Media

Media

Throughout the decades of constantly changing media technologies, FCC regulation, and investment opportunities, Lerman Senter has served as a leading specialist in media law. Clients ranging from international media giants to non-commercial television and radio stations count on us to expertly and efficiently represent their interests, whether that involves drafting agreements or structuring critical financing — or successfully advocating on their behalf before the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. federal courts.

Lerman Senter is and always has been a communications law firm, and our media practice is at the heart of the work we do. Today, as the industry explores new opportunities including Next Generation television, podcasting, and new distribution methods, Lerman Senter is poised to help clients profit from these new opportunities, while counseling them about compliance with new FCC regulations. Our attorneys are at the forefront of the cable industry, as well, handling retransmission consent and other critical agreements. We welcome you to contact us for more information about our Media practice.

Lerman Senter’s breadth of Media practice services includes:

Federal Regulatory and Compliance Matters

  • Preparing FCC applications for facilities modifications, channel and/or community of license changes, temporary and experimental authorizations, assignments and transfers of control, and license renewals for television and radio stations
  • Advising on FCC attribution matters, multiple ownership rules, and foreign ownership compliance
  • Counseling on FCC licensing matters such as private carrier coordination, tower registrations, and historic and environmental preservation
  • Advising on issues related to the adoption of Next Generation Television including simulcast requirements, channel sharing, and hosting agreements, and FCC licensing requirements
  • Helping clients participate in rulemaking proceedings by preparing comments and reply comments, and coordinating ex parte meetings and letters
  • Monitoring and participating in agency proceedings and advising clients of decisions and proposed rulemakings issued by the FCC, FTC, NTIA, FEMA, and OMB
  • Responding to FCC inquiry letters, investigations, notices of apparent liability, and negotiating consent decrees
  • Developing compliance programs, seminars, and manuals that address EEO requirements, sponsorship identification, public inspection files, payola and plugola, indecency, political broadcasting, closed captioning, noncommercial underwriting restrictions, children’s television programming and commercial limitations, and website terms of use and privacy policies
  • Advising on contests, promotions, and events, including reviewing contest rules and advertising copy, complying with social media platform requirements, and preparing releases, indemnification agreements, and contracts with vendors and co-promoters
  • Advising noncommercial television and radio stations on compliance with underwriting limits, donor acknowledgements, and fundraising, including review of scripts

Transactional Matters

  • Assisting with the acquisition, merger, sale, leasing, and financing of broadcast and media-related properties, including preparing, reviewing and negotiating asset and stock purchase agreements, joint sales and shared services agreements, operating agreements, local marketing agreements, merger agreements, financing documents, and closing documents
  • Preparing FCC applications for the sale and transfer of broadcast stations and other FCC-regulated entities
  • Collaborating with in-house and corporate counsel to assist in transactions involving broadcast television and radio, and cable and broadcast networks
  • Drafting and negotiating network affiliation agreements, employment and talent contracts, sports rights agreements, syndication agreements, programming, sales and license agreements, tower and studio leases, and related business documents
  • Reviewing and negotiating retransmission consent agreements
  • Assisting with bankruptcies and restructurings for clients in the broadcast television and radio, cable and multi-channel video program distribution (MVPD) industries
  • Representing debtors, creditors, and other stakeholders in bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings
  • Collaborating with corporate and restructuring counsel to develop equity allocation strategies that enable creditors to acquire equity in companies that hold FCC licenses in a manner consistent with statutory and regulatory ownership limitations

Business Operations

  • Advising on employment-related questions such as hiring, termination, progressive discipline, and equal employment opportunity
  • Preparing copyright and trademark registrations, cease and desist letters, and licensing agreements
  • Reviewing agreements with vendors, promotional partners, telecommunications carriers, and e-commerce and Internet service providers

Litigation

  • Preparing formal petitions to deny and informal objections
  • Appealing FCC and other agency decisions to courts, including drafting briefs and responsive filings, and representing clients in the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • Participating in administrative law hearings at the FCC and other federal and state agencies


Representative Matters

  • Represented News Corporation, one of a group of media company intervenors, in a successful Petition for Certioriari to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the FCC’s decision to relax and eliminate certain broadcast multiple ownership rules
  • Represented ViacomCBS Inc. in obtaining FCC consent to the transfer of control of 29 CBS television stations and associated earth station and microwave licenses
  • Represented Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., in the repack of 100 television broadcast stations, including assisting with the complex reimbursement process established by the FCC
  • Represented Cumulus Media Inc. in regulatory aspects of a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, including obtaining an FCC ruling permitting 100% foreign ownership
  • Represented Spanish Broadcasting Group, Inc., in regulatory aspects of $310 million recapitalization, and related FCC foreign ownership issues
  • Represented SJL in sale of ABC-affiliated television stations in Hawaii to Allen Media Broadcasting
  • Represented Cumulus Inc. in regulatory aspects of various credit facilities aggregating over $600 million
  • Represented American General Media and Equity Communications in sales of communications towers to Insite Wireless Group and Vertical Bridge
  • Represented Beasley Media Group, LLC, in purchasing assets of radio station WDMK(FM) in Detroit, MI, and three FM translator stations from Urban One, Inc.
  • Advised WNET, licensee of the PBS affiliate in New York, regarding the purchase of its first non-commercial radio station, including negotiation of public service operation agreement and other agreements, and managing FCC applications
  • Handled FCC aspects of merger between Greater Media and Beasley Broadcast Group
  • Represented Golden Gate Private Equity in acquisition of Neustar
  • Represented Journal Communications in merger with E.W. Scripps Company
  • Represented Bain Capital in acquisition of Clear Channel Communications
  • Represented Citadel Broadcasting Corporation in FCC aspects of $2.2 billion restructuring

Key Clients

Sinclair Broadcast Group, ViacomCBS, Spanish Broadcasting System, Hemisphere Media Group, Cumulus, Audacy, Beasley Media Group, Massillon Cable TV, Good Karma Broadcasting, Sarkes Tarzian, WNET, Northwestern University, Western Kentucky University Public Broadcasting

“The media industry is always transforming. That’s a given, and it’s one reason so many media businesses turn to our firm. Clients appreciate that we know the field thoroughly and handle matters both cost-effectively and successfully.”

— Nancy A. Ory, Member