FCC Proposes Higher Regulatory Fees For Radio In 2020.

For the second consecutive year, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing to increase the amount charged to radio stations, although the hike won’t be nearly as steep as a year ago. The Commission is slated to begin the rulemaking process at its May 13 meeting that would, if left in place, boost the annual fee paid by radio by 4% to 5%. That’s roughly half the increase adopted last year.

Stations continue to be assessed a fee based on their class and the number of potential listeners their signal reaches. In the case of the FMs with the biggest reach, the FCC proposes a $21,375 annual fee for 2020 – a 4.3% increase compared to a year ago. The smallest AMs would see their regulatory fee go up by 5.3% to $1,000. Various other fees for things would also go up. The charge for an AM construction permit would increase 4% to $620 while the fee for an FM construction permit would jump 7.5% to $1,075.

As in the past the FCC doesn’t offer any insight into what went into its decision-making process about which services it regulates would pay more or less. It does say, however, that regulatory fees cover three types of expenses – direct costs such as salary and expenses, indirect costs, such as overhead, and support costs, such as rent, utilities and equipment. Ultimately, the agency must collect $339 million in regulatory fees to cover the 2020 appropriation it has received from Congress.

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