The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to stop licensing of citizens-band radio operators.
As soon as President Reagan signs a noncontroversial bill Congress passed last month, FCC officials say they will move to eliminate their licensing requirements for CB-radio operators.
At the same time, the FCC will begin to reduce its role in the issuance of amateur-radio licenses. Instead of using FCC examiners to administer the required tests to potential amateur radio users, the agency plans to use volunteers supplied by American Radio Relay League, the organization representing amateur radio operators.
The FCC will, however, continue to issue licenses for these users.
The decision to drop CB-radio licenses will make it easier for consumers to use their radios before receiving official FCC permission. "All they will have to do is go down to the store, buy a radio and turn it on," said Willard R. Nichols, administrative assistant to FCC Chairman Mark Fowler. Consumers will not even need a temporary permit to talk over the CB as is now required.
Additionally, for those already licensed, the requirement of renewing the license every five years will be dropped.
The FCC currently approves 55,000 CB-radio licenses a month, largely through a routine process in which each application is automatically approved. That number is far below the one million applications the FCC processed a month during the peak of CB popularity in the mid-1970s.
Congress and the FCC believe that this routine has few if any benefits and only ties up agency employes. Congress noted in approving the law to allow the FCC to stop licensing CB operators that 2 million people, or about 10 percent of all CB operators, use the radios without any FCC license to begin with.