As broadcasters continue to respond to the coronavirus while sometimes juggling work duties with family responsibilities like at-home virtual schooling, it would be easy to overlook regulatory dates and responsibilities. This post should help alert you to some important dates in September that all stations should keep in mind – and we will also provide a reminder of some of the dates to remember in early October. As in any year, as summer ends, regulatory activity picks up – and this year appears to be no different.
Each year, in September, regulatory fees are due, as the FCC is required to collect them before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. We expect that the final amount of those fees, and the deadlines and procedures for payment, should be announced any day. For broadcasters, one of the big issues is whether those fees will be adjusted downward from what was initially proposed by the FCC in their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding. The National Association of Broadcasters has been leading an effort (we wrote about this here and NAB detailed recent meetings between CEO Gordon Smith and members of its legal department with FCC staff here and here) urging the FCC to reduce the amount of fees owed by broadcasters, in part because of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on the industry and in part because the proposed fee structure, which is determined by estimates as to how many FCC staffers are detailed to regulating an industry and the related benefit that industry receives, inaccurately reflects the number of FCC employees who work on radio issues. Look for that decision very soon.
Continue Reading September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: Annual Regulatory Fees, Lowest Unit Rate Window Opening, C-Band Reimbursement, Rulemaking Comments and More