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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Silly radio liners and commute efficiency

I used to work second shift tech support, and that meant I had to be at the office by 4. Due to the length of the commute and presence of some serious construction along the way, I tended to leave really early. This wound up having me on a particular stretch of freeway at the same time every day. I could actually tell how well things were going based on the time of day vs. my position.

Normally I wouldn't notice any particular time during a drive, but there was one thing in particular which happened every day at 3:20 my time. My car had come with an XM receiver which was still activated, and I was able to listen for free at first. I had discovered a channel which played some good music called "The Bone Yard" and would usually keep it on while rolling to work.

You see, 3:20 in my location was 4:20 one time zone east of me, and they used to "celebrate" 4:20 every day by playing a 20 second "liner" to fill the time. Since it was a national service, that meant doing it four times a day! It was the craziest thing I had ever heard on the radio at the time and always gave me a chuckle. Sometimes I'd catch it at 4:20 in my local time zone or the subsequent ones for the rest of the country, too.

This whole thing seems to have fallen down the "memory hole" of the web. You can find a few references to it on some web boards, but the actual audio seems to have been lost. I've decided to help that situation a little since I happened to grab a copy of two of the four way back in the day.

For the sake of archivists, nostalgic satellite radio metal heads, and other people who just like amusing audio content, here it is.

Central time zone:

Pacific time zone (West coast):

If you heard that every day at the same time, I imagine you'd start using it as a gauge for the efficiency of your commute, too.

"Hey, I always go through this narrow spot when this comes on..."

Oh, one final note: when they played this, the radio would display a song name: "BONG ME". Subtle, right?