The April 3 retirement of Bill Cross, W3TN, from the FCC marked the end of a long era at the Commission. Cross, who was technically a "program analyst" in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, was for more than a decade the FCC's go-to person on all matters dealing with amateur radio. He was also the primary author of all Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM)s and FCC Reports and Orders relating to Part 97 proceedings.
But Cross told the ARRL Letter that there were no plans to replace him with another "Ham Guy," as he said most FCC staffers referred to him. "The plan is to divide up my work among other staff members, based on topic," he told the Letter.
Cross also said he would not be surprised if, in the future, the number of ham radio license classes was further reduced from its current three (Technician, General and Extra) to two or even one, noting that the differences between the privileges granted by each class "really are not that much." (See this month's "Zero Bias" editorial for more on this general topic.)