LMA lapses lead to liability for licensee


FCC A coastal South Carolina Class D AM station is getting hit with a Notice of Apparent Liability for three FCC violations. One of them involves the public file – when FCC agents asked about it, people running the station in an LMA were able to find the public file, but were unaware of any instance in which somebody actually put something in it.

The station operates during the daytime only on 1430 kHz with 213 Watts. It’s licensed to Sun City Hilton Head SC, to the west of Hilton Head Island and north of Savannah GA. It puts a primary contour over neither of those two nearby communities.

Among the violations was a knocked-down fence around the station’s tower, providing easy and impermissible access to anybody so inclined; the lack of EAS equipment or logs at the main studio and the aforementioned problems associated with the station’s public file.

The station’s licensee is Walter M. Czura.

According to the FCC, “The LMA operator was unfamiliar with the public inspection file and said that she had never filed anything in the file and that, to her knowledge, the licensee had never been to the main studio to place anything in the file.”

Czura told the FCC that he had personally examined the fence around the tower last summer, a claim the FCC said it found “implausible,” not that it mattered in any case because it was certainly down when they inspected it.

The EAS equipment was said to be in the transmitter building, but that too didn’t matter since it was unconnected, unused and EAS activity was unlogged.

The bill of fail: $7K for the fence, $8K for the EAS problems and $10K for the public file, for a total of $25K. The FCC added on reporting conditions, requiring testimony on penalty of perjury that all matters have been set right.

RBR-TVBR observation: A licensee can lease the right to run a station’s sales, programming or routine administrative operations, but can never ever farm out the task of keeping the station in regulatory good graces.


  1. WNFO is not licensed to Sun City Hilton Head. The tower in question is approximately six miles from the community. It is more closely located to Ridgeland, SC and Okatie, SC.

    The Sun City Hilton Head Community Association represents the 13,500 property owners and residents of Sun City Hilton Head.

    SCHHCA maintains no affiliation or relationship with Mr. Czura or WNFO-AM.

    • Hi, Martin, thanks for your comment. I just rechecked the city of license for this station, and it is indeed Sun City-Hilton Head.
      The tower does not have to be within a city of license, the station need only put a primary contour over the city of license to be within the rules. Many times, you will find a station licensed to a community on the outer fringe of an Arbitron-rated city, with a tower that gets as close to the city while still covering the city of license as possible.

      • Dave,
        Thank you for the fact check. I’m not familiar with the FCC application requirements and would appreciate the clarification. Need a “licensed city” be an incorporated municipality? As such, Sun City Hilton Head is not incorporated as a city, but a private community association.


  2. I’m not an expert — but getting a slot for a new station is a lengthy and involved process, and often so is the process for moving an existing station. However, I don’t think there is any requirement that a community of license be incorporated, but an applicant must be able to show that it is a significant and distinct community based on things I’ve seen over the years. (Post office? Shopping? Stuff like that?) In this case, the station may have been shooting for a dual-community designation — but you seem to have a better handle on that than I do here some distance away.

    You may want to poke around at fcc.gov and see if you can find any help there. Good luck!

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