Today, the FCC released an Order announcing the rules for the regulatory fees that will be due in September. The exact dates for filing will be announced in a subsequent public notice. But today’s Order sets out the amount of the fees that will be due for broadcasters and other services.
For AM stations, these fees will range from $400 to $7375, depending on the Class of Station and the population that the FCC estimates that the station serves. For FM stations, the rates range from $575 to $9750. UHF Television stations will owe between $1775 to $20,750, while VHF stations will pay between $3400 and $64,775. Satellite television stations, which simply rebroadcast the signals of other stations, need pay only $1150.
All fees are based on the status of the station as of October 1, 2005. So stations which have upgraded in the interim, or have gone from a construction permit to a licensed station after that date, will not have to pay for their new facilities until next year. However, even if there has been a change in ownership since October 1, 2005, the current licensee is responsible for the fee.
In recent years, the FCC has become very aggressive in enforcing the regulatory fee filing requirement. Being one day late with a fee will result in a 25% penalty. And, if the fees and penalties are not paid after the FCC gives the licensee notice, no applications for the licensee will be accepted or processed until the fees have been paid. That requirement has delayed the processing of innumerable applications in the last few years.
The FCC will be mailing notices to each licensee in the coming month, setting out how much each station owes. Be sure that the FCC has the correct address for the station licensee, as the FCC places the obligation on the licensee to ensure that addresses in the Commission’s database are accurate. If the address is not accurate, and a notice goes to the wrong place, the FCC will not view that as an excuse for a late payment.
So be ready for the September filing.