Townsquare Media’s “B100” (KBEA-FM/99.7 Muscatine-Quad Cities) tells the FCC it’s operating at greatly reduced power after a lightning strike. A post on the station’s website says the strike happened Nov. 12. In a request for special temporary authority, KBEA says it’s operating at 815 Watts ERP, far short of the usual 100,000 Watts (class C1). With its 265m antenna height, the 815-Watt signal roughly approximates the coverage area of a class A station, enough to rimshot Davenport from KBEA’s tower site north of Muscatine. The filing says replacement parts have been ordered. (12/24/2015)
FM TRANSLATOR AUCTION:
When you hear about an auction for new licenses, it’s usually an FCC auction — but FM translator speculator First Ventures Capital Partners is holding an auction of its own for 30 translators, including several in the Upper Midwest. Nine are already listed as sold before the auction at fmtranslatorauction.com even begins. Regionally, those still up for auction are licensed to Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, IA, Galena, IL, and Black River Falls and Neillsville, WI. First Ventures notes that the FCC is going to allow translators to move up to 250 miles in a filing window next year, putting Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and other cities potentially within reach — assuming there is an open frequency. First Ventures’ auction will begin Dec. 2 and run for one week. (12/1/2015)
The following stations made the Christmas switch on Thanksgiving and Black Friday:
KKMI/93.5 Burlington; KIYX/106.1 “Super Hits 106” Sageville/Dubuque; KXFT/99.7 “Sunny 99.7” Manson/Fort Dodge;
KRIB/1490 Mason City; and KCVM/93.5 “Mix 93.5” Hudson/Cedar Falls/Waterloo. (12/02/2015)
Ames/Des Moines & Cedar Rapids
KMYR/104.1 Ames/Des Moines and KDAT/104.5 Cedar Rapids flipped to Christmas. Other Upper Midwest atations are planning Black Friday flips. (11/20/2015)
KIMT (Mason City-Austin-Rochester) is the latest Media General station to add Ion Television on a subchannel. Ion is now airing on channel 3.3, replacing weather programming. KIMT is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries My Network TV and syndicated programming on 3.2. (11/19/2015)
The “K-Love” Christian Adult Contemporary network is poised to come to Eau Claire and Ottumwa as part of an eight-station sale. Educational Media Foundation, the parent of “K-Love,” is buying one full-power station in Kansas and seven translators around the country from Family Stations for $315,000. The deal includes current Family Radio translators W206AH/89.1 (Eau Claire) and K205CA/88.9 (Ottumwa). The application to transfer the licenses says both W206AH and K205CA will relay “K-Love” flagship KLOV/89.3 (Winchester, OR). (11/18/2015)
Here’s a belated rundown of some of the changes to local TV news schedules this fall:
Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 added a 6:30 p.m. newscast, competing with the established local newscast in that timeslot on ABC affiliate KSTP-TV/5. KARE’s new newscast displaced Entertainment Tonight from its longtime slot; ET moved earlier to 4:30, moving Jeopardy! back to a double-run in the 3:00 hour.
Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV/4 dropped its 3 p.m. newscast.
Winnipeg CBC station CBWT/6 dropped local news from the 5 p.m. hour and is now running an hour of news at 6 p.m. as part of a previously-reported national change. No other station in Manitoba carries local news at 5 p.m., which is a standard news time south of the border. CBWT’s only other local newscast is a 10-minute update at 11 p.m.
Madison CBS affiliate WISC-TV/3 added an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast, competing with NBC affiliate WMTV/15’s half-hour 4 p.m. newscast.
Quad Cities CBS affiliate WHBF/4 (Rock Island) added a half-hour 4 p.m. newscast, competing with NBC affiliate KWQC/6 in the time slot.
Duluth’s FOX 21 (KQDS-TV) extended its morning newscast to two hours from 7 to 9 a.m. The newscast had most recently aired from 6:30 to 8 a.m. The station also extended its Sunday 9 p.m. newscast to an hour and moved its main anchors to a Sunday to Thursday schedule. (11/5/2015)
Sioux City & Clinton:
iHeartMedia brought Christmas to two Iowa cities on Wednesday (11/4) with all-Christmas formats debuting on “Mix 96” (KMXG/96.1 Clinton-Quad Cities) and “KG95” (KGLI/95.5 Sioux City). The flips are one day earlier than last year for KMXG and three days earlier for KGLI. (11/4/2015)
Scripps’ KMTV (Omaha) has added Laff on channel 3.3, which is a new channel for the station. Laff carries comedy movies and sitcoms from the 1990’s. KMTV is a primary CBS affiliate and also carries Antenna TV on 3.2. (10/29/2015)
Sci-Fi subchannel network Comet TV is set to launch on Oct. 31 with at least eight affiliates in the Upper Midwest, all of them owned by network partner Sinclair Broadcast Group. Comet TV’s initial lineup includes cult classics “Outer Limits” and “Stargate SG-1” but also six hours per day of paid programming. The network’s website is listing affiliates including WCGV/24.2 (Milwaukee), WCWF/14.2 (Suring-Green Bay), WMSN/47.2 (Madison), KGAN/2.3 (Cedar Rapids), KTVO/3.3 (Kirksville-Ottumwa), KDSM/17.2 (Des Moines), KMEG/14.3 (Sioux City), and KPTM/42.3 (Omaha). It appears Comet will displace getTV in Des Moines and Madison and Estrella TV in Omaha, unless they’re moving to new channels. (10/29/2015)
Media General’s KWQC-TV (Davenport) says it’ll begin carrying Ion TV on channel 6.2 on Nov. 1, displacing a local weather channel. The station is a primary NBC affiliate and also carries Cozi TV on channel 6.3. KWQC appears to be only the second station nationwide to carry Ion on a subchannel, and one of only a few Ion affiliates that isn’t owned and operated by the network. Ion carries reruns of recent network shows. (10/29/2015)
Edgewater Broadcasting is selling the construction permit for new translator K248CE/97.5 (Davenport) to Benjamin Shafer for $40,000. The CP calls for 41 Watts from central Davenport. Shafer, who has an address in St. Louis, is currently listed as an intern at a public radio station in Springfield, IL. (10/26/2015)
FCC’S AM REVITALIZATION: FINISHING THE EXPANDED BAND MOVE
As part of its AM revitalization plan, the FCC has set its sights on 25 stations that had been expected to sign off years ago, including three in the Upper Midwest: KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo), KZOT/1180 (Bellevue-Omaha), and WLMV/1480 (Madison).
The stations were among those granted permits to move to the expanded band (1620-1700) during the 1990’s, with the plan that the old frequency would sign off after five years. Stations were chosen to move to the expanded band based on the amount of interference that would be reduced by their old frequency leaving the air. Stations in Des Moines, Iowa City, West Fargo, and Sussex-Milwaukee were among those which surrendered their old licenses as planned, but the 25 remaining stations never voluntarily signed off.
The notice of proposed rulemaking calls for a one-year deadline, to begin at a future date, for the 25 remaining licensees to surrender either their original frequency or their expanded band station. (The expanded band counterparts of the stations listed above are KDNZ/1650 Cedar Falls, KOZN/1620 Bellevue, and WOZN/1670 Madison.)
The FCC is also asking for comments on whether there is enough room in the expanded band to add more stations without creating too much interference, and who should be allowed to apply for new stations in the expanded band. (10/23/2015)
FCC’S AM REVITALIZATION PLAN: MORE FM TRANSLATOR OPPORTUNITIES
The FCC’s AM revitalization plan includes an order that creates two new opportunities for AM stations to get FM translators:
First, a filing window in 2016 will give AM stations a chance to move an existing FM translator up to 250 miles to serve as an AM-on-FM translator. Currently, such moves can be achieved with a waiver (which is limited to a shorter distance) or a lengthy chain-link “hop” consisting of a series of temporary facilities. Only class C and D stations, which are generally less powerful, will be allowed to apply for moves in the first six months, with class A and B stations joining the party for a subsequent three-month window.
Then, there will be a filing window in 2017 for new FM translator licenses, limited to AM stations that didn’t get one in the 2016 window. Class C and D stations will again get first crack.
However, these windows may not be of much benefit to AM stations in major markets, where there does not appear to be room for any more FM translators with significant coverage. (10/23/2015)
FCC’S AM REVITALIZATION: STATION UPGRADES AND TRANSMITTER SITING
The FCC’s AM revitalization plan includes several orders intended to help AM stations upgrade, find better transmission sites, or reduce operating costs by:
-Eliminating the “ratchet rule” that prevents facility changes for most stations unless they can show the change will reduce skywave interference. Northern Minnesota broadcaster Edward De La Hunt was one of only two commenters to support keeping the ratchet rule, arguing that it protects stations from receiving new interference from other stations, but the FCC found this was a “disproven rationale.” The FCC agreed with most commenters that the benefit of upgrading a signal was greater than the cost of interference from another station that upgraded.
-Loosening requirements for a strong signal to communities of license, dropping the required daytime 5 mv/m coverage from 80 percent to 50 percent of the community, and imposing a similar 50 percent standard at night for new or modified facilities. The stated intention of the change is to allow stations greater flexibility to find tower sites and continue to serve communities that are getting physically larger. However, the move could also potentially allow some suburban or exurban stations to move their transmitters closer to larger nearby cities.
-Allowing stations to use a technology called Modulation Dependent Carrier Level, which allows newer transmitters to briefly reduce power during quiet intervals, saving money on the electric bill.
-Reducing the minimum efficiency standard for AM towers by 25 percent in an attempt to allow transmitters to be placed at more compact sites.
The plan also includes notice of proposed rulemaking on several issues, including:
-Dropping all “critical hours” protection for class A stations, which are the large 50kW blowtorches formerly known as “clear channel” stations. Critical hours are the hours after sunrise and before sunset, and about 200 stations are currently required to drop power and/or use a more restrictive antenna pattern during critical hours to avoid interference to class A stations. The requirement is particularly troublesome for stations since critical hours occur during drive time most of the year. The FCC is seeking data to show whether class A stations would really lose any listeners if critical hours protections are dropped.
-Reducing daytime contour protections for class B, C, and D stations, potentially allowing more stations to upgrade in an effort to overcome static and other manmade interference. (10/23/2015)
Mason City/Clear Lake
Bruce Wasenius Out After 36 Years At KLKK (103.7 The Fox)/Mason City, IA October 21, 2015 at 4:35 AM (PT) 2 Comments Bruce Wasenius COLOFF MEDIA Classic Rock KLKK (103.7 THE FOX)/MASON CITY, IA and night host BRUCE WASENIUS have parted ways. NORTHIOWATODAY.COM reports the long-time jock and management had a falling out over WASENIUS’ wandering from the format and playlists. “I am no longer employed by the station I helped put on the air in 1978,” WASENIUS told NIT. He said, “Creative differences between management and myself is what it’s about.” “My opinion is based on 37 years of feedback from listeners as to what they want to hear and (management) does’t agree. I spend too much time acknowledging my listeners, play music that is unacceptable and don’t follow guidelines. In a nutshell that’s it,” he explained. 10/21/2015
MAXIMUM BIDS FOR TV SPECTRUM AUCTION REVEALED:
The TV industry is taking in the details of an upcoming FCC auction that could cause major change to the broadcast TV landscape nationwide, with potential that some broadcast owners could get tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to move to inferior channels, share spectrum with another station, or take their stations off the air for good.
The FCC on Friday released the opening bids for each TV station the upcoming spectrum auction, revealing for the first time the maximum amount TV broadcasters might receive. Since it’ll be a reverse auction, prices will likely go down from the opening bid. The full list came out a day after the FCC released details of the auction, which has the ultimate goal of repacking the TV band to eliminate about 20 UHF TV channels that can then be sold to wireless providers.
Stations that reach larger populations and broadcast on UHF generally have higher opening bid prices. The highest opening bids in the Upper Midwest, topping $200 million, are for large UHF stations in the Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis markets. In contrast, some stations in very rural areas and those with small coverage areas are listed as “not needed” to be relinquished for the repacking to work. These include many stations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and rural Minnesota.
There are four options: Go off the air completely, move to a VHF Low channel (2-6), move to a VHF High (7-13) channel, or share a channel with another station. (Readers should remember that many stations currently transmit on a UHF channel but remap to their former VHF channel number on DTV receivers.) Stations will have to tell the FCC during a December 1 to 18 filing window whether they are interested in participating, with the auction itself being held as soon as next spring.
TV NewsCheck reported earlier this year that Tribune, Univision, Ion, and Fox have stated their intention to sell some spectrum.
There’s no way around the fact that the spectrum auction will lead to reduced broadcast TV service in several ways:
-Fewer news voices if TV stations with news departments shut down.
-The loss of programming when stations go off the air completely or have to drop multicast channels as part of a channel-sharing arrangement.
-Reduced picture quality for some networks because of channel-sharing arrangements.
-Signals that are more difficult to receive because VHF channels, especially VHF Low, are difficult to receive with indoor antennas and more suspectible to interference.
The auction will, of course, also mean job losses at stations that shut down completely. (10/19/2015)
KPVL/89.1 (Postville) went silent at the end of September and may never return, at least not as it had previously operated. The station had signed on in 2002 with the goal of building community in the small northeastern Iowa town, which had drawn national media coverage for tensions between longtime residents and immigrants who work at the town’s meatpacking plant. However, longterm funding proved elusive. The station cites funding problems as the reason for going silent on its website but didn’t mention financing in its official notification to the FCC, instead saying that the City of Postville had asked the station to remove its antenna from the water tower. KPVL had launched a studio to Decorah a few years ago but cited the poor signal to Decorah, which is outside of its 3kW signal’s main coverage area, as part of its problem in attracting listeners. (10/15/2015)
The Des Moines Register and WHO-DT report that KBGG/1700 (Des Moines) plans to modify its format on Monday (10/12), picking up some of the Talk programming left homeless when sister Cumulus Media station KWQW/98.3 (Boone-Des Moines) flipped to Classic Hip-Hop as “The Vibe.” “1700 The Champ” will become “Big 1700,” carrying News/Talk programming from Midnight to Noon weekdays and Sports at other times. The current local morning show, hosted by Jim Brinson and Trent Condon, will move into the 12 to 3 p.m. slot, followed by the existing local afternoon show hosted by Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller from 3 to 6. CBS Sports Radio will continue in evenings and on weekends. The News/Talk lineup was not reported. (10/8/2015)
Cumulus Media has brought Classic Hip-Hop to Des Moines, replacing the longtime News/Talk format on KWQW/98.3 (Boone-Des Moines) with “The Vibe.” Like Minneapolis, where Cumulus also recently launched “Vibe,” Des Moines has no current Hip-Hop outlet; the city didn’t even have a Top 40 station for most of the 1990’s, meaning this is the first time many songs on the “Vibe” playlist have run on commercial radio in central Iowa. 98.3 had launched its Talk format as “Wow FM” in 2003 and changed its name to “The Torch” last year. Its departure leaves iHeartMedia blowtorch WHO/1040 (Des Moines) as the only secular News/Talker in the capital city. (10/5/2015)
Saga Communications’ third HD2-fed FM translator station in Des Moines is also the capital city’s fourth Country outlet. “93.7 The Outlaw” launched Thursday (9/24) on translator K229CC/93.7 (Des Moines), which recently moved in from Winterset and originates on the HD2 signal of KSTZ/102.5 (Des Moines). Saga also operates two other HD2/translator combos in addition to its four full-power FM stations and two AM stations. “The Outlaw” competes with Cumulus’ “97.3 Nash FM” (KHKI Des Moines) and “92.5 Nash Icon” (KJJY West Des Moines), along with iHeartMedia’s five-month-old “96.5 Country” simulcast of K243CA/96.5 (Millman-Des Moines) and the HD2 signal of KDRB/100.3 (Des Moines). (9/24/2015)
Iowa City/Cedar Rapids:
KZIA, Inc. is buying a second FM translator in the Iowa City area. It’s buying K253BE/98.5 (Iowa City) from Edgewater Broadcasting, which has a construction permit to build K253BE with 170 Watts from a tower north of Iowa City. KZIA, Inc. also owns K292FZ/106.3 (Iowa City), which relays the KGYM Sports Radio format from the HD3 signal of KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids). The format is also heard on KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids) and K298BM/107.5 (Cedar Rapids), the latter of which is fed by KZIA-HD4 — the separate HD feeds allow the stations to carry different play-by-play. (9/20/2015)
The Des Moines Register reports that Saga Broadcasting’s KRNT/1350 (Des Moines) will switch to ESPN Radio on Thursday. The station’s longtime Soft Oldies format will move to translator K283CC/104.5 (Des Moines), which previously relayed Saga’s KPSZ/940 (Des Moines). It’s not immediately clear where K283CC’s format will originate, but it could be on an HD2 channel of one of Saga’s FM stations in the market. As a Sports station, KRNT will compete directly with Clear Channel FOX Sports Radio affiliate KXNO/1460 (Des Moines) and Cumulus CBS Sports Radio affiliate KBGG/1700 (Des Moines). KBGG had carried ESPN up until 2013; rimshot signal KXLQ/1490 (Indianola) had then begun carrying ESPN but is no longer listed as an affiliate on the network’s website. (9/9/2015)
Iowa’s last locally-owned commercial TV station is getting out-of-state owners as Gray TV buys KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) for $100 million. The sellers retain The Gazette newspaper, which will continue a news partnership with KCRG.
Gray has already closed on its purchase of most of KCRG’s non-license assets and is operating the station while it awaits FCC approval of the license transfer. KCRG is Gray’s first station in Iowa; the company has been on a buying spree in recent years and now owns stations in all of the markets in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, as well as stations in three of Wisconsin’s five markets.
KCRG had been locally-owned since it signed on in 1953, but it’s become increasingly difficult for standalone TV stations to operate in an industry where group ownership has become the standard. In a press release, Gazette President and CEO Chuck Peters said, “We realized that we have done all we can do as a single television station with the business and for the people of KCRG TV9.”
Gazette sold the former KCRG radio, now KGYM/1600, to KZIA, Inc. about a decade ago.
KCRG is a primary ABC affiliate and also carries syndicated programming and AntennaTV on its subchannels. It is the top-rated station in the mid-sized market, which also includes Waterloo, Iowa City, and Dubuque, and competes with a Quincy NBC affiliate and a Sinclair CBS/FOX virtual duopoly. (9/1/2015)
iHeartMedia has debuted an Alternative format on its first HD2/translator combo in the Quad Cities. “Alt 104.5” launched on Friday afternoon on K283BV/104.5 (Davenport) and the HD2 signal of WLLR/103.7 (Davenport). The 250-Watt translator signal is enough to reach most of the population of the Quad Cities. (8/21/2015)
KMEG/14.2 (Sioux City) is now carrying Decades, replacing Grit TV, which moved to KPTH/44.3 (Sioux City). Both channels had earlier carried Azteca America. KMEG and KPTH are operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group and carry CBS and FOX on their primary channels, along with a mix of This TV and MyNetworkTV on 44.2. (8/12/2015)
ALPHA MEDIA BUYS DIGITY:
Alpha Media announced Tuesday that its buying 116 radio stations in 26 markets from Digity, LLC, including more than 50 stations in the Upper Midwest. The purchase price was not mentioned in the press release but may be revealed when the sale is filed with the FCC for approval. Digity’s local markets include former Three Eagles, GoodRadio.TV, and NextMedia groups in Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell/Newton, and Mason City, Iowa; Albert Lea/Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls, Minnesota; Columbus and Lincoln, Nebraska; Brookings, Madison, and Watertown, South Dakota; and Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Complete listings of the Digity stations are available in the radio market and radio station listings under “regional resources.”) Alpha will own 251 stations in 47 markets once the deal is complete, making it one of the largest radio group owners by number of stations. (8/4/2015)
The FCC has reinstated the license of translator K238AN/95.5 (Ames) after granting the station’s petition for reconsideration. The license had been deleted earlier this year after a mitake on a 2012 license renewal application that said K238AN was off the air. Owner Fourthstream Media says the station was never actually off the air when it was licensed. The translator had previously relayed Contemporary Christian “Pulse 99.5” (KPUL-FM Winterset-Des Moines); a notice posted its website indicates K238AN is off the air because of “technical and filing issues” following KPUL-FM’s move to 101.7 earlier this year. (8/4/2015)
NEW LOW-POWER FM’S ON THE AIR:
- Carroll, IA: KFIM-LP/102.1, owned by Carroll Impact Educational Association and carrying Christian programming as “Real 102.1”
DTV America is picking up a handful of low-power TV stations in the Upper Midwest from Three Angels Broadcasting Network as part of an 32-station, $3 million deal. The regional stations included are K20KF-D Davenport; W39DD-D Dodge Center, MN; K48NP-D Duluth; K25NK-D Rochester; K26JQ-D Lincoln; K25MM-D Omaha; and W30BU Green Bay. The Dodge Center and Duluth stations are not yet on the air, and the Green Bay station has not yet been converted to digital. DTV America operates the Minneapolis Telemundo affiliate and hold dozens of CP’s for new LPTV stations in the Upper Midwest. (8/3/2015)
The FCC recently granted construction permits for several new FM stations in Iowa:
Asbury/Dubuque: Canton (Illinois) Seventh-Day Adventist Church received a CP for a new non-commercial station on 98.7 in Asbury after being tentatively selected earlier this year. The new class A station will use 3.5kW/133m from southeast of Dubuque. Three other groups had also applied for the frequency, but the FCC said they all failed to meet a requirement that the frequency provide the first or second non-commercial service to at least 10 percent of the population in its coverage area. The permittee operates an existing station near Peoria.
Des Moines: The University of Northwestern-St. Paul received a CP for a translator on 100.7. K264BD will transmit from the KCCI-TV building in downtown Des Moines with 99 Watts. It will rebroadcast the Contemporary Christian format of “Life 107.1” (KNWI Osceola), which is also relayed by KNWM/96.1 (Madrid).
Iowa City: Extend the Dream Foundation received a CP for a 100-Watt low-power FM station on 105.3. (8/1/2015)
Ownership of KCHE/1440 and KCHE-FM/92.1 (Cherokee) is transferring from father to son. After more than three years of operating the stations through a local marketing agreement, Simon Fuller’s Better Broadcasting Corp. is buying the stations from Jeff Fuller’s J&J Radio Corp. for $1.35 million. Jeff Fuller is also the majority owner of Five Star Communications, which owns two stations in Vermillion, SD. (7/31/2015)
Mason City(Rochester/Austin, MN)
South Dakota & SW Minnesota
Media General stations returned to Mediacom cable systems late Wednesday night (7/29) after a retransmission consent dispute that lasted 15 days. The stations affected the most were NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport) and CBS affiliate KIMT/3 (Mason City), which are in areas where Mediacom is the core city cable provider. CBS affiliate KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) was also affected with cable outages in the Brookings area and southwestern Minnesota, though Sioux Falls itself is served by a different provider. The stations’ subchannels were also affected. (7/30/2015)
iHeartMedia’s “Y95-7” (KOSY Anamosa-Cedar Rapids) has completed an upgrade improving coverage of Cedar Rapids. The station previously used 6kW/100m (class A) from a site west of Anamosa and is now using 18kW/118m (C3) from the longtime WMT/600 tower site north of Marion. A directional antenna is used to limit interference to KZAT/95.5 (Belle Plaine). “Y95-7” is in a three way Contemporary Hits competition with locally-owned KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids) and Townsquare Media’s “i107-1” (KRQN Vinton-Cedar Rapids), not to mention additional CHR outlets from the Quad Cities and Waterloo that can also be heard in Cedar Rapids. (7/27/2015)
The operator of Family Radio is selling one FM station and one FM translator in Iowa to the operator of the “K-Love” and “Air-1” networks. The Educational Media Foundation will pay Family Stations $553,750 for two stations and four translators in three states, including KIFR/89.5 (Fort Dodge) and K208FV/89.5 (Ames). A main studio waiver request says KIFR will carry “K-Love.” (7/24/2015)
FCC CRACKDOWN ON SILENT RADIO STATIONS:
The FCC’s Audio Division has begun an apparent crackdown on the practice of new radio stations going silent immediately after their license is granted.
As first reported by the CommLawBlog, radio licenses issued since July 2 contain this condition: “Grant of this license application is conditioned on continuous operations of the licensed facility for the twelve-month period following grant. Failure to do so will result in the rescission of this grant, dismissal of the license application and the forfeiture of the associated construction permit pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 73.3598(c) unless licensee rebuts presumption that authorized facilities were temporarily constructed.”
The condition has appeared on full-power radio station licenses, both commercial and non-commercial, but not on FM translator, low-power FM, or low-power TV licenses. There have not been any full-power TV licenses issued since last year, so it’s not clear if the condition might apply to TV.
The condition means a station can’t apply for special temporary authority to remain silent within one year of the license being granted, unless it can prove the facilities were intended to be on the air permanently. For the past decade or so, it has been a regular occurrence for new stations to apply for a license to cover and then immediately apply for authority to remain silent once the license is granted. The move gave station owners more than the three years specified in construction permit deadlines to get the new station on the air.
In one extreme case, Radioactive LLC had two FM stations in rural Iowa which were licensed for seven years but were never on the air for more than one day per year during that time, according to the stations’ filings with the FCC. Earlier this year, Radioactive surrendered the licenses, saying they did not return to the air for the February 2015 broadcasts required to keep the licenses. Federal law automatically cancels licenses when stations are silent for one year.
The FCC has not made a formal announcement of this new condition. (7/23/2015)
Perry again has a voice on the FM dial now that M&M Broadcasting has signed on K259AT/99.7, relaying the Oldies/Classic Hits format of KDLS/1310 (Perry). The translator broadcasts with 250 Watts from KDLS’ tower site east of Perry and was moved in from Boone, where it remains licensed. KDLS’ former FM partner, KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry), was sold to another group and moved into the Des Moines market seven years ago. (7/21/2015)
FOX 15 (KYOU-TV Ottumwa) is apparently planning to add a newscast in the near future, with job postings for a news reporter/anchor and executive producer. The station did not respond to an inquiry seeking additional information. KYOU is owned by American Spirit Media and is one of only two stations in the small market, which also includes Kirksville, MO. Its competitor, Sinclair ABC/CBS affiliate KTVO/3.1 (Kirksville, MO), has a long-established news department. (7/15/2015)
Mason City(Rochester/Austin, MN)
South Dakota & SW Minnesota
A retransmission consent dispute has taken several Media General affiliates in the Upper Midwest off Mediacom cable systems. The stations affected the most are NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport) and CBS affiliate KIMT/3 (Mason City), which are in areas where Mediacom is the core city cable provider. CBS affiliate KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) is also affected with cable outages in the Brookings area and southwestern Minnesota, though Sioux Falls itself is served by a different provider. The outage began Wednesday afternoon (7/14) and also includes the stations’ subchannels. Both sides have pulled out the usual retransmission consent dispute arguments, blaming each other for the impasse. Mediacom has substituted national cable channels on the local channel positions. (7/15/2015)
Horizon Broadcasting is selling KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield) to Tri-Rivers Broadcasting for $190,000. The buyer owns KMEM/100.5 (Memphis, MO), and this deal restores a co-ownership of the two stations that had been in place from 2005 to 2009. KOJY currently carries a Southern Gospel format along with American Radio Missions Foundation’s KRNF/88.7 (Montezuma), which is being sold to VCY America. Both Horizon Broadcasting and American Radio Missions Foundation are headed by Doug Smiley of Pella. (7/13/2015)
Milwaukee-based Christian broadcaster VCY America is buying a station in rural central Iowa, its first in the state. The deal calls for VCY to pay American Radio Missions Foundation $251,100 for KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma), which signed on in 2009 and uses a 3.1kW/103m facility with coverage of Grinnell. KRNF at one time reportedly carried VCY programming in the overnight hours but currently simulcasts a Southern Gospel “God’s Country” format with Horizon Broadcasting’s KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield); KOJY is not included in the sale. (6/30/2015)
NRG Media launched its new AM-on-FM translator in Waterloo over the weekend with a “Party.” K297BS/107.3 (Waterloo) is now “107-3 The Party” with a Contemporary Hits format originating on KWLO/1330 (Waterloo), directly taking on established CHR outlet “Q92.3” (KKHQ Oelwein-Waterloo). KWLO, which is the second-oldest station in Waterloo, had previously carried ESPN Radio. K297BS uses 250 Watts from a tower on the southern edge of Waterloo. Besides KWLO, NRG owns two full-power FM’s and one AM in the market. (6/28/2015)
After years of regulatory battles, Truth Broadcasting’s KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) has moved its transmitter closer to Des Moines. The Christian Talk station is now broadcasting from a tower near Sheldahl and will eventually use 5.3kW/95m (class A), though an announcement on the station’s Facebook page Sunday night said it was not yet at full power. KTIA-FM is also changing its community of license to Huxley. The move gives KTIA-FM a strong signal to much of Des Moines, and the original application ran afoul of FCC rules intended to preserve rural radio service. The second application was first rejected, then approved. In order to make way for the move, Positive Impact Media Contemporary Christian outlet KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) moved to 101.7, in turn forcing Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) to move to 97.7. (6/22/2015)
Des Moines/Central Iowa:
iHeartMedia and Educational Media Foundation appear to be starting a partnership in the Des Moines market. iHeartMedia’s KKDM/107.5 (Des Moines) recently began carrying EMF’s “K-Love” Contemporary Christian network on its HD3 channel, a move that has preceded EMF-iHeart translator deals in other markets, including Minneapolis. iHeartMedia already owns and operates one HD2-fed translator in the market, “96.5 Country” (K243CA Millman-Des Moines). EMF has three construction permits for new translators in Des Moines, including two which said they would rebroadcast iHeartMedia stations on their applications. EMF also has one CP in Ames, and existing EMF “K-Love” translator K290AJ/105.9 (Gilbert-Ames) recently changed frequency to 106.5 with the new callsign K293CG. It had to downgrade from 250 to 37 Watts in the process, weakening its signal to Ames; such frequency changes sometimes mark the start of a series of facility changes. (6/20/2015)
KSIB/1520 and KSIB-FM/101.3 (Creston), which serve a rural area southwest of Des Moines, are being transferred between family members. David and Kathy Rieck are selling the stations to Chad and Amy Rieck for $1.4 million. Chad, who is David and Kathy’s son, has been the general manager since 2006. The FM station carries an information-heavy Country format, while the AM side carries a Sports format. (6/19/2015)
Nextar has made some changes to the DTV channel lineup in the Quad Cities. WHBF (Rock island), which carries CBS on 4.1, is now rebroadcasting CW affiliate KGCW/26.1 (Burlington) on 4.2. Channel 4.2 had been off the air since dropping the Live Well Network last year. The KGCW simulcast had previously seen on channel 18.2 of KLJB (Davenport), which is now owned by Marshall Broadcasting Group but operated by Nexstar. KLJB, a primary FOX affiliate, moved MeTV from 18.3 to 18.2, while KGCW continues to carry ThisTV on 26.2 but dropped a simulcast of MeTV on 26.3. KGCW’s signal to the Quad Cities is slightly weaker than the market’s other channels since it transmits from a site midway between the Quad Cities and Burlington. (6/3/2015)
Longtime KCCI/8 (Des Moines) anchor Kevin Cooney announced his retirement during Tuesday’s 6 p.m. newscast. Cooney started on the floor crew at KRNT-TV, now KCCI, in 1969 while he was in high school and has worked at the CBS affiliate for most of the time since then, except for a few years in California in the early 1980’s. His last newscast will be Nov. 24, and KCCI 5 p.m. anchor Steve Karlin will then add 6 and 10 p.m. duties. Mollie Cooney, who is Kevin’s wife, will continue to anchor KCCI’s Noon newscast. The Cooneys were given Silver Circle Awards at the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Gala in Minneapolis. (5/19/2015)
Townsquare Media is making another attempt to pull three Waterloo-market stations out of trust. It’s filed a petition for reconsideration of the FCC’s denial of a waiver, saying the Audio Division incorrectly interpreted the rules.
To recap the long story: KKHQ-FM/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo), KCRR/97.7 (Grundy Center-Waterloo), and KOEL-FM/98.5 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) were assigned to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market until 2012, when the market was dissolved. The stations were reassigned on paper to the nearby Cedar Rapids market, but continued to target Waterloo. When Townsquare wanted to buy the former Cumulus groups in the two cities, it placed the three Waterloo FM’s into the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust.
Though Nielsen Audio has now re-established the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market and re-assigned KKHQ-FM, KCRR, and KOEL-FM to that market, the FCC said in March that they can’t be sold back to Townsquare until May 2016 due to a rule that requires a two-year waiting period when market boundaries are changed. However, the Trust faces a Nov. 14, 2015 deadline to sell the stations under a two-year limit imposed by the FCC when it granted the assignment of the stations to the Trust.
Townsquare now argues that it meets the requirements for a waiver specified in a February court filing in a separate case. That filing suggested that the FCC would grant such waivers if a station’s “community of license is located within the Metro or such station has been considered home to that Metro for at least two years.” The stations had been considered home to the Waterloo market for more than a decade prior to 2012.
The petition asks the FCC to either grant the application to transfer the licenses, or at least return the application to pending status. (5/5/2015)
iHeartMedia has told the FCC it doesn’t plan to rebuild two towers at KWSL/1470 (Sioux City) damaged by a storm last year and is instead proposing to operate permanently at reduced power. Prior to the August 31 storm, KWSL had used 5kW with different day and night directional patterns from a four-tower array in Dakota City, NE. The storm destroyed two towers and damaged feedline on a third, and KWSL has been operating nondirectionally from the remaining tower under special temporary authority for 1.45kW day and 1.25kW night. It’s now proposing to continue using the one remaining tower with 2.3kW daytime and 69 Watts nighttime, nondirectional. The change would lower KWSL’s class from B to D since it would be operating with less than 250 Watts at night. KWSL carries a Regional Mexican format. (5/4/2015)
Rockford(Mason City)/Sac City
The FCC has cancelled the licenses of two Iowa radio stations that were apparently never on the air for more than seven days during the seven years they were licensed. Randy Michaels’ Radioactive, LLC had won KYME/92.9 (Rockford) and KEWS/104.7 (Sac City) in a 2005 auction with bids of $482,000 and $134,000, respectively. KYME had potential to serve Mason City if built to full power and KEWS could’ve reached Storm Lake or Carroll. The stations received their licenses in 2008 but filed repeated requests for special temporary authority to remain silent, each time stating that the stations had returned to the air for one broadcast day before going silent again due to “inadequate long-term staffing and programming resources.” The licensee’s attorney recently confirmed to the FCC that the stations had not been on the air since Feb. 4, 2014, meaning their licenses had expired due to a federal law that automatically cancels licenses when stations are silent for one year. (4/29/2015)
iHeartMedia has launched “96.5 Country” on K243CA/96.5 (Millman-Des Moines) and the HD2 signal of KDRB/100.3 (Des Moines), challenging Cumulus Media’s longtime Country duo of “Nash FM 97.3” (KHKI Des Moines) and “92.5 Nash Icon” (KJJY West Des Moines). “96.5 Country” is the first new Country station to launch in the Des Moines area since KHKI adopted the format in 1993. K243CA transmits with 102 Watts from a tower at the WHO-TV building, a few blocks from the iHeartMedia building in downtown Des Moines. The translator is licensed to Millman, which is apparently a forgotten place on the edge of the Des Moines International Airport in the Southwestern Hills neighborhood. (4/27/2015)
ANALOG LPTV DEADLINE DROPPED:
The FCC has dropped a Sept. 1 deadline for low-power TV and translator stations to convert to digital broadcasting. While full-power stations were required to go digital-only in 2009, LPTV/translator stations have been allowed to stay in analog — though many have switched to digital voluntarily. The FCC said Friday it is dropping the deadline because the impending spectrum auction could force some LPTV/translator stations to make more technical changes or leave the air completely. (Class A stations, which transmit with the same power levels as LPTV but get extra protections in exchange for compliance with many of the same rules as full-power stations, will still have to meet the Sept. 1 deadline.) FCC records indicate there are still about five dozen LPTV/translator stations broadcasting in analog in the Upper Midwest, including many translators carrying big-four networks in rural areas. There are also a few analog LPTV stations in core cities such as a MundoFOX affiliate in Milwaukee and an independent station in Sioux Falls. (4/24/2015)
DirecTV customers in ten Midwest markets unexpectedly lost one or more of their local network affiliates Tuesday due to a brief retransmission consent dispute with Quincy Newspapers. The outage began at midnight and ended in mid-afternoon when the two sides reached a new deal, according to posts on Quincy’s Facebook page. The brief outage affected ABC affiliates in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Wausau, NBC affiliates in Quincy, Rochester, Rockford, Sioux City, and Waterloo-Cedar Rapids, and FOX affiliates in Quincy, Rochester, and South Bend. Unlike most disputes of this nature, there was no saber-rattling in advance to warn viewers of the impending outage. An article on the Sioux City station’s website says even that station’s regional vice president was surprised. (4/21/2015)
ABC affiliate KCRG-DT/9 (Cedar Rapids) has returned to DirecTV following a retransmission consent dispute that lasted more than three months. Terms of the new agreement were not released. KCRG had previously said that DirecTV was demanding contract language that would’ve violated its agreements with ABC and other program providers regarding online streaming. (4/20/2015)
A four-station FM facility shift in the Des Moines area got underway Tuesday (4/14) as “Pulse” Contemporary Christian station KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) moved to 101.7. The move had to be delayed from the original April 7 date due to bad weather that prevented a crew from climbing a tower. Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) is off the air and is expected to resurface Wednesday on 97.7 as K249EJ. KPUL-FM’s move off 99.5 clears the way for Christian Talker KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone), owned by Truth Broadcasting, to move its transmitter to a tower near Sheldahl with 5.3kW/95m, improving its signal to Des Moines and changing its community of license to Huxley in the process. In a late addition to the shuffle, the FCC has approved a move of KFMG-LP/99.1 (Des Moines) to 98.9 to avoid interference from KTIA-FM. KFMG-LP is owned by the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation and carries an eclectic Adult Alternative format. (4/14/2015)
Wisconsin Public Radio’s news director, Michael Leland, is crossing the Mississippi River to take the same position at Iowa Public Radio. IPR announced Monday that Leland will start his new job on July 1. The news release quoted Leland as saying he looks forward to building on IPR’s current news coverage to be “the best news source it can be for Iowa.” IPR is a young network, having been formed a decade ago as a merger of public radio groups that had previously operated separately at the state’s three universities. (4/13/2015)
After one group stepped aside, the FCC has granted a new non-commercial FM station in eastern Iowa to a different group. Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based Catholic group, has received a construction permit for a new station on 88.7 licensed to Coggon, which will use 5kW/95m (class A). The new station will have a city-grade signal in the Manchester area and possible fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids. New Bohemia Group had originally been granted the frequency, but returned its CP earlier this year. (4/5/2015)
Tuesday, April 7, is the scheduled date for a frequency shift of two FM stations in Des Moines. Iowa Public Radio Classical translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) will move to 97.7 as K249EJ, remaining 250 Watts. Then, “Pulse” Contemporary Christian station KPUL-FM/99.5 (Winterset) will move to 101.7, retaining its 6kW/100m facility. The moves make way for Truth Broadcasting’s KTIA-FM/99.3 (Boone) to move its transmitter from Boone to a tower near Sheldahl with 5.3kW/95m, improving its signal to Des Moines and changing its community of license to Huxley in the process. KTIA-FM says it will make the move “shortly after” the IPR and KPUL moves. (3/31/2015)
Waterloo/Cedar Falls/Cedar Rapids
The FCC has nixed Townsquare Media’s proposal to pull three Waterloo-market radio stations out of trust, at least for now. Audio Division Chief Peter H. Doyle says Townsquare does not qualify for a waiver of a two-year waiting period required when a market’s boundaries change.
KKHQ/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo), KCRR/97.7 (Grundy Center-Waterloo), and KOEL-FM/98.5 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) were assigned to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market until 2012, when the market was dissolved due to a lack of Arbitron subscribers. The stations were reassigned, at least on paper, to the nearby Cedar Rapids market, creating a problem when Townsquare wanted to buy the former Cumulus groups in the two cities. The Waterloo FM’s were placed into the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust, headed by Allen Blum, while Townsquare asked Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) to re-establish the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market.
Though the three stations were reassigned back to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls market in early 2014, the FCC says they’ll have to remain in trust until at least early 2016.
It’s worth noting that the three stations are all licensed outside of the Cedar Rapids market, target their programming to Waterloo, and don’t deliver city-grade signals to Cedar Rapids (though KKHQ is listenable on car radios there). (3/27/2015)
Grand View University has returned the license for KGVC-LP/94.1 (Des Moines). The station had gone off the air last fall, saying in an FCC filing that the private university was experiencing “major budget problems.” KGVC-LP had shared 94.1 with Drake University’s KDRA-LP, which can now use the frequency full-time. Grand View still has a radio outlet, since its students provide evening and weekend programming on Des Moines Public Schools’ KDPS/88.1. (3/24/2015)
Low-power FM station KCRD-LP/98.3 (Dubuque) is on the air carrying Catholic programming. A report from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque states that KCRD-LP signed on Feb. 24 and is carrying Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio, with plans for some local programming in the future. The 98-Watt station is licensed to St. Columbkille Church and operated by Aquinas Communications. (3/12/2015)
The FCC has tentatively selected Canton (Illinois) Seventh-Day Adventist Church for a new non-commercial station in the Dubuque area. The new class A station on 98.7 will be licensed to Asbury, and the tentative selectee proposes a 3.5kW/133m station transmitting from southeast of Dubuque. In reserving the frequency for non-commercial use, the FCC required that whatever station uses the frequency provide the first or second non-commercial service to at least 10 percent of the population in its coverage area. The FCC said three other applicants — Aquinas Communications, Family Life Broadcasting, and Grace Community Church of Amarillo — failed to meet the 10 percent threshold. The losing applicants have 30 days to submit petitions to deny the construction permit to Canton Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The tentative selectee operates an existing station near Peoria.
Meanwhile, in southeastern Iowa, the FCC recently granted a CP to Fairfield Youth Advocacy for a new non-commercial station on 102.1 licensed to Keosauqua. It’ll use 25kW/100m (class C3) from a tower between Keosauqua and Fairfield. The grant comes after St. Mary Radio dba Radio Apostolate for the Heartland withdrew its application for the frequency. St. Mary Radio recently signed on KHFR-LP/103.5 (Keosauqua). (3/10/2015)
The “Cruisin” Oldies format of KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo) is now being relayed on K286CI/105.1, which recently began transmitting from a tower near Hudson. The 250-Watt FM signal remains licensed to Waverly provides rimshot coverage of Waterloo. (3/10/2015)
The owner of KZOI/1250 (Dakota City, NE-Sioux City) is buying an FM translator to use for the `80s Hits station. Cup O’Dirt Communications, LLC will pay First Ventures Capital Partners $50,000 for K248AY/97.5 (Sioux City). K248AY is currently licensed for 17 Watts from a tower in northwestern Sioux City and has applied to upgrade to 145 Watts from that site, rebroadcasting KZOI. (3/9/2015)
Onetime plans for a new non-commercial radio station to serve Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia neighborhood have been dropped. New Bohemia Group has returned the construction permit for KNBO/88.7 (Coggon), saying, “NBG’s board has decided to direct time and resources elsewhere.” KNBO would’ve actually only had a fringe signal to the neighborhood, with its city-grade coverage area ending north of Cedar Rapids.
The move could open the way for Plus Charities, a Cedar Rapids-based Catholic group, to be granted a construction permit for a new station. Plus Charities also applied for 88.7 in 2007 but its application was dismissed due to a typo; the FCC decided to reinstate the application late last year. Plus Charities proposes a 5kW/95m (class A) station licensed to Coggon, providing a city-grade signal to the Manchester area and possible fringe coverage of Cedar Rapids. (3/4/2015)
Powell Broadcasting News/Talker KSCJ/1360 (Sioux City) has signed on FM translator K235CA/94.9 (Sioux City). The translator’s 250-Watt signal is enough to cover the immediate metro area. KSCJ’s lineup includes local programming from 6 to 11 a.m. and syndicated talkers including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. (2/25/2015)
Iowa State University, one of the parent groups of Iowa Public Radio, has surrendered the permit for a new station in the Sioux City area. KNSX/97.1 (Moville) had faced a Jan. 31 construction deadline and was to have used 5.2kW/109m, which would have provided a rimshot signal to eastern Sioux City. The FCC denied an upgrade for the would-be station in 2013 over a legal technicality of how the frequency was reserved for non-commercial use. IPR also once had a CP for KHGM/88.9 (Sioux City), which it sold to a group that didn’t get it on the air by the CP deadline. The network’s only coverage of far western Iowa is the fringe daytime signal of WOI/640 (Ames). Sioux City has one existing public radio station, Western Iowa Tech Community College’s KWIT/90.3. (2/18/2015)
Rochester/Austin, MINNESOTA & Mason City, IOWA:
NBC affiliate KTTC (Rochester) is promoting a March 1 launch for Heroes & Icons network on channel 10.3. The relatively new network from Weigel Broadcasting carries mostly classic westerns and crime dramas and has also found affiliates in Minneapolis, Des Moines, Milwaukee, and Wausau. KTTC also carries CW+ on channel 10.2. (2/16/2015)
In an unusual situation, the owner of now-deleted translator K238AN/95.5 (Ames) is asking the FCC to give back its license. The FCC sent K238AN licensee Fourthstream Media a letter in November indicating that the translator’s license would be deleted since records indicated it had been off the air since 2012. After the formal cancellation last month, Fourthstream filed a petition for reconsideration, stating that K238AN had never actually been off the air and the misinformation resulted from an error on a 2012 application. Fourthstream is also separately seeking special temporary authority to keep the translator on the air. K238AN was last known to rebroadcast the “Pulse 99.5” Christian Hits format of KPUL (Winterset-Des Moines). (2/11/2015)
NRG Media is buying an FM translator to relay ESPN Radio affiliate KWLO/1330 (Waterloo). NRG will pay E-String Wireless, Ltd. $50,635 for the construction permit for K295CF/106.9 (Waterloo). The current CP calls for 250 Watts from a tower just outside the eastern Waterloo city limits. (2/11/2015)
Council Bluffs/Omaha (NEBRASKA)
University of Nebraska Cornhuskers broadcasts in the Omaha market are moving from iHeartMedia’s KFAB/1110 to Journal Broadcasting’s KXSP/590 this summer, the team and distributor IMG announced Tuesday. KXSP, an ESPN affiliate, will carry Huskers football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and baseball games, in addition to the Monday-Friday “Sports Nightly” program. Journal’s “Z92” (KEZO/92.3) will simulcast football games, and “CD105.9” (KKCD) will carry any women’s basketball, volleyball, or baseball games that conflict with other games on KXSP. KXSP is currently an affiliate of the Iowa Hawkeyes network and it’s not immediately clear what will become of that deal. KFAB and KXSP have similar daytime coverage areas, but KFAB also enjoys extensive nighttime skywave service across the Upper Midwest. (2/10/2015)
The FCC has deleted the license of K238AN/95.5 (Ames), which at one time rebroadcast the “Pulse 99.5” Christian Hits format of KPUL (Winterset-Des Moines). A website set up for the translator indicated it would go off the air in 2012 unless fundraising goals were met, and FCC records indicate K238AN went off the air that year. (2/3/2015)
MINNESOTA:(Mason City, Iowa)
ABC affiliate KAAL/6.1 (Austin-Rochester) will air the last newscast from its longtime Austin home on Friday night, followed by a new era of newscasts from Rochester starting Saturday. The Hubbard Broadcasting station is moving its studio and main newsroom to TJ Maxx Plaza, 1300 16th St SW, in Rochester, but the station’s master control, office operations, and a news bureau will remain in Austin. The station is upgrading to HD with the move. It previously had a news bureau in Rochester, the largest city in the market created when 1950’s regulators cobbled together three small-town stations to form one set of network affiliates. NBC affiliate KTTC/10 and FOX affiliate KXLT/47 are located in Rochester, while CBS affiliate KIMT/3 is in Mason City, Iowa. Many Twin Cities stations are also available on cable in Rochester, further adding to the competition. (1/30/2015)
A belated note that WDLM/960 (East Moline-Quad Cities) switched to Spanish-language Christian programming from Radio Moody on Jan. 5. Sister station WDLM-FM/89.3 continues to carry English-language Christian programming from Moody Radio, which made a similar move with its AM station in Chicago three years ago. (1/26/2015)
FOX affiliate KYOU-TV/15 (Ottumwa) has added Grit on channel 15.2, with a slide saying sister subchannel network Escape is coming soon to 15.3. (1/20/2014)
Cedar Rapids/Waterloo/Iowa City
KWKB (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) has dropped channel 20.2 after the market’s Antenna TV affiliation moved to KCRG-DT/9.3 (Cedar Rapids). KWKB carries CW on its main channel. (1/20/2014)
<style=”color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);”> Cedar Rapids/Waterloo
A retransmission consent dispute has taken ABC affiliate KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) off DirecTV. The station says the original agreement expired Dec. 31, and the outage began on Thursday afternoon (1/15) after two extensions. (1/15/2015)
It turns out Sioux City will lose a channel due to the national end to Live Well Network. Former LWN affiliate KCAU writes on its Facebook page, “KCAU, at this current time, has no plans to put new programming on our 9.2 channel.” 9.2 had carried LWN prior to November, when it began a simulcast if competing NBC affiliate KTIV/4 due to KTIV’s transmission problems. The Nexstar station carries ABC on 9.1 and had carried weather programming on 9.2 prior to switching to LWN in 2012. (1/13/2015)
Council Bluffs/Omaha (UPDATED):
Gray TV NBC affiliate WOWT/6 (Omaha) has returned to Cox Cable after a retransmission consent dispute took the station off Cox for about four days. Cox is the major cable provider for Omaha, Council Bluffs, and suburban areas. The dispute also affected Gray stations in Topeka and Wichita. (1/7/2015, updated 1/12)
NBC affiliate KTIV/4 (Sioux City) says it’s back at full power after a November transmission line failure. KTIV had been transmitting from a temporary antenna at a lower spot on its tower while new transmission line was installed. KTIV’s main NBC channel has also been simulcast on channel 9.2 of competitor KCAU, which will end Monday. (9.2 had previously carried Live Well Network, which is leaving the air nationally — there’s no word yet what will appear next on 9.2.) KTIV also carries CW+ on 4.2 and MeTV on 4.3. (1/10/2015)
A retransmission consent dispute has taken Gray TV NBC affiliate WOWT/6 (Omaha) off Cox Cable. Cox is the major cable provider for Omaha, Council Bluffs, and suburban areas. The dispute also affects Gray stations in Topeka and Wichita. (1/7/2015)
DTV SUBCHANNEL CHANGES
<style=”text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;”> A number of stations added or switched subchannels around the start of the year, many as part of a deal for Sinclair Broadcast Group stations to add Grit TV. The following changes are noted via reception reports or listings:
- KFXA (Cedar Rapids) switched 28.2 from ZUUS Country to Grit TV.
- KDSM (Des Moines) switched 17.3 from ZUUS Country to Grit TV.
- KMEG (Sioux City) switched 14.2 from Azteca to Grit TV. Azteca had been the only spanish-language channel in the market.
- KMTV (Omaha) switched 3.2 from Live Well to Antenna TV.
- KXVO (Omaha) added 15.3 carrying Grit TV.