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FCC Hikes Radio Application Fees

Radio stations to pay hundreds of dollars more for some FCC applications

Commercial radio broadcasters in the United States will pay more to apply for construction permits, license assignments and special temporary authority requests. The Federal Communications Commission is adjusting the fees it charges radio stations, and other businesses under its purview, for the processing of applications and other filings.

The commission on Friday said it is adjusting its Schedule of Application Fees to reflect a net change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 11.6%. That will be applied to the fees various commercial AM and FM broadcast services pay. The rates will take effect 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

This increase is not to be confused with the one involving annual regulatory fees that was recently in the news.

The Communications Act of 1934 requires cost-of-living adjustments to the application fee schedule every two years, according to the FCC. All revenues generated by the fees are deposited in the general fund of the U.S. Treasury and are not available to the FCC.

A sampling:

  • New or major change Construction Permit (CP) application fees for FM stations will increase from $3,295 to $3,675
  • Minor Modification CP application fees for FM will increase from $1,265 to $1,410
  • License renewal application fees for AM and FM will go from $325 to $365
  • Special Temporary Authority application fees for FM will increase from $210 to $235
  • Original Construction Permit for an FM Booster will jump from $705 to $785
  • Petition for Rulemaking for New Community of License FM application fees will go from $3,180 to $3,550

Federal law prohibits the FCC from charging filing fees to non-commercial education (NCE) broadcast services, including LPFM stations.

Radio World has reached out to the National Association of Broadcasters for its reaction to the filing fee increases. Because the FCC does not have discretion in setting application fees, since they are tied to the CPI, no prior notification or a comment period was required.

You can find the order including the fee charts in this PDF; the fees for radio-related applications are found on pages 7 to 9.

You’ll recall that the NAB earlier this year was harshly critical of a proposed 13% hike in annual regulatory fees that broadcasters pay, and that the FCC eventually decided to increase those by  7 to 8%. Those annual fees are used to pay employee salaries and fund operations at the FCC.

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