Regulatory Fees due Sept 28, 2022, by 11:59 PM: FCC Order Provides Relief

In June, the FCC issued a proposal at would have significantly increased the regulatory fees for 2022 by approximately 13%. It would also increase fees for television stations. NYSBA, NAB, and other state broadcasting associations strongly opposed these fee increases. Indeed, nearly 100 members of Congress sent a letter to the FCC urging it to reduce its regulatory fees for broadcasting.

Last Friday, the Commission issued its final regulatory fee decision. Broadcasters were able to get the fees reduced from a 13% increase to an increase of approximately 7-8%. Reductions were also seen for television from .84 of one cent ($.008430) per person served compared to the .88 of one cent proposed in the June NPRM. Importantly, this year’s $2.3 million reduction in broadcaster fees will be permanent; it is not a one-time reduction.

A key issue is whether the FCC should assess broadcasters for costs associated with other services. For example, last year the FCC tried to impose costs for broadband data mapping on stations even though the maps do not affect broadcasters. Through our lobbying efforts, broadcasters were able to eliminate the broadband data mapping assessment resulting in an 8.8% fee reduction last year. Unfortunately, this year the FCC concluded that broadcasters should help bear the costs of broadband regulation. Absent an earmark from Congress for broadband data mapping, the FCC considers broadband regulation as a general overhead cost for the agency, the same as building security guards or rent, for which all licensees must pay a proportionate share.

The Commission did agree that broadcasters should not have to bear the proportionate costs associated with the Universal Service Fund. This accounts for this year’s reduction and is a huge step in the right direction. However, the Commission refused a request to increase the de minimis threshold above $1,000.

In its decision, the FCC noted that its fee policies are guided by the statute and significant changes must be approved by Congress. Thus, it is precluded from considering the public service benefits of broadcasting in calculating its fees.

The FCC also issued a Notice of Inquiry to solicit comments on proposed changes to the process on how it sets regulatory fees. A key issue will be the allocation of indirect “full-time equivalents” for its employees. Allocation of the FCC’s employees is important because the number of its employees allocated to specific tasks is used as the basis for allocating regulatory fees among the various industries regulated by the FCC.

The following chart shows the fees for radio as originally proposed and ultimately adopted:

FY 2022 RADIO STATION REGULATORY FEES Proposed/Adopted
Population

Served

AM Class A AM Class B AM Class C AM Class D FM Classes

A, B1 & C3

FM Classes

B, C, C0, C1 & C2

<=25,000 $1,105/$1,050 $795/$755 $690/$655 $760/$720 $1,210/$1,145 $1,380/$1,310
25,001 – 75,000 $1,660/$1,575 $1,195/$1,135 $1,035/$985 $1,140/$1,080 $1,815/$1,720 $2,070/$1,965
75,001 – 150,000 $2,485/$2,365 $1,790/$1,700 $1,555/$1,475 $1,710/$1,620 $2,725/$2,575 $3,105/$2,950
150,001 – 500,000 $3,735/$3,550 $2,685/$2,550 $2,330/$2,215 $2,570/$2,435 $4,090/$3,870 $4,665/$4,430
500,001 – 1,200,000 $5,590/$5,315 $4,025/$3,820 $3,490/$3,315 $3,845/$3,645 $6,125/$5,795 $6,985/$6,630
1,200,001 – 3,000,000 $8,400/$7,980 $6,040/$5,740 $5,245/$$4,980 $5,775/$5,470 $9,195/$8,700 $10,490/$9,955
3,000,001 – 6,000,000 $12,585/$11,960 $9,055/$8,600 $7,860/$7,460 $8,655/$8,200 $13,780/$13,040 $15,720/$14,920
>6,000,000 $18,885/$17,945 $13,585/$12,905 $11,790/$11,195 $12,990/$12,305 $20,680/$19,570 $23,585/$22,390

You can see the FCC’s complete decision here.

The FCC has released a regulatory fee guide for Radio and Television stations. You may find more information about this year’s regulatory fees here

The FCC has a portal set up to find the fees due on a station by station basis. To find the amount your stations owe, go to the portal here

 

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