Austrian pubcaster eyes higher license fees

ORF boss says move necessary to cover shortfall

COLOGNE, Germany -- Austrian pubcaster ORF, struggling to paper over the gaps left by its €79 million ($107 million) budget shortfall last year, has proposed some radical changes to the way it structures its license fee.

ORF director Alexander Wrabetz has proposed hiking license fees immediately to take into account inflation over the next five years.

The idea would add about $55 million to ORF's annual budget. Another proposal would incorporate an immediate rate hike every year to account for inflation. Currently, ORF's license is set at the start of every five-year period and does not change regardless of inflation.

Another more likely scenario would have the Austrian government simply fork out the cash to plug the hole in ORF's budget.