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NAB Again Goes to the Mat Over Fee Increases

Says FCC should also ease usual penalties for late payment

Again the National Association of Broadcasters is blasting the Federal Communications Commission for a planned increase in certain regulatory fees on U.S. radio and TV stations.

[See a chart of the proposed fees.]

NAB submitted reply comments responding to the FCC’s current proposed rate structure. The filing reiterates arguments the association has already made against the fees, in some cases over years. A sampler of phrases in NAB’s latest filing gives you the gist:

“utterly fails to explain its rationale”

“abject failure”

“jeopardize the ability of struggling broadcasters to stay on the air”

“violates the law”

“fly in the face of the statutory mandate”

“increases … created from whole cloth as a means for the FCC to solve a math problem”

“the timing could not be worse”

“inequities in its regulatory fee approach”

“an additional, potentially insurmountable hurdle”

The association repeated its many earlier arguments, including that the FCC proposal doesn’t provide a basis of fee increases; that there has been no change to the total amount of fees the commission is required to collect; that broadcasters are subsidizing unlicensed spectrum users that require a lot of FCC resources; and that the pandemic highlights the unfairness of the FCC’s approach.

The NAB also said it supports suggestions from broadcasters for additional temporary reforms, for instance to allow waiver requests via a single filing; allowing stations in default to seek a waiver of this year’s fees; and a waiver of the automatic 25 percent penalty for late payment of regulatory fees.

Read the NAB comments (PDF).