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Overview

For the past three decades, Melodie has helped numerous broadcast and wireless technology clients in their dealings with the Federal Communications Commission.

She frequently advises commercial and noncommercial educational broadcasters in a wide array of matters before the FCC, including licensing, spectrum auctions, rulemakings, program content, forfeitures and consent decrees.

Melodie also represents clients in complex corporate transactions and regularly negotiates and drafts contracts for asset sales and stock transfers, tower leases, programming, loan and licensing agreements.  She provides intellectual property guidance, including copyright, music licensing, service marks, online digital streaming and podcasting, terms of use, privacy policies, and web site legalities.

Melodie is Co-Chair of the Garvey Schubert Barer Communications, Media and Information Technology group and a frequent speaker at industry trade association conferences.

Representative Engagements

  • Counseled TV broadcaster through the FCC’s complex incentive auction process in which the FCC purchased spectrum from TV broadcasters in a nationwide reverse auction so that it could repurpose a part of the TV band for sale in a forward auction for mobile broadband use.
  • Represented a major online streaming audio service on its purchase of a radio broadcast station, vigorously fending off a challenge to its legal qualifications based on how the FCC quantifies alien ownership of a publicly traded company and paved the way for a new FCC policy simplifying the process.
  • Worked with both commercial and noncommercial clients on launches of new web-based distribution platforms for both live recorded performances and targeted musical genres, including developing their terms of service, privacy policies and music licensing structures.
  • Defended a consortium of public media companies in an Inspector General audit of its use of funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The client came to us when the IG’s office proposed to disallow nearly $3 million from an $8 million grant. The amount ultimately disallowed was approximately $150,000 and our fees were under half of that amount.
  • Guided clients through the FCC's auction procedures, including applicant structure for bidding discounts and new entrant discounts, pre-auction procedures, settlements and anti-collision issues, filing auction applications, monitoring auction results and assisting with bid placement, filing post-auction applications, and filing and responding to petitions against winning bidders.
  • Successfully challenged the constitutionality of the FCC's Fairness Doctrine.
  • Helped a start-up of a national satellite direct-to-home television service provider, negotiating transponder agreements, purchase orders, and affiliation agreements, and advising it on FCC regulatory and FTC advertising requirements.
  • Represented MCI in the FCC's grant of the first of several nonwireline cellular licenses.
  • Worked on preparation of over 120 applications for new FM broadcast stations filed with the FCC in a noncommercial educational filing window. Assisted clients with amending bylaws to meet FCC point system qualifications, obtaining antenna site assurance of availability, meeting legal qualifications, coordinating with consulting engineers, budgeting and securing commitments for financing construction and operation of the station, meeting public notice requirements, negotiating settlement agreements, preparing petitions against competitors, and defending against petitions to deny the applications.
  • Developed a renewal filing guide to assist clients efficiently through the FCC broadcast license renewal process. Worked on preparation and filing of hundreds of renewal applications and successfully defended against petitions to deny their license renewals.
  • Obtained waivers of FCC rules to receive special temporary authority to enable several AM broadcast stations to use FM translators before the FCC changed its rules to allow FM translators to rebroadcast AM stations.
  • Developed affirmative action packet and forms for clients to use to comply with the FCC's EEO requirements; assisted clients with editing annual EEO public file reports and with responding to FCC EEO audits and inquiries.
  • Helped clients sort through issues relating to archiving programs and music licensing and permissions issues.
  • Drafted music licensing agreements for broadcasters to license live in-studio recording sessions and to use recordings in over-the-air performances, streaming, and podcasts on web sites. Drafted releases to allow broadcasters to record and reuse guest interviews in other media.
  • Assisted clients with understanding the requirements to qualify for the statutory license under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to cover streaming audio on the Internet. Helped them with filing Notices of Use with the Copyright Office and with preparation of monthly Statements of Account and quarterly Reports of Use for filing with SoundExchange.
  • Prepared and filed with the Copyright Office clients’ Designation of Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and draft their copyright notice and takedown policies for posting on their web sites.
  • Developed template for a universal settlement agreement for a trade association to use to assist competing low-power FM (LPFM) station applicants to resolve their mutual exclusivity.
  • Defended clients before the FCC on regulatory audits and negotiated consent decrees and tolling agreements.
  • Helped television clients through the digital transition and filing forms unique to television stations, such as quarterly DTV Education Reports on Form 387 and DTV Status Reports on Form 388, quarterly Children's Television Programming Reports on Form 398, and Form 317 Digital Ancillary / Supplementary Services Reports.
  • Assisted clients with managing FCC online databases, including Antenna Structure Registrations, Federal Registration Numbers, and online filing of FCC applications, reports, petitions, and comments.
  • Assisted start-up national programmer with drafting syndication affiliation agreement and contest rules.
  • Negotiated and drafted agreements relating to station programming, such as time brokerage agreements, local marketing agreements, noncommercial broadcast programming agreements, program syndication agreements, and HD2 and multicast program streams.
  • Worked with master FM antenna committee to assess issues relating to co-location of TV stations atop a tall building hosting most of the broadcast stations licensed to a large U.S. market.
  • Helped clients navigate myriad Federal Trade Commission regulations relating to advertisement of consumer credit and leasing, endorsements and testimonials, and weight loss claims.
  • Developed and drafted privacy policies for clients relating to their collection and use of personal information from users of their web sites.
  • Assisted clients with creating social media policies governing employee personal behavior as well as for promoting client business.
  • Negotiated and drafted tower leasing agreements for broadcasters as lessees to lease space from tower owners as well as for tower owners to lease to third-party users.
  • Worked on a complex stock sale transaction worth over $100 million for the sale of a legacy broadcast station in a major Northeast market. Assisted client with transferring assets to other entities for sale to third parties and creating new corporate entities to facilitate multiple transactions.
  • Assisted numerous clients with negotiating and drafting asset purchase agreements for purchase or sale of broadcast properties, filing and prosecuting assignment and transfer applications, and closing the deal.
  • Spearheaded development of comprehensive due diligence checklist to audit client web sites. Assisted clients with drafting terms-of-use and privacy policies as well as managing issues relating to e-commerce, social networking, and federal regulations affecting business web sites.

Professional Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), 2017-present
    Chair, Governance Committee, Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), 2017-present
  • Member, Associate Member of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE), 2002-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, 2012
  • Member, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, 2010-present
  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association, 1982-present
  • President, Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.); Chair of its Foundation, 2003-2005
  • Vice President, Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.), 2000-2002
  • Program Chair, 1998 Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.) Annual Convention; 2002 and 2004 Leadership Summit and Business Conferences
  • Member, Board of Directors, Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.), 1992-1994, 1997-2007
  • Trustee, Board of Trustees, Foundation of Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.), 1992-1994, 1997-2007
  • Member, Radio Club of America, 1996-2001

Community Activities

  • President, Toastmasters Club "Aesthetic Voices," 2002; Member, 2001-2011

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Publications

Admissions

  • District of Columbia, 1982
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1985
  • United States Supreme Court, 1990
  • Virginia, 1992

Education

American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., 1982

  • Member, American University Law Review, 1981-1982

George Washington University, B.A., with distinction, 1979

Honors | Recognitions

  • Named Washington DC Super Lawyer, 2014-2016
  • Named in Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2012
  • Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Extraordinary Service Award, 2009
  • Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio & Television, Inc.) Achievement Award, 2008
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV/5.0 Peer Review Rated


 


 
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