As an FCC and communications lawyer, Stephen advises broadcasters and other FCC regulated businesses on a host of compliance matters, and he routinely provides all the same services as his colleagues who practice at D.C.-based communications firms. While Stephen maintains productive relationships with members of the FCC Staff, he also maintains a “small town” attitude such that no client is too small or any less important than any other client. His practice focuses on providing prompt operational advice regarding daily business operations, including FCC licensing, closed captioning and other accessibility issues, children’s television programming, political programming, sponsorship identification/payola, the FCC’s EEO rules, broadcast station ownership, indecency, and enforcement issues. Stephen has also advised a variety of companies — international, publicly traded, and North Carolina-based — with respect to compliance with the FCC’s equipment certification, marketing, and labeling regulations.

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Social media, mobile, and other digital platforms, as well as “real world” brick-and-mortar and guerilla strategies present nuanced challenges in the brave new world of non-traditional marketing. Stephen engages with marketing teams to guide the development, execution and risk management of advertising and promotional campaigns, including endorsement issues; contests, sweepstakes and raffle issues; and issues implicated by transmitting marketing communications to current and potential consumers and clients. He has advised large and small media companies, online retailers, national and local brands, and nonprofits.

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Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America©(link is external) in Administrative/Regulatory Law (2021)

Member, Federal Communications Bar Association

Co-Chair of the Carolinas Chapter, Federal Communications Bar Association (2014-15)

Panelist, Duke Law and Technology Review Drone Panel, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC, September 25, 2017

Panelist, Regulatory Panel, Ohio Broadcast and Multimedia Technology Conference, Columbus, OH, September 19, 2017

Panel moderator, "UAS Policy and Law Panel," NC GIS Conference, Raleigh, NC, February 23, 2017

Panelist, Campbell Law Review Symposium, "Flying Above the Law: Legal Issues Surrounding the Domestic Use of Drones," Raleigh, NC, February 3, 2017

Presenter on drone law, NC Pork Council Annual Conference, Raleigh, NC, February 2, 2017

Presenter, UAV/Drone Education Forum, North Carolina League of Municipalities, Raleigh, NC, November 16, 2016

Panelist, Regulatory Update Panel, Ohio Broadcast Engineering Conference, Columbus, OH, September 23, 2015

Presenter, “UAS in the USA (and NC): Drone Law Developments,” 2015 Festival of Legal Learning, February 14, 2015

Presenter, Ohio Association of Broadcasters Webinar, “Developments in Digital Advertising, Marketing, and Social Media: Where Does Your Station Stand?”, October 8, 2014

Panelist, Broadcast Education Association District 2 Conference, Boone, NC “UAS in the USA: The Regulatory Climate’s Commercial Freeze”, September 26, 2014

Moderator and Presenter, Digital Legal & Compliance 101 Panel Discussion, North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, June 24, 2014

Presenter, “Fundamentals of Conducting Contests and Sweepstakes in North Carolina,” North Carolina Bar Association CLE Program, November 30, 2012

Presenter, “NCOSH B’Gosh: An Introduction to OSHA in North Carolina,” 2012 Festival of Legal Learning, February 11, 2012

Presenter, “Conducting Contests and Sweepstakes in North Carolina: Fundamentals and Fairness (and a Risk Management Overview),” 2011 Festival of Legal Learning, February 12, 2011

Presenter, “FTC and FCC Advertising Disclosures: Because Consumers Are Entitled To Know (What Do Advertising Businesses Need To Know?),” 2010 Festival of Legal Learning, February 6, 2010

The Newsroom Law Blog Post: Drone Law Enacted as Part of North Carolina Budget Bill

Recent Publications & Media

Speaking Engagements

September 25, 2017

Stephen Hartzell Participates in Duke Law Panel on Drone Law

Stephen Hartzell, a partner in the Raleigh office of Brooks Pierce, served as a panelist for a discussion on drone use and legal and policy issues hosted by the Duke University School of Law on Monday, September 25, 2017. The panel discussed a wide variety of topics, including the use of drones in...Read more
March 1, 2017

Hartzell Leads Panel at N.C. GIS Conference

Stephen Hartzell, a partner in the Raleigh office of Brooks Pierce, recently moderated a panel discussion on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, at the 30 th annual North Carolina GIS Conference. The panel discussed law and policy considerations applicable to the...Read more


The 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America © recognized 73 Brooks Pierce attorneys as industry...(read more)

Recent Publications & Media