If a broadcaster or other FCC regulatee has not paid their regulatory fees when they are due, the FCC’s computer system will show a "red light" on the company that owed the fee – and the FCC will not grant any applications filed by that company.  As it is, it can take days, and sometime weeks, to straighten out issues about the non-payment or late payment of fees.  Well, the process may get more difficult in the near future as, according to a Public Notice released today, the FCC is changing its financial system in October – which may make the system unavailable from October 1 through October 18.  Thus, problems with past due fees, and possibly even fees paid in connection with new applications, may not show up in the Commission’s system during that period.  Even for time-sensitive new applications, where the FCC wants to know if the appropriate application fee has been paid before an application is granted, delays may occur.  Thus, the FCC warns applicants to plan their filings accordingly to avoid this period, if possible.

The Public Notice seems to anticipate that fees paid by check, as opposed to using the on-line payment system, will be subject to greater processing delays.  So review the Public Notice, and plan accordingly, to avoid any unnecessary processing delays during this period.