Breaker, breaker 1-9!
If you were alive and kicking during the 70s, you no doubt were familiar with these words.
CB (Citizens Band) radio lingo like this was at the height of popularity during the 70s.
Fueled not only by the use of the cb radios in popular movies and songs of the decade but also by the gasoline shortage of the early 70s, which initiated new speed limits and other rules for drivers everywhere.
A cb radio allows short-distance radio communication between individuals, conducted on some 40 channels at 27 megahertz.
This two way radio service could be employed by many users at the same time, which made it ideal for truckers, especially long-distance drivers who wanted to communicate with others on the road during extended trips.
The CB Radio goes all the way back to the 1940s but was never as popular with the masses as it was in the 70s.
During the 70s, there were 23 channels on a CB radio. Channel 9 was always reserved for emergencies, but casual CBers often tuned in to Channel 19, which was the designated trucker’s channel, to listen and talk.
By tuning in to 19, regular citizens could hear truckers speak to each other or could participate in conversations with the truckers or with other CB hobbyists who had a radio in their car or home.
Many historians compare this CB radio craze to today’s internet chat rooms. The radio was a place where people could gather to share thoughts and make plans.
The advantage of the cb radio, like chat rooms, was that you could remain fairly anonymous unless you chose to reveal your identity.
The popularity of CB radios could be attributed to novelty songs like Convoy by C.W. McCall, which told the story of a band of truckers who stage a rebellion against trucker rules and drive from coast to coast without stopping.
Other media that popularized citizens’ band included the movie Smokey and the Bandit and TV shows like Movin’On and The Dukes of Hazzard.
Though CB radio communication seemed like fun to the average citizen, truckers took it seriously.
As a matter of fact, the truckers who had been using citizens band radios for years weren’t always very happy about the fact that others were now invading the privacy they once enjoyed on this form of communication.
Many casual users were young adults who carried on inappropriate conversations on the airways, jamming them up and making it impossible for truckers to communicate with each other when necessary.
Many truckers stopped relying on the CB radio during this era because of misuse and the fact that literally millions of users in the U.S. were now making it very hard for those who truly needed the service to use it properly.
Indeed, the 70s partly contributed to the demise of this form of communication. Of course, when cellular phones became available – even in their most primitive form – most drivers turned to them as new and better tools for communication, and CB radios became another 70s fad that would eventually fade into the sunset.