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FCC Issues Notice on Revised Regulatory Fees


As you know, NYSBA and other state broadcast associations have urged the FCC to change how it calculates regulatory fees for broadcasters. We have noted that the FCC’s costs of regulating other services, such as regulating unlicensed devices, have been incorrectly included in the costs of broadcast regulation.


Yesterday, the FCC released a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will govern the regulatory fees for this year, 2023. FCC fees are based primarily on the number of Commission employees it takes to regulate the industry. For years we have complained that many of the employees, on which the fees are based, did not directly regulate broadcasting as part of their duties. For example, in past years the costs of FCC employees assigned to regulate the Universal Service Fund were imposed in part on broadcasters. According to the NPRM, employee costs of regulating non-broadcast activity will now be assigned to those FCC Bureaus that regulate that industry, especially the Wireline and Wireless Bureaus. Under the new calculation, the total amount of fees proposed for all broadcasting in 2023 will be $55.68 million. This is lower than the $62.07 million collected in 2022.


In addition, the FCC proposes to create a separate tier for small broadcasters. Previously, there was one tier for stations serving populations under 25,000. This resulted in very small stations having to pay higher fees. The FCC is now proposing to create a separate radio payment tier for stations serving under 10,000 and a tier for stations serving populations of 10,000 to 25,000. This should result in lower payments for broadcasters serving small markets.


Importantly, this is simply a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that has been open for public comment. It is not a final rule. Nonetheless, the FCC’s proposal appears to be a step in the right direction. Our years of lobbying will hopefully bear fruit. We will keep you updated!


You can see the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking including the proposed fees for stations here.

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