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FCC's Wheeler Taps Ex-Wireless Tech Exec as Media Advisor

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is getting two new top advisers, including naming Jessica Almond, formerly of HTC America, his new media advisor.

Wheeler's office said Tuesday that Almond will be legal advisor for media, enforcement and public safety issues, replacing Maria Kirby, who is leaving the commission.

Wheeler is moving wireless to Edward (Smitty) Smith, who will be the chairman's new wireless, engineering and technology adviser, succeeding Renee Gregory, and taking over tech and engineering from Almond.

Gregory has been on maternity leave—Almond had been filling in as acting advisor, engineering and technology, wireless and incentive auctions—but Gregory has taken a new job, said Wheeler's office, and will not be returning to the commission.

Both Almond and Smith assume their new posts Oct. 26.

Before joining the FCC, Almond was government affairs counsel at HTC America, the U.S. arm of Taiwanese phone and tablet manufacturer HTC Corp.

Smith has been director of the D.C. Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, but was chief of staff for the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force and held other FCC posts before exiting the FCC to run (unsuccessfully) to be the first attorney general of D.C.

“Jessica has done a tremendous job filling in for Renee Gregory, shepherding a large number of incentive auction-related proceedings. I am delighted that she will be staying on and expanding her portfolio to media, enforcement, and public safety issues,” said Wheeler. “Smitty was a key member of the Incentive Auction team," he added. "It is terrific that he is rejoining the Commission and continuing his incentive auction work as well as taking on a broader range of wireless issues.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.