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FCC Proposes Regulatory Fee Hike of 4.7%

Comments on proposed fee schedule are due May 24

The FCC has proposed raising regulatory fees 4.7% for all the industries it regulates for FY2011.

The agency says it needs the increase to raise the $335.8 million required by Congress.

When calculating fees for AM and FM radio stations, the agency says it considers many factors, such as facility attributes and the population served by each station. To calculate the population data, the commission combines U.S. Census Bureau data with technical and engineering information. The agency intends to incorporate new Census data from 2010, which it says could affect the fees some radio stations would owe.

Each year the commission posts public notices pertaining to regulatory fees on its website. That includes information about the payment due date. The process is more electronic this year; the FCC will not mail hard-copy notification assessment letters to media licensees for FY2011.

Regulatory fees must be paid for initial construction permits that were granted on or before Oct. 1, 2010 for AM/FM radio stations, VHF/UHF full-service television stations, and satellite television stations. Regulatory fees must be paid for broadcast facility licenses granted on or before Oct. 1, 2010. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after Oct. 1, 2010, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date.

The smallest radio station fee proposed is $700; that’s for a Class A AM in the smallest market, serving a population of up to 25,000. That compares to $675 for FY2010. The highest fee proposed is $11,050; that’s for Class B and C FMs serving a population of 3 million or more. That compares to $10,850 for FY2010. The agency has proposed that AMs pay $490 for a CP and FMs $675 for a CP.

The FCC has begun a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the fees. Comments to Docket 11-76 are due May 24. The FCC has not yet set a due date for the regulatory fee payments, which will likely be due this fall.

— Leslie Stimson

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