Broadcasters say they're not to blame for higher cable rates

The National Association of Broadcasters, having heard the rumblings that retransmission costs are driving up cable rates, has gone on the offensive with the FCC claiming that "retransmission fees make up a small fraction of programming costs" and therefore broadcasters aren't to blame if cable operators raise their rates.

The broadcasters did a study, in fact, that claimed that TV stations cost between 37 and 74 cents per sub, which is only .75 percent to 1.5 percent of the average cost for expanded basic services. Retransmission battles between cable operators and broadcasters, most vividly exemplified by the WABC-Cablevision fracas before the Academy Awards, has caused the FCC to actively study the subject.

And, in other broadcasting news, CBS boss Les Moonves said the Big Eye might sell off some of its TV stations as it trims down its asset mix in radio and television. One asset CBS isn't thinking of junking is its group of cable networks which brought in $368 million in the first quarter, an 8 percent increase over the same period last year.

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