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.

In addition, in its Order on fees, the FCC decided that expanded band AM stations, previously exempt from fees, must now pay.  The FCC noted that these stations were initially supposed to be part of the license of a core band station, and one of the licenses was supposed to be surrendered after a given period of time.  That has not happened in all cases, so these stations must now separately pay fees effective with this year’s fees.

The FCC also decided that there will no longer be separate fees for broadcast auxiliary stations.  The FCC decided that the work to track these stations, and the small fees collected ($10 each) were simply not worth the trouble.  However, this change will not go into effect until next year – so broadcasters have to pay for their auxiliaries this year.  Proposals to eliminate the fees for radio and TV translators and boosters were rejected.

The FCC also decided, again effective next year, to set a minimum payment of $500 per entity. So a company with total obligations of $500 or less will be exempt from fees.  This seemingly will affect few stations – basically licensees of single LPTV or FM translator stations.  The fees for all other classes of stations already exceed that $500 threshold. 

The fees for broadcasters due on or before September 23 of this year are as follows:

Click here to view table