In the Matter of Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2023, MD Docket Nos. 22-301 and 23-159.
The New Jersey Broadcasters Association, in combination with the state broadcasters associations of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, filed Joint Reply Comments supporting the FCC’s efforts to more precisely delineate which agency employees work on non-broadcast matters and to ensure that the cost of those employees, as well as associated overhead costs of the FCC, are covered by the regulatory fees paid by the non-broadcast entities benefiting from those employees’ work rather than by broadcasters.
In addition, the Joint Reply Comments urged the FCC to conduct such reviews annually prior to issuing proposed regulatory fees, and to ensure that, as required by the RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018, the costs of operating the FCC are spread across all entities that benefit from the Commission’s activities, and not just those that hold an FCC license and which are regulated by one the four bureaus the FCC deems “core”.
The State Associations also supported the FCC’s proposal to create a lower cost regulatory fee tier for smaller radio stations, and to make permanent its pandemic elimination (made at the request of the State Associations) of various administrative obstacles to those seeking relief from regulatory fee obligations, such as making it simpler to file multiple requests for relief in a single pleading, simplifying the filing process to request an installment payment plan, and allowing electronic submission of those requests for relief via email.
Finally, the State Associations encouraged the FCC to also extend and make permanent other temporary relief measures adopted during the pandemic, such as waiving its downpayment requirement for installment plans, partially waiving its bar on delinquent payors seeking fee relief, using its discretion to reduce the interest rate charged on installment plans, and allowing payors to supplement their requests with additional documentation to support their submissions after they are initially filed.