The FCC today released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for public comment on its proposed Regulatory Fees for 2008.  These fees are paid annually by most commercial entities that are regulated by the FCC for the privilege of being regulated.  Noncommercial broadcasters are exempt from the fees.  The fees are normally paid in August or September, during a period of several days that will be established by the Commission after receiving comments on this proposed fee schedule.  The fees for broadcasters are, as they seemingly always do, increasing.  The Commission is also asking for comment on one specific change in how broadcast fees are collected, asking if it should collect fees from AM station licensees who have expanded band stations for both the expanded band station and the in-core channel, if the licensee is still operating both.  Currently, fees are only paid once by expanded band licensees. 

Broadcast fees are based on Class of Service and the population covered by a station.  For AM stations, the proposed fees are to increase from $400 per station for the least powerful stations in the smallest market to $450, and from $7275 for high-powered stations in the largest markets  to $7925.  For FM stations, the least powerful stations in the smallest markets are proposed to increase from $575 to $600.  For high power stations in big markets, the increase is from $9125 to $10,200.  For TV stations, the fees range from $1875 for a UHF station in the smallest markets, up to $69,400 for a VHF station in the largest markets, up from $1750 and $64,300 last year. 

The Commission has also indicated its intent to mail notifications of the amounts of the fees owed by each broadcaster to the address it has on file in the FCC’s CDBS database.  All broadcasters would be well advised to review the database to insure that their address is correct, so that these notices, and any other correspondence that the FCC may send on this or any other issue, arrives at the right place.  You can access CDBS to see the address on file for your station by entering your call letters in the top box on this page, and hitting the Submit Station Search button lower on the page.  When you get the results, hit the Click for Details link, and you should be able to see the address that the Commission has for your station. 

Comments on the proposed fees are due on May 30, 2008.  Replies are due on June 6.  Then watch later in the summer for the order setting the date by which the fees must be paid.