Licensee cannot duck fine by blaming LMA partner


WNFO-AM Sun City Hilton Head SC was hit with a triple-header fine, and when the bill of not-so-goods was added up it owed a penalty of $25K. Licensee Walter Czura asked that the fine be cancelled or reduced, but failed to find a sympathetic ear at the FCC.

The fines were for a downed section of fencing that allowed access to the station’s tower ($7K), a lack of operational EAS equipment ($8K); and failure to produce the station’s public inspection file on request ($10K).

In asking for the cancellation or reduction, Czura noted that the fence was fixed and the EAS equipment operational. The FCC did not find fixing a problem to be a reason to reduce a fine – it is a requirement if the licensee wants to retain the license. So there was no reduction for either.

On the matter of the public file, Czura said that a complete file was in existence, and was in the possession of an individual who was operating the station under an LMA. He said “…why she did not show them to you is beyond any explanation by me.”

This too did not generate any sympathy from the FCC. In the first place, Czura produced no evidence of a complete file to back up his claim, and added that even if he had, it wouldn’t matter. The FCC said it is undisputed that the file was not made available when asked for, and that is a $10K infraction.

So the $25K stands and has moved from the Notice of Apparent Liability stage to a Forfeiture Order.

Editor’s note: Call signs fixed per confirmed note from alert reader — Thanks!



  1. The Local Marketing Agreement did not have a section allowing the owner to pass fines through to the LMA operator with an additional fine from the owner for failing to do what the LMA should have done?

  2. While it is permissible for a LMA contract to require reimbursement of any FCC fines incurred during the LMA term, it is NOT permissible for the licensee to convey responsibility for compliance with FCC rules.

    By law, compliance rests SOLELY with the licensee. It is also a requirement that the licensee have a “general manager” who keeps regular hours on site. Compliance rests with that GM.

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