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Associations Tell FCC Its Numbers Are Messed Up

State broadcast groups spotlight methodology question that could lead to higher regulatory fees

“Something has definitely gone awry with the radio data.”

That’s what the 50 U.S. state broadcast associations are telling the FCC about its proposed regulatory fees for fiscal 2019. As we’ve reported, the NAB too has been critical of the planned higher fees, especially those for radio.

“The FY 2019 NPRM contains a serious error in the data used for radio regulatory fee calculations, resulting in artificially inflated fees for radio regulatees,” the state associations said. It issue is the number of payment units upon which the FCC has based its fee calculations for radio.

[Related: NAB Says Google and Qualcomm Should Pay FCC Fees Too]

They also complained of “errors and inconsistencies” in the methodology used to determine the portion of commission costs assessed to the Media Bureau, errors they said appear to force commercial radio and TV stations to bear the entire cost of the commission’s regulation of fee-exempt broadcast stations “while also burdening them with a substantial portion of the cost of regulating fee-exempt entities in non-broadcast fee categories.”

The associations said the commission proposal also doesn’t reflect recent changes in the law passed by Congress and perpetuates “a rather opaque process that can generate peculiar and arbitrary results.”

Read the associations’ comments about this fee issue and the FCC methodology here.

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