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.
The FCC fees for broadcast services are set forth below. The FCC will be mailing to each station a notice of the amount that it believes due from that station, to be sent to the station's mailing address on file at the FCC. Note that if your official mailing address is not accurate at the FCC, you will not get the notice, and not getting the notice is not an excuse for late payment. So watch for the announcement of the filing deadline, and if you don't receive a notice soon thereafter, ask or risk facing a penalty for late payments (and risk holding up the processing of any applications that are due until unpaid fees and penalties are resolved).
The Schedule of annual regulatory fees and filing addresses for broadcast services are set forth below.