The FCC late yesterday released an Order setting the amount of FY2017 Annual Regulatory fees, along with a public notice setting September 26 as the deadline for those fees. Reg fees may be paid now through September 26. If not paid by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on that date, penalties of 25% will be assessed. In addition, applications by any licensee that has not paid its fees may be held by the Commission without action until the fees are paid, and can even end up resulting in a license cancellation in cases where the failure is a long-term unresolved issue.

The public notice also makes clear that fees can only be paid by electronic transfer of funds. Checks and money orders will not be accepted. Only payments by credit cards or electronic transfer of funds will be allowed. Credit cards can only be used for payments up to $24,999.99 by any entity. Only commercial stations need to pay these fees. A fact sheet for the Media Services should be available shortly containing more details on the fees and procedures for payments by broadcasters. But the amounts of the fees for various classes of broadcasters were set by the FCC’s Order also released yesterday.

The Order adopted a revised version of the proposed table in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about which we wrote here. It reduces the regulatory fees in the two lowest population tiers for AM and FM broadcasters from the amounts proposed. The fee structure for radio for this year’s fees as adopted by the Commission is as follows:

FY 2017 RADIO STATION REGULATORY FEES
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 $895 $640 $555 $610 $980 $1,100
25,001 – 75,000 $1,350 $955 $830 $915 $1,475 $1,650
75,001 – 150,000 $2,375 $1,700 $1,475 $1,600 $2,600 $2,925
150,001 – 500,000 $3,550 $2,525 $2,200 $2,425 $3,875 $4,400
500,001 – 1,200,000 $5,325 $3,800 $3,300 $3,625 $5,825 $6,575
1,200,001 – 3,000,00 $7,975 $5,700 $4,950 $5,425 $8,750 $9,875
3,000,001 – 6,000,00 $11,950 $8,550 $7,400 $8,150 $13,100 $14,800
>6,000,000 $17,950 $12,825 $11,100 $12,225 $19,650 $22,225

It also adopted the following fees for other broadcast licensees and permitteess:

AM Radio Construction Permits 555
FM Radio Construction Permits 980
Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) VHF and UHF Commercial
Markets 1-10 59,750
Markets 11-25 45,025
Markets 26-50 30,050
Markets 51-100 14,975
Remaining Markets 4,925
Construction Permits 4,925
Satellite Television Stations (All Markets) 1,725
Low Power TV, Class A TV, TV/FM Translators & Boosters (47 CFR part 74) 430
Earth Stations (47 CFR part 25) 360

In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking earlier this year, the Commission had proposed coming up with a definitive list of satellite TV stations, which pay less than full-service non-satellite stations. However, the FCC was not able to come up with a definitive source for such information, leaving that issue to be examined in the future.

The Commission also raised the de minimis threshold, below which broadcasters need not pay any fees, to $1,000. A broadcaster whose total fees for all of its stations is less than $1000 need not pay any fee. Thus, certain entities that own a single AM or small-market FM may avoid the need to pay any fees. But the Order reminded regulatees that they will need to reevaluate annually to determine whether their total liability for annual regulatory fees falls at or below the threshold given any changes that the Commission may make in its regulatory fees from year to year.

The fee filing process is now underway. To avoid penalties for late filings, and to avoid the potential of having application processing blocked and other sanctions for nonpayment of the fees, be sure to meet the September 26 deadline.