Breaker 1-9 It’s CB Day Today! Do You Know Why?
In my teenage years the citizen band radio was the cellphone of my youth. It allowed me to talk for hours to people I didn’t know about nothing in particular. Today is the day we as Americans celebrate the citizen band radio. Why today? Look at your calendar. Still don’t get it? Say the number of the month and the number of the day. The light bulb has gone on!
For the professional truck driver of 1970’s the CB radio was the device of choice to communicate to his brother truckers. The range of usually 15-20 miles was a great way for truck drivers to get up to the minute road conditions, arrange dinner companions and avoid speed traps. You see during the 1970’s the speed limit on interstate highways was actually 55 mph. The federal government lowered the speed limit so we could save on gasoline. This lower speed meant longer time on long hauls for truckers. That mean less time at home and fewer dollars in the pocket.
That is when the popularity of the CB radio really took off. Of course any new fad needed a theme song, enter advertising executive William Dale Fries Jr. Fries was a gifted advertising writer and he possessed quite a voice to boot. Recording an almost spoken word soliloquy to the American truck driver under the pseudonym C.W. Mcall.
His song Convoy and it’s lyrical description of a long haul trucker named Rubber Duck and his battle against Smokey Bear swept the nation. Soon every family in America had a CB antenna sticking out of the trunk or off the roof. Doctors, lawyers, preachers and teachers all had “handles” they used to disguise their true identities as they communed with truck drivers and every one else about the whereabouts of Smokey Bear.It was really quite a phenomenon back in the days of my youth.There was even a movie made based on the song.
Kids of today will think the CB is very small potatoes considering the short range of miles you could actually communicate over. CB’s were only licensed to 4 watts output so you couldn’t talk around the world like you can on the internet today. Why is October 4 CB day? 10-4 is taken from the universal 10 code most non commercial radio traffic uses as shorthand. 10-4 means ok, 10-100 means you were taking a bathroom break and 10-10 meant you were listening in for a friend to call your handle and start a conversation. You can see the entire 10 code right here.
Did you have a CB radio? What was your handle? I still have a CB radio in my house and I use it quite a bit. If you ever hear “The Yugoslavian Pork Chop” on the air. That’s me! I usually hang out on Channel 11 if you ever want to visit.