This Here Rubber Duck Revisited


Glenn Reynolds has penned an interesting little appreciation of CB radio for Excerpt:

[I]n fact, CB was a revolution in its time, whose effects are still felt today. Before Citizens' Band was created, you needed a license to be on the air, with almost no exceptions. Radio was seen as Serious Technology For Serious People, nothing for normal folks to fool around with, at least not without government approval. Citizens' Band put an end to that, not by regulatory design but by popular fiat. Originally, a license was required for Citizens' Band, too, but masses of people simply broke the law and operated without a license until the FCC was forced to bow to reality. It was a form of mass civil disobedience that accomplished in its sphere what drug-legalization activists have never been able to accomplish in theirs. No small thing. [?]

CB radio primed a generation that was used to top-down communication on the network-news model for peer-to-peer communication, getting people in the right frame of mind for the Internet, cellphones, and text messaging. It also served as a vehicle for spreading countercultural resistance to authority beyond the confines of hippiedom, taking it deep into the heart of middle America.