In the 1970's C.B. radios were a huge hit among truckers and non-truckers alike, and the Clarion reported on their popularity in Morehouse Parish this week on Saturday, February 7, 1976.
C.B. (Citizen Band) radios were developed in the 1940s and gained immense popularity in the 1970s as a means of communication among truckers letting them know of hazards and allowing them to have company on the road. Each driver had a handle, or name, they used in communications through a truckers channel known as channel 19.
The Clarion noted that various jargon was used to communicate on the radios. For instance, they called grain carriers covered wagons, a cup of 30 weight was a coffee, and smokey referred to a police officer. Other slang included crack'em up which meant accident, Ears for the receiver/radio, mud ball meaning donut, and roger which meant ok.
Local company Sawyer Trucking Contractors, owned by Vernon and Nancy Sawyer, was reportedly a big user of C.B. radio and it was noted that some drivers with the company wouldn't go anywhere without them.
Vernon and his top driver Steve Hampton noted that the radios encouraged cooperation between truckers and State Troopers. The truckers would report accidents, drunks, or other issues on the highway. Many troopers and truckers became friends this way and had coffee together.
According to the article, one well-known trooper in the area at the time was a Lincoln Parish trooper called “Blue Smoke.” Hampton noted he was the most popular trooper on I-20. Another popular C.B. user, the most popular within a 100 mile radius according to Hampton, was an Olla resident known as “Woody Woodpecker” who was partially paralyzed and bed ridden.
The popularity of the C.B. Radio led to its use by hobbyists and other non-truck drivers. According to the Clarion, car trunks and trunk cabs throughout the parish began sporting the antennas used to pick up the radio signals as many locals began using the radios.
“C.B. radios have become so numerous locally that it's becoming difficult to find a handle that's not already assumed by another operator,” wrote Addye Mitcham in the article.
According to the article there were various imaginative handles being used in the parish such as Shoe Cobbler, Butterfinger, Fraulein, Grey Beard, and Jungle Bunny.
Locals used radios to talk to each other as well as truck drivers, making drives less boring. Teens had fun playing around with them as well, using C.B. slang and getting to know others on the road.
With the advent of cell phones and other technology the fad has worn off, and for many, C.B. radios are a thing of the past. For some locals, however, C.B. radios are remembered with nostalgia as a fun and interesting part of Bastrop's history.