FCC FY19 Regulatory Fees Due Sept. 24

WASHINGTON—Broadcasters have until Sept. 24 to file their FY2019 regulatory fees, the FCC said this week. The commission is due to collect $339 million this year, a $16.9 million increase (5.2%) over 2018.

Although the commission rejected requests to base TV regulatory fees based on population served rather than DMA, it did say that it would seek further public comment on whether to adjust regulatory fees paid by stations on the VHF band, which some commenters said can have less coverage than their UHF counterparts due to such issues as terrain blockage.

The commission is also seeking comment on lowering regulatory fees on stations participating in the FCC’s incubator program. The commission also noted that fees are due by Sept. 24 based on who holds the license when the fees are due.

The FCC also rejected an argument from DBS operators AT&T and DISH, who argued for lower fees because the commission doesn’t deal with as many proceedings and regulations as with cable or telcos.

“Media Bureau employees dedicate substantially similar amounts of time and resources to the regulation of DBS as they do to cable television and IPTV,” the commission said.

Filers who miss the Sept. 24 deadline are subject to a late payment penalty of 25% of unpaid regulatory fee debt, to be assessed on the first day following the deadline for payment of the fees, the commission said.

The FCC is expected to issue further procedural rules on regulatory fee filing.

EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with from a previous version that said the regulatory fee deadline was Sept. 30.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.