `80s base with some songs from the `70s and `90s, recognizing an progression of the format heard on many Classic Hits outlets as time marches on. The refresh marks a continued evolution for a brand that has been on the FM dial since 1990, when it had a standard Oldies playlist running from the late `50s to 1972. Most of those songs are now heard on sister station "Pure Oldies 104.5." (12/3/2017)
Iowa Public Television has launched a fourth broadcast channel, essentially splitting up a hybrid channel that had carried children's programming during the evening and the Create network during other hours. On Dec. 1, the former "IPTV Learns" on DT2 became PBS Kids, with Create moving to a new DT4 channel fulltime. World Channel remains on DT3. The network reaches the entire state with nine full-power transmitters and a handful of translators. IPTV said Mediacom customers should be able to find the new PBS Kids on channel 794 by Dec. 6. (12/2/2017)
The flips to all-Christmas formats are underway, mostly on the same schedule and stations as in past years. "More 104" in Des Moines, KDAT/104.5 and "Leo 1360" in Cedar Rapids, "Mix 96" in the Quad Cities, and "Star 104-5" in Omaha. Click here for the complete list. (11/19/2017)
Gendreau Broadcasting is buying KCLN/1390 and KMCN/94.7 (Clinton) from WPW Broadcasting for $240,000. Gendreau Broadcasting is owned by Brad and Ashley Gendreau of nearby Thomson, IL, who the station reports also own two fitness clubs and an auto body shop. The new owners began operating the stations on Oct. 31 through a local marketing agreement. KCLN runs Soft Oldies while KMCN carries `80s and `90s Hits as "MaC FM." The stations compete with locally-owned Full Service outlet KROS/1340. Clinton, population 26,000, is under the umbrella of the Quad Cities market. (11/6/2017, updated 11/14)
The FCC has approved an FM station's move-in into the Quad Cities market: WQUD/105.5 (Erie, IL) will change to 107.7 and move its transmitter to a site east of the metro area using 6kW/97m (class A), delivering a city-grade signalto most of the Quad Cities area. WQUD signed on two years ago with a "Vintage Radio" format of `60s to `80s Rock and Country. The station is owned by John Muhich and Robert Walker's JMRW, LLC. The Quad Cities are one of the more under-radio'ed markets in the region, with only seven full-power commercial FM stations delivering city-grade signals to Davenport. (11/11/2017)
Sioux City/Dakota City, NE:
A "Fiesta" is beginning as the "Sun" sets in Sioux City: K246CJ/97.1 (Sioux City) and its AM originating station, KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE), have dropped the syndicated "Sunny Radio" `80s Hits format in favor of "La Fiesta." It's the first Spanish-language FM station in Sioux City, a market which Nielsen says is 17 percent Hispanic. "La Fiesta" competes with the Spanish Adult Hits format of iHeartRadio's "La Preciosa" (KWSL/1470). KZOI is owned by "Sunny Radio" operator Cup O' Dirt, LLC; its owner John Small describes the change as a difficult financial decision in a Facebook post but says they are working on bringing "Sunny" back to the Sioux City dial. (11/10/2017)
iHeartRadio's "Mix 96" (KMXG/96.1 Clinton-Quad Cities) is due to become the first Upper Midwest station to flip to all-Christmas. The station is promoting a flip from its regular Adult Contemporary playlist on Monday, Nov. 6, at 6:15 a.m. Once again this year, you can track the flips on the All-Christmas List and follow the links to compare previous years. (11/4/2017)
LARGE LPTV SALE APPROVED:
The FCC will allow an investment company headed by Phil Falcone to purchase hundreds of low-power TV licenses nationwide, including a half-dozen in Minneapolis, from several licensees after reaching a consent decree with the sellers. The deals call for Falcone's HC2 Holdings to buy a majority interest in DTV America for $13,200,158 and to buy assets from King Forward, Tiger Eye Broadcasting, Tiger Eye Licensing, and Bella Spectra for $2,672,707.
In recent years, the sellers have moved many of their licenses closer to major cities, including Minneapolis, but the FCC says they appear to have violated its rules:
"The Licensees’ pattern of repeated station moves occurred as follows: (1) filing of a construction permit to relocate the station within 30 miles of its current licensed site, which site often would be located in an empty field, parking lot, or base of an existing tower; (2) upon grant of the construction permit, the Licensees would construct the facilities using equipment that it did not intend to leave in place permanently; (3) the Licensees would file a license application; (4) following grant of the license application, the Licensees would apply for special temporary authority to be silent on the ground that the station could not continue to transmit a broadcast signal 'due to reasons beyond the applicants control,' at which point the Licensees would remove the equipment from the site and file for a new construction permit at a location up to 30 miles from the location set forth in the recently granted license. Licensees employed these practices repeatedly for many of the Stations, with the ultimate intent of moving each such station more than 30 miles from the station’s originally licensed site."
The consent decree says temporarily constructed facilities do not satisfy its construction requirements. It says HC2 is a "qualified, third-party successor-in-interest" who was not aware of, or involved in, the sellers' alleged noncompliance with FCC rules. As part of the consent decree, the sellers will pay a $1.5 million civil penalty and relinquish 31 licenses, including K28NF-D Fort Dodge, WDUE-LD Minneapolis, and W21DG-D Wausau.
The stations included in the deal are too numerous to list here, but are listed beginning on page 17 of the order and consent decree. HC2 Holdings is separately buying other LPTV stations from Three Angels Broadcasting Network and Mako Communications. (11/1/2017)
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)
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)
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)
Did you here Elvis Duran
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In addition to the Omaha launch reported below, Stadium Network has also launched on channel 28.4 of KFXA (Cedar Rapids). Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates KFXA, is a partner in the sports network. (9/17/2017)
Des Moines/Iowa City/Omaha
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), and KWKB/20.2 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids). Light TV replaces The Works on KWKB-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)
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)
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.(8/22/2017)
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)
110 Upper Midwest AM stations filed for FM translators during the most recent filing window, according to FCC records made public Tuesday. 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.)
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.
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)
Des Moines/Quad Cities:
Sinclair Broadcast Group now says it may have to spin off a station in Des Moines o 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.
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)
NEXT AM-ON-FM TRANSLATOR FILING WINDOW:
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)
After more than a decade as "Q98-5," NRG Media's KQKQ/98.5 (Council Bluffs-Omaha) has returned to its "Sweet" branding. The change came Friday (5/26) to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Though the format remains Hot Adult Contemporary, many of the station's current listeners likely have good memories of the "Sweet" name from KQKQ's Top 40 heyday in the 1980's and 1990's. The station switched from "Sweet" to "Q" with a Modern Adult Contemporary format in 2004 after facing tough competition from "Channel 94-1" (KQCH Omaha). (5/27/2017)
New translator K295CB/106.9 (Des Moines) has signed on relaying Birach Broadcasting's KXLQ/1490 (Indianola). K295CB is owned by Youngers Colorado Broadcasting and transmits with 132 Watts from a site on the northeast side of Des Moines. KXLQ had previously carried a Sports format, but reception reports indicate it and the translator are now carrying a Spanish-language format. (5/23/2017)
One year after buying it, the Educational Media Foundation is selling KRNQ/96.3 (Keokuk) to Community Broadcasting for $125,000. The buyer will carry Christian programming from its Bott Radio Network on KRNQ. EMF retains KOKX-FM/95.3 (Keokuk), which it bought at the same time as KRNQ and is used to carry the K-Love network. (5/18/2017)
Des Moines/Quad Cities:
Sinclair Broadcast Group may end up owning two of the "big four" network affiliates in Des Moines under a $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, which was announced Monday. Tribune's stations in Iowa WQAD (ABC-Quad Cities), and WHO-TV (NBC-Des Moines). Among others, Sinclair's existing holdings include KDSM (FOX-Des Moines), Sinclair's CEO Chris Ripley said during a conference call Monday that the company doesn't think it will be required to sell any of the stations in the 14 markets where the two companies overlap, but said the St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Wilkes Barre markets are the places most likely to trigger regulatory concerns. Sinclair does already run multiple "big four" affiliates in some markets through various legal means, including an outsourcing agreement in Cedar Rapids. If approved, the acquisition would give Sinclair coverage of 72 percent of households in the country, far more than any other group. (5/8/2017)
Bruce Linder is exiting from ownership of the O-Town Communications radio group in Ottumwa, selling his interest in the company to his partner. Greg List will pay Linder $1 million for his 51 percent interest in the company, according to a stock purchase agreement filed with the FCC. The group includes Adult Contemporary KTWA/92.7 (Ottumwa), Contemporary Hits "97.7 Tom FM" (KOTM Ottumwa), Classic Rock "101.5 Kiss FM" (KKSI Eddyville-Ottumwa), "New Country 104.3" (KRKN Eldon-Ottumwa), News/Talk KBIZ/1240 (Ottumwa), Oldies KLEE/1480 (Ottumwa), and FM translators relaying KBIZ and KLEE. (4/27/2017)
LOW-POWER TV LICENSES SOLD:
Dozens of Upper Midwest low-power TV stations are changing hands in a $72 million national deal to sell stations held by various companies using the EICB-TV name to Edge Spectrum, Inc. The buyer's website says it is "building a new nationwide wireless network" and touts its service as an alternative to distribution of content by wired computer networks. Stations that are part of the deal include:
IA: K22LJ-D (Mason City), K27MI-D (Mason City), K38OW-D (Mason City), K45LM-D (Sioux City)
It appears some of the stations, are not currently transmitting.(4/27/2017)
Des Moines & Omaha/Council Bluffs:
KCCI/8 (CBS, Des Moines), and KETV/7 (ABC, Omaha) are back on DISH Network after a seven-week outage due to a retransmission consent dispute. The outage, which began March 3, had affected Hearst stations in 26 markets. The restoration came hours before the start of Nielsen's May ratings period. The DISH outage began just two months after a similar dispute with DirecTV. (4/26/2017)
TV SPECTRUM AUCTION REPACK:
While only a half-dozen Upper Midwest stations surrendered bandwidth in the spectrum auction, dozens more will be required to change channels as part of the national repack. Every station transmitting on channel 38 and up has to move down, and many more stations must move within their existing band to allow moves elsewhere. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin will see a lot of channel changes due to its proximity to Chicago -- all but one station in Milwaukee will change channels. Conversely, South Dakota will see only one change, since it has only one full-power station above channel 36. Here's the full list of channel changes in Iowa and subsequent markets. (4/13/2017)
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City:
It's official: "Rob FM" is on the air in the Corridor. The broad Classic Rock format originates on KZIA-HD2 (Cedar Rapids) and is relayed on K236AA/95.1 (Cedar Rapids) and K253BE/98.5 (Iowa City). The translators began running the format in early March and a writeup on All Access confirms the format's permanence. K236AA was formerly a longtime Christian radio translator, while K253BE is a new signal. (4/12/2017)
Traditional Oldies are back on the Des Moines dial on K283CC/104.5 and the HD2 signal of KAZR/103.3. Saga Broadcasting has flipped the pair to "Pure Oldies 104.5" after just seven months with a News/Talk format that had featured Mike Gallagher, Laura Ingraham, Clark Howard, and ESPN Radio on the weekends. Saga also owns KIOA/93.3, which had carried Oldies for decades before segueing to Classic Hits. RadioInsight reports that Saga has recently launched "Pure Oldies" formats in two other markets. (3/14/2017)
IOWA/MICHIGAN/MINNESOTA/N. DAKOTA/S. DAKOTA/WISCONSIN:
Edge Spectrum is buying 71 low-power TV stations from Three Angels Broadcasting Network, including 18 in the Upper Midwest. The deal totals $3.2 million. The buyer's website says it "is addressing the growing demand for wireless mobile broadband Internet services and for low-cost and high-quality Over-The-Top content delivery alternatives to broadband cable and satellite unicast Internet service providers." Regional stations included in the deal are: K20KF-D Davenport, IA; W28DY-D Sault Ste. Marie, MI; K44GH-D Alexandria, MN; W39DD-D Dodge Center, MN; K21KZ-D Duluth, MN; K48NP-D Duluth, MN; K48KJ-D Geneva, MN; K38MM-D International Falls, MN; K43JE-D Lake Crystal, MN; K18GF-D Little Falls, MN; K47JE-D Olivia, MN; K43MH-D Vesta, MN; K47JC-D Wadena, MN; K17HG Grand Forks, ND; K32FW Pierre, SD; W30BU Green Bay, WI; W02CF Minocqua, WI; and W39CV-D Minocqua, WI. Many of the stations are construction permits that are not yet on the air. (3/14/2017)
Susan Ramsett will lead NBC affiliate KWQC (Davenport). She has worked in news, operations, and promotions at stations in the Lincoln, La Crosse-Eau Claire, and Wausau markets, and is currently GM of Gray's stations in the Lincoln and North Platte markets. (3/10/2017)
The FCC's Media Bureau and KM Television of Iowa, licensee of KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City), have agreed to a consent decree to settle allegations that KWKB was late in placing several reports in its electronic public file. KM will pay a $13,500 settlement. KWKB, a former WB and CW affiliate, currently carries ThisTV on its primary channel. (3/5/2017)
Des Moines/Ames & Omaha/Council Bluffs
Deja vu: Hearst TV stations are off a satellite provider amid a retransmission consent dispute, this time DISH Network. The dispute affects CBS affiliate KCCI (Des Moines/Ames) and ABC affiliate KETV (Omaha/Council Bluffs). KCCI reports the outage began late Thursday night after a 48-hour extension expired. The outage comes two months after the stations were briefly pulled from DirecTV in a similar dispute. (3/3/2017)
A number of Sinclair Broadcast Group stations have changed or added subchannels as the company rolls out the Charge! and TBD TV subchannel networks. Here are the changes noted so far in the Upper Midwest.
Cedar Rapids: KFXA is carrying Charge! on 28.2 (replacing Grit) and TBD on 28.3 (replacing Country Network).
Des Moines: KDSM is carrying Charge! on 17.3 (replacing Grit) and TBD on 17.4.
Kearney, NE: KHGI is carrying TBD on 13.3.
Omaha/Council Bluffs: KXVO is carrying Charge! on 15.2 (replacing ThisTV, still seen most of the day on KPTM/42.2) and TBD on 15.3 (replacing Grit).
Sioux City: KMEG is carrying TBD on 14.2 (replacing Decades) and KPTH is carrying Charge! on 44.3 (replacing Grit).(3/2/2017)
Kirkwood Community College, the owner of KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids), has filed an informal objection to a proposed upgrade by a future station that's only two notches up the dial. As previously reported here, Plus Charities' KMMK/88.7 (Coggon) is seeking a "Raleigh waiver" to upgrade to 25kW/94m (class C3), adding most of Cedar Rapids to its 60 dbu contour. Normal rules would prohibit the upgrade due to KMMK's proximity to KCCK and KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids), but a "Raleigh waiver" allows an upgrade for non-commercial FM stations when the actual interference to other non-commercial stations would be minimal. However, KCCK says KMMK's application is flawed because FCC precedent says the waiver can only be used to upgrade existing stations, not new stations. KMMK is not yet on the air. (2/11/2017)
One of Des Moines' four Country stations has changed frequency and rebranded. What was "96.5 Country" (K243CA Millman) is now "96.9 The Bull, Des Moines' New Country" (K245CO), with an upgrade from 102 to 250 Watts in the process. The format originates on the HD2 signal of iHeartMedia's KDRB/100.3 (Des Moines). "The Bull" competes with Cumulus Media's heritage full-power outlets "92.5 Nash Icon" (KJJY) and "97.3 Nash FM" (KHKI), along with Saga Broadcasting's HD2-translator outlet "93.7 The Outlaw." Regular readers may recall that iHeartMedia had originally applied to move a translator from Iowa City to Des Moines on 96.9 to relay an AM station, but the application was dismissed when the underlying permit expired. (1/30/2017)
SagamoreHill Broadcasting is buying the construction permit for KGLU-LD/17 (Ottumwa) from DTV America for $71,000. SagamoreHill does not have any existing stations in the Kirksville-Ottumwa market, nor do any of the companies SagamoreHill partners with in other markets. (1/29/2017)
SPECTRUM AUCTION REACHES BALANCE:
It now appears TV broadcasters will be left with 35 channels after the FCC's spectrum auction reached balance in round four, leaving TV with seven more channels than it would have had if the auction had succeeded in the first round. TV Technology reports the magic moment happened Wednesday, Jan. 18, when the price wireless companies were willing to pay for the spectrum finally matched the price some broadcasters want to sell their spectrum, plus other expenses of station relocations. It appears channel 38 and up will be removed from the TV dial to free up 84 MHz of spectrum, leaving channels 2 to 36 for TV broadcasting (channel 37 has long been reserved for radio astronomy). Stations will still be able to remap to "virtual" channel numbers above 36. All remaining stations above RF channel 36 will have to be relocated to lower channels, and the remaining stations could also have to change channel as part of the national repack. It's not yet known which stations have agreed to sell their spectrum or move from UHF to VHF, since the process has been confidential. Stations that sell their spectrum will still have the option of retaining their license by sharing a channel with another broadcaster. (1/18/2017)
Mason City/Austin/Rochester & Davenport (Quad Cities)
A half-dozen Upper Midwest TV stations officially changed hands Tuesday, Jan. 17, as Nexstar closed on its purchase of Media General, with several stations being spun off to comply with ownership caps. In Iowa -- KWQC (NBC, Davenport) is now owned by Gray TV; and KIMT (CBS, Mason City) is now owned by Heartland Media. Nexstar was unable to keep KWQC because it already owns other top-four stations in that market, while KIMT was sold off to comply with national ownership caps as part of a five-station deal. (1/17/2017)
Saga Broadcasting as signed on translator K271CO/102.1 (Des Moines), relaying ESPN Radio from KRNT/1350. The 99-Watt translator broadcasts from downtown Des Moines was moved south from Minnesota under the FCC's AM revitalization window. It's Saga's eight FM signal in the capital city, with a group now consisting of four full-power FM stations, four FM translators, and two AM stations. (1/15/2017)
Des Moines/Omaha/Council Bluffs: (UPDATED)
CBS affiliate KCCI (Des Moines) and ABC affiliate KETV (Omaha) have returned to DirecTV after a week-long retransmission consent dispute between Hearst Communications and DirecTV. The dispute affected dozens of Hearst stations nationwide beginning Jan. 1. Most mentions of the dispute, and its resolution, now seem to have been scrubbed from Hearst station websites. (1/1/2017, updated 1/9)
KMZN/740 (Oskaloosa) and its FM translator, K258BG/99.5, have dropped Sports in favor of Classic Hits. The Sports format had launched with the FM translator about two years ago; prior to that, 740 had simulcast the Country format of sister station KBOE-FM/104.9. 740's 229-Watt daytime signal has a wide coverage area across south-central and southeastern Iowa, but its 10-Watt nighttime signal is mostly limited to the Oskaloosa area. (1/8/2017)
Des Moines/Omaha/Council Bluffs:
CBS affiliate KCCI (Des Moines) and ABC affiliate KETV (Omaha) are among dozens of stations nationwide affected by a retransmission consent dispute between Hearst Communications and DirecTV. The outage began when the carriage agreement expired at the end of the year.(1/1/2017)