Why Most TV FCC Regulatory Fees Will Rise

By on May, 21 2016 with Comments 0

2016TVRegFeesIt looks like television owners with stations in the top 10 markets will pay about 30% more to the FCC in regulatory fees this fall. That’s because the commission decided to re-do the formula.

Congress requires the agency to collect fees and they’re supposed to correspond to how much staff time is spent on regulating licensees.

In the FY2015 proposed rulemaking, the FCC said it was considering readjusting the television fee table so that Top 10 stations would pay nearly twice as much as stations in markets 26-50. Since the agency received no comments on the proposal, it’s tentatively decided to go ahead with the change because it makes TV fees “more rational.”

Fees to be paid by VHF and UHF TV licensees in the Top 10 markets are tentatively set at (from $46,825 to $60,775), a 30% jump. Market 11-25 fees would go up 6% rate (from $43,000 to $45,750), and Markets 26-50 would see a just under an 11% rise (from $27,625 to $30,575).

The fees would go down more than 6% for Markets 51-100, (from $16.275 to $15,225) while they’d be up 3% for markets below 100 (from $4,850 to $5,000).

The commission says it recognizes the incentive auction “is a substantial event” for the TV industry and sought input on how and when the agency should re-adjust its formula to account for the changes. The agency did get public comments on the issue but said it’s too early to incorporate those for this cycle of fees because “of the uncertainty in events that have yet to happen.” It will make the changes for next year’s fee proceeding.

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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