Radio licensee can’t sell what no longer exists


Broadcast TowerThe FCC has slapped the dreaded “D” in front of the call letters for WLMA(AM) Greenwood SC – when it reads DWLMA(AM) that means the call letters are deleted and the station no longer exits legally. The station’s troubles date back to 8/1/95 – the day upon which it should have already filed for license renewal but failed to do so.

The laundry list of violations by station licensee Morradio Inc. is awesome enough that the FCC actually abandoned its dry bureaucratic prose style in its release of the proceeding and indulged in a little mild snarkiness.

The fact that Morradio survived one failure to renew and then, in 2003, repeated it, caused the FCC to write, “Apparently not having remembered the past, Morradio again failed to file a renewal application for the Station.”

Other violations included operating without authorization, operating from a transmitter site that was some 10 miles away from its licensed TL, failure to power down after sunset, and lack of EAS equipment.

Use of the incorrect transmission location led to a bit more mild snark from the FCC, which wrote, “On September 15, 1998, the District Office verified that the Station was still transmitting from the unauthorized location, despite the fact that it at that point had no authority to be on the air at all, let alone from an unauthorized location about which it had already received two Notices of Violation.”

The first time Morradio was caught at the wrong location, it was hit with a $4K forfeiture. That was bumped up to $12K the second time. In fact, given the number of violations found at the station, it is a wonder that the total fine was this low.

Eventually, the licensee filed to sell the station for $75K and filed yet again for a new license. But the FCC went into snark mode one more time. Describing the failure to broadcast according to terms of the license, the FCC wrote, “In this case, Morradio engaged in unauthorized operation of the Station, not for 12 consecutive months, but for nearly 12 consecutive years after it had received a second forfeiture for that very violation…”

The bottom line: The FCC determined the license to be invalid as of 12/3/97; all applications to modify the station and sell it are denied; the station is nonexistent; and the licensee is reminded that it is still responsible to make sure the station’s tower follows the rules so as not to endanger aviation traffic until such time as it is taken down.