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VHF fees up, UHF down - Broadcasting & Cable

VHF fees up, UHF down

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Large-market VHF TV stations would pay between 4 percent and 5 percent more
in regulatory fees this year than in 2001 under a payment schedule proposed by
the Federal Communications Commission.

UHF stations in the same markets would see their fees go down roughly 16
percent.

Despite the
opposite directions of their obligations, both categories are benefiting from greater-than-expected fee revenues collected
last year, which reduces the size of the coffer the licensees must fill this
year.

UHF stations were also helped by a 15-station increase in the number of
licensees in the category.

The FCC
generally aims to increase the revenue generated in each licensee category
proportionally to the agencywide increase ordered by Congress -- 9.3 percent this
year.

Consequently, in categories where there are relatively few licensees, an
increase in the number of operators would decrease each station's payment.

VHF stations in markets Nos. 1 through 10 and 11 through 25 would pay $47,050 and $34,700,
respectively, while UHF stations in those markets would pay $12,800 and $10,300,
respectively.

In smaller markets, VHF duties also would rise and UHF would fall.

For FCC licensees in all industries, the agency aims to collect $219 million
from regulatory fees, up $18.6 million from 2001. Regulatory fees were ordered
by Congress in 1994 to cover the costs of overseeing industry and managing
spectrum.

Comments on this year's duties are due April 23; replies
May 3.

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