12/14 addendum: KOMJ and KBLR have changed their callsigns to KOBM and KOBM-FM, respectively.
Des Moines/Quad Cities:
The planned sale of Tribune Media to Nexstar, announced Monday, may mean divestitures in Des Moines and the Quad Cities. In Des Moines, Nexstar owns ABC affiliate WOI/5.1 and CW affiliate KCWI/23.1, while Tribune owns NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13.1. In the Quad Cities, Tribune owns ABC affiliate WQAD/8.1 while Nexstar owns CBS affiliate WHBF/4.1 and CW affiliate KGCW/26.1 and also provides services to Marshall Broadcasting FOX affiliate KLJB/18.1. (12/3/2018)
After numerous expected flips to all-Christmas music on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, at least 79 Upper Midwest stations and two Winnipeg stations are now all-Christmas. A few dozen more stations are expected to be added to the list if they follow the same schedule as last year. While most stations followed the same schedule this year as in years past, there were a few changes:
A few stations flipped earlier, including iHeartMedia's "Leo 1360" (KMJM Cedar Rapids), and Townsquare's "Y105" (KYBA/105.3 Stewartville-Rochester).
As reported earlier, Coloff Media in Waterloo moved their annual formats to different stations.
All of the flips are being tracked on the 2018 All-Christmas Stations page. (11/25/2018)
Coloff Media has launched a new translator K293CH/106.5 (Waterloo) carrying an all-Christmas format, presumably originating on the HD2 signal of Coloff's KCVM/93.5 (Cedar Falls). KCVM, known as "The Mix," had carried the seasonal format every year since at least 2004. The construction permit for the new 250-Watt translator was originally obtained by Starboard Media in 2016 after a 13-year wait for the FCC to approve the application, and was sold to Coloff Media shortly after its grant for $20,000. (11/23/2018)
Walnut Radio's "Boomer" Oldies format has gotten a second Omaha FM signal: K233CO/94.5 has switched to the "Boomer" format originating on KOMJ/1490, joining K281CJ/104.1. The change comes after 104.1 moved its transmitter to the downtown area, with 94.5 continuing to serve western Omaha. K233CO had previously relayed KOTK/1420, which continues to carry Conservative Talk as "The Answer." (11/20/2018)
RF CHANNEL CHANGES:
Cedar Rapids, IA: Ion station KPXR/48.1 moved from RF 47 to RF 22
Des Moines, IA: Ion station KFPX/39.1 moved from RF 39 to RF 36
Rochester, MN: FOX affiliate KXLT/47.1 moved from RF 46 to RF 26.(11/18/2018)
Two companies that own radio stations in Iowa are splitting up and dividing the stations they currently own. Fieldview Broadcasting LLC currently owns 40 percent of Riverfront Broadcasting of Iowa and is withdrawing from the company. In exchange, Fieldview will get KWBG/1590 (Boone), KZWC/1570 (Webster City), KQWC-FM/95.7 (Webster City), and KZWC translator K225BZ/92.9 (Webster City). Riverfront will retain KHBT/97.7 (Humboldt), KLGZ/1600 (Algona), KLGA-FM/92.7 (Algona), and KLGZ translator K253BJ/98.5 (Algona). Fieldview is owned by Danette and Kirk Graeve of Dallas Center, while Riverfront is owned by Carolyn and Doyle Becker of Yankton, SD. Sister Riverfront companies also own four stations in Minnesota and six in South Dakota. (11/11/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS ON THE AIR:
The following new FM translators have applied for and/or received their licenses to cover:
Bellevue, IA: K223DA/92.5, relaying KMAQ/1320 (Maquoketa) 11/4/2018)
iHeartMedia's "Leo 1360" (KMJM Cedar Rapids) has also gone All-Christmas as of Nov. 1. You can track this year's flips on the 2018 All-Christmas Stations page. (11/1/2018)
Two competing applications for new FM translators in the Waterloo area will be resolved at auction. In the last AM Revitalization filing window, Coloff Media and NRG Media both applied for new translators on 101.5 to relay Coloff's KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls) and NRG's KPTY/1330 (Waterloo). After no agreement was reached during a settlement window, the applications are among 13 nationwide (and the only ones in the Upper Midwest) headed to an auction next year. Bidding will begin at $10,000. Both stations already have FM translators that could potentially be repurposed for other uses, such as relaying an HD2 feed or moving to cover another area; existing KCFI translator K286CI/105.1 recently applied to move to a tower south of town. (10/19/2018)
Rochester/Austin, MN & Mason City, IA
Quincy Media stations returned to DISH Network on Friday (Oct. 12) following a retransmission consent dispute outage that lasted more than seven weeks, taking 15 major network affiliates off the provider in the Upper Midwest. This included KTTC/Rochester/Austin/Mason City. (10/13/2018)
The following new FM translators have recently signed on:
Indianola, IA: K232FR/94.3, relaying the Country format of KNIA/1320 (Knoxville) (10/4/2018)
TV MARKET RANKINGS:
Many Upper Midwest TV markets are seeing large changes in ranking amid a continued national decline in the number of TV households. According to Nielsen's local television market universe estimates for the 2018-2019 TV season, only four of the 25 TV markets serving the Upper Midwest gained households over the past year. Omaha was the biggest beneficiary of increased households, rising five spots in the rankings to become market #69. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo and the Quad Cities each rose four positions and Green Bay rose two. Meanwhile, Des Moines showed the biggest decline, dropping seven positions to #75. Madison, Lincoln, Bismarck, and Sioux Falls each dropped five positions; Duluth and Fargo each dropped four positions; Marquette, Traverse City, and Quincy dropped two positions, and Rapid City, Sioux City, Rochester-Austin-Mason City, and La Crosse-Eau Claire each dropped one position. Minneapolis remained #15 nationally despite a 1 percent drop in TV households in the market. Overall, the Upper Midwest lost about 3.1 percent of its TV households, compared with a national decline of about 1.7 percent. (9/30/2018)
Austin, Minnesota (Mason City)
Minnesota Public Radio's KNSE/90.1 (Austin) is transmitting at 83 percent of its usual 6kW due to a failed power amp module. (9/20/2018)
KYOU-TV (Ottumwa) has added CW on channel 15.4, replacing Escape. The change happened on Sept. 1. KYOU also carries FOX on 15.1, NBC on 15.2, and Grit on 15.3. The CW didn't have a previous over-the-air home in the small Kirksville-Ottumwa market, which has only two stations. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and operated by Raycom, which is in the process of buying the station outright as Raycom itself is sold to Gray TV. (9/11/2018)
A non-profit group headed by the general manager of a commercial radio station in south-central Iowa is buying a financially-challenged non-commercial station in northeastern Iowa. The Postville Chamber of Commerce signed on KPVL/89.1 (Postville) in 2002 with a goal of unifying the diverse meatpacking community, but long-term funding failed to materialize and the station ended most programming efforts in 2015. Recently, KPVL has been operating at reduced power with a mix of Classic Hits. Now, Community Public Media is buying the station for $100. The buyer is headed by Rick Watts, who is also the GM of KBOE/KMZN in Oskaloosa, with his wife Elisa Watts as well as Alex Watts also involved in the organization. Its mission statement says it intends to reflect the diversity of the community and serve its "education, information, cultural, and entertainment needs." (9/9/2018)
UNW Media Holdings is spinning off a pair of western Iowa small-town stations it bought earlier this year. Crawford County Broadcasting, which has ties to two other stations in the region, is buying KDSN/1530 and KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison) for $1.15 million.
That's $100,000 less than UNW Media Holdings, a subsidiary of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, paid for the stations when it bought them from Mikadety Radio Corporation earlier this year.
UNW bought the stations as it proposed moving KDSN-FM to 104.9, retaining its current 6kW, so that Northwestern's KNWI/107.1 (Osceola-Des Moines) can upgrade. Closing will not take place until the FCC has approved the modification applications for both KDSN-FM and KNWI, though the buyers began operating the stations under a time brokerage agreement on Sept. 1.
Crawford County Broadcasting is owned by J.C. Van Ginkel, James M. Field, and Rodney R. Christensen, who also own KNOD/105.3 (Harlan) and KJAN/1220 (Atlantic) through different companies. (9/5/2018)
DTV CHANNEL CHANGES:
The transition to fall has brought changes to digital TV lineups in Iowa markets:
Quad Cities: Gray TV's KWQC added H&I TV on channel 6.4. (8/31/2018)
A retransmission consent dispute between Quincy Media and DISH Network has taken dozens of stations off DISH nationwide, including 15 in the Upper Midwest. The outage began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 after two extensions. It affects ABC affiliates in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Wausau, the CBS affiliate in Duluth, the FOX affiliate in Quincy, NBC affiliates in Quincy, Waterloo, Sioux City, Rochester, and Duluth, CW affiliates in Waterloo, Sioux City, and Wausau, and the MyNetworkTV channel in Duluth. (8/31/2018)
The following new FM translators are on the air: Charles City, IA: K277DM/103.3, relaying the Oldies format of KCHA/1580 (8/23/2018)
Keokuk, IOWA/Quincy, ILLINOIS:
A Christian station in southeastern Iowa is getting its third owner in its 17-year history. Sound in Spirit Broadcasting is buying KMDY/90.9 (Keokuk) and W209CH/89.7 (Quincy) from Cornerstone Community Radio for $150,000. Sound in Spirit Broadcasting also owns a station in Ottumwa, while Cornerstone owns six stations in Illinois. The deal includes KMDY's transmitter and tower near Nauvoo, Illinois, but does not include any studio equipment. The KMDY callsign is derived from its original owner, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, which signed the station on in 2001 and sold it to Cornerstone in 2006. (8/22/2018)
Scripps Broadcasting is selling stations in four markets, including Omaha, to Alabama-based SummitMedia. The $47 million sale is the last in a series of four deals that will take Scripps out of the radio business; a plan to sell Scripps' two Milwaukee stations to Good Karma Brands was announced last month. In Omaha, the deal includes Rocker "Z92" (KEZO/92.3), Classic Rocker "CD 105.9" (KKCD), Contemporary Hits outlet "Channel 94-1" (KQCH), Adult Contemporary station "Star 104.5" (KSRZ), and "ESPN 590" (KXSP). The sale will separate the radio group from Scripps CBS affiliate KMTV/3.1 after 11 years of co-ownership by Journal and then Scripps. (8/15/2018)
Albert Lea/Austin (Mason City):
The owners of KDWA/1460 (Hastings) are buying KQPR/96.1 (Albert Lea). The deal calls for D&Z Broadcasting, owned by Daniel and Barbara Massman of Hastings, to pay Gregory Jensen's Hometown Broadcasting $750,000 for KQPR, which carries a Classic Rock format. The coverage areas of KDWA and KQPR do not overlap except for some fringe coverage northwest of Rochester. Hometown recently sold its other station, KQAQ/970 (Austin), to a non-commercial Catholic broadcaster. (8/14/2018)
The airstaff of Contemporary Christian station KGBI-FM/100.7 (Omaha) is out after the University of Northwestern-St. Paul closed on its $3.15 million purchase of the station from Salem Media. A post on the station's Facebook page says Aug. 3 was the last day for Dave & Kristen in the Morning, Jack Swanda, and Shari Stone. FCC filings indicate the sale closed on Aug. 6. UNWSP has openings for a KGBI program director and an office manager posted on its website. UNWSP operates Contemporary Christian stations in numerous other cities and is converting KGBI to non-commercial status. Meanwhile, the buyer of Salem's other Omaha stations began operating the stations under a local marketing agreement on Aug. 8. An asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC indicates that Hickory Radio is buying KCRO/660, KOTK/1420, K233CO/94.5, and K293CJ/106.5 from Salem for $1.375 million. Hickory is a sister company to Walnut Radio, which owns KOMJ/1490, K281CJ/104.1, and several stations north of Omaha. Salem had purchased KGBI, KCRO, and KOTK for a combined $12.05 million in three separate transactions in 2005. (8/13/2018)
Sinclair CBS affiliate KGAN/2.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Television station KRIN/32.1 (Waterloo) are back on the air after a lightning strike knocked them off the air sometime around August 7. IPTV reported that KRIN was using lower power than usual; it was not clear if KGAN was back at full power. Both stations transmit from a tower near Walker, midway between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, and a KGAN reporter says in a Facebook post that a thunderstorm damaged KGAN's feedline in at least two places. KGAN's primary CBS channel was temporarily being carried on channel 28.2 of KFXA (Cedar Rapids), displacing Charge. The tower, owned by Gray TV, is also home to Gray's KCRG-TV/9.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Radio's KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls), but there's no indication of KCRG or KUNI being affected. (8/12/2018)
Sinclair CBS affiliate KGAN/2.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Television station KRIN/32.1 (Waterloo) are both off the air after a lightning strike earlier this week. Both stations transmit from a tower near Walker, midway between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, and a KGAN reporter says in a Facebook post that a thunderstorm damaged KGAN's feedline in at least two places. KGAN's primary CBS channel is temporarily being carried on channel 28.2 of KFXA (Cedar Rapids), displacing Charge. The tower, owned by Gray TV, is also home to Gray's KCRG-TV/9.1 (Cedar Rapids) and Iowa Public Radio's KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls), but there's no indication of KCRG or KUNI being affected. (8/9/2018)
UPDATE: Here is a picture of the feed line damaged by a thunderstorm at our transmitter tower. This damaged piece was 900 feet up the 2,000 ft. tower. Crews are now working on another damaged portion 1,300ft.up. Fingers crossed for no other damage as work continues. And please share your thanks to the crews working high above eastern Iowa! In the meantime, all KGAN programming can be found over the air on 28.2
TRIBUNE TERMINATES SINCLAIR MERGER:
Following the FCC's July 19 decision to have an administrative law judge review the proposed merger of Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune announced Thursday that it is ending its attempt to merge with Sinclair. Tribune also filed a lawsuit against Sinclair, claiming Sinclair breached a provision of its contract requiring it to seek regulatory approval as quickly as possible. Tribune alleges Sinclair delayed the deal by engaging in "unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations" in an effort to keep control of as many stations as possible, rather than divest them. The proposed deal went through several iterations in regulatory filings, including changes in whether Tribune's WGN-TV Chicago would be sold and whether Sinclair would continue to provide services to stations that had been sold. In the Upper Midwest, the only divestiture would have been Sinclair's KDSM Des Moines, with the new company keeping Tribune's WHO-DT Des Moines along with Tribune stations in the Quad Cities and Milwaukee and Sinclair stations in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, and other smaller markets. Sinclair had already returned the license of the former WCGV/24.1 (Milwaukee), which sold its bandwidth in the spectrum auction but could have kept its license through a channel-sharing arrangement. (8/9/2018)
Two Catholic radio stations remain off the air by the tornado that struck Marshalltown last month. KCRM-LP/96.7 and KDNH-LP/101.5 have filed notices of suspension of operations with the FCC, saying the July 19 tornado destroyed the tower they had used along with their antennas and studios. KCRM-LP normally carries EWTN Radio, while KDNH-LP carries sister Spanish-language network Radio Catolica Mundial. The tornado also destroyed a tower used for the studio-transmitter link at KFJB/1230 and KXIA/101.1, but they were able to return to the air the next day after establishing new feeds. (8/7/2018)
Saga Communications has launched a Variety Hits format called "Chuck FM" on K255CY/98.9 (Spirit Lake), originating on the HD3 signal of sister station KMRR/104.9 (Spencer). The launch comes a month after Saga launched "Pure Oldies" on K252EX/98.3 (Spencer) and KMRR-HD2. Saga acquired K255CY in 2016 and had previously used it to relay "CD Country 107.7" (KICD-FM Spencer). K255CY doesn't reach Saga's home base in Spencer, but KMRR and KICD-FM both provide strong signals to Spirit Lake. The popular summer vacation spot is also served by several FM stations operated by Community First Broadcasting. (8/2/2018)
Salem Media is selling its remaining two stations in Omaha to a local broadcaster. Salem announced Wednesday that it will sell KCRO/660, KOTK/1420, and their FM translators to Hickory Radio, an affiliate of Walnut Radio, which also owns one station in Omaha and several stations just north of the city. The sale price was not immediately announced. Salem is also in the process of selling Contemporary Christian outlet KGBI-FM/100.7 (Omaha) to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul; the deal received FCC approval earlier this month but has not yet closed. KCRO "The Word" carries Christian preaching and talk and is relayed on K293CJ/106.5, while KOTK "The Answer" carries Conservative Talk and is relayed on K233CO/94.5. The press release says they'll keep their current formats and branding. Walnut owns KOMJ/1490 and K281CJ/104.1, which carry a "Boomer" Oldies format. Salem had entered Omaha in early 2005 with the purchase of KGBI from Grace University and bought KCRO from Eternal Broadcasting and KOTK from Journal Broadcast Group later that year. (7/25/2018)
Educational Media Foundation "K-Love" station KLFG/89.5 (Fort Dodge) has completed an upgrade that expands its coverage area to include more of north-central Iowa. KLFG now transmits with 34kW/257m (class C1) from the Iowa Public Television tower near Bradgade. The station had previously transmitted from a tower closer to Fort Dodge with 17kW/111m (class C3). (7/17/2018)
Omaha, NE: K268DI/101.5 (Council Bluffs), relaying the Christian format of KLNG/1560.7/15/2018)
The FCC has recently granted the following new FM translators as a result of the AM Revitalization filing windows:
Waterloo, IA: KXEL/1540,
Meanwhile, several new FM translators are due to be granted as a result of FCC Auction No. 83:
The applicants must pay their winning bids by July 30, and construction permits won't be issued until the payments have been made. (7/6/2018)
Erie, IL(Quad Cities):
A western Illinois station recently completed its move closer to the Quad Cities. On June 25, WQUD (Erie, IL) moved from 105.5 to 107.7 and began transmitting with 6kW/97m (class A) from a tower between Moline and Geneseo, giving the station a strong signal to most of the Quad Cities area. To allow for the move, WLLT (Polo, IL) moved from 107.7 to 94.3 and WSSQ (Sterling, IL) moved from 94.3 to 105.5. Both WLLT and WSSQ retained their former coverage areas. WQUD is owned by JMRW LLC and carries a broad mix of Rock and Country from the 1960's to today. (7/5/2018)
Jonathan A. Mason's JAM Media Solutions is buying a set of radio stations in Muscatine from WPW Broadcasting for $965,000. The stations, Classic Rocker KMCS/93.1 and a Classic Country format on KWPC/860 and K236CF/95.1, serve an area just west of the Quad Cities. (7/3/2018)
Saga Broadcasting has launched a new signal and a new format in Spencer. K273DD/102.5 has signed on relaying the News/Talk format of KICD/1240, which had previously been relayed on K252EX/98.3. K252EX is now carrying Saga's "Pure Oldies" format, which originates on the HD2 signal of KMRR/104.9. K273DD was granted as part of the FCC's AM Revitalization effort and is required to relay KICD, while K252EX was obtained earlier without a waiver and can relay any station. (6/29/2018)
iHeartMedia has signed on new translator K254DL/98.7 (Sioux City), relaying "La Preciosa" from KWSL/1470. The new 250-Watt FM signal was granted as a result of the FCC's AM Revitalization effort. "La Preciosa" is the second Spanish-language format on FM in Sioux City, competing with the "Fiesta" on K246CJ/97.1 (Sioux City) and KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE). Nielsen Audio says the market is about 18 percent Hispanic.(6/29/2018)
The Ottumwa Courier reports that new NBC affiliate KYOU-DT2 will launch a 10 p.m. newscast on July 16. KYOU has carried a 9 p.m. newscast on its primary FOX channel for the past several years, and the station's news director tells the paper that NBC required it to add the 10:00 newscast. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and operated by Raycom. It will apparently be the first 10:00 news competitor for Sinclair ABC affiliate KTVO-TV/3.1 (Kirksville-Ottumwa) in its 63-year history. (6/27/2018)
The price for the previously-reported sale of two Keokuk radio stations is $245,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. Keokuk Broadcasting, owned by Leah Jones and Michael Greenwald, is buying KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage, IL-Keokuk) from Riverfront Broadcasting. Longtime station employee Jones teamed up with city councilor Greenwald to buy the stations after Riverfront laid off staff and put the stations up for sale earlier this year. The buyers began operating the stations under a programming agreement on June 1.(6/26/2018)
Gray TV has announced plans to merge with Raycom Media in a $3.6 billion deal that will create the nation's third-largest broadcast TV group. The combined company will own stations in 92 markets reaching 24 percent of U.S. households, with a Gray/Raycom station ranked first or second in the vast majority of those markets. Gray owns stations in more than a dozen Upper Midwest markets; Raycom's only regional operation is FOX/NBC affiliate KYOU (Ottumwa), which is licensed to American Spirit Media. (Raycom formerly owned several other stations in the Upper Midwest, two of which are now already owned by Gray.) Gray and Raycom have overlap in nine markets outside of the Upper Midwest, and the companies say they will divest one station in each of those markets rather than go through the FCC's new waiver process to allow top-four combinations (though Gray may be able to retain the network affiliations of the divested stations on subchannels and/or low-power stations, as it has done in other markets). A newspaper group owned by Raycom will be spun off. (6/25/2018)
Iowa City/Cedar Rapids:
Phil Falcone's HC2 Broadcasting is buying KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) from KM Communications for $1.85 million. George W. Kimball of Kozacko Media Services served as exclusive broker for the deal. HC2 owns several other full-power stations in other parts of the country has been assembling a group of hundreds of low-power TV stations. KWKB transmits with 1,000kW from its own 1,345-foot tower in West Branch, giving it coverage of both Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. The Bae family started KWKB in 1999 and retains ownership of WOCK-CD (Chicago). KWKB was originally a WB affiliate and later a CW affiliate and currently carries ThisTV and Light TV. (6/21/2018)
After dismissing an informal objection to nearly 1,000 applications for new FM translators nationwide, the FCC has acted quickly to approve applications filed during the most recent AM Revitalization filing window. Most proposed facilities in the Upper Midwest have now been granted construction permits. (470 applications were granted nationwide on June 8 alone, representing nearly half of all pending FM translator applications at that time.)
IA: KLGZ/1600 (Algona),
Boone, IA: KWBG/1590, K268DS/101.5, 250W
Cedar Rapids, IA: KGYM/1600, K272GB/102.3, 250W
Davenport, IA: KBOB/1170, K281DB/104.1, 250W
Des Moines, IA: KBGG/1700, K300DO/107.9, 99W
Granger, IA: KDLS/1310 (Perry), K232FX/94.3, 250W
Keokuk, IA: KOKX/1310, K227DO/93.3, 250W
Mount Pleasant, IA: KILJ/1130, K253CN/98.5, 250W
North English:The FCC has denied efforts to resurrect a south-central Iowa FM license.
The FCC's Audio Division deleted KMYQ/97.1 (North English) in December, saying the license was considered expired because owner Justin McLuckie had allegedly failed to prove that KMYQ was on the air between 2013 and 2016. McLuckie's counsel filed a petition for reconsideration in January alleging that the FCC did not give McLuckie due process or adequate time to present evidence, as well as a motion for stay.
The latest letter from Audio Division Chief Albert Shuldiner says McLuckie failed to show a material error by the FCC or raise facts not previously known. Specifically, the FCC says it still did not receive adequate documentation showing that KMYQ was on the air for several years prior to an effort to return the station to the air in late September 2017. The letter also says McLuckie had been granted an additional 30 days to respond. (6/11/2018)
A Keokuk city councilor has teamed up with a longtime Radio Keokuk employee to buy the two local radio stations, KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and WCEZ/93.9 (Carthage-Keokuk). Mike Greenwald and Leah Jones announced their purchase on Facebook last Friday, June 1. The deal has not yet appeared in the FCC database. KOKX/WCEZ owner Riverfront Broadcasting had laid off the stations' employees in April and announced it was looking for a buyer. KOKX carries Country and WCEZ carries Classic Hits as "Z93." (6/5/2018)
Nexstar ABC affiliate KCAU/9 (Sioux City) is temporarily off the air due to storm damage. The station reports that it went off the air during a thunderstorm Friday night. KCAU's main ABC channel is temporarily being carried on channel 4.3 of Quincy's KTIV, displacing MeTV. The move returns a favor KCAU paid to KTIV when KTIV experienced transmission problems in 2014 - at that time, KTIV's main NBC channel was made available on a KCAU subchannel. KCAU-ABC also remains in its usual cable and satellite channel positions. (6/3/2018)
Salem Media has announced plans to sell Contemporary Christian outlet "100.7 The Fish" (KGBI-FM Omaha) to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. The sale price is $3.15 million, according to the asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. UNWSP has also applied to convert KGBI-FM to non-commercial status. The deal will split KGBI from KCRO/660 and KOTK/1420 and their FM translators, which will remain owned by Salem. UNWSP operates a regional chain of non-commerical Contemporary Christian outlets, including stations in Kansas City, Des Moines, and Sioux Falls. Northwestern subsidiary UNW Media Holdings LLC is also in the process of buying KDSN AM-FM in Denison, Iowa, which is about 60 miles northeast of Omaha. (5/22/2018, updated with sale price 5/24)
Mason City, IA/Rochester & Austin, MN:
FOX affiliate KXLT/47 (Rochester) is off DISH Network amid a dispute between the provider and station owner SagamoreHill Broadcasting. The outage began Monday evening. Each side is urging viewers to call the other site to complain. KXLT is operated by Quincy Media's KTTC (Rochester). ((5/22/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED
The FCC began granting construction permits for new FM translators from the most recent AM revitalization window this past week but stopped issuing permits Thursday after a group of low-power FM advocates filed an informal objection to (what appears to be) every pending application for a new FM translator nationwide. First, here are those that were granted:
Bellevue, IA: KMAQ/1320 (Maquoketa), K223DA/92.5, 250W*
Carroll, IA: KCIM/1380, K236CV/94.1, 250W
Cedar Rapids, IA: WSUI/910 (Iowa City), K246CV/97.1, 110W
Centerville, IA: KCOG/1400, K257GQ/99.3, 250W*
Waterloo, IA: KCNZ/1650 (Cedar Falls), K272GA/102.3, 250W*
The granting came to a halt after the Center for International Media Action, Common Frequency Inc., and Prometheus Radio Project filed aninformal objection to about 1,000 pending applications nationwide (those marked with an asterisk above were granted despite having objections filed against them, apparently because they were being granted the same day the objection was filed.) The petitioners allege that the applicants are required under the Local Community Radio Act of 2011 to show that there would still be room on the band for LPFM stations, but failed to do so. Being a blanket objection, the filing hits all types of groups, including both commercial and non-commercial operators, large corporations and mom-and-pop broadcasters, major market and isolated small town stations, and a few Spanish-language stations. Most of the translators subject to the informal objection were filed during this year's AM Revitalization filing window, but a few are from last year's window and some are dormant applications from 2003 that are due to go up for auction next month. It's not immediately clear how long the FCC will take to consider the objection.
Gray TV has named Andrew Stewart the new General Manager of NBC affiliate WOWT/6.1 (Omaha). Stewart has 35 years of industry experience, including a corporate position at the former Lee Enterprises and several GM and sales management positions. He will start at WOWT in June.(5/10/2018)
Several new FM translators granted during recent AM revitalization windows have recently signed on:
IA: K244FQ/96.7 is on the air relaying
the Adult Contemporary format of
Sheldon, IA: K264CW/100.7 is on the air relaying the News/Talk and Country format of KIWA/1550.(5/9/2018)
(UPDATED) Des Moines FOX affiliate KDSM-TV/17 is being sold to a New York investment company as part of a nine-station divestiture by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Standard Media Group LLC, an affiliate of Standard General LP, announced Tuesday that it will buy KDSM and eight stations in other parts of the country from Sinclair for $441.7 million in cash. The new company is headed by Deb McDermott, the former COO of Media General and former CEO of Young Broadcasting. Sinclair is required to divest a station in Des Moines as part of its proposed purchase of Tribune Broadcasting, since Tribune owns NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 and both WHO and KDSM rank in the top four in the market. KDSM does not have a news department and airs a 9 p.m. newscast produced by WHO. There had been speculation that Des Moines-based Meredith might buy WHO-DT or KDSM, but Sinclair instead announced Tuesday that Meredith is buying CW affiliate KPLR/11 (St. Louis). Meredith, which already owns St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV/4, reported the purchase price to be $65 million. A March filing by Sinclair had said that KPLR ranked fourth in St. Louis, but a filing submitted with the new application says KPLR has now fallen outside of the top four, thus allowing a KMOV/KPLR duopoly. (Sinclair currently owns St. Louis ABC affiliate KDNL/30 and is seeking to buy Tribune FOX affiliate KTVI/2; it was not immediately clear how the company would resolve the fact that both are apparently now ranked in the top four.) KDSM and KPLR, as well as WGN-TV (Chicago), are among 23 stations that would be divested under Sinclair's latest plan, which is the fourth publicly-released version of the proposed deal. Though the WGN-TV license would be sold, Sinclair would operate the station through joint sales and shared services agreements. Nationally, the latest plan calls for Sinclair to take over Tribune CW affiliates WPIX (New York) and KTLA (Los Angeles), among others, removing an earlier plan to sell WPIX. Sinclair would retain all of it and Tribune's other current Upper Midwest holdings, which include: -FOX affiliates in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Omaha, Sioux City, and Lincoln/Kearney -ABC affiliates in the Quad Cities, Quincy, Kirksville/Ottumwa, Kearney -CBS affiliates in Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, and Ottumwa -The NBC affiliate in Des Moines -CW affiliates in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Omaha. All of the Sinclair/Tribune stations except Minneapolis and Madison have news departments. (4/24/2018, updated St. Louis rankings 4/25)
New station KMMK/88.7 (Coggon-Cedar Rapids) is on the air carrying Cathlic programming. KMMK transmits 25kW/94m (class C3) from a tower near Coggon with a directional antenna pointed south, providing rimshot coverage of Cedar Rapids. Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based group, was granted the station after New Bohemia Group returned its construction permit for the frequency. KMMK obtained "Raleigh waiver" to improve its planned coverage of Cedar Rapids after the FCC denied an informal objection from second-adjacent KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids). Raleigh waivers allow upgrades for non-commercial FM stations when the actual interference to other non-commercial stations would be minimal. KMMK is named after St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, who is considered the patron saint of amateur radio. (4/23/2018)
Riverfront Broadcasting has laid off the employees at "Radio Keokuk" and is looking for a buyer, according to a report by Tri-States Public Radio. Riverfront has owned the stations, Country-formatted KOKX/1310 (Keokuk) and Classic Hits "Z93" (WCEZ/93.9 Carthage, IL-Keokuk), since 2016. The company's Carolyn Becker told TSPR that the stations will be closed unless new owners are found. The stations had been part of a four-station group under longtime owner W. Russell Withers, Jr. Following Withers' death, the group's two largest FM signals were sold to Christian broadcasters while KOKX and WCEZ were sold to Riverfront. The city of more than 10,000 people has no other local commercial radio stations but does receive rimshot signals from several Quincy and Burlington-market stations. Riverfront also owns stations in eight other small communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. (4/19/2018)
Several new digital TV subchannels have recently launched: Nexstar's WOI-DT (Ames) added Grit on 5.3 and Cozi TV on 5.4, while sister station KCWI (Ames) added Quest on 23.4. Grit had previously been seen on Sinclair's KDSM-DT3 until being replaced with Charge! a year ago. (4/17/2018)
The University of Northwestern-St. Paul is proposing an upgrade to one of its Des Moines area signals and is simultaneously buying a western Iowa station that it would have to modify to allow the Des Moines upgrade.
"Life 107.1" (KNWI Osceola) has applied to upgrade to 100kW/299m (class C1) from a tower south of Winterset, improving the station's rimshot signal to Des Moines. The station has targeted Des Moines for decades, though the capital city is outside of the city-grade contour from its current 30kW/193m (class C2) facility.
To make way for KNWI's upgrade, KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison) would move to 104.9 but keep its current 6kW facility.
Meanwhile, Northwestern subsidiary UNW Media Holdings LLC has reached an agreement to buy KDSN-FM and KDSN/1530 from Mikadety Radio Corporation for $1.25 million. Mikadety is owned by Michael and Kathy Dudding, who have been with KDSN for 25 years. The stations carry a large amount of local news and farm information, with a mix of Adult Contemporary and Classic Rock on FM and Country and Polka on AM. They deliver the only city-grade signals to Denison.
Northwestern does not own any other stations outside of rated markets.(4/11/2018)
A western Iowa AM station is the latest to seek a downgrade rather than replace an aging tower array. KCIM/1380 (Carroll) currently uses 1kW day and night with different daytime and nighttime directional antenna patterns coming from a three-tower array. The station proposes to drop to 500 Watts day and 28 Watts night using a single-tower, nondirectional facility. The 28-Watt nighttime signal would still be enough to provide interference-free reception to Carroll. In recent years, stations in Sioux City, Eau Claire, and Rapid City have also reduced power rather than replace multiple towers. (4/8/2018)
William Penn University's KIGC/88.5 (Oskaloosa) has gone off the air. The station tells the FCC in a notification of suspension of operations that it went silent on March 5 when its tower was blown over in a wind storm. KIGC normally transmits with 1kW carrying a variety of music. (4/8/2018)
The purchase price of two stations in Marshalltown is $850,000, according to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC. As first reported here in February when the sale was announced in a press release, Trending Media is buying KFJB/1230 (Marshalltown) and "Kix 101" (KXIA/101.1 Marshalltown) from Marshalltown Broadcasting. Trending Media is owned by current KFJB/KXIA general manager Todd Steinkamp and Robert and Colleen Holtan; Robert Holtan owns 8 percent of current licensee Marshalltown Broadcasting, with other current shareholders based in Wisconsin and Michigan. Elsewhere, the Holtans' Decorah Broadcasting owns KDEC/1240 and KDEC-FM/100.5 (Decorah). Steinkamp has been with the stations for 15 years. KFJB carries a News/Talk format and KXIA carries Country with a rimshot signal to Ames. (2/24/2018, updated 4/8 with sale price)
COMPETING FM TRANSLATOR
The FCC has identified 75 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new FM translators filed in the fourth and final AM revitalization window. In the Upper Midwest, they include:
Waterloo, IA: Coloff Media (KCFI Cedar Falls) and NRG Media (KPTY Waterloo) both applied for 101.5.
The competing applicants now have until June 14 to modify their applications or reach settlement agreements to resolve the conflicts. The owners of dozens of other stations that sought translators during the window can breathe easier knowing that their applications face no competition. Click here for a complete list. (4/4/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED
The FCC grants of new translators following last year's AM revitalization window have slowed to a trickle, as most applications have now been acted upon. The following translators have been granted since the last update here:
Charles City, IA: KCHA/1580, K277DM/103.3, 169W
The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. Additional aplications filed this year are listed on the 2018 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (3/25/2018)
It turns out the saga over 107.7 in the Omaha area isn't over after all, as the Educational Media Foundation has applied to move KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA) into the immediate Omaha metro.
Under the new proposal, KIMI would be licensed to Ralston, NE, using 300 Watts at 310 meters (class A) from Omaha's Crown Point antenna farm. EMF's KMLV/88.1 (Ralston, NE-Omaha) would change its community of license to Malvern to backfill for KIMI but keep its current 59kW/390mfacility at Crown Point. EMF also operates 70-Watt K285GP/104.9 (Millard, NE) from Crown Point with K285GP carrying the Air1 network and KMLV carrying K-Love.
The new application comes a few months after the FCC granted a license to cover KIMI on 107.9 in Humboldt, NE. The station also has special temporary authority to transmit from the Malvern site on 107.7.
As documented here over the years, two previous attempts to launch stations on 107.7 rimshotting Omaha from the south have been thwarted by complaints of interference to airplane navigation communications at Offutt Air Force Base, which is on the southern side of the Omaha metro. This time, KIMI is proposing to transmit from the northern metro with only rimshot coverage of Offutt. (3/19/2018)
Mason City, IA/Rochester, MN
KIMT (Mason City-Austin-Rochester) has added Antenna TV on channel 3.4. The Heartland Media station also carries CBS on 3.1, MyNetworkTV on 3.2, and Ion on 3.3. Antenna TV is the 11th full-power commercial channel available in the market.(3/1/2018)
Two longtime radio stations in central Iowa are being sold to a company held by their general manager and a current minority owner in the station. According to a press release posted on Facebook, Trending Media is buying KFJB/1230 (Marshalltown) and "Kix 101" (KXIA/101.1 Marshalltown) from Marshalltown Broadcasting. The purchase price was not disclosed but may become known when the application to transfer the licenses becomes publicly available in the FCC database. Trending Media is owned by current KFJB/KXIA general manager Todd Steinkamp and Robert and Colleen Holtan; Robert Holtan owns 8 percent of current licensee Marshalltown Broadcasting, with other current shareholders based in Wisconsin and Michigan. Elsewhere, the Holtans' Decorah Broadcasting owns KDEC/1240 and KDEC-FM/100.5 (Decorah). Steinkamp has been with the stations for 15 years. KFJB carries a News/Talk format and KXIA carries Country with a rimshot signal to Ames.(2/24/2018)
Sinclair Broadcast Group intends to sell a station in Des Moines, as well as WPIX (New York) and others, as part of a nationwide divestiture to gain regulatory approval of its acquisition of Tribune Media.
In a filing that appeared in the FCC database on Wednesday morning, Sinclair is seeking to transfer nearly two dozen full-power licenses to Sinclair Divestiture Trust, headed by Richard A. Foreman.
However, not all of the stations may be divested. For example, in Des Moines, Sinclair filed applications to place both NBC affiliate WHO/13.1 and FOX affiliate KDSM/17.1 into trust, but says it only actually intends to divest one of the stations but does not yet know which one will be sold.
Sinclair would retain all other current Sinclair and Tribune stations in the Upper Midwest.
Nationally, Sinclair seeks to divest a few other stations to comply with the national ownership cap, but different Sinclair filings submitted on the same day contain conflicting accounts of which stations will be spun off. Both filings say WPIX (New York) and KSWB-TV (San Diego) will be divested, while one also says WGN-TV (Chicago) will be divested. Read the documents here: 24-page document, 102-page document. (2/21/2018)
The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:
Indianola, IA: KXLQ/1490, K239CR/95.7, 99W [TL: Des Moines]
Sigourney, IA: KMZN/740 (Oskaloosa), K280GT/103.9, 250W
Only 17 of the original 110 Upper Midwest applications filed during the window remain pending; 11 of those were part of mutually exclusive groups that may have resolved their conflicts through amendments. The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (2/3/2018)
KCRG-TV reports that a Monday night car crash killed longtime eastern Iowa radio station owner Rob Norton, along with another driver, 28-year-old Jennifer Koenighain of Cedar Rapids. Norton, a 69-year-old Iowa City resident, was the president of KZIA, Inc. and owned 30 percent of the company. KZIA owns KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids), KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids), and four translators in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City that relay HD subchannels from KZIA. KZIA-HD2 and two of the translators carry a broad Classic Rock format called "Rob FM," named for Norton and harkening back to the music played on KRNA/93.9 (Iowa City) when Norton and Eliot Keller founded it in the 1970's. Services had not been announced as of Tuesday evening. (1/30/2018)
A second effort to establish a station on 107.7 in the Omaha market has apparently ended with the station returning to southeastern Nebraska. Last month, the FCC granted a license to cover for the Educational Media Foundation's KIMI/107.9 (Humboldt, NE). Previous owner Kona Coast Radio had attempted to move KIMI into the Omaha market, transmitting on 107.7 from a tower near Tabor, IA. However, complaints of interference to airplane navigation communications on an adjacent frequency at Offutt Air Force Base prevented KIMI's license from ever being granted. The station had special temporary authority to operate at reduced power from the Tabor site for several years. EMF has not applied for any new KIMI facility since the license to cover the Humboldt facility was granted on Dec. 28. Longtime readers will recall that before KIMI, Connoisseur Media attempted to activate KGGG/107.7 (Pacific Junction-Omaha) in the mid-2000's but was refunded its $4,397,250 FCC auction bid after similar complaints from Offutt. (KIMI and KGGG are not related to a translator that previously transmitted on 107.7 in Omaha.) (1/29/2018)
Several unrelated DTV subchannel announcements and updates:
Rochester/Austin/Mason City: Tribune Broadcasting announced that Heartland Media's KIMT (Mason City-Austin-Rochester) will add Antenna TV. A post on the network's Facebook page said the addition will come in about 90 days, but Antenna TV's channel number on KIMT was not announced. KIMT currently carries CBS on 3.1, MyNetworkTV and syndicated programming on 3.2, and ION on 3.3.
Ottumwa: As previously reported, American Spirit Media's KYOU-TV added NBC on channel 15.2 on Jan. 24. Grit moved to 15.3 and Escape moved to 15.4, which is an update from KYOU's initial Facebook statement saying that Escape would be dropped. The new NBC channel does not carry local newscasts, instead filling traditional evening news timeslots with syndicated news/entertainment magazine shows. (1/28/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED
The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:
The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/27/2018)
A southern Iowa station owner is appealing the FCC's decision to revoke his license.
In December, the FCC's Audio Division sent Justin McLuckie a letter informing him that his license for KMYQ/97.1 (North English) was considered expired because McLuckie had allegedly failed to prove that KMYQ was on the air between 2013 and 2016. The FCC's inquiry stemmed from an effort to return KMYQ to the air in late September and to sell it to a company related to the Oskaloosa radio stations.
Now, McLuckie's counsel has filed a petition for reconsideration alleging that the FCC did not give McLuckie due process or adequate time to present evidence.
The petition includes a declaration from an engineer saying that he had been providing services for KMYQ for about four years and though the station did have periods of silence, it was never off the air for more than one year during his involvement. It also contains an affadavit from the owner of a grain elevator saying that, "to the best of my knowledge and belief, KMYQ-FM commenced broadcasting from my facility in April of 2013 and did so until the equipment was removed several years later."
The petition also includes copies of numerous receipts resulting from the 2017 work to return the station to the air, including $25,000 for a tower, $5,557.93 for an antenna, and $29.94 for two dozen tacos to feed the construction crew.
McLuckie's counsel also filed a motion for stay requesting that the license revocation be put on hold while the petition is considered. (1/22/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED
The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window (Iowa):
Elkader, IA: KADR/1400, K244FQ/96.7, 250W
Grundy Center, IA: KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown), K224FM/92.7, 250W
Independence, IA: KQMG/1220, K241CX/96.1, 250W
The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/20/2018)
For the first time in television history, Ottumwa will finally have a full set of network affiliates with the launch of the market's first primary NBC channel. American Spirit Media's KYOU-TV has announced that it will begin carrying NBC on channel 15.2 sometime around Jan. 24, just in time for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. NBC will be carried in HD, joining FOX on channel 15.1 (KYOU has been a FOX affiliate since its 1986 sign-on). Grit will move from 15.2 to 15.3 and Escape, currently on 15.3, will be dropped, according to the station's replies to comments on its Facebook page. KYOU will continue to carry a 9 p.m. newscast on its FOX channel and there was no mention of any local newscasts being carried on the NBC channel.
NBC has never had a primary affiliate in the Ottumwa-Kirksville area. KTVO/3 (Kirksville), which is the only other station in the market, had a secondary NBC affiliation in its first few decades on the air but dropped it in the 1970's. (It's now owned by Sinclair and carries ABC on 3.1 and CBS on 3.2.) Other NBC affiliates are too far away to be received over the air in Ottumwa, though NBC affiliate WHO-TV (Des Moines) was carried on the Ottumwa Area Translator System until the system left the air more than four years ago. Cable and satellite systems in the market carry either the Des Moines or Kansas City NBC affiliates; there was no initial mention of cable and satellite availability of KYOU's new NBC channel, though KYOU-DT2 is currently seen on Mediacom channel 103 in Ottumwa. (1/14/2018)
NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED
The FCC has begun granting applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window. It appears tiny KTGO/1090 (Tioga, ND) was the first station in the nation to be granted an FM translator under this round -- a construction permit for K224FJ/92.7 (Tioga) was granted on Dec. 29. It appears no other applications from the window were approved until the new year.
Here are the Iowa applications that had been granted as of Thursday, Jan. 4:
Cherokee, IA: KCHE/1440, K234CX/94.7, 250W
Indianola, IA: KNIA/1320 (Knoxville), K232FR/94.3, 220W
Webster City, IA: KZWC/1570, K268DH/101.5, 250W
The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/2/2018)