FCC Raises Fees Across the Board


Broadcasters will pay a lot more in regulatory fees this year to help the FCC meet its congressionally set obligation to increase revenues from those fees by 23%.

Large-market TV stations will see a hike of 18%-24% over 2002, the FCC said July 25. VHF stations in markets 1-10 will pay $57,650, up 23%; in markets 11-25, $43,225, up 18%. UHF stations in those markets will pay, respectively, $15,850, up 24%, and $12,875, up 20%.

Cable systems are expected to generate total revenue of $44.6 million on fees of 66¢ per subscriber. The 2002 fee was 53¢ per sub.

In radio, the biggest change was the revamp of station categories. The FCC added a "3 million and greater" category and expanded the market sizes of the other categories, it said, because of the trend to more-powerful stations and increases in general population.

Payments are due Sept. 24.

Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps voiced reservations about across-the-board increases and encouraged their colleagues to explore ways to make the fees better reflect the costs of regulating each sector.