The following article talking about the meteoric rise of CB radio, written by Ernest Waaser, appeared in The Yazoo Herald on New Year’s Day, 1976:
The yellow Oldsmobile edging off the road, its driver lulled to sleep by the smoothness of many miles of interstate driving.
Suddenly a voice blared in his ear: “Hey, you in the Oldsmobile, get back on the road.”
The drive jumped to attention, swung his car back onto the pavement, and proceeded safely down the road.
Another CB radio has “paid for itself.”
Once it was a rare sort of novelty, known only to the few who engage in the use of citizens band radio as a hobby or part of a business. But in the last year, and particularly in the last few months, citizens band radio (and the language than goes with it) has become commonplace.
Yes, CB radio has grown quickly, almost too quickly for its own good.
The new of CB radios here in Yazoo County increased dramatically during the Christmas season. Electric Service Company, one of the few merchants in the county that handles CB equipment, reported a big boom in the sale of citizens band radios this Christmas, mostly to young adult males.
The Yazoo County Citizens Band Radio Club has also felt the effect of the recent CB rage. The club has tripled in membership in the last three year, and now has 58 CBers on its roll.
The radio club forms a vital link in the Yazoo County Civil Defense network and it is primarily due to that responsibility that the club has not grown even larger.
“Because we do so much Civil Defense work, we have to look out for the people who will get out and work. With so many people getting radio, we’ve had to be more selective,” says club secretary Glenn Spitler.
What is the attraction of CB radio? Why has it suddenly become one of the most popular pasttimes in America? Primarily, Yazooans say, it’s because they like the idea of having instant communications from their automobile.
On long trips, many CBers use their radio as a way to break the boredom of driving, as a way to stay awake. For the motorist stranded by automobile trouble, the citizens band provides an immediate and reliable resource of help.
The accounts of the real value of the CB radio are endless. A man needs a police escort to the hospital, so he radios ahead and the police meet him at the edge of town, saving valuable time..someone comes upon an accident on a lonely stretch of road, and the CB radio allows him to call the police without ever leaving the scene…a young woman’s car break’s down in the middle of the night, and the CB radio provides help…and the stories go on.
Recently, the Mississippi Highway Patrol recognized the value of the citizens band radio in emergencies and now has a CB radio at each of its district headquarters to listen for emergency broadcasts.
But one of the most publicized reasons for owning a CB radio has stemmed from the truck drivers’ use of the radio to keep track of highway patrol units, and thereby avoid tickets for speeding.
Although the use of CB for giving out the location of ‘smokies’ is illegal, the practice is widespread. To make the cat and mouse game even more challenging, many highway patrolmen have installed CBs in their patrol cars. And so the game goes on…
The great boom in CB radio sales has not been without its problems, though. The great influx of new CBers has led to overcrowding on many of the 23 channels.
“You can just about pick any channel now,” says Glenn Spitler, “and there’s somebody on it!”
And most of the new CBers don’t wait for their FCC license before they begin broadcasting. And many neglect to read the regulations concerning the use of CB.
The license is required by law, however, and the $4.00 license is now good for five years.