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CBS Interested in Buying Stations If Caps Are Raised

CBS would be interested in buying additional TV stations if the FCC under chairman Ajit Pai raised the current ownership caps.

“We would strategically want to buy more stations,” said Les Moonves, speaking during CBS’s earnings call Wednesday. He noted that because of rising retrans rates and strong political spending, “local markets have been extremely good for us.”

Moonves added that while CBS would be aggressive, “we’re going to be smart in what we do.” He said CBS probably wouldn’t be interested in stations in markets outside the top 25 markets and would be most focused on markets that have NFL teams.

Related: Pensions, Football Drop CBS to Q4 Loss

We have a very well-functioning station group that could take more in,” Moonves said.

Overall in reaction to the changes in the FCC under the Trump Administration, Moonves said he is “looking forward to having less regulation and being able to do more.”

Moonves said he has also been in talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about ways to change football broadcasts in order to reverse this year’s slide in ratings.

Moonves said CBS was open to ways to improve the games, including better ways of handing video reviews of plays.

But he said there was no plan to reduce advertising in the games. “If there are ways of doing advertising in a different way that are equally beneficial we’ll look at that,” he said.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.