On August 27 the FCC released its order adopting the 2019 Regulatory Fees. The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) filed comments on June 7 advocating for significant reductions in the FCC’s proposed regulatory fees for radio and television stations in 2019.
While the majority of NASBA’s proposals were rejected, the Commission did cite NASBA comments suggesting the FCC underestimated the number of “feeable licensees,” which would lead to lower regulatory costs to broadcasters. In the order, the FCC states:
“We find that the Commission made a conservative estimate of the number of radio stations in the FY 2019 NPRM. We have updated our data by identifying licensed facilities as of October 1, 2018 from the Media Bureau’s CDBS system and adjusted for stations that are exempt and de minimis, and the resulting number of stations increased by 553 to 10,011, thereby decreasing the fee rates from what was proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.”
This increase in feeable stations results in an average 10% decrease in regulatory fees for the country’s radio stations in 2019.
Thank you to our colleagues in NASBA, the NAB, and our counsel at Pillsbury Law for this successful filing on your behalf.
 The Media Bureau’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS) is a database of all licensed audio and video facilities. This database only flags non-commercial educational facilities as exempt entities, and so the download from this database must be reviewed and the units adjusted downward every year to account for non-profit entities, entities that re-broadcast a signal from exempt entities, and stations that are de minimis, all of which do not pay annual regulatory fees.
 The unit data for assessing regulatory fees includes prior year payment data, data downloaded from CDBS as of October 1st of each year, and information that is gathered throughout the year identifying ownership changes and non-profit entities. In addition, the Commission analyzes this data to determine which entities are de minimis based on the owner’s TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) number. Broadcast and video facilities that are non-commercial educational, non-profit, re-broadcast an exempt signal, or de minimis do not pay regulatory fees.