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Trouble Hearing KXEL?

Friday, Jan, 24 2014

If you’ve been having difficulty picking up the KXEL signal since 7:30 or so Monday morning, it’s not your radio, it’s us.

A capacitor in a phaser cabinet in KXEL’s main transmitter has gone bad which causes arcing.  That arcing inside the transmitter cabinet progressively burned up the capacitor.




The arcing occurred while we were in our daytime pattern, so we are running our nighttime pattern to avoid the arcing and at reduced power to obey FCC regulations.  We’re waiting on a replacement part as I write this.

KXEL is a directional AM station, meaning our signal has day and night patterns.  The day pattern is more circular around the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.  The night pattern is more north, east and west and reaches 24 states and 4 provinces in Canada.  Because we are operating on the night pattern, KXEL listeners in Iowa City, Washington, Grinnell, Newton and Des Moines are having difficulty hearing us.

Equipment breakdowns are never convenient.  It annoys listeners and primes the pump of conspiracy theorists who want to blame President Barack Obama or the NSA.  Really?  Think it through.

Enough negativity!  Some great things have occurred since Woodward Communications purchased KXEL, KWLO, KOKZ and KFMW in 2012.

We have back-up generators at our studios in downtown Waterloo and at our transmitter site.  We’ve added a back-up transmitter too.  Something KXEL hasn’t had in decades.





We’ve also added new processing and surge suppression to protect both the transmitters and the building equipment from lightning and surges in the electrical grid.  

It’s not an easy job keeping all the equipment it takes to operate four radio station up and running.  Kudos to our chief engineer Mark Schumacher for all he does to keep us on the air.  It’s often a thankless job.  Thanks, Mark, for keeping the transmitter and all our equipment humming!

posted by: Dennis Lowe 2 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Congratulations, Gary Rima!

Monday, Jan, 13 2014

On January 9th, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame announced its national and state award winners.

In Iowa, UNI radio play-by-play announcer Gary Rima, host of KXEL’s On Press Row with the Sports Guy, won his second Sportscaster of the Year Award.  Gary will receive his award during the 55th Annual NSSA Awards Weekend, June 7-9 in Salisbury, NC.  Long-time network play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and ESPN’s Rick Reilly, a long-time columnist with Sports Illustrated, have been elected to the NSSA Hall of Fame.

I’ve known Gary since our days together at KOEL in the mid-1980s.  His passion for UNI athletics is contagious.  He’s had a tremendous impact on growing the Panther fan base.  You can’t go to the UNI-Dome or McLeod Center and not see signs of his signature catch phrases – “Oh Baby”…”Ka-Boom” and “Ka-Bullseye.”

I’m proud to call you friend.  Proud of the work you do for Learfield Sports and Panthers Sports Properties.  Even prouder to have you share your talents with us weekdays at 5 p.m. on News/Talk 1540 KXEL!

If you haven’t already, congratulate Gary on a job well done!  He can be reached via email at onpressrow@kxel.com.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Happy New Year!

Friday, Jan, 3 2014

Happy New Year!

I have no idea what 2014 has in store for me personally or professionally, but I am excited about the prospects.

From a programming standpoint, we’ve made one change.  As of January 1st, The Jim Bohannon Show replaces The Savage Nation in the 9 p.m. to midnight slot.  In short, Michael Savage moved his show to the 2 to 5 p.m. time slot.  KXEL has aired Sean Hannity at that time since 2001.  Hannity has a larger audience and attracts more advertisers than Savage, so it was an easy decision for us to stick with Hannity.  We could have left Savage on at 9 p.m., but I don’t like tape-delaying programs.  Especially one that would be 7 hours old by the time it aired.  That’s pretty reckless in a time of 24-hour news cycles.  Things happen too fast and news breaks at all hours.

Another big change is coming March 1st.  More on that later.

I wish all of you a safe, healthy and happy 2014!

posted by: Dennis Lowe 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Feeling Nostalgic At Christmas

Wednesday, Dec, 25 2013

I’m not much of a dreamer.  Let me clarify that.  I dream of winning the lottery and disappearing into the Wisconsin Northwoods.  When I say I not much of a dreamer, I mean that I rarely dream when I sleep.

That wasn’t the case Christmas Eve.  I’ve been feeling very nostalgic this Christmas.  I've been thinking of friends and relatives spending their first Christmas without a loved one.  My parents spend the winters in Florida, so my family celebrates our family Christmas when we gather for Thanksgiving.  So Christmas reminds me of the way it used to be, when I was a child.

Back to the last night’s dream.  It was set in my childhood.  Pre-1970 I assume.  We were celebrating Christmas at the home of my maternal grandparents.  I say pre-1970 because my grandmother was there and she died in January of that year.  I was playing in the basement with my cousins.  My California cousins were there too, which rarely happened as my uncle was in the Army and stationed overseas.  Later in the dream, I was older and we were at my paternal great-grandparents home.  I was a bit older, but all my paternal relatives were there.  My great grandfather was teasing everyone (probably where I get that from), but I don’t remember much else.  Yet, I swear I could smell my great grandma's cooking.  Her house always smelled like fresh-baked something!  Those Christmases are the best I’ve experienced and remember with great fondness.

I’ve always felt I was lucky to be born into the family I have.  Time and miles can’t come between my relatives and I.  I know that isn’t the case for a lot of families.

Even though I won’t be with my family this Christmas Day, they’re with me.  Always will be.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

posted by: Dennis Lowe 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Report Card for 113th Congress

Saturday, Dec, 21 2013

A Guest Commentary by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

As the first session of the 113th Congress ends, year-end performance reviews are under way.  Public opinion of Washington is remarkably low.  The mismanaged roll out of the federal health insurance website and broken promises from the President have frustrated many Americans.  A shortsighted decision by the Senate Majority Leader to trample on minority party rights has likely poisoned the well for sweeping bipartisan achievements in the U.S. Senate.

Still, rank-and-file lawmakers in Congress continue working on the people’s business that affects the lives of ordinary families, workers, farmers, students, soldiers, veterans and retirees.  From keeping rural health care and higher education accessible to hardworking Iowa families; to championing renewable energy that’s good for consumers, the environment and economy; balancing intelligence-gathering with privacy rights; or, challenging the administration’s decision to sweep the trafficking and sale of illicit drugs under the prosecutorial rug, I’m working to make sure the nation’s public policies square with the principles of good governance and proper stewardship of tax dollars.

As a member of the Senate Budget, Agriculture, Finance committees, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the International Narcotics Control and Foster Youth caucuses, I’ve participated this year in scores of congressional oversight, nomination and legislative hearings to advance economic and social policies that build upon America’s landscape of opportunity, mobility and prosperity.  Whereas many in Washington seem to believe that redistributing wealth and raising taxes magically will solve income inequality, cure global warming and achieve world peace, the fact is that Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Washington needs to take less so that Americans can do more spending and investing with their hard-earned money to create jobs and prosperity.

It’s frustrating this Congress busted the spending caps agreed to in August 2011.  Although Washington won’t face a government shutdown after the New Year, it’s irresponsible to raise an additional $63 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, but spend it all over the next two years.  These kinds of budget agreements contribute towards the $17 trillion national debt hanging over the taxpaying public’s head.

Here are a few items of business I’m working on to try to make a difference in how government serves “We the People.”

·         Strengthening whistleblower protections.  Washington can’t afford to weaken incentives that encourage civil servants and private sector contractors to come forward with information about waste, fraud and abuse. Congress needs to step up oversight as tax dollars flow throughout the federal bureaucracy and the courts need to stop diluting whistleblower protections. A provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act to protect military whistleblowers from retaliation. Much more needs to be done, including passage of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bipartisan bill to root out sexual assault in the military.

·         Vetting nominees.  Whether it’s the IRS, Homeland Security or lifelong appointments to serve on the federal bench, members of the U.S. Senate have the constitutional duty of advice and consent.  Scrutiny of these nominees is an integral function of our republic’s system of checks and balances that demands more than rubber-stamp approval.

·         Promoting sibling connections and beefing up child support enforcement.  I’m working to secure bipartisan legislation that would help siblings retain ties with one another when a child is placed in foster care or parental rights are terminated.  Moreover, the bill moving through Congress would give states more tools to recover money that family courts have determined is owed to custodial parents.

·         Championing renewable energy.  It’s disappointing the Obama administration has proposed rules that would roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2014.  From rental income earned from wind farms to the market value boost for Iowa commodities, policies such as the wind energy and biodiesel tax credits and the RFS have helped foster job creation and economic growth to the rural economy.  I’ll continue beating the drum in Congress to scuttle Big Oil’s efforts to dismantle America’s renewable energy policy.

·         Reforming farm payment system.  My efforts to install payment caps that limit how much individual farmers may receive per year were included in the Senate and House versions of the farm and food bill.  Reasonable limits are needed to keep the farm safety net defensible, especially as Congress considers sizable savings in nutrition assistance spending.

·         Cracking down on patent trolls.  A legislative remedy is necessary to curb the prevalence of abusive patent litigation.  The budding patent troll phenomenon is forcing businesses to divert scarce resources towards settlement or litigation that would otherwise be channeled towards innovation, research, development, job creation or expansion.  I’m working on legislation that would strengthen the integrity of the U.S. patent system that has allowed innovators and inventors to flourish and prosper for generations.

·         Securing access to rural health care, increasing oversight and expanding transparency of Medicare payments.  During committee mark-up of a must-pass Medicare physician payment bill, I secured bipartisan amendments that would make permanent a payment index that helps Iowa providers receive fair reimbursement relative to medical providers in other parts of the country; continue the Medicare-dependent hospital program to recognize the valuable service these hospitals serve in their low population areas; beef up independent investigation and oversight of Medicare spending; and establish a free, searchable Medicare payment database.

Regardless of the overall record of the 113th Congress, my work in the U.S. Senate is full steam ahead as the new year begins.  My nose is to the grindstone in Washington, and I’m launching my 34th annual 99-county road trip for meetings with Iowans.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 4 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


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