FCC Opens Proposals For Regulatory Fee Changes For Comment
May 22, 2015 at 4:00 AM (PT)
The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the collection of regulatory fees for fiscal year 2015.
As proposed in the Commission's budget, the agency is seeking to collect $339,844,000 in fees, $118.1 million of which would come from Media Bureau regulates ($28,356,435 from 10,226 radio stations).
Among the issues raised is whether radio fees should be based on market rank, like TV, or by population served, as today, and whether fees should be further broken down by station type and class of service (such as Class C, Class B1, etc.) or consolidated by market size or population served. The proposal includes a request for comment on, because among statuorily exempt noncommercial stations, radio far outnumbers TV, "should the Commission reexamine the number of FTEs devoted to the regulation of radio versus television broadcasters and adjust the fee paid by radio and television broadcasters to more accurately take into account factors related to 'the benefits provided to the payor of the fee by the Commission’s activities'?" Changes, the Commission said in the NPRM, "would constitute a permitted amendment and therefore would not likely apply to FY 2015 regulatory fees."
Also up for comment is a proposal for relief for stations in PUERTO RICO due to economic hardship; the PUERTO RICO BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION contends that the "unprecedented" unemployment rate and increased poverty along with population declines merit a lowering of regulatory fees for stations there.
Comments are due JUNE 22nd with replies due JULY 6th.