Following the death of Donald L. Rabbitt, his shares in Radio Dubuque are being transferred to his children Brian Rabbitt, Lynne Schibbelhut, and Ann R. Woods. The three will each see their share of the company rise from 14.1% to 33.3%. Radio Dubuque owns KDTH/1370 (Dubuque), KATF/92.9 (Dubuque), KGRR/97.3 (Epworth-Dubuque), and WVRE/101.1 (Dickeyville, WI-Dubuque).
Following up on last week’s report, the FCC has granted program test authority for Iowa Catholic Radio’s KIHS/88.5 (Adel) to complete its upgrade from 560 Watts to 12.5kW, changing to class C3. The station is switching to a directional antenna that increases coverage to the west.
Gray TV’s KTTC/10.1 (Rochester) has been granted a construction permit to increase power from 43.1kW to 94kW. It previously had a construction permit to upgrade to 80kW.(11/20/23)
DISH-Hearst Dispute Ends
DISH Network and Hearst have reportedly reached a new agreement ending a retransmission consent dispute that resulted in a two-month blackout, according to TVNewsCheck and other national outlets. (An announcement referenced in the report has not been published on either company’s website.) Affected stations had included CBS affiliate KCCI/8.1 (Des Moines) and ABC affiliate KETV/7.1 (Omaha) (11/17)23)
FCC Monitor: Upgrades for FM Stations Near Des Moines, Omaha
In a followup to last week’s report on Educational Media Foundation’s KIMI/107.7 (Malvern), the station has filed a license to cover application indicating that it has completed a change to 1.2kW. It represents an upgrade from 110 Watts that that the station had been using for many years under special temporary authority but is less than the 50kW Omaha rimshot facility that had once been authorized by the FCC and the 13kW that was later authorized. Aviation officials objected to the higher power levels over concerns about interference to an adjacent air navigation frequency. In the latest license to cover application, EMF states that for the first year of operation, it will take immediate action to resolve interference if it receives a complaint from the FAA. The upgrade gives KIMI a fringe signal to Omaha and Council Bluffs with strong coverage south of the metro, including to Plattsmouth and Glenwood.
Iowa Catholic Radio’s KIHS/88.5 (Adel) submitted a license to cover application requesting program test authority for its upgrade from 560 Watts to 12.5kW, changing to class C3. The station is switching to a directional antenna that increases coverage to the west but maintains the same signal strength towards the Des Moines area, where other stations operate on 88.1 and 88.7.
Iowa PBS flagship KDIN/11.1 (Des Moines) has formally applied to change its RF frequency to channel 34 after the FCC’s earlier approval to the table of allotments change.(11/13/23)
FCC Monitor: End to Years-Long Battle over 107.7 in Omaha Area?
There may finally be a solution to concerns that have prevented a full-power station from using 107.7 in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area since 2005. Educational Media Foundation’s KIMI/107.7 (Malvern, IA), which is currently using 110 Watts rather than its licensed 13kW, has now applied to use 1.2kW/124m. (Update: The application was granted Nov. 6 after this report was initially published.) The station’s application says EMF has “obtained a determination from the FAA for operation on 107.7mhz with the power limitation of 1.2kw.” According to previous filings, Offutt Air Force Base has opposed efforts to sign on higher-powered stations on 107.7 due to concerns about interference to air navigation communications on an adjacent frequency above the FM band. KIMI’s planned facility would deliver a fringe signal to the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
The FCC has approved changes to the Table of Allotments that will allow Iowa PBS’ KDIN/11.1 (Des Moines) to move to a UHF frequency. KDIN will move to channel 34, while a vacant allotment on channel 34 in Ames (formerly occupied by now-deleted KEFB) will be replaced with channel 21. KDIN must now file a formal application to make the move.
The FCC granted a callsign change for KEWR-LP/97.5 (Cedar Rapids) to KACJ-LP effective Nov. 7. The change follows Calvary Chapel Iowa’s sale of the low-power station to Friendship Baptist Church simultaneous with Calvary Chapel Iowa’s sign-on of KEWR-FM/89.9 (Cedar Rapids)..(11/06/23)
Christmas Comes Earlier for Omaha
Christmas came earlier to the radio dials this year in Omaha, marking a return to earlier flips to the All-Santa playlist
In Omaha, the Nov. 1 flip by SummitMedia’s “Star 104.5” (KSRZ) is ten days earlier than last year but only three days earlier than 2020. (NorthPine has been tracking this data for a few decades.) And down I-80 in Lincoln, Alpha Media’s “Mix 103.3” (K277CA and KLMS/1480) flipped to the seasonal format for the first time after launching the new format earlier this year.(11/01/23)
FCC Monitor: New FM’s Sign On in Cedar Rapids
Calvary Chapel Iowa submitted a license to cover application indicating that new station KEWR-FM/89.9 (Cedar Rapids) has signed on, using 870 Watts at 206 meters above average terrain. Simultaneously, Calvary Chapel Iowa completed its sale of KEWR-LP/97.5 (Cedar Rapids) to Friendship Baptist Church for $1. As previously noted here, Calvary Chapel Iowa received the construction permit after working out a settlement with Friendship Baptist Church and Extend The Dream Foundation to avoid a three-way time share on the frequency.
Youngers Colorado Broadcasting withdrew a request for special temporary authority for K295CB/106.9 (Des Moines) to remain silent, saying the filing was submitted under the wrong callsign and K295CB is actually still on the air.
The FCC has formally renewed the licenses of KCLN/1390 (Clinton) and KMCN/94.7 (Clinton) after agreeing to consent decrees with the licensee last month.
JAM Media Solutions, LLC has requested FCC approval to transfer its licenses to Jeffrey Test as a trustee pursuant to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The company’s stations include KMCS/93.1 (Muscatine), KWPC/860 (Muscatine), KWPC translator K236CF/95.1 (Muscatine), and four stations in North Carolina. The Muscatine Journal reports that the stations are for sale.(10/30/23)
Youngers Colorado Broadcasting’s K295CB/106.9 (Des Moines) reported that it went off the air Oct. 7 due to transmitter failure. UPDATE: The station subsequently reported, after this post was published, that the filing was made in error and K295CB is still on the air.
The FCC approved a modification to future VCY America station KVPG/103.9 (Dunkerton), now specifying 14kW/64m (class C3) from a tower in Cedar Falls.
Radio By Grace closed on its donation of K206ED/89.1 (Le Mars), K240DE/95.9 (Sioux City), and K218EA/91.5 (Ottumwa) to 247 Media Ministries on Oct. 16. The transfer also included WJEP/91.1 (Cusseta, GA), which is serving as the originating station for the translators as they carry the “Worship 24/7” network. A translator in Idaho was also included in the donation.
Q Media Group’s WBHA/1190 (Wabasha) has requested a callsign change to WPVW effective Oct. 26. The station’s Facebook page recently shared a post from an advertiser that says the station is “pivoting” to be more focused on Plainview, a community midway between Wabasha and Rochester that is slightly larger than Wabasha.(10/23/23)
Fieldview Broadcasting’s KWBG/1590 (Boone) notified the FCC that it returned to full-power operation of 1kW day and 500 Watts night on Sept. 21.
Fieldview’s KZWC/1570 (Webster City) requested an extension of special temporary authority to operate at reduced power of 137 Watts day and night for unspecified technical reasons.
The FCC approved Calvary Chapel Iowa’s sale of KEWR-LP/97.5 (Cedar Rapids) to Friendship Baptist Church for $1. Calvary Chapel Iowa has a construction permit for new station KEWR-FM/89.9 (Cedar Rapids) and must divest the low-power license before signing on the full-power station. (10/22/2023)
FCC Monitor: Des Moines FM Move-In Approved
The FCC granted a declaratory ruling allowing foreign interests to hold up to 100% of Alpha Media Holdings. The ownership changes are an outgrowth of the company’s bankruptcy reorganization. New Alpha asked the FCC to use its discretion to allow it to exceed the 25% foreign ownership cap set in the Communications Act. There was no opposition to the petition. Alpha’s holdings include 17 radio stations in Iowa, 14 in Minnesota, 11 in Nebraska, 15 in South Dakota, and two in Wisconsin.
Less than a month after the applications were filed, the FCC has given formal approval to a trio of frequency changes that will create a new core Des Moines FM signal. VCY America’s KVDI/99.3 (Huxley) will move to 99.5 and upgrade to 50kW/146m from a site on the east side of Des Moines. Meanwhile, Eldora Broadcasting’s KDAO-FM/99.5 (Eldora) will move to 92.9 and get a slight power boost to 6kW and VCYs unbuilt construction permit for KVPI/92.9 (Rockford) will move to 94.7 with 3.1kW/65m. An application to move displaced translator K224FM/92.7 (Grundy Center) to 94.3 remains pending.
The FCC has entered consent decrees with Gendreau Broadcast LLC over alleged violations at KCLN/1390 (Clinton) and KMCN/94.7 (Clinton). The licensee will pay civil penalties of $6,000 for KCLN and $3,000 for KMCN, which are less than the $11,000 and $8,000, respectively, that had originally been proposed in notices of apparent liability. As previously reported here, the concerns had to do with the stations’ online public inspection files and KCLN operating at reduced power without special temporary authority.
A2Z Broadcasting’s KLGZ/1600 (Algona) returned to full power on Sept. 23. The station had reported in May that it was using reduced power at night due to a problem switching to its nighttime directional pattern. It is licensed for 1kW directional daytime and 500 Watts directional at night.
With the KUON-TV move finalized, the FCC also granted construction permits for displaced low-power TV stations KFDY-LD/27 (Lincoln) to move to channel 34 and KOHA-LD/27 (Omaha) to move to channel 30. As noted here previously, KFDY-LD will also get a power boost from 3.65kW to 15kW as part of the change.(10/2/2023)
Nexstar Stations Return to DirecTV after 11-Week Outage
176 Nexstar-owned stations have returned to DirecTV after an 11-week outage caused by a retransmission consent dispute.
The network affiliates in 113 markets returned to the satellite and streaming provider on Sunday, Sept. 17, hours before games in the NFL season’s second week.
Stations impacted by the outage that began July 2 included:
CBS affiliate WHBF/4 (Rock Island, IL)
NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 (Des Moines, IA)
ABC affiliate KCAU/9 (Sioux City, IA)
The two sides did not disclose terms of the agreement in a brief news release, other than to say that the agreement covers multiple years. The agreement was first announced Sunday morning by Nexstar stations:
The agreement also covers Nexstar’s NewsNation channel.(09/18/2023)
Kirkwood Community College’s K295AC/106.9 (Iowa City) went off the air Sept. 7 due to its licensed tower site being dismantled, a decision which was beyond KCC’s control. Separately, the FCC has granted K295AC a construction permit to co-locate with K253BE/98.5 at a site on the north side of Iowa City. Though K295AC will reduce power from 250 to 170 Watts, its coverage area will expand due to higher antenna height. It will continue to relay KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids).(09/18/2023)
FCC Monitor: VCY Seeks Waterloo Upgrade; Iowa Station Flips after Sale
On the heels of its application to make its Des Moines-area signal a core station in that market, VCY America has applied to make future station KVPG/103.9 (Dunkerton) a core signal in Waterloo. KVPG’s current construction permit calls for a 6kW/100m (class A) signal rimshotting Waterloo. VCY has applied to upgrade it to class C3, using 14kW/64m from a site in Cedar Falls and remaining licensed to Dunkerton. The proposed facility would use less than the maximum power for a class C3 station to prevent interference to adjacent-channel stations in Ames and Clear Lake.
West Des Moines-based St. Gabriel Communications closed on its purchase of KEDB/105.3 (Chariton) from Honey Creek Broadcasting on Sept. 1. The station is now carrying St. Gabriel’s Iowa Catholic Radio as KIHC.
CSN International’s K255CJ/98.9 (Briggs-Omaha) reported that it is operating at 25% of its licensed 75 Watts. Its request for special temporary authority says CSN “has determined that its current antenna site will not work properly and as such it is looking to relocate to another tower site.” K255CJ moved to a tower near the I-80/I-480 interchange following the demolition of its former site, the tower at the former WOWT(TV) studio.(09/11/2023)
Hearst-DISH Join Growing List of Outages as NFL Season Begins
Hearst Television and DISH Network have joined a growing list of high-profile carriage disputes as the NFL season begins.
Hearst stations were no longer seen on DISH’s satellite lineup beginning Friday, Sept. 8. As with other disputes, Hearst says DISH is not willing to pay a fair market rate to resell its programming while DISH says Hearst is asking for too much.
The outage affects 37 channels in 27 markets, including CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines) and ABC affiliates KETV/7 (Omaha) and WISN-TV/12 (Milwaukee).
The dispute meant there were ten Upper Midwest markets with at least one dispute underway in early September:
Nexstar stations had been off DirecTV since July and returned on Sept. 18. The Nexstar-managed FOX affiliate in the Quad Cities is off both satellite providers. Disney-owned properties parted ways with Spectrum Cable (formerly known as Charter) on Aug. 31. They returned Sept. 11, two days after this item was originally posted. The outage affected channels including ESPN and owned-and-operated ABC affiliates, none of which is in the Upper Midwest.
Multiple stations and providers in some markets werew involved in disputes, so if a DISH Network customer in Des Moines switched to DirecTV because of the CBS outage, they’d would have lost NBC until the Nexstar-DirecTV dispute ended.
Federal law allows broadcast stations to opt for retransmission consent, which means cable and satellite providers cannot carry their programming without an agreement.
Terms of such agreements are not publicly released but involve a specific amount of compensation per customer to the station. Some providers have started a practice of adding a separate local channel surcharge on bills to point out the cost to customers, though they do not also break out the cost of carrying other channels.
The disputes also have a ripple effect on bars, restaurants, and hotels that rely on the providers to deliver programming to their customers.
It ripples out to places you wouldn’t expect, like the KOA Campground in Belvidere, SD. The campground uses DirecTV to provide a small channel lineup to its RV and cabin customers, but I found on a recent stay that it’s currently missing CBS amid the Nexstar-DirecTV dispute.(09/09/2023)
Signal Shuffle Would Create New Core Des Moines FM
Des Moines would get a new core FM signal as part of a four-station frequency change submitted for FCC approval.
VCY America’s KVDI/99.3 (Huxley) proposes moving to 99.5 and upgrading to 50kW/146m (class C2) from a site on the east side of Des Moines. KVDI currently rimshots the capital city from the north with a 5.3kW/95m (class A) signal.
To make way for the move, Eldora Broadcasting’s KDAO-FM/99.5 (Eldora) would move to 92.9 and get a slight power boost from 3kW to 6kW, remaining at 100m (class A). The power boost would improve KDAO-FM’s signal to Marshalltown.
KDAO-FM’s move to 92.9 would displace K224FM/92.7 (Grundy Center), which relays KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown). K224FM has applied to move to 94.3, dropping slightly from 250W to 230W.
And to make way for KDAO-FM’s move, VCY’s unbuilt construction permit for KVPI/92.9 (Rockford) would move to 94.7 and modify its planned facility slightly to 3.1kW/65m (class A).
Longtime listeners will recall that 99.5 in the Des Moines area was previously occupied by KPUL (Winterset), which moved to 101.7 in 2015.
KVDI is the former KFGQ-FM/99.3 (Boone), which moved to its present site in 2015. VCY bought the station in 2021. (09/04/2023)
The FCC issued a formal notice of proposed rulemaking about Iowa PBS’ proposal to move KDIN/11.1 (Des Moines) to UHF channel 34, which would include channel 21 being substituted for channel 34 at Ames as a vacant allotment. (09/04/2023)
FCC Monitor: Northern Iowa Upgrade
Coloff Media’s KHAM/103.1 (Britt) submitted a filing indicating that it has completed a long-planned upgrade from 200 Watts to 10kW/72m (class C3), rimshotting Clear Lake.
Kirkwood Community College’s K295AC/106.9 (Iowa City) applied to move to a different site about 2.5 miles north of its present location, continuing to relay Kirkwood’s KCCK/88.3 (Cedar Rapids). Though it would drop from 250 to 170 Watts, the new facility would have a wider coverage area because of a higher antenna height, improving K295AC’s signal to North Liberty while retaining most existing coverage. The station is seeking expedited processing of the application, saying it received short notice that its current tower will be demolished in September. At the new site, K295AC would be diplexed with KZIA’s K253BE/98.5 (Iowa City). .
CSN International reports that K225BP/92.9 (Des Moines) went off the air Aug. 18 due to transmitter failure. .
In Aug. 22 filings, Townsquare Media reports that KOEL-FM/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo) and KRNA/94.1 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids) resumed full-power operations on March 29 and April 20, respectively. .
The FCC granted VCY America the callsigns KVPG for its future station on 103.9 in Dunkerton and KVPJ for its future station on 92.9 in Rockford.
The FCC denied Park Public Radio’s request for tolling of the construction deadlines for its new non-commercial stations on 88.1 in Belmond, Iowa. PPR had said it believes the outcome of a dispute over whether it can move KPPS-LP to a new site will affect its ability to construct the other stations. The FCC’s dismissal letter says tolling for administrative review would only be allowed if the review was of the permits for the new stations themselves, not KPPS-LP.(08/28/2023)
Iowa meteorologist Promoted
KJSO-LP/101.3 (Omaha) and KXNB-LP/101.3 (Omaha), which are licensed to share time, have been heard back on the air rebroadcasting “95.7 The Boss” (KOWN-LP Omaha). KJSO-LP had previously reported to the FCC that it went off the air Feb. 28 due to an interruption of its programming feed. The three stations are licensed to transmit from the same building in North Omaha.
Hearst CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines) announced that Jason Sydejko has been promoted to chief meteorologist. Nexstar NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 (Des Moines) announced that Amanda Krenz will return to the station as a part-time contributor and Courtney Greene will return “in a limited role as a community storyteller and news contributor.Hearst CBS affiliate KCCI/8 (Des Moines) announced that Jason Sydejko has been promoted to chief meteorologist.
Nexstar NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 (Des Moines) announced that Amanda Krenz will return to the station as a part-time contributor and Courtney Greene will return “in a limited role as a community storyteller and news contributor.
Reporter Hernan Gutierrez has departed Gray NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport) for a new job in Indianapolis.Reporter Hernan Gutierrez has departed Gray NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport) for a new job in Indianapolis.
FCC Monitor: Cedar Rapids LPFM Sold
Calvary Chapel Iowa has reached an agreement to transfer KEWR-LP/97.5 (Cedar Rapids) to Friendship Baptist Church for $1. Calvary Chapel Iowa has a construction permit for new station KEWR-FM/89.9 (Cedar Rapids) and must divest the low-power license before signing on the full-power station. Friendship Baptist Church will have to switch the low-power station to a different callsign. The buyer was one of the groups that reached a settlement allowing Calvary Chapel Iowa to use 89.9 full-time rather than enter a three-way time-sharing agreement.
Des Moines-based St. Gabriel Communications requested a callsign change for KEDB/105.3 (Chariton) to KIHC-FM, effective Aug. 15 if granted. The request includes consent from Relevant Radio, which owns an AM station in California using the KIHC callsign and will receive $5,000 for allowing St. Gabriel Communications to use the KIHC-FM callsign.
The FCC canceled DTV America’s construction permit for K16NT-D (Keokuk), saying the low-power TV station was not constructed by the deadline. (08/14/2023)'
The FCC approved Des Moines-based St. Gabriel Communications’ purchase of KEDB/105.3 (Chariton) from Honey Creek Broadcasting.
The FCC dismissed Educational Media Foundation’s application to transfer the licenses of DK292FR/106.3 (Dyersville) and DK250CA/97.9 (Marshalltown) that it had returned in 2012 and 2020, respectively. The applications were for a routine transfer from EMF’s old board to its new board, but the licenses are no longer active. (07/24/2023)
Sinclair’s KDSM-TV (Des Moines), which transmits in ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) format on RF channel 16, informed the FCC that it returned to full power of 1,000kW on July 3.
WVIK Classical translator W252EM/98.3 (Davenport) has completed the move of its antenna 30 meters higher at its existing tower site in Moline(07/17/2023)
Dispute Affects Numerous Upper Midwest Network Affiliates
A retransmission consent dispute between DirecTV and Nexstar has resulted in several Upper Midwest network affiliates being removed from the satellite provider.
Nexstar says the outage began at 6 p.m. Central time on Sunday, July 2.
Nexstar’s stations in the Upper Midwest include:
CBS affiliate WHBF/4 (Rock Island, IL)
NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13 (Des Moines, IA)
ABC affiliate KCAU/9 (Sioux City, IA)
113 markets nationwide are affected. The outage also includes Nexstar’s national news channel, NewsNation.
DirecTV says Nexstar is demanding “more than double” the current viewer fees. Nexstar says it is seeking “the same fair market rates it offered to other distribution partners.” (07/10/2023)
True Oldies Channel Moves Ahead of Southern Iowa Sale
A radio group in southern Iowa has moved the True Oldies Channel ahead of the sale of its current affiliate.
Previously heard on KEDB/105.3 (Chariton), the syndicated Oldies service is now running on KCOG/1400 (Centerville) and its FM translator, K208GY/103.9. KCOG/K208GY had previously carried a Hot Adult Contemporary format.
Edwin Brand’s Honey Creek Broadcasting has a pending agreement to sell KEDB to Des Moines-based St. Gabriel Communications, which operates the Iowa Catholic Radio network.
KCOG, owned by Brand’s KCOG Inc., operates alongside Honey Creek’s Country-formatted KMGO/98.7 (Centerville).
In a recent report on the sale and the format change, the Ottumwa Post noted that KMGO is running an announcement stating that proceeds from the KEDB sale will be used to construct KMGO’s new 100kW/321m facility near Melrose.
As previously reported here in FCC Monitor reports, filings indicate KMGO is temporarily operating with 19.5kW/124m after a 2016 lightning strike damaged its licensed 100kW facility in Centerville. (07/10/2023)
FCC Monitor: Iowa FM at Reduced Power
The FCC announced that it will hold a filing window for new low-power FM stations from Nov. 1 to 8, 2023.
NRG Media’s KOKZ/105.7 (Waterloo-Cedar Rapids) is operating at reduced power due to transmission line damage caused by a windstorm and lightning strike. Normally using 100kW/399m from a tower southeast of Waterloo, KOKZ’s request for special temporary authority says it is currently operating at 71kW ERP. Once work begins to replace the feedline, KOKZ will use 12.5kW/355m from a different antenna on the same tower. Work is expected to begin in July. The filing says the station anticipates returning to full power within 30 to 45 days.
Des Moines-based St. Gabriel Communications applied to modify the construction permit for its future station on 88.7 in Odebolt. The facility was originally planned to be located at a site in Odebolt owned by the original permittee, Faith Lutheran Church, with 100kW/51m. St. Gabriel proposes moving the station to a tower just northeast of town using 40kW/84m, largely matching the originally-planned coverage area. (06/27/2023)
FCC Monitor: iHeart Returns Rochester FM Translator License
iHeartMedia has returned the license of K236BT/95.1 (Rochester), which had been licensed since 2016 and listed KMFX-FM/102.5 (Lake City) as the station it relayed. No reason for the decision is listed in FCC databases, with a notation of “license cancelled and callsign deleted…per request of licensee” in a report on broadcast actions. (06/19/2023)
FCC Monitor: Tentative FM Selectees Changed; Short-Term Iowa Renewal
The FCC sanctioned Panther Communications’ KWIA/100.9 (Newell) with a short-term license renewal, writing, “we cannot find that the Station served the public interest, convenience and necessity during the license term due to the extended periods of non-operation.” The station’s license renewal application states that it first went silent in 2017 due to a pending sale that fell through, and that “the station was vandalized and much of its equipment at its antenna site was cannibalized and stolen.” The station was also off the air from Dec. 5, 2018 to Dec. 2, 2019, because its authorized site became unavailable. The FCC granted a one-year license term expiring June 8, 2024.
The FCC approved an extension of special temporary authority for the Educational Media Foundation’s KIMI/107.7 (Malvern) to operate at reduced power of 110 Watts while it continues to seek a resolution to the nearly decade-old conflict with an ILS frequency at Offut Air Force Base.
The FCC picked a new tentative selectee for a new non-commercial FM station on 88.1 in Burlington after determining that the previous selectee, Heritage Baptist Church, does not qualify as an established local applicant. The localism claim had given Heritage the edge in a tiebreaker with Sound in Spirit Broadcasting. With Heritage’s localism claim now denied, Sound in Spirit is now the tentative selectee for the new station.
Sinclair’s KDSM-TV (RF 16, Des Moines), which operates in ATSC 3.0 format, notified the FCC that it is operating at 25% of its licensed 1,000kW due to problems with its transmission line.
iHeartMedia’s WOC/1420 (Davenport) requested another extension special temporary authority to operate its directional antenna at variance and/or with reduced power. The station’s original 2021 filing said several array parameters suddenly went out of tolerance; the latest filing says “minimal progress has been made due to manpower constraints.” WOC is licensed to use 5kW day and night with different day and night directional patterns. The possible reduced power level has not been specified in filings. (06/13/2023)
FCC Monitor: Some Iowa Stations Face Fines
After earlier announcing that it had terminated its merger agreement with Standard General, Tegna submitted a filing on May 30 formally withdrawing applications to transfer its licenses. On June 1, an administrative law judge filed an order terminating the proceeding.
The FCC has issued notices of apparent liability for forfeiture to Gendreau Broadcast LLC for alleged violations at KCLN/1390 (Clinton) and KMCN/94.7 (Clinton). The action comes after Dave Vickers, the general manager and minority owner of a competing station, submitted informal objections to the stations’ license renewal applications alleging that their online public files are incomplete and that KCLN has not been reducing power at night. The FCC says that in response to a letter of inquiry, Gendreau “acknowledged that it had failed to upload information to the Political File Section of the Station’s [online public inspection file]” and that KCLN had been experiencing technical difficulties. However, Gendreau stated that KCLN had been operating at between 50 and 70 watts 24 hours a day, which is below the station’s licensed power of 1kW daytime and 91 Watts nighttime. The KCLN NAL proposes an $11,000 forfeiture and noted that KCLN should have applied for special temporary authority to operate at reduced power. Meanwhile, the KMCH NAL proposes an $8,000 forfeiture. Gendreau has 30 days to request a reduction or cancellation of the proposed fines.
Community First Broadcasting closed on its purchase of KIWA-FM/105.3 (Sheldon), KIWA/1550 (Sheldon), and KIWA translator K264CW/100.7 (Sheldon) from the Stangland family’s Sheldon Broadcasting on May 30.
The FCC granted WVIK’s W252EM/98.3 (Davenport) a construction permit to move its antenna 30 meters higher on its current tower in Moline, remaining 250 Watts.
Edge Spectrum’s K20KF-D (Davenport) requested additional tolling of the deadline to resume operations. The station went silent after being displaced by the spectrum repack and has a construction permit to return to the air on channel 33.(06/06/2023)
Iowa Catholic Radio Buys Southern Iowa FM Station
The parent organization of Iowa Catholic Radio is buying a station in the southern part of the state to add to its growing network.
An asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC indicates St. Gabriel Communications has agreed to buy KEDB/105.3 (Chariton) from Edwin Brand’s Honey Creek Broadcasting LLC for $600,000.
KEDB, which currently runs a Classic Hits format, will operate as a non-commercial station after the sale, according to the application for assignment of authorization. KEDB transmits with 34kW/182m (class C2) from a tower near Lake Rathbun, with a core coverage area including Albia and Centerville and rimshot coverage of Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, and Knoxville.
St. Gabriel Communications and its subsidiary, Trinity Communications, currently own KWKY/1150 (Des Moines), KIHS/88.5 (Adel), K233BT/94.5 (Des Moines), and KLOX/90.9 (Creston), and closed on the purchase of KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry-Des Moines) on May 19. St. Gabriel Communications also has construction permits for new FM stations in Albia, Mason City, Odebolt, Spencer, Iowa, and Stanley, Wis.
Honey Creek Broadcasting also owns KMGO/98.7 (Centerville).
KEDB first signed on as KYRS/105.5 (Chariton) in 1980 using 1.7kW. It changed its callsign to KELR-FM in 1986, changed frequency and upgraded in 2000, and became KEDB in 2009. (05/27/2023)
Grinnell College’s KDIC/88.5 (Grinnell) says it continues to coordinate repairs and installation of a new antenna but won’t be able to return to the air before the current special temporary authority to remain silent expires on May 26. Since students who would operate the station will soon be leaving on summer break, the station has requested an extension of the STA until Oct. 27. The station went off the air in August 2020 due to storm damage. The FCC deleted its license in 2022 but then restored it after the college filed a petition for reconsideration. (05/22/2022)
Sinclair Dropping Local News in Omaha, Sioux City
National trade publication TV News Check is reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group is dropping local newscasts in five markets, including Omaha and Sioux City.
The affected stations include FOX affiliate KPTM/42 (Omaha) and FOX/CBS affiliate KPTH/44 (Sioux City). The others are in Gainesville, Florida; Toledo, Ohio; and Medford, Oregon.
TV News Check reported that Sinclair confirmed the move, saying its program “The National Desk” will replace local newscasts starting May 15. A day after the TV News Check report, KPTH’s website posted a brief statement about the move.
News of the impending Sioux City change was also reported by KSCJ radio and the Sioux City Journal, the latter of which reported that 17 jobs are being affected by the change.
KPTH’s CBS channel, 44.3, currently airs local newscasts weekdays from 5 to 7 a.m. and at 5 and 10 p.m., while its FOX channel airs a half-hour weeknight 9 p.m. newscast. The CBS affiliation was moved from longtime affiliate KMEG/14.1 in early 2021.
Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) expressed concern about the news in a statement on Twitter, writing, “In rural Iowa, local news matters & I’m disappointed that our communities will have one fewer outlet to stay informed.”
KMEG launched its current news operation in the late 1990s from a facility in Dakota Dunes, SD. KPTH joined KMEG in 2005 and launched the 9 p.m. newscast the following year.
In Omaha, TV News Check has previously reported that KPTM’s only newscast, which airs at 9 p.m., is anchored out of California. (05/06/2023)
Public Radio Changes Take Effect May 1 in Quad Cities
The long-anticipated launch of new 24-hour public radio news and Classical services in the Quad Cities will happen Monday, May 1.
The lineup at Augustana College’s WVIK/90.3 (Rock Island) has long mixed NPR’s news magazines with Classical music, which was the traditional format for public radio before services began splitting news and music between multiple stations.
Now, WVIK will switch to a 24-hour news service, with Classical music going 24 hours on WVIK-HD2 and W252EM/98.3.
The pending change was first announced in March 2022 and the May 1 launch date was announced exactly one year later, giving the station plenty of time to explain the change to listeners.
WVIK’s lineup will continue to include flagship NPR news magazines “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” and American Public Media’s “Marketplace.” It’ll add NPR’s “1A” and “Here and Now” and APM’s “On Point,” among others, to the daytime lineup. The BBC World Service will air from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Meanwhile, WVIK Classical will include locally-produced programming during the day with a focus on the region’s arts community, hosted by Marc Zyla and Mindy Heusel. The Beethoven Network will air overnights.
W252EM is the former K289AI/105.7, which is changing frequency to escape interference from a Peoria station on the same frequency. W252EM will transmit with 250 Watts from the Black Hawk College campus in Moline, delivering a rimshot signal to Rock Island, Bettendorf, and part of Davenport.
K289AI and WVIK-HD2 have run a 24-hour news lineup for the past several years, carrying the same programming as WVIK during morning and afternoon drive.
WVIK is relayed on K240DZ/95.9 (Dubuque).
WVIK competes with several Quad Cities-area transmitters carrying Iowa Public Radio’s mix of daytime news and evening Adult Alternative programming. The Quad Cities also receive a rimshot signal from IPR Classical station KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City). (04/28/2023)
Divine Mercy Educational Radio Association’s K249EP/97.7 (Fort Madison) has applied to move to 94.3, seeking to escape interference from other stations on 97.7. On 94.3 it would remain 250 Watts and continue to transmit from West Point, relaying co-owned KDME-LP to an area northwest of Fort Madison.
The FCC granted Radio By Grace’s K206ED/89.1 (Le Mars) a construction permit to move to 90.7 as K214FN. K206ED is relayed by K240DE/95.9 (Sioux City); the frequency change was requested over concerns that future station KBVW/88.9 (Winnebago, NE) will interfere with reception of the Le Mars signal at the Sioux City translator site.
The FCC approved Community First Broadcasting’s purchase of KIWA-FM/105.3 (Sheldon), KIWA/1550 (Sheldon), and KIWA translator K264CW/100.7 (Sheldon) from the Stangland family’s Sheldon Broadcasting.
Calvary Chapel Iowa as granted the callsign KEWR-FM for its new station on 89.9 in Cedar Rapids. (The same callsign is on the Chapel’s KEWR-LP/97.5, which will be divested.)
Southern Minnesota Catholic Radio modified its application for a new station on 88.9 to specify a 2kW station in Owatonna rather than a 6kW station in Waseca, potentially removing it from conflict with other applications in FCC Group 124. However, the FCC had already dismissed the SMCR application and granted a new station in Mankato to One Day Church Project; as previously reported here, ODCP and SMCR filed a joint petition for reconsideration asking the FCC to vacate its earlier grant and consider granting stations to both organizations.
The FCC approved a modification to the construction permit for Gray TV’s K29OE-D (Racine) to relocate its transmitter to the KTTC studio facility, now specifying 1kW rather than 15kW and using a different directional pattern. (04/25/2023)
Broadcast History: Iowa Cities That Never Got Their Allotted TV Stations
Looking at an early list of TV allotments, you can see that regulators may have thought the broadcast TV industry was going to be a lot bigger than it became.
The 1954-1955 Telecasting Yearbook, posted on the World Radio History website, shows there are dozens of communities with TV allotments that were never built. Most of the communities have radio stations but never got their own TV voice.
Not coincidentally, all of the Upper Midwest communities that never got full-power TV stations had been given UHF allotments. The UHF band struggled for the entire analog era, especially in the early years when most TV’s didn’t even have a UHF tuner.
Besides that, the costs of running a TV station were (and are) much higher than a radio station, and major networks were already affiliated with bigger VHF stations. Broadcasters undoubtedly concluded that attempting to build an independent UHF station in a smaller community would be a money-losing proposition.
Here’s a list of Iowa and surrounding area communities that had TV allotments as of 1954 that never actually got their own TV licenses:
This list is the way things were in 1954. A few more allotments were later added and never built. This list also doesn’t include a few other unbuilt UHF TV allotments in cities that did get TV stations on other channels.
Here’s the full list of unbuilt allotments in Iowa and surrounding area communities that never got a full-power TV license:
Algona, IA: 37
Atlantic, IA: 45
Boone, IA: 19
Carroll, IA: 39
Centerville, IA: 31
Charles City, IA: 18
Cherokee, IA: 14 (channel later built at Sioux City)
Clinton, IA: 64
Creston, IA: 43
Decorah, IA: 44
Estherville, IA: 24
Fairfield, IA: 54
Fort Madison, IA: 50
Grinnell, IA: 71
Keokuk, IA: 44
Knoxville, IA: 33
Marshalltown, IA: 49
Muscatine, IA: 58
Oelwein, IA: 28
Oskaloosa, IA: 52
Shenandoah, IA: 20
Spencer, IA: 42
Storm Lake, IA: 34
Webster City, IA: 27
Albert Lea, MN: 57
Nebraska City, NE: 50 (04/15/2023)
Storm Knocks Down KKRQ Tower in Eastern Iowa
A tornado that moved through Eastern Iowa on Friday, March 31, knocked down the tower of iHeartMedia’s KKRQ/100.7 (Iowa City-Cedar Rapids).
A photo posted by Johnson County Emergency Management shows the tower broken in pieces, now laying on the ground.
FCC records show the 497-foot tower in rural Solon was constructed in 1983. It was owned by Vertical Bridge CC FM, LLC.
The Classic Rock station, known as “The Fox,” continues to stream online and said in a Facebook post on the night of the collapse that it is working in establishing a temporary transmitter site.
The March 31 storms caused widespread damage in Iowa and much of the central U.S. (04/08/2023)
Iowa Gets Yacht Rock and NextGen TV
Following its sale to On The Go Media, KQCR-FM/98.9 (Parkersburg, IA) has segued from Light Adult Contemporary to Soft Rock of the 1970s and `80s (commonly known as “Yacht Rock”) as “The Wave.” The new lineup includes the syndicated TJ Show from 6 to 10 a.m.
As planned, Sinclair’s KDSM-TV (Des Moines) converted its transmitter to ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) on March 28, carrying KDSM’s FOX programming along with simulcasts of the market’s CBS, PBS, and NBC stations. The other stations are hosting KDSM’s four channels on their ATSC 1.0 transmitters so over-the-air viewers can continue to receive them until NextGen receivers become more widespread. (04/03/2023)
Two National Moves Cause Dozens of DTV Channel Changes
A slate airing on TrueReal's former channel in Sioux Falls.
Two National Moves Cause Dozens of DTV Channel Changes
Viewers in many Upper Midwest markets have seen changes to their digital TV lineups due to two unrelated national changes on Monday, March 27.
As previously noted here in Weekly Log reports, Scripps-owned TrueReal went off the air nationally while Weigel’s Decades changed its name to Catchy Comedy with a revamped lineup.
Some stations switched their TrueReal channels to different programming before the network left the air, while others waited until March 27 to make the switch. Here’s how the change has played out in regional markets, according to network listings and station announcements:
Cedar Rapids: Scripps’ KPXR-TV moved Scripps News from 48.7 to 48.6, replacing TrueReal, and launched Jewelry TV on 48.7.
Des Moines: Scripps’ KFPX-TV (Newton) moved Scripps News from 39.7 to 39.6, replacing TrueReal, and launched Jewelry TV on 39.7.
Omaha: Hearst’s KETV/7.4 replaced TrueReal with Defy.
Rochester: Hubbard’s KAAL/6.5 (Austin) replaced TrueReal with Bounce.
In case you missed it, Scripps News is the network formerly known as Newsy, which changed its name at the beginning of the year.(04/03/2023)
Trinity Communications, which is in the process of buying KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry-Des Moines), has applied to switch the station from a directional to a non-directional antenna. It would remain 10kW/157m (class C3). The change would improve the station’s signal to Ames.
Fieldview Broadcasting’s KWBG/1590 (Boone) requested an extension of special temporary authority to transmit non-directionally at night, rather than use its licensed 500-Watt directional nighttime facility, due to unspecified technical issues. The station’s latest filing says a new equipment has been ordered but has not arrived.
Meanwhile, Fieldview’s KZWC/1570 (Webster City) requested an extension of special temporary authority to use its 137-Watt nighttime signal 24 hours per day. The latest filing says repairs have taken longer than estimated.
CSN International’s K255CJ/98.9 (Briggs-Omaha) reported that it returned to the air March 5 using the temporary 7-Watt facility reported here last week. (03/14/2023)
Des Moines NextGen TV Launch Tentatively Set for March 28
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDSM-TV (Des Moines) has notified the FCC that it will serve as the ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) host for several stations in the market.
Recent FCC filings indicate the estimated launch date of ATSC 3.0 broadcasting on KDSM’s RF channel 16 transmitter is March 28.
Besides its own FOX channel 17.1, the KDSM NextGen transmitter will carry Hearst CBS affiliate KCCI/8.1, Nexstar NBC affiliate WHO-DT/13.1, and Iowa PBS’ KDIN/11.1.
Tegna ABC affiliate WOI-DT/5 is not listed as being part of the plan.
To retain coverage of homes that don’t have NextGen TV receivers, KDSM’s FOX channel (17.1) will be hosted on WHO-DT’s ATSC 1.0 signal on RF 13. KDSM’s 17.2 (Comet) and 17.3 (Charge!) will originate on KDIN’s RF 11 transmitter and 17.4 (TBD) will come from KCCI (RF 8).
In the Upper Midwest, NextGen TV is also on the air in Omaha and Green Bay. For now, the services offer simulcasts of existing HD programming also available in ATSC 1.0 format. (03/12/2023)
Cedar Rapids Time-Sharing Averted as Applicants Reach Settlement
A potential time-sharing arrangement among three applicants for new FM radio stations in Cedar Rapids has been averted after the groups reached a settlement.
Friendship Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel Iowa, and Extend The Dream Foundation were among seven mutually-exclusive applications for new non-commercial stations on 89.9. In January, the FCC concluded that the three had scored equally in its points system for determining winners, and ordered the three to come up with a plan to share time on the frequency.
In an updated filing, the groups revealed that they have reached a settlement agreement whereby Friendship Baptist Church and Extend The Dream Foundation will withdraw their applications so that Calvary Chapel Iowa can be granted a construction permit to use the frequency full-time.
Calvary Chapel Iowa will reimburse the other two applicants for their expenses in filing the applications.
Following the amendment, the FCC granted Calvary Chapel Iowa’s application and dismissed the other six. Calvary Chapel Iowa’s new station will use 1kW/193m (class A) from a tower in northern Cedar Rapids.
Calvary Chapel Iowa has pledged to divest its current outlet, KEWR-LP/97.5 (Cedar Rapids), before the new station signs on. (03/11/2023)
FCC Monitor: SW Minn. PBS Station Temporarily Off the Air
On The Go Media closed on its purchase of KLMJ/104.9 (Hampton) and KQCR-FM/98.9 (Parkersburg) from CD Broadcasting on Feb. 28.
Digital Networks-Midwest’s K31PO-D (Des Moines) was granted a move of its transmitter from its present site near Marshalltown to one between Marshalltown and Des Moines, remaining 2kW.
Pioneer PBS’ KSMN/20 (Worthington) reports that it went off the air Feb. 24 because of a failure of the equipment used to relay programming from its Granite Falls studio to its transmitter site near Chandler. The station’s request for special temporary authority to remain silent says the equipment cannot be repaired and they are uncertain when new equipment will arrive.
Minnesota Public Radio’s KRSW/89.3 (Worthington) reported that it returned to full power of 100kW on Feb. 28 after repairs following extreme icing earlier this year.
Digital Networks-Midwest’s K27OW-D (Rochester) was granted a move from its present site near Austin to a site near Rochester, upgrading from 5.62kW to 8kW.
KJSO-LP/101.3 (Omaha), owned by the North Omaha Loves Jazz Cultural Arts and Humanities Complex, reported that it went off the air Feb. 28 due to an interruption of its programming feed. KJSO-LP shares time with KXNB-LP/101.3 and the two had shared a common format at one time.
CSN International’s K255CJ/98.9 (Briggs-Omaha) was granted special temporary authority to transmit with 7 Watts so that it can return to the air by March 9, the statutory deadline for it to resume broadcasting after going silent last year. K255CJ had previously transmitted from the former WOWT(TV) building and has a construction permit to move to a different tower; the latest filing says construction at the new site cannot begin before March 9 due to a structural study and other issues. The filing also says that during its STA, K255CJ will relay KLNG/1560 (Council Bluffs) rather than KHLW/89.3 (Tabor, IA) because KHLW cannot be received at the temporary site.
Digital Networks-Midwest’s K36QD-D (Omaha) was granted a move to a site near Valley with 3kW directional, replacing its present 2kW facility from near Schuyler. (03/08/2023)
Digital Networks-Midwest’s K31PO-D (Des Moines), which is currently licensed to transmit from Marshalltown, applied to move to a site midway between Marshalltown and Des Moines, remaining 2kW directional.
Digital Networks-Midwest’s K36QD-D (Omaha), which is currently licensed to transmit with 2kW from a site near Schuyler, applied to move to a site near Valley with 3kW directional. (02/27/2023)
FCC Monitor: Iowa PBS Seeks Move to UHF in Des Moines
Iowa PBS’ flagship station, KDIN-TV/11 (Des Moines), has submitted a proposed rulemaking to move its RF transmission to UHF channel 34, though it could continue to remap to virtual channel 11. It would transmit with 1,000kW on the new UHF channel. Like numerous previous applications from stations seeking moves from VHF to UHF, KDIN says a the change is needed to improve indoor reception. The station’s filing includes documentation of dozens of reception complaints.
Townsquare Media’s KOEL-FM/92.3 (Oelwein-Waterloo) reported that it is operating at about 25% of its licensed 100kW due to an antenna failure. Its request for special temporary authority says repairs are ongoing.
Townsquare’s KRNA/94.1 (Iowa City) reported that it is operating at 20% of its licensed 100kW due to transmitter issues. Its request for special temporary authority says a new transmitter has been ordered. (02/20/2023)
Community First Broadcasting Adds Another NW Iowa Radio Pair
Community First Broadcasting is buying the two radio stations in Sheldon, bringing its group of stations in northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota to more than a dozen.
An asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC on Feb. 14 indicates Sheldon Broadcasting is selling KIWA-FM/105.3, KIWA/1550, and KIWA translator K264CW/100.7 (Sheldon) to Community First Broadcasting for $100,000.
KIWA has been owned by the Stangland family for its entire existence. E.C. “Red” Stangland founded the station in 1961, and the company is now headed by Susan Stangland.
The agreement notes that there is also a consulting agreement between Community First Broadcasting and KIWA general manager Walt Pruiksma, who has been with the station since 1972.
In a news report about the sale, Community First Broadcasting manager Neil W. Lipetzky said that they do not plan any changes for listeners or advertisers and plan to keep the existing staff. KIWA-FM runs an information-intensive Classic Hits format while the AM station and K264CW carry syndicated Conservative Talk with local information updates.
Community First Broadcasting also owns three stations in the Sioux Center area, three in the Storm Lake area, three in the Spirit Lake/Spencer area, and two in Jackson, Minnesota. It also owns three FM translators relaying the company’s AM stations.
KIWA’s city-grade signals overlap with the Sioux Center stations as well as KKOJ/1190 (Jackson).
Community First Broadcasting’s parent company, Dakota Broadcasting, also owns two stations in the Aberdeen market.
The company is owned by Lipetzky (40%), Dean Sorenson (30%), and Duane D. Butt (30%).(02/15/2023)
Iowa Catholic Radio Adds Larger Des Moines FM Signal
One of Iowa Catholic Radio’s parent organizations is buying a larger FM station to add to its group of signals in the Des Moines area.
An asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC indicates Trinity Communications is buying KDLS-FM/105.5 (Perry-Des Moines) from Pedro Zamora’s Latin Broadcasting Corporation for $1.48 million.
With a 10kW/157m (class C3) facility transmitting from northwest of Des Moines, KDLS-FM’s “La Ley” is currently the highest-powered of three competing Spanish-language formats in the capital city. Its two competitors operate on AM stations with FM translators.
Trinity Communications owns KWKY/1150 (Des Moines) and shares common board membership with St. Gabriel Communications, which owns K233BT/94.5 (Des Moines), KIHS/88.5 (Adel), and KLOX/90.9 (Creston). The four stations simulcast as Iowa Catholic Radio. Its programming is also heard on low-power FM stations in Fairfield and Oskaloosa.
St. Gabriel Communications also has construction permits for new full-power FM stations in Albia, Mason City, Odebolt, and Spencer, IA, as well as Stanley, WI. (02/13/2023)
FCC Monitor: Omaha FM Move-In Applications Dismissed
The Educational Media Foundation’s KIMI/107.7 (Malvern) has withdrawn its application to upgrade to 50kW/124m (class C2) as it continues to work on resolving a long-running concerns about interference to an adjacent airplane navigation frequency in the Omaha area. Though permitted for 13kW/124m (C3), KIMI is currently operating under special temporary authority at 110 Watts. A Feb. 2 email from an EMF representative to the FCC says that after working on the issue for several years, “it appears we have hit a dead end.” The email says they are now considering a lower power level than previously proposed.
An application by KNEI-FM/103.5 (Waukon) to move its transmitter north to a site just over the Minnesota border was dismissed at the station’s request. An email attached to the application says the station’s new owners, LA Communications, have dropped the plans.
The FCC quickly approved an upgrade for St. Gabriel Communications’ future station on 89.9 in Spencer from 6kW/84m (class A) to 22kW/84m (C3). See the Jan. 23 FCC Monitor for the background.
The FCC approved On The Go Media’s purchase of KLMJ/104.9 (Hampton) and KQCR/98.9 (Parkersburg) from CD Broadcasting.
KCMR/97.9 (Mason City) requested an extension of special temporary authority to operate at 3.25kW ERP rather than its licensed 6kW. The reduced power is a result of an August 2022 electrical storm that damaged two transmitter power supplies. The latest filing says materials have been ordered but it’s uncertain when they will arrive due to supply chain issues.
The FCC granted an extension of special temporary authority for KMGO/98.7 (Centerville) to operate with 19.5W/124m as it continues work to build a new 100kW/321m facility. As previously reported here, the station’s licensed 100kW facility in Centerville was affected by a lightning strike in 2016. (2/10/23)
“Bluffs Country” Comes to Council Bluffs FM, Omaha AM
An Omaha AM station and its FM translator in Council Bluffs have launched a gold-based Country format.
“Bluffs Country 106.5” is airing on Walnut Radio’s K293CX (Council Bluffs) and Hickory Radio’s KXCB/1420 (Omaha). K293CX transmits from Council Bluffs with a 250-Watt signal that’s strong in Council Bluffs and downtown Omaha.
The new format positions itself as “Council Bluffs’ local hometown Country station,” making it the only radio station specifically targeting Council Bluffs.
The station’s stream had been running for a few weeks prior to launch, but it appears the format formally launched on Feb. 1.
Musically, “Bluffs Country” competes with iHeartMedia’s duo of Classic Country outlet “93.3 The Wolf” (KFFF Bennington-Omaha) and Country “103.7 The Kat” (KXKT Glenwood-Omaha).
K293CX and KXCB had previously been part of the “My Boomer Radio” Oldies/Classic Hits network, which recently signed on K281DG/104.1 (Omaha), serving much of the same area that K293CX reaches.
Besides K281DG, “Boomer” is also heard in eastern Omaha on K233CO/94.5 (Omaha), in the north metro on KOBM-FM/97.3 (Blair), and on AM on KIBM/1490 (Omaha). (2/10/23)
FCC Orders Rare 3-Way Time Share for Cedar Rapids FM Frequency
In a rarely-needed move, the FCC has ordered three applicants for a new non-commercial FM station in Cedar Rapids to come up with a plan to share one frequency.
The regulator has identified Friendship Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel Iowa, and Extend The Dream Foundation as the tentative selectees for the new station on 89.9. It directed the applicants to submit an agreement on how they will share time on the frequency within 90 days.
In almost all cases of competing applications for new non-commercial stations, the FCC is able to identify one tentative selectee using a points-based system followed by three tiebreakers. However, in this case, the three applicants scored the same number of points and none qualified to win on any of the tiebreakers.
Each scored three points for being an established local applicant and two points for diversity of ownership, which means the new station will be the only one owned by the group. (Calvary Chapel Iowa and Extend The Dream Foundation both currently own low-power FM stations that they have pledged to divest if the full-power station is granted.)
The FCC system also awards points for a proposed facility that would reach at least 10% more people than the next-closest application, but none of the applicants qualified for points in this case.
The tiebreakers concern other authorizations, other applications, and previous applications. Each of the three applicants has no other authorizations, no other applications, and no previous applications.
The three proposed stations are:
Friendship Baptist Church: 4.5kW/74m (class A), licensed to and transmitting from Cedar Rapids
Calvary Chapel Iowa: 1kW/193m (class A), licensed to and transmitting from Cedar Rapids
Extend The Dream Foundation: 10kW/105m (class C3), licensed to Swisher and transmitting from Cedar Rapids
They were among a group of seven mutually-exclusive applications for the frequency. Bible Broadcasting Network, Community Public Radio, Rising Tide Broadcasting, and Vida Ministry all scored fewer points because they are not established local applicants.
The new station(s) will reach more than 200,000 people. New full-power stations are rarely possible in cities the size of Cedar Rapids, but the frequency became available when Cornell College returned the license of KRNL-FM/89.7 (Mount Vernon) in 2020.(01/25/23)
FCC Monitor: New Iowa FM Granted
The FCC granted St. Gabriel Communications a construction permit for a new FM station on 89.9 in Spencer using 6kW/84m (class A). The decision comes after a dispute over the technicalities of when an applicant can change the proposed facilities of a station and when it can’t. The original application had sought a 22kW station and was identified as part of a group of four mutually-exclusive proposals; after an applicant in Fairmont, MN, was identified as the tentative selectee, St. Gabriel modified its application to specify 6kW, removing itself from competition with the other three applicants. Once the Fairmont station was granted and two other applications were dismissed, St. Gabriel again modified the application to change the power level back to 22kW since the only overlap was with an application that had been dismissed. The moves prompted an informal objection from Kevin Youngers, who said neither amendment should have been allowed. In its decision, the FCC said the first amendment was allowed but the second wasn’t, so it approved the 6kW facility. On the same day the application was granted, St. Gabriel applied to modify the new permit to specify 22kW.
The FCC has canceled the license of KUEL-LP/97.1 (Kensett) at the request of its licensee, Worth County Community Radio Association. (01/23/23)
WCCO Dropped from Rochester Cable
Spectrum has issued formal notice that CBS owned-and-operated WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis) is being dropped from cable systems in Rochester and surrounding communities. The move follows a successful FCC petition from in-market CBS affiliate KIMT/3 (Mason City-Rochester) showing that WCCO no longer meets broadcast viewership levels to qualify as “significantly viewed” in Rochester.(01/21/23)
FCC Monitor: Iowa AM-FM Pair Go Silent
KM Radio of Independence reported that KQMG-FM/95.3 (Independence) and KQMG/1220 (Independence) both went silent Jan. 1 due to equipment problems. The stations had simulcast a Classic Hits format. The area is under the umbrella of Waterloo and Cedar Rapids stations. (01/21/23)
Broadcast History: Longest TV Channel, Callsign, Affiliation Combos
When looking at broadcast history, it’s interesting to track how network affiliations have changed over time in many cities.
For example, the timeline of early TV stations in Wisconsin shows the numerous changes that happened in Green Bay and Milwaukee, where affiliations were in flux as new stations signed on (and off) in the 1950s. Later, all four major networks changed channels in Green Bay in the 1990s due to an ownership change and the FOX “affiliate raids,” the latter of which also affected Milwaukee.
Even Minneapolis has seen its share of changes over the years, with only CBS on the same channel since the station signed on (and it also had a secondary ABC affiliation for its first few years).
Many stations also changed callsigns over the decades as a result of ownership changes. A few even changed channels in the early days of TV as allotments were still being sorted out.
So, which Upper Midwest stations have had the same channel (real or virtual), primary network affiliation, and callsign for the longest?
1950 WHBF/4 (Rock Island), CBS*
1952 WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis), CBS* **
1953 KWWL/7 (Waterloo-Cedar Rapids), NBC
KFYR-TV/5 (Bismarck), NBC*
WEAU-TV/13 (Eau Claire), NBC*
WTMJ-TV/4 (Milwaukee), NBC* **
WGEM-TV/10 (Quincy), NBC*
1954 KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids), ABC**
WHO-TV/13 (Des Moines), NBC
KTIV/4 (Sioux City), NBC
WKBT/8 (La Crosse), CBS*
1955 WOI-TV/5 (Ames-Des Moines), ABC**
1956 WISC-TV/3 (Madison), CBS
1957 KUMV/8 (Williston), NBC*
1958 KMOT/10 (Minot), NBC*
KXMC/13 (Minot), CBS* **
1959 KXMB/12 (Bismarck), CBS* **
1960 KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls), CBS* **
*indicates the station also had secondary affiliations with another of the original big three networks, but it has had the same primary affiliation since the year listed
** indicates the station signed on earlier but had a different callsign, channel, or primary affiliation
Longest-running primary affiliation, channel, and callsign: WHBF/4 (Rock Island, CBS)
Longest-running primary affiliation on the same channel: CBS on channel 4 in Minneapolis since 1949 (originally WTCN-TV, changed to WCCO-TV in 1952)
Longest-running primary affiliation on a station: NBC on WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee since 1947 (the station moved from channel 3 to 4 in 1953)
It’s fitting that the oldest combination of channel, callsign, and network affiliation is in the Quad Cities, since it’s one of the few markets that has never had a primary affiliation change among major networks.
The present-day KWQC/6 is actually eight months older than WHBF and has always been affiliated with NBC, but changed its channel in 1952 and its callsign in 1986.
The only other Upper Midwest markets that have never seen a major affiliation swap are La Crosse-Eau Claire and North Platte. La Crosse-Eau Claire had two stations for the first few decades of TV (one in each city) and North Platte still has only one full-power commercial station, with other networks carried on subchannels and low-power stations.(01/11/2023)
Quad Cities FOX Affiliate Now Off Both Satellite Providers
Quad Cities FOX affiliate KLJB/18 (Davenport) is off DISH Network as a result of a retransmission consent dispute.
KLJB is owned by Mission Broadcasting and operated by Nexstar alongside two Nexstar-owned Quad Cities stations (WHBF/4 and KGCW/26), which are not affected.
The dispute affects stations owned by Mission and White Knight Broadcasting in 28 markets nationwide.
KLJB has already been off the other satellite provider, DirecTV, since Oct. 21 due to a separate dispute.
Retransmission consent disputes involve disagreements over how much a provider should pay a station for redistributing its programming on a paid platform. Details of compensation are never publicly released.
The latest outage began Jan. 6, according to DISH Network’s news release. KLJB’s page regarding the matter indicates that the contract was originally set to expire Dec. 27.
As is the custom, each side blames the other.(01/11/2023)