Broadcasters Ask FCC to Suspend Fee Hike, Citing Pandemic

(Image credit: FCC)

Some broadcasters are asking the FCC to postpone any consideration of an increase in broadcast regulatory fees--radio and TV--during the current pandemic. 

Paul Rotella, the president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association (the state is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus) wrote FCC chairman Ajit Pai to say he had grave concern about the FCC's plan to consider the fee boost at the May 13 public meeting (by teleconference). 

Related: FCC Tells Industry to Get Those Regulatory Fees In

He said the FCC should postpone the rulemaking until "our nation’s societal way of life and economy have been fully restored" (which could be measured in years rather than months).  

He said some stations have seen their revenues "vaporized" in the past 30 days and suggested that an increased fee could be an existential threat in some cases. 

"[T]his move to raise Regulatory Fees during this time of catastrophic economic upheaval, coupled with the precarious economic forecasts ahead, is simply imprudent and will likely further hobble local broadcasters’ efforts to survive in the aftermath of COVID-19." 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.