The Commission has announced its proposed annual regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2009. The final fee amounts and filing deadline will be announced in a Public Notice following consideration of Comments to be filed by June 4, 2009 and Reply Comments to be filed by June 11, 2009.
The proposed Annual Regulatory Fees for FY 2009 are projected to raise more than $341 million.
Commercial VHF television stations face the prospect of the following annual regulatory fee increases: in the top 10 markets, those stations will see their annual fee rise from $71,050 to $77,575, and in markets 11 to 25, the fee increases from $53,525 to $60,550. VHF construction permit fees will increase from $5,600 to $5,950 under the FCC’s proposal. Similarly, UHF television stations face fee increases: in the top 10 markets, those stations will see their annual fee rise from $21,225 to $24,250, and in markets 11 to 25, the fee increases from $19,475 to $21,525. UHF construction permit fees will increase from $1,800 to $1,950.
Consistent with past years, the FCC will not assess FY 2009 regulatory fees for both digital and analog licenses from a licensee in the process of transitioning from analog to digital. Stations that were broadcasting in both analog and digital on October 1, 2008 will be assessed FY 2009 regulatory fees for their analog licenses only. Stations that were broadcasting in digital only on October 1, 2008 will not be assessed regulatory fees for their digital license for FY 2009. Beginning in FY 2010, the FCC intends to begin collecting regulatory fees from digital television broadcasters.
The amount of increase in annual fees for full-power AM and FM radio stations will be between $25 to $700, depending upon the type and class of station involved. The annual fee for FM construction permits will increase from $600 to $650. Similarly, the AM construction permit fee will rise from $415 to $480.
The wireless fees of general interest to broadcasters are left unchanged: annual fees for Part 74 Broadcast Auxiliaries remain at $10 per license.
Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Regulatory fees are owed for any authorizations held by a licensee or permittee as of October 1, 2008. Fee payments must be sent to the Commission’s lockbox at U.S. Bank in St. Louis. The deadline for payment has not yet been announced, but the FCC has indicated that it anticipates collecting fees in August or September.
It is important for licensees and permittees to consider that the failure to make full payment in a timely fashion can subject them to a collection action (with a 25% penalty) by the FCC. In addition, the Commission will refuse to process a licensee’s/permittee’s applications until full payment (plus applicable penalties) has been made. The FCC still employs its “Red Light” database to detect those licensees and permittees who have not paid their regulatory fees in full.
The proposed fee schedules are attached hereto. For more information on the fees, including assistance in preparing and filing fees with the Commission or a complete version of the Federal Register notice released regarding the proposed fees, please contact any of the lawyers in the Communications practice section.
A PDF version of this article can be found at FCC Proposes FY 2009 Regulatory Fees.