Latest name to emerge in the race to fill the vacant FCC chairman’s slot is Bernice K. McIntyre, a former head of the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities.

McIntyre, who works for the research and development/consulting firm of Arthur D. Little in Cambridge, Mass., is said to have the backing of Sens.

John Kerry and Edward Kennedy and Rep. Joseph Kennedy, all Massachusetts Dems. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

President Clinton has yet to nominate a permanent chairman to fill the seat of Republican Al Sikes, who resigned the day before Clinton took office. Clinton must also name either a Republican or an independent to fill ex-commish Sherrie Marshall’s seat.

McIntyre is a black woman, and is thereby possessed of two attributes that may be important to an administration committed to increasing the diversity of appointees in top government posts.

D.C. insiders say two Washington lawyers — Reed Hundt and Tom Casey — remain the favorites for the chairmanship post. Hundt may have the best chance for the nomination because of his close ties to Vice President Al Gore. David Leach, an aide to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), remains a longshot candidate.