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Fees on the up-and-up

Radio stations, some TV stations and winners of permits to build new broadcast facilities would pay higher regulatory fees in 2001 under proposed charges unveiled by the FCC.

Charges to VHF TV stations in top-10 markets would rise 13%, to $45,100. Stations in markets 51 through 100 would see their fees increase 8%, to $13,750. Radio station fees would climb between 4% and 25%.

The increases reverse a trend of nearly across-the-board cuts in recent years. Not everyone would see an increase, however. VHF TV outlets in markets 11 to 15 would get a 1.4% cut, and UHF stations in markets below the top 25 would get either a cut or see their fees remain the same.

The disparity was created because FCC officials aim to increase the revenue generated in each category by 7.75%, a target matching a congressionally mandated obligation for total fee revenue.

Consequently, in categories where there are relatively few licensees, a slight change in the number of operators would lead to a disproportionate change in fees. The change in top-10 VHF outlets’ obligations, for instance, was larger because the total number of outlets dropped by two to 42.

The fees for cable also are expected to climb. The FCC proposed to increase cable systems’ regulatory fees by 2 cents per sub, to 49 cents. The charge for cable antenna relay services would climb $2, to $55.

*proposed

**market size

Source: FCC