Get Ready for FCC Regulatory Fees

Posted on August 31st, 2022 by

In the next several days, the FCC is expected to issue its Report & Order adopting the annual regulatory fees that will be due in September.  Broadcasters have uniformly opposed the proposed 13% increase in broadcast station fees, but various media reports indicate that the FCC will proceed with the increase.  Commercial station licensees should plan accordingly.

Either simultaneously with release of the Report & Order, or in the days immediately following, the FCC’s Media Bureau will issue a public notice announcing fee payment procedures and the availability of their Fee Filer system to remit the fees.  That notice will also establish the deadline for remitting the fees.  Any fee that is not timely paid will incur a 25% penalty.  In addition, we expect the Media Bureau to open their “Fee Look Up” webpage ( around the same time.  That webpage simplifies looking up how much a station owes and is very helpful as a cross check on amounts due, but often doesn’t become available until a week after fees are announced.  The link is not active right now, so it is possible that the FCC will no longer use that webpage.

In past years, licensee’s whose total regulatory fees for all stations was less than $1,000 were automatically exempted from having to remit fees. We anticipate that there will be a slight increase in the de minimis $1,000 amount, but even that adjustment may not be enough to exempt a licensee given the anticipated across-the-board increase in fees.  Licensees that were exempt last year under the de minimis standard should not presume that will be the case this year.

Non-profit licensees of commercial stations are exempt from annual regulatory fees, but must have submitted proof of non-profit status to the FCC.  Non-profit licensees of commercial stations should check the status of their station in the FCC’s systems to confirm that they are indeed exempt and have not been assessed a fee.

Payments can only be electronically submitted, via credit card or electronic funds transfer.  We recommend credit card, as it is the simplest method.  CORES username logins are needed to submit fees.  For stations that have been acquired in the past year, regulatory fees often show up under the prior licensee’s name and have to be added to the new licensee’s account to make payment.

Our firm will contact all commercial station clients once the FCC’s Report & Order is adopted and fee information becomes available.  If you have any questions, please let us know.