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Radio Stations Posts

Duluth relay of the Current moving to full-power frequencies

Minnesota Public Radio is moving the Duluth relay of its Twin Cities album-oriented alternative music station, the Current, to full-power frequencies at 104.3 and 94.1 FM.

The switch to 104.3 is already in effect; 94.1 will be in operation later this summer.

The tower for 104.3 is in Two Harbors. Broadcasting with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts, the signal reaches Duluth’s eastern neighborhoods, but begins to break up in the Downtown area and is marred by static in most locations southwest of Lake Avenue.

Jen Keavy, senior communications manager at MPR, said the “reach is dependent upon topography and proximity to the tower in Two Harbors, which is why we will also launch 94.1 (which is in Duluth) once technical upgrades are made. It will help cover the gaps in the Duluth area.”

MPR purchased the two stations from Red Rock Radio for $300,000 in a deal that closed May 15. Both frequencies use the call letters KZIO and were previously branded by Red Rock as 94X “pure rock.”

Radiophiles and Sportphiles

Fill me in; educate me. Local FM sports station, 92.1 WWAX, a KFAN affiliate known as “The Fan,” recently sold. Before and after the sale the station’s Duluth airspace remains stale with on-air talent imaging bites that are very old. After sale, IDs are played saying the station is owned by Red Rock Radio Corporation … but it was sold. Finally, too many dead, off-air minutes or hours. What gives? I wrote to both owners when they were in charge, no responses. I like radio, I’m a dinosaur in that respect. Even dinosaurs don’t like listening to “old-time radio” imaging bites over and over and over again.

The Current to launch broadcast relay station in Duluth

The Current logoMinnesota Public Radio announced in a news release today that Duluthians will soon be able to hear its album-oriented alternative music station, the Current, on 90.9 FM. A mix tape of music by artists from northern Minnesota began airing on the station today. At 9:09 a.m. on Feb. 1 the switch will flip to the Current’s live broadcast from the Twin Cities.

The low-power station will broadcast at about 99 watts, with an expected coverage area spanning from Hermantown to Superior. MPR purchased the 90.9 FM spot on the dial in 2015 from Family Stations, a national Christian network, which had aired programming as W215CG.

Sports on Traditional Duluth Radio

Where can one get a regular and accurate list of the location “on the dial” of live sports on radio? I have found the Duluth News Tribune sports page wanting.

High School Hockey on Local Radio

Yes, I’m a sports fan, I enjoy ice hockey, and I go to the state high school tournament often. Now time for the whining.  Why are two local sports stations broadcasting the same high school hockey game live (e.g., Jan. 29)? This is not the first time. Both 560 and 1490 have it and 1490 is the “home of the Minnesota Wild” in these parts. The Wild have a game this evening, which would be on 1490, that I assume will be preempted or joined in progress. One station for the high school game tonight is enough. My suggestion: Trade off or put Wild game on another station owned by whatever radio group. Looking forward to reading comments and other views on this situation.

Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current?

Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current? What would it take to get one?

The Duluth Local Show on Local Current

I’m happy to say that I’ve been given the chance to share some Duluth music with a much wider audience than can hear my current radio program on KUWS. (And by “Duluth music” I mean everything from the Iron Range to the South Shore.)

The show will air on the Local Current stream on Wednesdays (starting tomorrow, March 27) at noon and will be rebroadcast on Thursdays at 11 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m.

In order to put on the best local show I can – I’m gonna need your music if you’re in a band. We’ve got some 180+ acts playing Homegrown this year alone and I can tell you that I don’t have recordings from more than half of them. This is a call to bands from the region to send me your CDs/vinyls and/or high-quality digital downloads for me to potentially play on the Duluth Local Show.

KUMD’s the Basement on mtvU

KUMD’s student-run programming, the Basement, will be featured on mtvU’s College Radio Countdown beginning tomorrow. We’ll celebrate our national television debut with a premiere party on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:30-9:00 pm in the UMD Lake Superior Hall Lobby.

KUMD students produced a fun one-minute video to introduce the mtvU audience to KUMD and Duluth; it starts with a broadcast from a local ice fishing house. The video will introduce our ten video picks of songs that represent the sound of the Basement, including two Minnesota artists, Trampled by Turtles and Polica.

In addition, KUMD’s Music Directors picked five local videos to be featured on mtvU’s tumblr; our first pick, Brian Barber’s brilliant video for the Black-eyed Snakes’ “Rise Up,” has already been posted and more will follow each day this week.

In the Duluth area mtvU is available on digital cable channel 327 and the show will also be available online at www.mtvu.com.

“The Moon” 89.1 FM WGZS

Fond du Lac Band’s 89.1 FM WGZS “The Moon” was one of several Native American Radio stations mentioned in a report on MPR News this morning. I have been aware that the station was coming to the airwaves for over a year now and I have been listening randomly since it signed on in September. They are literally building the station from the ground up, and a week or so ago I noticed that the budding station had powered up enough to reach much of Duluth. It’s occasionally scratchy but I can pick it up at home in the Hillside and around town in the vehicle.

To me, it’s awesome. It’s very raw, and real. There are no commercial interruptions which is enough to recommend it right there (not that there is anything against commercial radio). The programming consists mainly of 70s and 80s rock, although when it signed on in September, it seemed to be dominated by deep Motown and soul cuts from the 60s. And just yesterday I was listening and there was some old time country. Really, it’s random. There are always some traditional Native American tracks sprinkled in and I expect more and more homegrown music and public affairs programming as they get their footing. From what I’ve personally observed, spoken word programming consists mainly of an introduction to Ojibwe language (priceless) and I did hear one interview about a community event that was upcoming. My recommendation is to set 89.1 FM on your car or home presets and give it some time.

PDF of October FDL Tribal Newspaper which includes an article about WGZS

The FDL Tribal Newspaper did a story about it in the October 2011 edition, you can click here for a PDF

Radio WAKX 1320: The Twin Ports’ pace-setting leader

Via Bob Halverson, here’s another old Duluth radio jingle.

WAKX 1320

Hey, someone had to lead at setting the pace.

Related link: Bob’s initial post about local jingles.

Looking for WIGL Jingles

WIGL radio was a daytime Top-40 music station covering the Duluth-Superior market from 1961 to 1964. I am a collector of radio jingles, and have many from WEBC and a couple of early WAKX ones. However, WIGL has been elusive. I e-mailed Lew Latto about it (who owned the station for a while), and he regretfully replied that he was unable to help me. I know some people taped the radio back then (I did) — maybe there’s an aircheck out there with a WIGL jingle or two.  I remember they had purple promo signs on the backs of the city buses during that era, and their jingles always ended with “Wiggle!!!” Posting this in case somebody is unknowingly sitting on a piece of Duluth-Superior broadcasting history.

Another Station Change

After yet another radio format switch I find myself wondering the reason for it all, and when it will end.  I must admit, the Bridge was one of the few stations left that I could stand to listen to.

Upper Midwest Broadcasting Station News reports:

Midwest Communications’ KDAL-FM/95.7 (Duluth) has dropped its “Bridge” Adult Alternative format and is now carrying Rock of the 1970s, `80s, and `90s as “Rock 96.”

What are everyone’s thoughts?

92.1 Lite FM now “Nu 92”?

It looks like local radio stations aren’t done changing formats yet. I turned my car radio on this morning and saw that 92.1 Lite FM is now “Nu 92” and appears to be another top 40 station. Can anyone else confirm? Did this happen a while ago and I just never noticed? More importantly, why on earth do we need three top 40 stations?!

102.5 has changed formats … again?

I like to listen to Bob and Tom on the way into work. Today on my way home I thought the song they were playing was a bit odd for a classic rock station. They then announced the call letters as KDWZ or something like that. I cannot find any info on the Midwest Communications site. Does anyone know anything about this transition, and if they will keep Bob and Tom in the morning? From the two songs I heard it seemed to be another top 40 station. I think it’s a bit humorous that 102.5 has come full circle from KZIO in the mid ’90s. Somehow I doubt “Album Side Thursday” will survive this transition which is a bit of a shame.

What about the Current in Duluth??!!

The MPR website recently announced a new expansion of the Current station to St. Peter. Not that I don’t love some of the stations we have around here, but it really makes me feel even further from the cultural scene to not have access to all three MPR stations. As a yearly supporter of MPR it doesn’t seem fair. If there’s anyone out there who agrees, please join me in writing to MPR to let them know how we feel.