The fees commercial TV stations pay for the privilege of being regulated by a federal agency were finalized by the FCC Thursday.
As expected, stations' bills in 2005 climbed at much higher rates than those due from other agency licensees.
Fees for most TV stations spiked between 7% and 14%. Cable operators, cell phone operators and other telecom businesses are paying fees just 2.6% higher than 2004.
The disparity is due to the decreasing number of stations that must shoulder the fee load this year. Stations can be exempt due to financial hardship or for other reasons.
Each industry category is required to increase the total fees collected by 2.6%. The FCC has been culling its database to eliminate stations exempt from fees, a practice that cut the number of paying stations in 2005 by 57.
The total number of paying TV stations now stands at 1,126. Consequently, the burden on the remaining fee payers climbed proportionally to compensate. For instance, the 61 VHF stations in markets sized 11-25 would pay $44,675 per station, up 7.7% from 2004.