Penny Nance takes on the shock jocks

Posted: Aug 24, 2005 12:00 AM

When a notorious “shock jock” threatens to send strippers to your house to harass you, you know you’ve gotten his attention. But in this case, his threat results from his fear. The truth is, shock jocks and other supporters of broadcast filth are shaking in their boots. And the person they’re afraid of? An attractive young wife and mother of two named Penny Nance.

What has the shock jocks up in arms is that the Federal Communications Commission has just hired Mrs. Nance as an advisor and liaison to Congress on issues related to the cable and broadcast industry. I know Penny; she’s bright and dedicated. And she is the founder of the Kids First Coalition, lobbying against pornography. She has testified before Congress against Internet porn and signed an open letter to the president calling for stricter enforcement of indecency laws, urging “repeated and expanded” fines “until broadcasters understand they are not above the law.” Penny is concerned about what she calls a “huge indecency problem” on basic cable, and she has urged the return of the “family hour” on television. Sounds good to me and to millions of Americans who share her views.

But those who oppose any standards of broadcast decency are in a rage. They’re so used to wallowing in the dirt—I guess it’s not surprising that they play dirty now.

One shock jock, as I mentioned, threatened to send strippers to her house; another one, after taking verbal shots at her, told his audience he had her home address. A blogger posted her address and telephone number on the Internet, forcing the Nances to change their phone number. Many bloggers are inviting readers to contact the FCC and demand that Mrs. Nance be fired. National Public Radio guest Todd Shields, a writer for, suggested that those concerned with First Amendment rights might find her unfit to work at the FCC. One morning radio host said on the air, “Penny Nance frightens me.” And much of what others are saying about Mrs. Nance isn’t fit to repeat.

This is pure nonsense. Anybody promoting decency in the media is immediately labeled an enemy of the First Amendment. Despite these attacks, Penny Nance has remained calm and gracious. Getting angry with cultural polluters, she says, would be like getting angry with a blind man for stepping on your foot. Meanwhile, she is eagerly getting on with her new job. She was asked to come to the FCC, she says, to work on behalf of “the millions of American mothers who are sickened by the constant diet of cultural sewage that’s being fed to their children.”

The vicious attacks on Mrs. Nance remind us of the offence of the Gospel—in this case, of course, the offence of someone who correctly calls the abuse of human sexuality a social evil.

I hope you will call or write FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and thank him for hiring Penny Nance. You can call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527) or visit our website and get information on how to do this. Or you can register your support directly.

And to all the shock jocks out there who are pouring sewage into kids’ minds: You’ve got good reason to be afraid—very afraid. A mother named Penny Nance, indignant over what’s on television and radio, is on the job.

For further reading and information:

Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment by Richard Winter.

To contact Chairman Kevin Martin, e-mail; call 1-888-225-5322; or write: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW , Washington, DC 20554.

Learn how to file an indecency complaint with the FCC.

Learn more about the Kids First Coalition .

FCC hires anti-porn advocate as advisor,” Reuters, 8 August 2005 .

Conservative Christian activist gets advisor position with FCC,” Indianapolis Star, 13 August 2005 .

Chris Baker, “Decency activist joins FCC,” Washington Times, 10 August 2005 .

Decency Docent,” On the Media, NPR, 12 August 2005 . (Todd Shields discusses Penny Nance’s appointment.)

Paul K. McMasters, “Wrong way to fight indecency,” Detroit Free Press, 21 August 2005 .

Bill Wilson, “FCC Becoming Pro-family?Family News in Focus, 9 August 2005 .

Stern Suspects FCC Fine in the Works,” FMQB, 18 August 2005 .

Simon Dumenco, “Spoofing the FCC’s New Decency Guidelines,” Ad Age, 15 August 2005 . (Satirical reaction to Mrs. Nance’s appointment.)

Pia de Solenni, “Abortion on the Air: One radio show’s disturbing abortion contest,” National Review, 23 May 2005 .

Roberto Rivera, “Special and Unique Butterflies: ‘Lifestyle’ and Self-Destruction,” BreakPoint Online, 19 July 2005 .