Teed Up For Review: FCC Regulatory Fees


We knew FM translator interference concerns would be on the agenda of the FCC’s May Open Meeting.

Now, thanks to a blog post from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, radio and TV executives have another topic of keen interest to take note of come Thursday, May 9.

Rounding out the Commission’s May Open Meeting is a proposal “to fine-tune the FCC’s collection of regulatory fees.”

While Pai says that “it may not be the most exciting work we do,” laws old and new make the FCC do it … “and these fees pay most of our bills,” he notes.

“Fulfilling our statutory requirements, this item proposes a schedule of regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2019 and seeks input on ways to improve our regulatory fee calculations,” Pai says.

The discussion regarding regulatory fees will come following a long-awaited vote on a May 2018 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that allowed the public to comment on proposed changes that would streamline the process for filing an FM translator interference complaint, and the remediation procedures used by the Commission to resolve such an issue.

Thanks to the Commission’s AM Radio Revitalization Initiative, the FCC has granted AM stations 1,707 construction permits for new FM translators, and almost 500 of these translators are already on the air.

“These translators are helping AM broadcasters attract more listeners and advertisers,” Pai writes. “But with this success has come an uptick in interference complaints from FM stations due to the increasing number of translators on the air. To address this problem, the FCC will vote on streamlining and expediting our current process for resolving interference complaints. Among other things, the order would establish simpler interference remediation procedures, clarify listener complaint requirements, and make it easier for translators causing interference to change channels.”

Headlining the May Open Meeting are actions designed “to advance the goal of security.” This includes a vote on an Order that would deny China Mobile USA’s application to provide telephony services in the U.S., citing national security concerns.