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FCC Hires Anti-Indecency Activist

The FCC has hired anti-indecency activist Penny Nance as a special advisor.

Confirming the hire, first reported in Media Week Monday, an FCC spokesman said the job is part-time, and that Nance will advise the commission's Office of Strategic Planning (OSP) on broadcast and cable-related consumer issues" as a "liaison with public interest groups, Congress and the industry."

OSP advises the chairman and others at the commission on long- and short-term policy objectives.

FCC part-time staff appointments don't usually make big news, but Nance's hire was the subject of a piece on the debut broadcast of CNN's new Situation Room afternoon block given its potential impact on the FCC's indecency crackdown.

That is because Nance has pushed the FCC to rein in indecency, including offering cable channels a la carte, as founder of the Kids First Coalition.

Nance and Martin have history and share some common goals.

Back in 2003, a number of self-described pro-family groups met with Martin to talk about ways to clean up TV programming, including reinstituting a family hour.

Nance was among those who met with Martin, and while one member of the delegation said that they had gotten nowhere with then FCC Chairman Michael Powell on the issue, Martin got high marks. "[Martin's] courage in speaking publicly has in some ways empowered us to go forward and to look for ways to work with the FCC," Nance told B&C at the time.

Now, Martin has the commission's center seat, is atop a commission that has vowed to get tough on content, and is on the record suggesting that the industry voluntarily revive the family hour and provide family-friendly cable programming tiers.