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0 Professionals

Melodie A. Virtue

Melodie A. Virtue

Owner - Washington, D.C.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated
0 202.298.2527 Tel
0 202.965.1729 Fax

Melodie Virtue represents broadcast and online commercial and noncommercial educational radio and television companies before the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., as well as other federal agencies. Her experience includes proceedings before the FCC dealing with licensing, spectrum auctions, program content, forfeitures, and administrative hearings as well as drafting comments on proposed rules that impact her clients' businesses.

In addition to serving their regulatory compliance needs, she negotiates and drafts contracts on behalf of electronic media clients on various facets of their business, such as asset sales and stock transfer agreements, tower leases, local marketing agreements, programming agreements, and employment agreements. She also advises clients regarding copyright, music licensing, service marks, online digital streaming and podcasting, terms of use, privacy policies, and web site legalities.

During her career as a telecommunications attorney, Ms. Virtue has assisted with the 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 and FTC regulatory requirements. She was a core part of the legal team that successfully challenged the constitutionality of the FCC's Fairness Doctrine.  She also was part of the team whose efforts resulted in the FCC's grant of the first cellular license to a nonwireline company. Ms. Virtue has worked with both commercial and noncommercial clients in their launch 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. She defended a collaboration of public media companies in an Inspector General audit of their use of funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). She was counsel to a publicly-traded company that obtained a grant of the first broadcast Declaratory Ruling under the FCC’s foreign ownership procedures.



Helped clients sort through issues relating to archiving programs and related 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.


Prepare and file 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.

FCC Licensing

Developed renewal filing guide to assist clients through the FCC broadcast license renewal process. Worked on preparation and filing of several hundred renewal applications and successfully defended against petitions to deny their license renewals.

FCC Licensing

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.

FCC Regulatory

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.

FCC Regulatory

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.

FCC Regulatory

Assisted with the start-up of a national satellite direct-to-home television service provider; negotiated transponder agreements, purchase orders, and affiliation agreements, and advised it on FCC and FTC regulatory requirements.

FCC Regulatory

Guided clients through the FCC's auction procedures, including applicant structure for bidding discounts and new entrant discounts, pre-auction procedures, settlements and anticollusion issues, filing auction short form applications on Form 175, monitoring auction results and assisting with bid placement, filing post-auction long form applications, and responding to petitions against winning bidders.

FCC Regulatory

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.

FCC Regulatory

Defended clients before the FCC on regulatory audits and negotiated consent decrees and tolling agreements.

FCC Regulatory

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.

FCC Regulatory

Assisted clients with managing FCC online databases, including Antenna Structure Registration, Federal Registration Numbers, and online filing of FCC applications and reports.

FCC Regulatory and Contracts

Assisted start-up programmer with drafting syndication affiliation agreement and contest rules.

FCC Regulatory and Contracts

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.

FCC Regulatory and Tower Leasing

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.

FTC Regulatory

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.

Social Media

Assisted clients with creating social media policies governing employee personal behavior as well as for promoting client business.

Tower Leasing

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 sale of broadcast properties, filing and prosecuting assignment and transfer applications, and closing the deal.

Web Site Compliance Issues

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, 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


2016 Martindale-Hubbell logo


  • American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., 1982
    • Member, American University Law Review, 1981-1982
  • George Washington University, B.A., with distinction, 1979


  • 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

Professional Recognition

  • 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