FCC Proposes to Increase Regulatory Fees

The FCC issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the annual regulatory fees that must be paid by broadcast licenses. The fees will be due on September 30. The proposed fees for radio amount to a 13% increase in comparison to last year.

AM Radio Construction Permits increased by $80 from $610 to $690. Construction Permits for FM increased by $140 to a $1,210 fee. FM translators and boosters will be $340, rising from $320.

In 2020, the FCC changed its methodology for calculating fees for television to a population-based regulatory fee. It continued to use this approach and assessed fees for full-power broadcast television stations based on the population covered by a television station’s contour. The FCC seeks additional comment on this approach.

The FCC also sought comment on its de minimus exemption. Under current rules, stations with fees under $1000 are exempt from payment. NAB has been seeking to increase this exemption. The FCC is soliciting comments on the correct amount to trigger the exemption.

At issue is the FCC’s continued effort to fund broadband policies by increasing regulatory fees on broadcasters. This has been an ongoing source of contention over the last several years. Given the status of the radio market, a 13% increase in fees could have a significant negative impact on many local radio stations.

Click here to see the FCC’s new fee proposal. (Please note that the TV schedule can be found in Appendix G page 48. The proposed radio fee schedule can be found in Appendix G page 108.)