By Adam R Jacobson - Radio + Television Business Report
The FCC has declined to review a proposal submitted by the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association and Arso’s UNO Radio Group – owner of island-wide cadenas Salsoul, Hot 102, Fidelity and NotiUno, to have new FCC application fees discounted for broadcasters in the U.S. commonwealth.
The PRBA and Arso argued that the severe economic downturn in Puerto Rico makes such an increase difficult, and that they previously requested a fee reduction. A proposal for a Puerto Rico-only fee at 30% lower than the normal rate for each station was offered by PRBA and Arso.
This was declined, with the FCC sticking with its policy of considering fee relief on a station-by-station basis.
“While we recognize that the economic situation in Puerto Rico is difficult in general, without the specific information needed to justify a waiver request or payment deferral we would not know the particular circumstances of the regulatee or licensee to support a request for relief,” the FCC said in its response, declining the PRBA/Arso proposal.
The FCC explained that fee relief is ordinarily processed through a waiver request or payment deferral, while also noting that the fee relief for stations serving fewer than 75,000 people “should provide some amount of fee relief to 11 of the PRBA stations.”
UNO Radio Group’s stations would likely see no relief, as their stations reach the more than 3 million residents of Puerto Rico, given their island-wide coverage.
A Federally mandated price increase went into effect August 30, with a 1.8% wholesale rate increase implemented.
The jump in rates reflects changes in the U.S. Consumer Price Index for all consumers in urbanized areas. This increase represents an increase of 4.292 index points calculated from October 2013 to October 2015.
The application fees are reviewed every two years to reflect adjustments in the CPI.
Reprinted with permission from Radio + Television Business Report