You might not be familiar with citizens band (CB) radio, as its usage has died down a fair bit with the introduction of phones and the internet, which provide faster and more broad communications services.
Think of CB radio as a walky-talky system for adults, used by authorities, hobbyists, preppers, and others, especially where cell reception remains sparse. Most notably, truckers use it as a keen source of information and communication while on the road. It’s used frequently, however it mostly remains hidden from public view.
Even though newer methods of communication may have usurped the old school stuff, there’s a certain form of independence provided by CB radio which makes it a noteworthy tool in the battle against the state with regards to free speech. Especially now during an era of government-sponsored media and mass spying of civilians, what we are allowed to know has made each of us a target of the state.
Anyone can purchase a CB radio and say whatever they want, without the infringement of social media censorship — and unlike the internet, this radio doesn’t face the same physical hurdles when it comes to access. It operates outside the functionality of the internet in which people dial in to certain frequencies, or channels, which have specific uses such as for truckers and emergencies. Discourse between listeners is tolerated communally, with a shared form of courtesy developed by those on each channel.
In this report we join Haru, a trucking company owner in Saskatchewan, who details some daily uses of CB radio in the trucker industry. It generally revolves around road safety, but as he mentions there’s more that takes place on this quasi-hidden communications platform.
This year alone we saw unprecedented trucker convoys and blockades across the nation in protest of government mandates, and given the connection between semi-trucks and CB radio, I can’t imagine they went unused. In years past, it’s alleged that CB radio was used by one trucker during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo to start a nationwide protest in the U.S. against high fuel prices among other things. As Haru tells us, the convoy was certainly using CB radio during its journey to Ottawa.
The convoy drew international attention toward the peaceful fight for civil liberties here in Canada, despite Trudeau’s efforts to thwart dissent. This success may partially be thanks to CB radio, both in terms of navigating the convoy as well as the conveyance of messaging without government or big tech consent. Notably, there was an increase in CB radio sales during the so-called pandemic, all while the trend of government restricting media continues.
This communications platform provided a separate world for truckers and convoy supporters to communicate, without a third party necessary — as emphasized by Elon Musk.
Major media outlets are quick to spew government-positive narratives, while ignoring the reality of the world we live in. Ultimately, it’s up to us whether we continue to listen to paid-to-say news, or whether we find new means of communicating altogether.
CB radio may play a role in free speech in the years to come, however its limitations and feasibility will likely keep it in the shadows for the time being. Although it played a unique role in the trucker convoys of 2022, it’s not certain to what capacity this affected the protests. Either way, as a last resort it may be worth having one in your possession, as our government continues to restrict other communications platforms.