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All AMs Must Now Pay Regulatory Fees

FCC sets Sept. 23 due date for 2014 fees

FCC regulatory fee payments are due Sept. 23, and expanded band AMs have lost their exemption.

To recap, the 2014 payments for radio remain the same as 2013. For example, the fees range from $775 for a Class A in a market of 25,000 or less to $12,025 for an FM Class B, C, C0, C1 and C2 in the largest markets.

Some AM owners, however, will see a big change. The commission had been trying to encourage movement to the expanded band, and only charging one fee for stations that moved and also kept their original frequency for a time. At least two owners opted to keep both standard and expanded band licenses, according to the agency in 2008.

That’s when the commission had concluded there was “no compelling reason” to continue that exemption, saying “a number of those broadcasters relinquished their standard band licenses and have chosen to operate exclusively in the expanded band.” Now, the commission is implementing the change and expanded band owners are expected to pay a regulatory fee, based on class and market size, just like other AM owners. The change kicks in with this fiscal year 2014 cycle.

The commission had also considered excluding categories like amateur radio vanity call signs ($21.60 for a 10-year license), broadcast auxiliaries and FM translators/boosters from regulatory fees categories. The agency says it’s retaining the fees for amateur radio vanity call signs and FM translators/boosters for now because the commission currently can’t say for sure “whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighs the collected revenue; or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the licensing process.” The commission will review these categories again in the future.

However, the agency has decided to eliminate the broadcast auxiliaries fee next year (FY 2015) because the commission spends more resources in monitoring and collecting these tiny fees ($10 in FY 2013) than it collects.