Cedar Rapids, IOWA:
Clear Channel has amped up its Country battle with Cumulus Media in Cedar Rapids, moving the “Kiss Country” format to the 100kW signal of WMT-FM/96.5. “Kiss Country” launched nearly four years ago on rimshot signal KKSY/95.7 (Anamosa-Cedar Rapids), taking on Cumulus’ heritage Country KHAK/98.1. The move to 96.5 ends WMT-FM’s decades-old run in the Adult Contemporary/Hot Adult Contemporary genre. 96.5 had run Christmas music this season and music logs at yes.com indicate it returned to its former “Mix 96.5” format on Dec. 26 and before switching to Country at 7 a.m. the next day. Business 380 Magazine reports that 95.7 will simulcast with 96.5 until launching a new, unannounced format next year. (12/27/2011)

Cedar Rapids, IOWA:

Clear Channel’s 95.7 “Kiss Country” (KKSY Anamosa-Cedar Rapids) has applied to move its transmitter five miles closer to Cedar Rapids. The move to a site near Springville could give the 6kW station a slightly better signal in Cedar Rapids, though it would remain significantly weaker than the city’s core stations.  (Here’s the current coverage area and the proposed coverage area. KKSY would reduce its antenna height above average terrain from 100m to 91m with the move. (12/20/2011)

 A format change may be underway in Omaha, where Clear Channel’s KTWI/93.3 (Bennington-Omaha) has dropped its “Twister” Country format for Christmas music as “Jingle 93.3.” Stations normally keep their regular identity when going all-Christmas unless they’re making a change after the holiday. Music logs at
yes.com indicate the switch from Contry to Christmas happened at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16. (12/17/2011)

 “1600 ESPN” (KGYM Cedar Rapids) has added an FM translator in Iowa City and another one near Cedar Rapids may be coming soon. Owner KZIA, Inc. moved translator K292FZ/106.3 (Mount Vernon) to Iowa City, where it now uses 175 Watts carrying KGYM programming via the HD3 signal of KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids). Iowa City gets a good signal from 1600 during the day but loses it at night when the station goes directional. Meanwhile, translator K246BE/97.1 (Williamsburg) has applied to change its community of license to Cedar Rapids and specifies KZIA as the station to be rebroadcast. The translator, owned by Extreme Grace Media, would keep its current transmitter site between East Amana and Walford under the new application, but would move to 96.9 and upgrade from 62 to 165 Watts. Cedar Rapids would remain well outside the translator’s main coverage area if the application is approved; translators are not required to provide city-grade service to their community of license. Extreme Grace Media is the former owner of KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids) but retained K246BE after selling KXGM and other translators to the Educational Media Foundation. (The translator is still officially K249EL in FCC records pending the license to cover the facility to be known as K246BE.) (12/15/2011)


New station KQLF/88.3 (Ottumwa) is on the air. “Lift FM,” owned by Spirit in Sound Broadcasting, is the first local Christian station in Ottumwa and carries contemporary praise and worship music and some teaching programs. The station uses 1.4kW/44m and has received listener reports from as far away as Oskaloosa and Centerville. Spirit in Sound bought the construction permit from the University of Northern Iowa for $3,750. (UNI and Iowa State University signed on two other stations in recent years carrying Iowa Public Radio.) (12/9/2011)


The FCC has denied an application to move an FM station into the Cedar Rapids market nearly five years after the application was filed. KM Communications’ KQMG-FM/95.3 (Independence) had applied to move to Solon on 95.1. The FCC said it dismissed the application because KM did not provide needed environmental impact paperwork. (12/7/2011)

Iowa Public Radio has signed on KICP/105.9 (Patterson-Des Moines) and KICL/96.3 (Pleasantville) carrying its Classical service. The stations were formerly operated commercially KZHZ and KZHC. Iowa State University, one of the three universities which makes up the network, bought the stations from Connoisseur Communications for $1.75 million. IPR has not yet put out a news release about the Classical sign-on or updated its website to reflect the new stations. This is the first time IPR’s five-year-old Classical network has been available in the Des Moines area 24 hours per day; it also airs on WOI-FM/90.1 (Ames-Des Moines) with the exception of Morning Edition and All Things Considered in drive time but KICP/KICL do not reach as far north as WOI-FM. IPR has said the addition of the new stations could mean an expansion of its News/Talk and “Studio One” Adult Alternative services in the Des Moines area, presumably on WOI-FM since IPR’s other transmitters already carry the services. (11/21/2011)

Bahakel Communications is selling its group of four radio stations in Waterloo to Woodward Communications for $3.5 million. The sale includes Oldies KWLO/1330, Talk KXEL/1540, Classic Hits KOKZ/105.7, and “Rock 108” (KFMW/107.9). KXEL, KOKZ, and KFMW also have strong signals in Cedar Rapids but primarily target Waterloo, and KXEL’s 50,000-Watt signal can be heard across much of the Upper Midwest at night. Woodward’s only other radio stations are in northeastern Wisconsin, though it does own one daily and two weekly newspapers in the Dubuque area. Bahakel has no other holdings in the Upper Midwest. (11/7/2011)

The FCC has denied applications to transfer four construction permits for new non-commercial FM stations in the Upper Midwest after a court order changed rules in July. The CP transfers that have been denied include:

  • Mystic, IA: 88.5, from Vineyard Christian Fellowshup of Honolulu to Grace Community Church of Amarillo
  • Grand Rapids, MN: WRFR/88.1, fr Refuge Media Group to CJTL Media
  • Arlington, SD: KSRJ/89.9, from Refuge Media Group to CJTL Media
  • Elk Point, SD: KPCJ/91.9, from Church Planters of America to Agnus Dei Communications

The court order in the case Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC threw out an FCC practice of granting eighteen-month extensions when CP’s are transferred. The construction permits for all four stations have expired and will be deleted. (11/7/2011)

Iowa Public Radio’s KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City) has been operating at half of its normal power for the past month and tells the FCC it could be another one to three months before it returns to full power. The station normally uses 100kW and is at reduced power due to problems with its transmission line. KSUI carries IPR’s Classical network and is rebroadcast on a translator in Dubuque, which may have poorer-quality audio due to KSUI’s reduced signal strength.

Saga Broadcasting has launched “Hits 99.9” on translator K260AM/99.9 (Des Moines) with KIOA-HD2/93.3-2 serving as the primary station. The Rhythmic Hits format competes primarily with Clear Channel’s “Kiss 107” (KKDM/107.5) and bears a similar name to Connoisseur Media’s “Hits 105-9” (KZHZ Patterson), which will soon change formats after being sold to Iowa Public Radio. Saga bought K260AM from Horizon Christian Fellowship in 2009 and moved it from Ames to Des Moines. It uses 250 Watts from a Saga tower near Altoona with a directional antenna pointed at Des Moines. Saga already runs HD2 translators in many other markets, but this is the first one in Iowa. (10/27/2011)


A future FM station slated to serve southeastern Nebraska instead wants to move to southwestern Iowa. Kona Coast Radio’s KIMI/107.9 (Humboldt, NE) has applied to move to Sidney, IA, where it would broadcast on 107.7 with 3.8kW/134m (class C3). KIMI would have rimshot coverage of Nebraska City and Plattsmouth and possible fringe coverage of Omaha and Lincoln from a tower northwest of Sidney. KIMI received the license for its Humboldt transmitter last week but told the FCC the station went silent three days later. Humboldt has no other licensed stations, but Cedar Cove Broadcasting has a CP for new non-commercial station KNHU/90.1 and KIMI states it would not move to Sidney until KNHU signs on. Victor A. Michael is the head of both organizations. KIMI’s proposed move north is only possible because of the deletion of the allotment of 107.7 to Pacific Junction, IA, which was dropped after concerns about interference to airplane navigation/communication systems came to light. (10/21/2011)


The “My Network TV” affiliation in the Cedar Rapids-Waterloo market has changed, but the service’s programming is still not being seen in pattern with the rest of the country. The MNT lineup is now airing on KCRG-TV/9.2 (Cedar Rapids) from 12:05 to 2:05 a.m. MNT had been seen from 9 to 11 p.m. on CW affiliate KWKB/20.1 (Iowa City) since MNT’s launch in 2006. “Local 9.2” carries locally-produced content in prime time with syndicated programming and repeats of newscasts from 9.1 (an ABC affiliate) at other times. (10/20/2011)


KZIA, Inc. has applied to move translator K292FZ/106.3 (Mount Vernon) to Iowa City, where it would use 175 Watts. The application states K292FZ would relay KZIA/102.9 (Cedar Rapids). FCC rules would allow the translator to relay one of KZIA’s HD subchannels, which carry Classic Rock and a simulcast of “1600 ESPN” (KGYM Cedar Rapids). KZIA bought the translator from Educational Media Foundation earlier this year for $35,000; EMF had picked up the translator as part of its purchase of KXGM-FM/89.1 (Hiawatha) and its translators. (10/14/2011)


After a review by the Justice Department & approval by the Federal Communications Commission, the merger between a subsidiary of Cumulus Media And Citadel Broadcasting was allowed to go through.

Citadel and Cumulus will have to divest some stations as a part of the deal, but none of the stations are in Iowa or Minnesota. As of September 16, Cumulus Media completed its acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting Corporation (“Citadel”), and as a result Citadel is now an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Cumulus. With the completion of the Citadel acquisition, Cumulus Media is the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the United States, and owns or operates more than 570 radio stations in 120 markets and a nationwide radio network serving over 4000 stations.

With the completion of the merger, Cumulus is now in the largest Iowa and Minnesota Markets, Des Moines, Iowa and Minneapolis -St. Paul, Minnesota. (9/16/2011)