Higher Class Radio FCC Regulatory Fees to Jump

By on May, 23 2016 with Comments 0

Radio station owners with the largest class size stations will pay more in FCC regulatory fees this year than they have before.

Congress requires the commission to collect the fees from all the industries the agency regulates; they’re meant to correspond to the amount of time staff spends on each type of licensee.

The commission assesses regulatory fees on radio licensees based on type and class and on the population served. Last year the agency proposed dividing up radio licensees for stations serving 3,000,001-6,000,000 from those that cover a higher population.

The FCC wants to standardize the incremental increase in fees as the population served increases and to more consistently assess fees based on the type and class of service, so, for example, assessing FM Class B, C, C0, C1, & C2 stations at twice the rate of AM Class Cs, and FM Class A, B1, & C3 stations assessed at 75% more than AM Class Cs.

For AM stations, the agency sought input on assessing AM Class As at 60% more, AM Class Bs at 15% more, and AM class Ds at 10% more than AM Class Cs.

Last year a Class A serving a population of 3 million and above paid $9,300. Under the proposed change, this year a Class A serving a population of 3 million to 6 million would pay $11,000 and the same class station serving a market more than 6 million in population would pay $13,750.

Last year FM Class B, C, C0, C1, & C2 stations serving a market of 3 million and above paid $9,250. Under the proposal, this year those same classes serving markets with a population of 3 million to 6 million would pay $13,750 and those serving markets of more than 6 million would pay $17,175.

No one commented on the proposals so the FCC has tentatively decided adopting the proposals will make the regulatory fees for AM and FM radio more rational and address the problem of having such a big number of stations in the highest grid.

For radio, the lowest fee would be $1,100 for a Class A AM serving a population of 25,000 and less. That compares to $775 last year.

Here’s the proposed radio fees:2016RadioRegFees

The money is generally due in September and the commission will announce a date soon; Licensees must pay electronically.

The commission is still taking comments on the proposed fees until June 20 to proceeding number 16-166.

About The Author: Leslie Stimson has been a reporter for 35+ years, starting in radio news. She’s spent the last 20 years reporting for radio trades.

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