KCTY/104.9 (Wayne, NE) has applied to move into the Sioux City market. The station would change its community of license to Emerson, NE, and transmit from near Hubbard, NE, using 25kW/100m (class C3). KCTY is owned by Wayne Radio Works and currently carries a broad mix of Classic Hits, Adult Contemporary, Rock, and Country as “Super Hits, Y104.” It’s co-owned with KTCH/1590 (Wayne). (2/26/2010)

A number of stations have tweaked or change their formats following the recent demise of Citadel’s “Timeless” satellite format, which had carried Soft Oldies. Here are the known changes:
    • KMRY/1450 (Cedar Rapids, IA) switched to local automation with a format similar to what Timeless had offered.
    • KCHA/1580 (Charles City, IA) switched to a locally-automated Oldies format.
    • KDAO/1190 (Marshalltown, IA) switched to Oldies using Citadel’s True Oldies Channel.
  •   KWLO/1330 (Waterloo, IA) switched to Oldies using Dial Global’s “Kool Gold” format. KWLO had carried an
    Oldies format before switching to Adult Standards in the 1990’s when sister station KOKZ/105.7 switched to Oldies. Waterloo hadn’t had a local Oldies station since KOKZ transitioned to Classic Hits several years ago.

It turns out the longtime KCRG-TV/9 building won’t be the site of the new Cedar Rapids Library after all. Though the library board recently selected the block containing KCRG and the co-owned Gazette newspaper as its preferred site,
KCRG reports the city council decided Thursday night (Feb. 24) to instead go with the True North site, a block away from the Gazette building. KCRG has been in the building at 501 2nd Ave. SE since the mid-1970’s and is on the verge of a major technology upgrade. (2/25/2010)

It turns out the longtime KCRG-TV/9 building won’t be the site of the new Cedar Rapids Library after all. Though the library board recently selected the block containing KCRG and the co-owned Gazette
 newspaper as its preferred site, KCRG reports the city council decided Thursday night (Feb. 24) to instead go with the True North site, a block away from the Gazette building. KCRG has been in the building at 501 2nd Ave. SE since the mid-1970’s and is on the verge of a major technology upgrade. (2/25/2010)
Extreme Grace Media is buying three Eastern Iowa FM translators from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $40,000. They are K227BL/93.3 (Anamosa), K292FR/106.3 (Dyersville), and K292FZ/106.3 (Mount Vernon). The translators already carry EGM’s “The Spirit” (KXGM-FM/89.1 Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids). (2/25/2010)

The FCC has identified tentative selectees for five new non-commercial stations in Iowa and Minnesota, including one in the Twin Cities metro area. Competing applications were based on a point system, with three points for local ownership, two points for state networks or diversity in ownership (not having another station in the area), and one to two points for having the largest proposed coverage area. The tentative Iowa selectees, followed by the proposed facilities, are as follows:

Algona, IA: Iowa Lakes Community College defeats Refuge Media Group on the basis of local ownership. 91.9, 210W/144m (A).

  • Sioux City, IA: Iowa State University, one of the three universities that make up Iowa Public Radio, defeats American Family Assocation
    on the basis of local ownership and having a larger proposed coverage area. It would be the farthest west station for IPR, which has no station in the Sioux City area. 88.9,
    15kW/106m (C3), transmitter south of Sioux City in Nebraska.

 The FCC will not begin issuing construction permits until after a 30-day filing window for petitions to deny. (2/18/2010)

The FCC has denied a
petition for reconsideration from Quad Cities Television Acquisition Licensing, LLC, challenging whether Northwest Television should have been granted a construction permit for a new TV station licensed to Galesburg, IL. The petitioner is the licensee of FOX 18 (KLJB Davenport).

The FCC deemed the petition for reconsideration a “rehash” of the original petition, which alleged Northwest would never had been able to reach a settlement agreement with other applicants if it hadn’t been for a loan from Second Generation of Iowa and that construction of the new station began before the construction permit was granted. The FCC determined that Northwest had other financing and would’ve been able to cover its expenses without the Second Generation loan and that the premature construction was done by Second Generation without Northwest’s knowledge.

Second Generation of Iowa is the licensee of FOX 28 (KFXA Cedar Rapids), which is operated by Sinclair Broadcasting.

The current construction permit for the new Galesburg station calls for 1,000kW on channel 53 from a tower in the Orion area, near the towers for most of the other Quad Cities stations. The CP expires July 20, 2010. The new station will eventually have to move to a different channel because 52-69 are being discontinued. (2/18/2010)

Boone/Des Moines, IOWA:

Truth Broadcasting Corp. is proposing a dial shuffle that would move KFFF-FM/99.3 (Boone) into the Des Moines Market.

KFFF-FM, which currently carries a Christian Talk format, would change its community of license to Johnston and transmit from a tower owned by Clear Channel in Saylorville, using 6kW at 88m. The move would give the station city-grade coverage of most of the Des Moines metro area. (The tower is also used by Clear Channel’s KPTL/106.3 Ankeny.)

To make way for the move, Truth Broadcasting proposes that KPUL/99.5 (Winterset) be moved to 101.7 with no change to its coverage area. The FCC will generally order stations to make frequency changes that don’t involve a change in coverage area to allow other stations to upgrade. KPUL-FM’s potential move would likely force KUNI translator K269EJ/101.7 (Des Moines) to change frequency or leave the air.

KFFF-FM would be the only broadcast station licensed to Johnston, while three other radio stations would remain licensed to Boone. However, FCC rules would not prevent KFFF-FM from targeting its programming to listeners in Des Moines.

North Carolina-based Truth Broadcasting recently bought KFFF-FM and KFFF/1260 from Faith & Freedom Communications in exchange for paying a $20,000 FCC fine for public file violations. (2/8/2010)

Dubuque, IOWA:

Augustana College’s WVIK/90.3 (Rock Island, IL) has improved its signal in Dubuque. The station’s Dubuque translator has moved from 95.7 to 95.9 as K240DZ, moved is transmitter from southwest of town to Finley Hospital, and upgraded from 115W to 153W. A map showing the change is on page 18 of this document. WVIK carries a format of NPR News and Classical music. (2/8/2010)

Cedar Rapids, IOWA:
KCRG-TV/9 (Cedar Rapids) reports that its own building, along with the larger Gazette newspaper building next door, could be the site for the new Cedar Rapids Public Library. The library board voted Thursday (Feb. 4) in favor of moving to the Gazette block. The move still requires approval from the city council and FEMA. The old library was flooded in the 2008 floods, which did not reach the Gazette block. KCRG has been located in the three-story building at 501 2nd Ave. SE since it was built in the 1970’s. (2/4/2010)

Des Moines, IOWA:

KFMG-LP/99.1 (Des Moines) went silent on Jan. 15. The 100-Watt station is licensed to Employee & Family Resources, whose board decided to take the station off the air for financial reasons. EFR is looking for a suitable non-profit organization to take the license. KFMG-LP had signed on in 2007 with a Progressive/Adult Alternative format.  (1/28/2010)

“New 102” (KQNU/102.3 Onawa-Sioux City) was knocked off the air by the weekend storm. The station has posted video of the expedition to its transmitter site in Thurston County, NE on YouTube(1/24/2010)

Indiana-based Calvary Radio Network is buying 31 FM stations and translators from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA for $1 million. The stations include KIHS/88.9 (Adel, IA), K233BT/94.5 (Des Moines), WJWD/90.3 (Marshall, WI), W270AU/101.9 (Madison), and dozens of others in Illinois and Indiana. The asset purchase agreement allows the stations to continue carrying their current network programming.  (1/20/2010)

Cedar Rapids, IOWA:
Clear Channel has dropped Sports at KMJM/1360 (Cedar Rapids) and debuted a Classic Country format in its place. Clear Channel also owns “95-7 Kiss Country” (KKSY Anamosa-Cedar Rapids), which competes with Cumulus’ KHAK/98.1 (Cedar Rapids). Ironically, 1360 was the original home of KHAK. It became KTOF in 1995 with a Christian format, and then switched to KMJM with a Nostalgia format in 2001.  (1/11/2010)

KNEI-FM/103.5 (Waukon) has dropped Citadel’s Real Country format and is now progamming a local country mix using the name “Bluff Country.” The lineup includes Chuck & Sherry from 6-9 a.m., Erik Kelly from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, operations manager Josh Blake from 2 to 8 p.m., and station owner Greg Wennes from 8 p.m. to Midnight. (1/6/2010)

Iowa Public Television will no longer broadcast 24 hours a day effective Jan. 4. The network says it’ll be off the air from Midnight to 5 a.m. as part of its effort to absorb a ten percent state budget cut. IPTV will continue to make its three channels available to Mediacom cable 24/7. To ensure broadcast viewers don’t lose key programming, K-12 classroom programs will be broadcast from 10 p.m. to Midnight on IPTV Learns (.2), and Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley will air at 10 and 11 p.m. on IPTV World (.3). IPTV’s network includes nine full-power and seven low-power/translator stations. (1/4/2010)


Community First Broadcasting will take over operation of nine northwestern Iowa radio stations on Dec. 31. The stations are KUOO/103.9 (Spirit Lake), KUQQ/102.1 (Milford-Spirit Lake), KUYY/100.1 (Emmetsburg-Spencer), KAYL/990 and KAYL-FM/101.7 (Storm Lake), KKIA/92.9 (Ida Grove-Storm Lake), KSOU/1090 and KSOU-FM/93.9 (Sioux Center), and KIHK/106.9 (Rock Valley-Sioux Center). NRG has operated the stations for the past five years and is transferring station assets to Community First Broadcasting. The KKIA and KUYY licenses are currently held by Jim Dandy Broadcasting, while Sorenson Broadcasting holds the rest of the licenses. Sorenson and Jim Dandy are sister companies to Community First Broadcasting, which is headed by CEO Neil Lipetzky, who also operates Dakota Broadcasting in Aberdeen, SD. (12/30/2009)

Cedar Rapids, IOWA:
KZIA, Inc. president and general manager Eliot Keller died Monday (Dec. 28) of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 62. Keller worked in news at WOC AM-TV (Davenport) and WHBF AM-FM-TV (Rock Island, IL) before co-founding KRNA/93.5 (Iowa City, now 94.1) with Rob Norton in 1974. They bought KQCR/102.9 (Cedar Rapids, now KZIA) in 1994, sold KRNA in 1998, and bought KGYM/1600 (Cedar Rapids) in 2006. Keller was inducted to the Iowa Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame earlier this year, and was also an active supporter of passenger rail. (12/29/2009)

Iowa City & Lamoni, IOWA:
Iowa Public Radio reports that Classical station KSUI/91.7 (Iowa City) and News/Talk station KOWI/97.9 (Lamoni) are both operating at very low power due to a buildup of ice on the antennas. The network says the problem may continue for a few weeks. The problem also affects translator K269EK/101.7 (Dubuque), which receives KSUI over the air. (12/24/2009)

Keokuk, IOWA:
Iowa Public Television translator K44AB (Keokuk) has unexpectedly gone silent. The network says the antenna failed during a recent attempt to convert the translator to digital broadcasting. There’s no projected date for the translator to return to the air. In the meantime, IPT is advising Keokuk viewers to attempt to receive the Fort Madison translator, K28JD-D.  (12/24/2009)

Madrid, IOWA:
Northwestern College’s KNWM/96.1 (Madrid) has moved its transmitter closer to Des Moines. KNWM is now transmitting with 6kW/100m from a new tower near Sheldahl, delivering a good signal to the northwestern part of the Des Moines metro, while also keeping Ames in the main coverage area. The station uses a directional antenna to prevent interference to KCOB-FM/95.9 (Newton). KNWM simulcasts a non-commercial Adult Contemporary Christian format with KNWI/107.1 (Osceola). (12/22/2009)

Waterloo, IOWA:
KXGM/850 (Waterloo) went silent Saturday (Dec. 19) and will not return for at least several months. In an FCC filing, owner Extreme Grace Media says the transmitter site on the eastern edge of Waterloo was sold and they’re still looking for a new one. KXGM, formerly KWOF, had been a 500-Watt directional daytimer with a large coverage area across north-central Iowa. It had relayed “89.1 The Spirit” (KXGM-FM Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids), which is still heard on translator K217FT/91.3 (Waterloo).(12/21/2009)

Montezuma, IOWA:
New station KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma) is on the air carrying The “God’s Country” network of Christian Country and Southern Gospel during the day and “Music `Til Dawn” from VCY America overnight. The station uses 1.6kW at 105m and has a good signal to Grinnell. It’s owned by American Radio Missions Foundation, headed by Doug Smiley of Pella. Smiley also heads Horizon Broadcasting, which owns KOJY/106.9 (Bloomfield). KOJY’s format is similar to KRNF’s. (12/21/2009)

Waukon, IOWA:
The FCC has cancelled a $7,000 fine against KNEI-FM/103.5 (Waukon) and replaced it with a $187.50 penalty. The fine had been issued for failure to file a timely license renewal application. KNEI-FM licensee Wennes Communications said it used the online filing system but didn’t realize there was a problem, didn’t receive an FCC staff letter stating that the station’s license had expired, and found the KNEI-FM application still listed as “ready” when it checked the database after receiving staff letters about other stations. The $187.50 penalty amounts to 25 percent of the original filing fee. (12/14/2009)

KGCW-TV/26 (Burlington-Quad Cities) has added “this tv” on channel 26.2. The station continues to carry The CW and syndicated programming on 26.1. (12/11/2009)

KALA/88.5 (Davenport) has increased its power 100-fold, upgrading from 100 to 10,000 Watts. The St. Ambrose University station now transmits from northwestern Davenport but must use a directional antenna to protect existing stations, which limits the signal in the southeastern part of the Quad Cities area. With the upgrade, KALA began HD broadcasting and is now carrying Radio Bilingüe on 88.5-2. KALA/88.5-1 carries a variety of music, including R&B, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and Latin, as well as PRI programs “The Takeaway” and “The World.” KALA continues to be rebroadcast on 43-Watt translator K288CY/105.5, which is licensed to Bettendorf but transmits from Rock Island. (12/8/2009)

Boone, IOWA:
The FCC isn’t backing down on a $20,000 fine against Boone Biblical Ministries, the former licensee of KFFF/1260 and KFFF-FM/99.3 (Boone), for problems with the stations’ public inspection files, including at least twenty missing issues/program lists. The FCC disagreed with arguments that the fine was inconsistent with precendent and that a license renewal application was its first opportunity to disclose the problem and remedial actions taken. Current KFFF AM-FM licensee Faith & Freedom Network is selling the stations to Truth Broadcasting Corp. with the condition that the new owners pay the fine. (12/3/2009)

Denison, IOWA:
There’s a change in the minority owner at M&J Radio Corporation, licensee of KDSN/1530 and KDSN-FM/107.1 (Denison). Phyllis Rohlin is selling her 26 percent interest in the company to Kathy Dudding for $97,007.75. Kathy Dudding is married to M&J majority owner Michael Dudding. They’ve been with the station for sixteen years. (11/30/2009)

Centerville, IOWA:
KMGO/98.7 (Centerville) has asked the FCC to replace its construction permit for an upgrade adding coverage of Des Moines, which expired Friday, Nov. 20. The new application is identical to the expired CP: 94kW at 458m (class C0) from a tower west of Albia. The facility would not provide city-grade (70 dBu) coverage of Des Moines, but it would provide a useable signal to much of the metro. KMGO currently transmits with 100kW/137m (class C1) from a tower near Centerville and carries a Country format. KMGO shares some ownership with KCOG/1400 (Centerville) and KEDB/105.3 (Chariton), the latter of which was purchased after the KMGO upgrade was originally granted. (11/24/2009)

Perry, IOWA:
The FCC has cancelled a proposed $7,000 fine against former KDLS/1310 (Perry) licensee Perry Broadcasting Company, but replaced it with a $187.50 penalty. The fine had been proposed for a late KDLS license renewal filing. Perry Broadcasting argued that it had, in fact, filed for license renewal in 2004, but failed to attach the filing fee and didn’t realize the problem until the license of KDLS-FM/105.5 was renewed, but KDLS’ was not. Perry Broadcasting argued the KDLS license renewal application should have been returned as unprocessable. The FCC responded that the application was not returned because the error was not discovered within thirty days, and that the appropriate action in this case was a penalty equal to 25 percent of the filing fee – $187.50. KDLS/1310 is now owned by Coon Valley Communications, and KDLS-FM/105.5 is owned by Latin Broadcasting Company. (11/19/2009)

Coronet Communications’ WHBF/4 (Rock Island) and WOI-TV/5 (Ames-Des Moines) have signed on UHF translator stations targeting their core markets. Both stations say viewers have had a hard time receiving their signals since they moved digital broadcasting to VHF earlier this year. WHBF’s translator operates with 2.3kW on channel 47 from Rock Island, and WOI-TV’s translator operates with 3.2kW on channel 50 from Des Moines. Coronet’s KCAU/9 (Sioux City) and KLKN/8 (Lincoln) also have construction permits for UHF translators; WOI-TV competitor KCCI/8 has a CP for a translator on channel 31. (11/18/2009)

Ottumwa, IOWA:
Iowa Public Television plans to convert its Lansing translator to digital on Nov. 19, and its Ottumwa translator to digital on Nov. 23. Both will operate at the maximum 15kW allowed for low-power/translator stations. K41AD Lansing will broadcast digitally on channel 38, while K18GU Ottumwa will stay on channel 18. There’s no word when IPT’s other six translators — in Decorah, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Keosauqua, Rock Rapids, and Sibley — will convert to digital, but construction permits have already been granted for the changes. (11/18/2009)

“Lite 104.1” (KLTI Ames-Des Moines) is promoting a flip to all-Christmas music at Noon today (11/13).

Citadel’s “Classic Hits Radio” has changed its name to “Greatest Mojo.” The network, which carries hits of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, was known as “Oldies Radio” until last year. The network has about three affiliates in Iowa. (11/12/2009)


 Longtime Upper Midwest radio reporter Jim Wishner has died of lung cancer at age 61. Wishner’s career included work at WOW/590 (Omaha), WOI/640 (Ames), Minnesota Public Radio, KDAL/610 (Duluth), and The Associated Press. He most recently reported for the Minnesota News Connection and hosted a show on KTNF/950 (St. Louis Park-Minneapolis), which supplied the photo at the right. Services were held Saturday, Nov. 7. (11/8/2009)

Patterson, IOWA:
The FCC has granted KZWF/105.9 (Patterson) an upgrade that could give it rimshot coverage of Des Moines. The station, which was silent at last report, is owned by Connoisseur Media. It’s currently licensed for 900W/12m (class A) and will upgrade to 15kW/129m (class C3) from a site east of Winterset. The city-grade contour 
would not reach Des Moines, but a useable signal would cover much of the capital city and its suburbs. Connoisseur Media also owns KZWU/96.3 (Pleasantville), which recently returned to the air after a year of silence. The two stations had simulcast a Country format as “The Wolf” since signing on early last year.(11/3/2009)

Muscatine, IOWA:
Longtime KWPC/860 (Muscatine) reporter Charles Potter has resigned in an unusual on-air farewell. In a poem, Potter expressed frustration with being called “average” by management despite numerous awards. He had been with the station for twelve years. Potter plans to spend more time with his family and return to his piano-tuning business. (11/2/2009)

Boone, IOWA:
Truth Broadcasting Corp. is buying KFFF/1260 and KFFF-FM/99.3 (Boone) from The Faith & Freedom Network, but the sale is unusual in that there is no purchase price. Instead, Truth Broadcasting will assume responsibility for a $20,000 FCC fine against KFFF and pay for operating losses, up to $20,000 monthly, between October and December 2009. The asset purchase agreement states that Truth Broadcasting does not intend to employ any of Faith & Freedom’s employees. KFFF AM-FM carries a Christian Talk format. Both stations have fringe coverage of Des Moines, though the AM’s signal is a bit stronger in the capital city. Truth Broadcasting is owned by Stuart Epperson of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and owns six stations in North Carolina. The company’s Secretary/Treasurer is Nancy Epperson, who holds an interest in Salem Communications. Faith & Freedom Network is owned equally by James Johnson of Stratford, Fred M. Johnson of Boone, E. William Bean of Aguanga, CA, Paul Gugino of West Chester, OH, and Joel Johnson of Tolland, CT. (10/27/2009)

MINNESOTA: (Mason City, Iowa)
An unusual dual-DTV transmitter operation has ended in southern Minnesota. ABC affiliate KAAL/6 (Austin) had kept its original channel 33 DTV transmitter (224kW) on the air near Austin, even after going on the air on channel 36 (324kW) from the KXLT tower near Grand Meadow earlier this year. Channel 33 left the air last Friday (10/9). Since the new site is 30 miles east of the old one, KAAL has lost significant coverage to the west of Austin but has improved its signal strength in Rochester, the largest city in the market. It has a construction permit for a digital translator on channel 33 to serve Garner and Mason City, IA. (10/12/2009)


Saga Communications, which owns five stations in the Des Moines market, apparently has big plans for an FM translator it’s buying in Ames. K260AM/99.9 is currently licensed for 3 Watts covering Ames, but has now received a construction permit for 250 Watts from Alleman, the major transmission site for the Des Moines market. The new 99.9 would have a rimshot signal to part of Des Moines. K260AM’s application stated plans to rebroadcast Saga’s KSTZ/102.5 (Des Moines), which also transmits from Alleman. Saga is already using translators to relay HD subchannels in markets outside the Upper Midwest. It’s also recently picked up translators in Spencer IA, Yankton SD, and Mitchell SD, where it also has stations. (10/5/2009)

Iowa Public Radio is swapping its two hour-long daytime talk shows effective Monday (10/5). “Talk at 12” will move to 10 a.m. and change its name to “The Talk of Iowa,” focusing on artistic, cultural, and lifestyle topics. “The Exchange,” which focuses on news of the day, will move to Noon. (10/5/2009)

Powell Broadcasting’s KQNU/102.3 (Onawa-Sioux City) has ended the Christmas music stunt and launched its new format: Hot Adult Contemporary/Alternative as “New 102,” positioned as “New Hits, New Energy.” The new format competes primarily with Clear Channel’s “Kiss 107” (Contemporary Hits) and “KG95” (AC). It streams at 102.3, formerly KZSR, had carried an AC format as “Star 102.3” until 2006, when it flipped to Variety Hits. (9/25/2009)

K217FT/91.3 (Waterloo) is on the air with 140W relaying “The Spirit” (KXGM-FM/89.1 Hiawatha-Cedar Rapids), which also simulcasts on daytimer KXGM/850 (Waterloo). KXGM owner Extreme Grace Media bought K217FT from Horizon Christian Fellowship and moved it from Iowa Falls. In recent years, the Contemporary Christian station has also added translators in Iowa City, Mount Vernon, Anamosa, and Dyersville, and plans more translators in Dubuque, Waverly, and Marshalltown. (9/22/2009)

KQNU/102.3 (Onawa-Sioux City) has dropped its “Jack FM” Variety Hits format and is now stunting with Christmas music. The Powell Broadcasting station changed its callsign from KZSR last week. Live streaming is still up at (9/21/2009)

KCCI/8 (Des Moines) has applied for a UHF replacement digital translator. KCCI moved digital broadcasts from channel 31 to 8 earlier this year and says many viewers have been unable to receive the channel 8 signal with indoor antennas. It proposes a 15kW digital translator on channel 31 transmitting from Alleman, the site of all the market’s major stations. A competing station, WOI-TV/5 (Ames-Des Moines), has already received a construction permit for a digital translator on channel 50, transmitting from Des Moines. (9/19/2009)

Saga Communications is buying FM translators in Ames and Yankton from Horizon Christian Fellowship ahead of the FCC’s new rule allowing AM-on-FM translators, though Saga did not state immediate plans to use the translators for AM stations. It will pay $20,000 for K260AM/99.9 (Ames) and $15,000 for K259BV/99.7 (Yankton, formerly K206DQ). For now, Saga says the Yankton translator will be used to rebroadcast WNAX-FM/104.1 (Yankton), while it says it plans to change the source station for the Ames translator but did not say which station would be carried. (9/14/2009)

Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting is buying two northern Iowa FM translators from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $27,500. The translators are K234BK/94.7 (Britt) and K271AI/102.1 (Northwood). Neither station actually provides a strong signal to its community of license (translators don’t have to); K234BK actually serves Forest City while K271AI serves Lake Mills. Minn-Iowa states it plans to rebroadcast KJIA/88.9 (Spirit Lake) on the translators. (9/14/2009)

WQPT (Moline, IL) has added MHz Worldview on channel 24.2. WQPT is the 24th affiliate of the network, which features English-language newscasts from around the world. (9/11/2009)

Nielsen’s new market rankings for the 2009-2010 TV season show no change in ranking for most Upper Midwest markets. Four markets moved up, while three moved down.
Up one: Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney, Sioux City, Rochester-Austin-Mason City, Cheyenne-Scottsbluff
No change: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Omaha, Madison, Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Sioux Falls, Traverse City-Cadillac, La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth, Bismarck, Quincy, Rapid City, Marquette, Mankato, Ottumwa-Kirksville, North Platte
Down one: Des Moines, Fargo
Down two: Quad Cities (8/29/2009)

Kaskaskia Broadcasting is buying translators K295AS/106.9 (Clinton, IA), K233BI/94.5 (Muscatine, IA), and W243BV/96.5 (Casey, IL) from Horizon Christian Fellowship for $20,000. Kaskaskia Broadcasting owns three stations in central Illinois and is owned by Randal J. Miller, who also heads companies which own five other stations in central and western Illinois. Kaskaskia’s application states that the three translators will carry non-commercial stations. (8/11/2009)

KPTM/42.2 (Omaha) has replaced AmericaOne with ThisTV, and continues to air “My Network TV” programming from 7-9 p.m. It had carried AmericaOne during MNT’s off hours since launching in 2006. The station is owned by Pappas Telecasting, which recently made the same move at its Des Moines affiliate (KDMI). However, Pappas’ KPTH/44.2 (Sioux City, IA) is apparently still carrying AmericaOne and MNT. (7/31/2009)

KDMU/106.9 (Bloomfield) has reverted to its former KOJY callsign and is going back to its previous ownership. Horizon Broadcasting had sold the station to Bloomfield Broadcasting, a sister company to the licensee of KMEM/100.5 (Memphis, MO), in 2006 for $450,000. Now, Bloomfield will return the station to Horizon in exchange for cancellation of its debt. 106.9 had carried a Southern Gospel format prior to 2006, when it flipped to Classic Hits. It changed to Oldies earlier this year. Horizon is owned by Douglas Smiley of Pella (90%), Eileen Smiley of Pella (5%), and Stephen Smiley of Van Meter (5%). The three also run American Radio Missions Foundation, which is the permitee of non-commercial KRNF/89.7 (Montezuma). (7/27/2009)

New Vision Television says it expects business as usual at its stations, including KIMT/3 (Mason City), as it undergoes chapter 11 bankruptcy. New Vision received court approval Wednesday to keep all employee pay and benefits intact during the bankruptcy. The company owns 11 stations in 9 markets nationwide, and operates two others under shared services/joint sales agreements. (7/16/2009)

Broadcasting & Cable reports Young Broadcasting has called off its scheduled auction after debtors determined that it was not necessary. Young is in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and owns stations in 11 markets, including ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City). (7/14/2009)

The Tennessean reports that Young Broadcasting will go up for auction on July 14. Young is in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and owns stations in 11 markets, including ABC affiliate WBAY/2 (Green Bay), NBC affiliate KWQC/6 (Davenport), and CBS affiliates KELO-TV/11 (Sioux Falls) and KCLO/15 (Rapid City). The company’s largest station, KRON/4 (San Francisco), has been its biggest problem since losing its NBC affiliation. (7/2/2009)

Iowa Public Radio is cutting nine positions as it completes its reorganization from three separate public radio operations into one. The nine positions amount to 14 percent of IPR’s workforce. Four were already vacant. IPR also says its membership is up seven percent, and it has reduced its reliance on funding from the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University to about one-third of its $6 million budget. The remaining funding comes from underwriting, contributions, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (7/2/2009)

After a few years of experimenting, the FCC has decided to go ahead with allowing FM translators to relay AM stations. The Report and Order has two requirements: that the translators are already authorized and that their 60 dbu signal does not go beyond the AM station’s 2 mv/m contour or 25 miles from the transmitter, whichever is smaller. Stations which are licensed for AM daytime-only operation will be able to provide 24-hour service on the FM translator. The FCC has already been allowing AM-on-FM translators through the use of special temporary authorities, including in Norfolk, NE (WJAG-105.9), Appleton, WI (WSCO-95.3), Berlin, WI (WISS-97.3), and Mauston, WI (WRJC-92.9). Another is planned for Rapid City, SD (KIMM-107.9), and companies which own AM stations have purchased FM translators in Le Mars, IA (96.9), Brainerd, MN (93.7), Hastings, NE (93.7), Mitchell, SD (103.5), De Pere, WI (106.3), and Green Bay, WI (103.5). (7/1/2009)

Iowa Public Radio’s KUNI/90.9 (Cedar Falls) and several smaller stations are reverting to weekend programming similar to what they aired before IPR launched its News network in 2007. Beginning July 10, the stations will add eight hours of music programming on weekend afternoons, displacing “Weekend All Things Considered,” “Travel with Rick Steves,” and repeats of several other shows. “Mountain Stage,” “Thistle and Shamrock,” “etown,” and folk music presented by Karen Impola are returning to the schedule. Full-time News network stations, including WSUI/910 (Iowa City) and WOI/640 (Ames), are not affected by the change. (6/29/2009)

My Network TV affiliate KDMI/19.1 (Des Moines) is now carrying ThisTV instead of AmericaOne in the hours outside of MNT programming. KDMI is actually not currently on the air, but is a remapped subchannel of sister station KCWI-TV/23 (Ames-Des Moines). KDMI-DT had operated as a digital-only station on channel 56 but had to leave that channel on June 12 because it is one of the channels discontinued as part of the digital transition (52-69). KDMI-DT has chosen to move to channel 19, WHO-DT’s old channel, but is not yet ready to begin broadcasts. (6/24/2009)

Independent station KWWF/22 (Waterloo) has gone silent after the digital transition. The silence is not unexpected since KWWF did not have a digital companion channel and owner Equity Media Holdings is in bankruptcy. KWWF was actually still available on cable systems for several days after the digital transition until Equity discontinued the KWWF satellite feed from its Arkansas headquarters. Valley Bank is in the process of buying KWWF, along with a low-power station in Denver and a full-power station in Cheyenne, WY. (6/24/2009)

About 375 low-power and translator TV stations in the Upper Midwest may continue operating in analog after full-power stations switch to digital-only broadcasts on June 12. Congress has not yet set a date for low-power/translator stations to end analog broadcasting, and federal grants have not yet been awarded for stations to make the switch. Most translators are located in rural areas and relay major network programming, while most low-power TV stations are located in metro areas and carry religious, home-shopping, or Spanish-language programming.
Number of analog LPTV/translators:
Iowa 35
Minnesota* 155
Nebraska* 82

For a complete list of analog low-power/translator stations, check the TV Station lists for each state listed at the left. (6/11/2009)

*Offsite. Check the Media Links page for links to this information.

KCVM/96.1 (Hudson-Waterloo) has applied to move to 93.5, though it would keep its current transmitter site and remain 6kW. The reason for the application is not yet clear; no other stations near 96.1 have applied for facility changes. KCVM is owned by Fife Communications and runs an Adult Contemporary format as “Mix 96.1.” (6/10/2009)

Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames have reached a settlement agreement over competing applications for 89.1 in the Gilbert/Story City area. UUFA had already been issued a construction permit for KHOI/88.3 (Story City). It has agreed to transfer KHOI to MICB, in exchange for MICB dropping its application for a new station on 89.1 in Gilbert. UUFA still has a pending application for a new station on 89.1 in Story City, which is expected to be approved as a result of the settlement. 89.1 has more potential for reaching listeners in Ames, though it would be a rimshot signal. 88.3’s signal will be more limited to the north because of the existence of KURE/88.5 (Ames). (6/8/2009)

KAAL, Austin, MN has been granted “Special Temporary Authority” which will allow KAAL to operate the low power television station near Mason City until November 28, 2009. This should allow KAAL enough time to complete the digital process.  (6/7/2009)

The FCC has announced plans to drop the “-DT” suffix from digital TV stations after the transition on June 12, unless individual stations indicate they want to keep the “-DT” callsign. Essentially, stations will revert to their previous analog callsign. Stations that never had an analog counterpart, will keep the “-DT” suffix unless they specifically request a change. (6/4/2009)

Ace Radio Corporation is selling eight construction permits for new stations around the country, including KCOO/103.9 (Dunkerton), to Magnolia Radio Corporation for $1,867,900. Magnolia is owned by Rick Deitrick of Austin, TX. KCOO will provide a rimshot signal to Waterloo from a tower near Readlyn. (6/1/2009)

KWSL/1470 has flipped from Regional Mexican to `60s-`70s Oldies positioned as “Super Hits.” Clear Channel had flipped KWSL to Regional Mexican in 2005. It had been the only Spanish-language station in the area, which the Census Bureau says is about 11 percent Hispanic (Woodbury, Plymouth, Dakota, and Clay Counties). Listeners who want Spanish-language programming may still be able to hear fringe-area signals from KAYL/990 (Storm Lake) or KMMQ/1020 (Plattsmouth-Omaha). KWSL has no direct competitor in the Oldies arena; Powell Broadcasting’s KKMA/99.5 (Le Mars-Sioux City) transitioned from Oldies to Classic Rock in 2004. (6/1/2009)

Iowa Public Radio has signed on KDWI/89.1 (Ottumwa) after more than a year of delays. (The Ottumwa Courier bashed IPR for the delays in a recent editorial.) KDWI carries IPR’s News/Talk service during the day and “Studio One” music programming at night. KUNZ/91.1 (Ottumwa) signed on last year carrying IPR’s Classical network. Previously, the only public radio stations available in Ottumwa were fringe AM signals. The University of Northern Iowa, one of the three universities that is part of IPR, holds a construction permit for KUNE/88.3 (Ottumwa), which could come in handy if the network decides to expand “Studio One” to a full-time network. (5/29/2009)

The Lincoln Journal Star’s Jeff Korbelik reports that KRKR/95.1 went off the air last week. The station had carrying an Adult Contemporary format as “The Breeze.” Owner Richard Chapin told Korbelik he shut off the station for financial reasons, but expects to turn it back on in a few weeks. KRKR has been operated by Three Eagles Broadcasting, which transferred the license to Chapin Enterprises as a qualified intermediary to seek a buyer after Three Eagles absorbed the former Clear Channel group. KRKR has a construction permit to move into the Omaha market on 94.9, licensed to Valley, but the station recently applied to remain on 95.1 in Lincoln but downgrade so that a station in Iowa (KCSI/95.3 Red Oak) can upgrade. (5/28/2009)

VSS Catholic Communications says KBZR/102.7 (Lincoln) could be transmitting from the KPTM tower near Gretna by Sunday, May 31. The move, which includes a community of license change to Papillion, will give 102.7 a strong signal to both Omaha and Lincoln, using 46.1kW/410m (class C1). Chief Engineer Mark Voris has posted pictures of the new transmitter. VSS has been simulcasting its Catholic programming on both KVSS/88.9 (Omaha) and 102.7 since taking over the new facility earlier this year, and continues to seek a buyer for 88.9. (5/26/2009)

KAAL-DT (Austin, MN) is proposing a new digital translator near Mason City, IA, as part of its application to move its main DTV facility from its longtime site west of Austin to a tower near Grand Meadow used by KXLT-DT (Rochester, MN) and KSMQ-DT (Austin). KAAL-DT would move from channel 33 to 36, using the equipment formerly used by KTTC-DT (Rochester) at the Grand Meadow site. (KTTC-DT moved to channel 10 from the stations’ longtime site near Ostrander in February.) KAAL-DT already has special temporary authority to use channel 36 at Grand Meadow and is awaiting approval of a construction permit that will lead to a permanent license. Since the move is 30 miles to the east, KAAL is trying to alleviate concerns about loss of ABC network service to the west. It argues that ABC service will still be available from several existing translators of other stations in southern Minnesota, and proposes adding a new translator in Garner, IA, which may also reach Mason City. KAAL also says it has no measurable viewership in out-of-market counties which will lose service. (5/18/2009)

KZAT/95.5 (Belle Plaine-Tama) has returned to the air. The station had gone silent April 6 due to financial reasons and is being transferred to Farmers & Merchants Bank pending FCC approval. F&M foreclosed on the station and was the high bidder during a sheriff’s sale. (5/18/2009)

The FCC has released a

list  of TV stations eligible to participate in the “analog nightlight,” continuing analog service until as late as July 12 with information on how to convert to digital TV and emergency messages. However, many stations on the list have already ended analog broadcasting. The only Upper Midwest stations listed as having indicated an interest in the nighlight are WCCO-TV/4 (Minneapolis), KSTP-TV/5 (St. Paul), and KETV/7 (Omaha). (5/14/2009)

KCHA-FM/95.9 (Charles City) is now running different day and night formats. The station carries “The Best Mix of the `60s through Today” from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m., and “Today’s Best Music” from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. The change took effect Monday, May 10. (5/12/2009)