Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > Your FCC Annual…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

Your FCC Annual Regulatory Fees are Due by Sept. 27

Amidst all the excitement of an impending long Labor Day weekend the FCC quietly rolled out the due date and approved schedule of annual regulatory fees for licensees.

Utilizing the FCC’s fee filer, stations must pay the annual regulatory fees in full no later than 11:59 ET on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Stations will need their CORES FRN and station password to use the fee filing system which is now operational.

Attorney David Oxenford with TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer said the fees are based on the population served by each station as computed by the FCC.

“Stations need to see the FCC’s computations to determine the amount that they owe,” said Oxenford.

If you are willing to wade through some pages on the FCC’s website, stations can look up the specific fees to be paid by each station here.     

(If not, attorney Harry Cole with TAB Associate member law firm Fletcher Heald and Hildreth has kindly posted them in two, easy to follow tables for TV and radio stations.)

Stations face two problems if they fail to make the fee payment on time.

First, late payment of the annual regulatory fee results in an automatic 25 percent penalty (plus interest) on top of the amount already due.

Second, late-paying stations are subject to “red light” status, meaning any pending FCC applications are put on hold until payment is made.

Attorney David Burns with TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman notes the FCC specifically reminded participants in the ongoing TV broadcast Incentive Auction that they must pay regulatory fees for FY 2016 if they held a license or construction permit as of Oct. 1, 2015 (and will be liable for next year’s fees if they hold a license or CP as of Oct. 1, 2016). 

Burns said payment of the FCC’s regulatory fees is required before Incentive Auction participants can receive any proceeds resulting from the auction, although given the pace at which the auction is proceeding, that seems unlikely to be an issue until well into next year.

As a general rule, the annual regulatory fees for broadcast licensees increased from FY 2015.

“Despite the increase in total fees, middle market TV stations caught a break, with fees for stations in markets 51-100 falling from $16,275 last year to $15,200 this year,” Burns said.

He noted that fees for TV stations in markets 1-10, on the other hand, took the biggest jump — going from $46,825 to $60,675.

Radio station license fees increased in most categories, but the FCC did reduce the fees for the two lowest population tiers for AM and FM broadcasters. 

FCC took into account comments filed by smaller market broadcasters that an increase in fees was too burdensome on them.

The FCC did issue instructions for requests for waivers and deferrals of the fee obligations

Oxenford cautioned that any party thinking about filing such a request needs to carefully follow the instructions and fully document the reasons for the waiver, as the failure to fully follow the rules will result in penalties and interest. 

“In fact, to avoid the potential for penalties and interest, the FCC suggests paying the fee and asking for a refund, rather than asking for a deferral and waiver of the fee obligations,” said Oxenford.
Which stations don’t have to pay the fee?

The FCC has issued a notice setting out the categories of broadcasters who are exempt from paying any fees.

“Basically noncommercial broadcasters and those broadcasters whose fees are de minimis – where the licensee’s fees total less than $500,” said Oxenford.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News