Buzzard phones

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Here’s a WMMS print ad from the mid seventies.   

There were two area codes: 216 for Cleveland and 330 for Akron.  There was one phone company – a monopoly, Ohio Bell.   

Touch tone phones were increasing in popularity – but rotary dials were still common.   The only item that came close to resembling a cell phone was Captain Kirk’s communicator on Star Trek.

We had just added a local-call Akron request line   (l-800 toll-free numbers were still cost-prohibitive) and owing to the large volume of request calls we were receiving – we added a specific contest line for Cleveland listeners (as a consequence of budgetary limitations Akron’s local line served the dual purpose for requests and contests). 

Another recent addition was our recorded concert information line, which handled the large volume of calls we were receiving for updates on who was coming town and where.

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3 Responses to “Buzzard phones”

  1. I would say Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone was closer to the cell phone than Capt Kirk’s communicator.

  2. Sorry, Mr Gorman, but your area code info is wrong. 330 area code wan’t added till the late 90’s, I believe all of Northeast Ohio had 216 as an area code till then. I know 216 was used in the Akron area in the 70’s since I was in high school and had to listen to my mom bitch about long distance calls and how much they cost anytime I called outside the 216 area [and sometimes inside of it]

  3. On August 14, 2008 Don Beno wrote: “I would say Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone was closer to the cell phone than Capt Kirk’s communicator.”

    It’ll sound like quibbling but I gotta back up John on this one…

    Max’s shoe phone does have a resemblance size-wise to the very first cellular phones, such as the brick-like Motorola DynaTAC, but popularity of personal cell phone use didn’t take off until smaller hand held units such as the Motorola MicroTAC came on the market in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The MicroTAC was the first cell phone I’m aware of that featured the “flip phone” clamshell arrangement. It was small enough to fit in a shirt pocket (at least in theory) when the clamshell was folded.

    The MicroTAC – and all flip phones since – obviously have a great resemblance to the Captain’s communicator. From buzz I heard back when the popularity of the MicroTAC line (they were THE cell phone to have in their day) was supposedly driven by their resemblance to a Star Trek communicator. Actually, flip phones were at first more popular in the US than the rest of the world because of the Star Trek thing, again supposedly.

    Especially when equipped with push-to-talk walkie-talkie emulation, in my opinion modern cell phones very much mimic J T Kirk’s communicator.

    Sorry to be a picky geek about it Don but I am a bit of a two-way radio geek anyway.

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