Breaker, Breaker New Bedford: Remembering the CB Radio Craze
Citizen band radios, also known as CB radios, are still around but not nearly as popular as back in the 1970s when new solid-state technology and an energy crisis drove the CB craze at full throttle right into mainstream America.
The recent passing of country music performer C.W. McCall got me thinking about a time when lots of folks had CB radios in their cars and homes. Turbo Future.com describes CB radio as "a system of short-distance, two-way radio communications using a selection of 40 channels within the 27-MH-z (11) band."
The site says, "The Citizens Band Radio Service originated in the U.S. in 1945 to provide citizens a radio band for personal communication." The service is regulated by the Federal Communications System (FCC).
The popularity of CB radio exploded in 1973 with the oil embargo and gas shortages all across the country. Long-distance truckers used the radio system to alert each other to available gasoline, road conditions, and "bears" (police). It caught on.
C.W. McCall (William Dale Fries, Jr.) had a crossover hit recording with "Convoy" in 1975. Convoy reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1975. The song and several others McCall wrote and recorded targeted truckers and fed the CB radio craze.
The 1978 film Convoy was based on the song and starred Kris Kristofferson, Ali McGraw, and Ernest Borgnine.
Smart-Trucking.com offers tips to today's CBers on how to "learn how to talk CB lingo like a trucker!"
Before becoming a singer/songwriter, McCall – or Fries – worked in advertising. According to Wikipedia, he later served as Mayor of Ouray, Colorado, from 1986 to 1992.
Many of my New Bedford area friends participated in the CB craze of the '70s. Some still have radios and are involved with HAM Radio as well.
Did you or do you still have a CB radio? What's your handle?