WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Jersey Broadcasters Association President/CEO Paul Rotella has filed formal comments on behalf of the organization’s members with the FCC requesting the Commission permanently reduce, “and certainly not raise,” regulatory fees for broadcasters.
In Rotella’s view, an increase in annual fees for broadcasters is not warranted “and that this is certainly not the appropriate time to put any further financial burdens on broadcasters,” reiterating comments made May 22 on a RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast.
On Tuesday (6/9), Rotella said, “I felt obligated to respectfully request that the FCC to suspend any consideration of raising Regulatory Fees for radio and television during this particularly troublesome time. Upon further refection, restructuring and reduction in regulatory fees for broadcasters is warranted.”
Expanding on his arguments made in a previous letter, NJBA’s newly filed comments ask the FCC to more thoughtfully consider where the allocation of Commission FTE hours is going and thereby assess fees accordingly.
“It is well known that the FCC’s attention and workload is now consumed with 5G wireless
including C-Band, CBRS, Ligado and the various other spectrum-parceling efforts, and it is those 5G activities that should bear the brunt of FCC regulatory fees,” he writes.
Normally a “radio warrior,” Rotella also highlighted the hardship increased fees would play on television broadcasters in this latest round of proposed FCC fee increases.
“Although radio was hard hit with 50% increase in fees last year, the arguments are still the same … especially during this time of catastrophic economic upheaval,” Rotella says. “Coupled with the precarious economic forecasts ahead, it is simply imprudent and will likely further hobble local broadcasters’ efforts to survive in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
Rotella also underscored the ongoing critical public service mission of local broadcasters.
“Broadcasters support their communities in numerous ways that other industries cannot and often will not consider,” he says.
Given these issues, among others, Rotella asked that the FCC consider “joining the voice of
broadcasters seeking relief from regulatory and spectrum fee assessments in the years ahead.”
— RBR+TVBR Washington Bureau