annual regulatory fees

As is the case with most months, June brings a number of FCC deadlines for broadcasters, both standard regulatory filings and comment deadlines in important regulatory proceedings. The regular filing deadlines include license renewal applications due on June 3 (as June 1 is a Saturday) for Commercial and Noncommercial Full-Power and Class A Television Stations, TV Translators, and LPTV Stations in Ohio and Michigan; and Commercial and Noncommercial AM and FM Radio Stations, FM Translators, and LPFM Stations in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada. Noncommercial stations in the states with renewals also have to file their Biennial Ownership Reports, as do noncommercial radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Renewal pre-filing announcements must begin on June 1 for Commercial and Noncommercial Full-Power and Class A Television Stations in Illinois and Wisconsin and for Commercial and Noncommercial AM and FM Radio Stations in California. Post-filing announcements for radio stations in Texas should continue on June 1 and 16, as well as for TV stations in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In addition to these regular filings, broadcasters also have many other deadlines that are coming up either in the month, or soon thereafter. Broadcasters who were successful bidders in the recent FM auction have payment deadlines on June 12, and then have a July 24 deadline for the filing of "long-form" applications on FCC Form 301 specifying the technical facilities that they plan to build (see the FCC Public Notice here). Applicants for new FM translators left over from the 2003 filing window are now in a settlement window, with deadlines for settlements between competing applicants due on July 22 (see the FCC public notice here). Continue Reading June FCC Obligations for Broadcasters – Renewals, EEO, FM Translator and Auction Filings, and Comments on Regulatory Fees, Indecency, and Incentive Auction Band Plan

FCC Annual Regulatory Fees are due to be submitted to the FCC by 11:59 PM on September 13, 2012, according to a series of public notices issued by the FCC.  The FCC’s Public Notice providing the instructions for broadcaster’s fees is available here. As set forth in that notice, the Commission will no longer be mailing a reminder to broadcasters about these fees, so stations need to remember their obligations on their own.  The FCC’s website, www.fccfees.com , will provide information about the fee filing process and the amounts that stations owe.  The amount of the obligations are based on the class of the station and the population within the station’s coverage area. 

Fees are computed as of October 1, 2011, the start of the FCC’s last fiscal year.  For stations that have in the last year received upgraded their facilities, or built out new construction permits for new stations, the fees are still paid based on the status of the station as of October 1, 2011.  Stations pay fees not only for their main licenses, but also for boosters, translators and auxiliary stations (e.g. STLs).  Parties who have financial hardship or other reasons that they cannot pay the fees can ask for a waiver.  Another public notice sets out the standards for a waiver showing. Continue Reading FCC Sets Deadline for Annual Regulatory Fees – September 13, 2012

The FCC just released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish the regulatory fees to be paid by each of the entities that it regulates. Each year, before the FCC collects its annual regulatory fees from broadcasters and other entities subject to its oversight, it asks for comments on the amount of those fees.  This year, as has been the case in most of the past few years, there are few changes proposed in this Notice, thought the Commission does promise to issue additional rulemakings later this year, looking to readjust fees to take into account changes in the communications industry since these fees were first imposed almost 20 years ago.  Look, for instance, for a change to be proposed in the relative fees for UHF and VHF stations, which still reflect the analog world where VHF stations were more valuable. 

But any fundamental changes in the fees won’t be effective until 2013.  Essentially, the NPRM proposes just minor changes in fees so that the FCC can collect its 2012 fees in September.  The NPRM basically makes very small adjustments in the fees for broadcast stations, which are based on population coverage, to include numbers based on 2010 census data.  The fees proposed for broadcasters are set out below.  Comments on these proposals are due on May 31, with replies on June 7.  The exact dates on which these fees will be collected will be announced after the conclusion of this rulemaking proceeding.Continue Reading FCC Proposes Regulatory Fees for 2012

The FCC has announced the final amount of its regulatory fees for FCC Fiscal Year 2011 – fees that will be due during a window not yet announced – but likely sometime in late August or September.  The Fees, set out below, are pretty much identical to those that were proposed in May, when the FCC sought comments on these fees.  The procedures for filing will be much the same as in the recent past, though the FCC did make a few clarifications on some issues affecting broadcasters.  These issues include the following:

  • The FCC will no longer mail notices to broadcasters about their fee obligations.  Instead, stations will need to go to the FCC website to verify the amount of the fees they owe.  Look for the site containing that information to be live in the next few weeks.
  • The FCC decided that LPTV and TV translator stations that operate both analog and digital facilities during their digital transition will pay only one fee.  As we wrote last week, that transition will end (barring reconsideration or other review of last week’s order) for stations operating on Channels 52-69 at the end of the year, and will end in 2015 for all other LPTV and TV translator stations. 
  • The FCC promised to start a new rulemaking before the end of the year to reassess the allocation of the regulatory fee burden.  Within the broadcast industry, that would mean looking at issues such as whether VHF television stations should pay more than UHF stations for their fees – when in the digital world, most think that UHF channels are actually more valuable than those on the VHF band.  But, with potentially more impact, the FCC would look at rebalancing its fees over all the different industries that it regulates. Congress gives the FCC a specific amount of fees that it must raise from all of the industries that it regulates.  The percentage that broadcasters pay has been unchanged for many years.  The FCC is going to review that allocation to assess how business in the various industries have changed to see how those allocations should be changed in the future.

The FCC also reminded broadcasters that they needed to make the payments on time to avoid late fees and interest charges.  Broadcasters pay fees based on a station’s status as of October 1, 2010.  Thus, a station that was an unbuilt CP as of October I, 2010, but has subsequently been constructed, still pays the CP fee for this year.  The same goes for stations that have received upgrades in the period after October 1 – they pay only the amount due for their status as of October 1, 2010.  However, if a station has changed ownership since October 1, the new owner is still the one liable for the fee payment.  The broadcast regulatory fees for this year are set forth below:Continue Reading FCC Sets Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2011 – Look for August or September Payment Deadline

The FCC has announced the due date for their Annual Regulatory Fees – September 22.  We wrote about the amount of those fees here, and have just published an advisory summarizing some of the filing details.  Our Davis Wright Tremaine Advisory on these fees is available here.  Being even one day late with

The FCC has released its Order setting the amounts of the annual regulatory fees for broadcasters – though the window for making those payments has not yet been set.  Look for that window to be set in the near future, as payments will probably be due in September.  Broadcast fees are based on the class of facility and the population covered by the station.  All fees are based on the status of the station as of October 1 of 2008.  Click on "continue reading" below to see the amount of the fees to be paid by broadcasters. 

In its order, the FCC declined a request to broaden the categories of broadcast stations that were suffering from financial hardship justifying a waiver of the rules.  Stations seeking a financial hardship waiver must provide the FCC with sufficient financial information, including profit and loss statements and a showing of how much the station’s owners were receiving as compensation, for the Commission to make a determination that the payment of the fees would pose an undue hardship on the station.  The FCC did say that bankruptcy or receivership, or the fact that a station was silent or dark, would be viewed as evidence of financial hardship. Continue Reading FCC Announces Annual Regulatory Fees – Payment Deadlines Not Yet Set