ABA finds success in 2021 fight to lower FCC rates, wages new battle over EEO data

September 27, 2021 by Arizona Media Association Uncategorized Comments Off on ABA finds success in 2021 fight to lower FCC rates, wages new battle over EEO data

Arizona broadcasters are benefiting from a notable win with the FCC this month at the same time we are starting a new battle over EEO rules.

As most of you saw in the trades, ABA efforts have been successful to stop a 2021 FCC rate hike for every Arizona radio and TV station.

Despite government calls to raise FCC fees by an average of 10% this year, we’ve been able to stop this move in its tracks. 

The fees are still larger than any of us would like – but they aren’t higher than 2020 – and in many cases, they are actually lower (station fees are on page 57 of this link).

Earlier this year, the ABA filed comments to oppose 2021 planned hikes. The state associations and NAB also met with the new FCC chair.

We’ve become the proverbial frog in the pot of water over the last decade, with the FCC attempting to turn up the heat each year and hope broadcasters don’t notice. 

Our comments in 2019 resulted in a 10% reduction in the radio fees, collectively saving $3 million. In 2020, we won a number of forms of FCC pandemic relief, and now we have this 2021 success to hold onto while always fighting for more.

Our next urgent issue at the FCC focuses on something called Form 395-B. Since 2001, broadcasters have been exempt from filing an annual FCC report that provides the race, ethnicity, gender and job category of each employee.

Now the FCC wants to bring it back.

We know this would be a burdensome effort, would put stations in the awkward position of trying to discern each employee’s race, gender, and ethnicity (sometimes in violation of state law), and could make it easy for public or private agencies to instill retribution if they don’t like the demographics of a station at any given moment.

That’s why we are formally opposing this move and filing legal opposition to the change. Let us know of questions.