The FCC last week announced an extension of the deadline for initial comments in its proceeding to examine the regulatory fees that are paid by VHF television stations. We wrote here about this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which asked questions including whether VHF television stations and stations in the FCC’s incubator program

Right as everyone was preparing to leave town for the long weekend, the FCC issued its Report and Order on the regulatory fees for 2014, and also issued a Public Notice setting the deadline for paying those fees as 11:59 PM on September 23.  For broadcasters, the FCC also issued a Mass Media Fee Filing Guide providing details on the fee filing process, and provided a fee “look-up” tool on the Commission’s website to see what the fees are for a particular station.  The FCC adopted all the fees for broadcast stations as proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (about which we wrote here) with the minor exception of its fees for TV stations, where there were very slight adjustments in the amounts to be paid.  The fees for all categories of broadcasters are provided at the end of this article. 

There are a couple of new wrinkles in the fee filings for broadcasters for this year.  First, there will be no more no more checks or other paper forms of payment.  All payments must be made electronically, through wire transfers, electronic payments, or with a credit card.  If you send a check, it will be returned, and you will be assessed a late fee if the electronic payment is not made by the 23rd.
Continue Reading

The FCC has released its order setting this year’s Regulatory Fees to be paid by broadcast stations.  While has not yet set the deadline for paying those fees, that deadline should fall sometime in August or September.  In setting this year’s fees, the Commission made some decisions about fees for broadcasters that may not make sense to some – but it promised to review the decisions in the future when determining the amounts of fees in future years.  Perhaps the most controversial issue will be the fees that it set for television stations – which retain the distinction between UHF and VHF stations, and retain the requirement that VHF stations pay significantly higher fees – even though such stations are often disadvantaged (and certainly not advantaged) in the digital world.  Fees for television stations range from $81,550 for VHF stations in the Top 10 markets (versus $32,275 in those markets for UHF stations), to $6125 for VHF stations in the smallest markets versus $3050 for UHF stations.  The many stations now operating digitally on UHF channels that had previously operated on VHF channels in analog will receive some big savings, while some stations forced to operate on VHF channels for the first time may well be in for a surprise as to the reg fees that they will be paying.

The Commission also rejected requests to decrease the amount paid by AM stations in comparison to FMs, though it promised to revisit that issue in the future.  Other proposals to base payment directly on population served by a station were also rejected.  For TV translators and LPTV stations, if an entity is operating both an analog and digital station while in the process of its digital conversion, fees will have to be paid on both stations.  Full-power television stations will have to pay on their digital operations, even if they were operating with STA facilities on October 1, 2009, the beginning of the fiscal year for which these fees are paid.  All fees are based on the facilities of a station as of that date.  Specific fees for broadcasters are set out below.


Continue Reading

The FCC today released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for public comment on its proposed Regulatory Fees for 2010. 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 annual regulatory fees. Collectively, the FCC is proposing to collect over $335 million in fees this year from licensees across the various regulated services. The fees are normally paid in September, and the specific deadline for the payment of this year’s fees will be set by a future Order after the FCC has received comments on, and formally adopted, this proposed fee schedule. The FCC has set a short time for comments, with initial Comments on the proposed fees due by May 4, 2010, and Reply Comments due on May 11, 2010.

As in the past, the Regulatory Fees for broadcast stations are generally based on the Class of Service and the population covered by a station. For the most part, the fees proposed for 2010 for broadcast stations are not much different from the 2009 rates, with the fees for a few categories of television stations actually going down slightly. Additionally, there is no change in the fee proposed for LPTV, Class A, and television translator stations.  The full list of proposed fees across the various categories of broadcast stations is provided below.  A few things to note with respect to the fees with respect to digital television stations. The NPRM proposes to collect annual regulatory fees from all digital full-service television stations, including any that may have been operating pursuant to Special Temporary Authority (rather than a license) on October 1, 2009.  With respect to low power and Class A television stations, the FCC has proposed that if a station is operating both an analog and a paired digital signal, then only a single regulatory fee will be assessed for the analog facility and no fee would be required for the digital companion channel.

Not surprisingly, the Commission has proposed to make the use of its electronic Fee Filer database  for the submission of the annual regulatory feesmandatory again, as it was in 2009.  It has also proposed that 2010 will be the last year that it will send out reminder letters to broadcast stations about the fees. Starting in 2011, the FCC is proposing to discontinue sending out media notification letters. As the payment deadline will be sometime in September, watch for an Order this Summer adopting the proposed fees, after folks have had a chance to comment. 


Continue Reading

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 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. 


Continue Reading