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NEWS


Coggon/Cedar Rapids:
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)
Keokuk:
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)

Des Moines:
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)


Des Moines:
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)


Carroll:
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)


Oskaloosa:
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)


Marshalltown:
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 APPLICATIONS:
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 (2/5-3/23):
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)


Omaha/Council Bluffs

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)

Marshalltown:
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 DIVESTITURE:
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)


NEW FM TRANSLATORS GRANTED (1/29-2/2):
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)


Cedar Rapids/Iowa City:
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)


IOWA/MINNESOTA:
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 (1/22-1/26):
    The FCC has granted the following applications for new FM translators filed under last year's AM revitalization window:

Sheldon, IA: KIWA/1550, K264CW/100.7, 250W

Rochester, MN: KROC/1340, K245CX/96.9, 250W

 The full list of applications is posted on the 2017 AM Revitalization Translator Applications page. (1/27/2018)


North English:
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 (1/16-1/19):
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)


Ottumwa:
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 (12/29-1/4):
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)


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