The Duluth/Superior radio market is characterized by two striking characteristics — an uncommon number of public-interest stations and an uncommon number of Christian stations. The commercial broadcast signals that fill out the rest of dial are mostly owned by two entities — Midwest Communications and Townsquare Media — although there are a few smaller station owners, like Northwoods Radio and Twin Ports Radio.
WEBC 560 AM is the oldest radio station in the Duluth-Superior market, dating back to 1924. These days it feeds the 106.5 FM translator branded as “Sasquatch 106.5.”
The audio clip above includes commercials broadcast between songs on Nov 18, 1967. In addition to station promos, the clip includes spots for Ski Hut, WEBC / Jeno’s Pizza Battle of the Bands, and the Big Bash with Dave Gordon and the Expressmen.
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.”
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.
There’s something amazing going on at a little community radio station in Two Harbors. If you haven’t heard of KTWH it is most likely due to its recent arrival upon the airwaves and its status as a low-power community radio station. If you live outside of its broadcast range, streaming online will be your only recourse, but it is well worth the effort. It is something I haven’t heard since the advent of FM in the early 1970s. DJs playing music that has merit and meaning rather than having the potential for being the opening theme song for the new CSI, set in Bugtussle, KY.
Minnesota 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The FDL Tribal Newspaper did a story about it in the October 2011 edition, you can click here for a PDF
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.