WASHINGTON—With its official publication in the Federal Register on Oct. 23, the clock is now ticking for interested parties to submit comments regarding the regulatory fees of VHF stations to the FCC, specifically whether they should be lowered or not.
The FCC officially adopted this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking back on Aug. 15, but now appearing in the Federal Register gives a 30-day window to submit comments and a 60-day window for reply comments. The exact deadlines are Nov. 22 for comments and Dec. 23 for reply comments, though it is possible the FCC may extend due to the Christmas holiday.
VHF broadcasters have been arguing that the predicted contour distance used by the FCC to determine a station's reach, for which their regulatory fees are based, is not the most accurate representation of a station’s actual reach. Some examples of elements that could be impacting these numbers includes terrain blockage.
If such is the case, broadcasters argue that regulatory fees should be adjusted to more accurately represent their reach.
The FCC is seeking comment on if this is the case and how they should then go about addressing such concerns.