CB Radio was a hobby which attracted people from many different walks of life. The relatively free and somewhat anonymous access to CB radio allowed representatives from many different socio-economic, ethnic, and age groups to co-exist on the same channels. So it was no surprise that there was a huge diversity of personalities, which mirrored "the real world" to a great degree. But even within this seemingly infinite diversity of people, certain key personality traits bubbled to the surface and manifested themselves as a predominate style of operation, which was far less diverse than one might think. The following are some examples of the various major personality types which I ran across on a regular basis over the last 30+ years. Note that most people were not textbook examples of any one particular type, as most people had bits and pieces of a few different personality types included.
"Agitator" -- The agitator is the guy who derived his pleasure by driving other people into apoplexy. The agitator will scan the channels looking for someone who seems particularly vulnerable or responsive to his unique "charms". Agitators will then dump carriers, play music, or start arguments in order to disrupt the harmony of the routine channel activities. The more the "victim" fights back, the more Agitator is empowered. The fact that Agitator primarily gets his kicks by spoiling other people's fun, is a telltale sign of the deep rooted psychological issues which plague him. In the real world, Agitator likely has few friends and was himself a target of bullying in his younger days. His actions on the CB are simply his attempt at "getting back" at those symbols which have brought him pain in the past. Due to the nature of his particular habits, Agitator tries his best to remain anonymous. Exposing his identity is usually a good way to counter him.
"Brute" -- The Brute is the guy who would threaten physical violence to anyone with whom he had a disagreement with. It didn't matter if it was as simple as someone accidentally keying over him, a dispute over who has the best radio gear, or a disagreement about practically anything, Brute's ultimate answer was to "kick someone's ass". It didn't matter who was ultimately "right" in the disagreement, Brute's main course of action was to threaten to use physical force. Usually his zeal to display his physical prowess was a compensation for a lack of comparable mental faculties. It is also worth nothing that some Brute's were all talk, and while they would be quick to threaten violence, they didn't always follow through. Because of his quick to anger temper, Brute was a favorite target of the Agitator, and often lampooned by the Clown.
"Channel Master" -- The Channel Master is a control freak, a disciplined authoritarian who, despite reluctantly acknowledging the normally spontaneous nature of most CB radio activity, believes that the local daily chit-chat needs to be conducted in an organized and structured manner. The CM will be the guy who gives out breaks and plays traffic cop when the channel is busy. He will also interject himself into disputes between other CB'ers and tries to referee, not so much out of concern for the sparring parties, but to restore the orderly functioning of the channel as soon as possible. So absorbed is he in his self-appointed position, that he rarely becomes involved in lengthy conversations of his own, nor does he ever stray from the home channel for long, lest this distract him from his duties as radio policeman. Some channel groups can actually benefit from having a CM at the helm, as long as the CM is somewhat benevolent. But if the CM is also a King Of The Hill, an internal battle will eventually erupt. Because of his high profile, the CM is another favorite target of the Agitator.
"Clown" -- The Clown is the practical joker, the show-off, or the guy who lampoons other people and events which occur over the radio. The Clown is usually quick-witted, adept at voice impersonations, and/or has a bevy of sound effects, noise makers, and other means at his disposal, which he puts together at the right moment to get a quick laugh. The Clown loathes bland routine seriousness if it extends for too long, and instead prefers a lighthearted, slapstick, free-for-all, spontaneous atmosphere. The Clown is the bane of the Channel Master, and makes Legal Beagle and Serious cringe. The Clown is also capable of turning the tables on Agitator, and is a frequent target for Brute's aggression.
"Chip On His Shoulder" -- Most of us have had some nagging personal issue at one time or another. But in the case of COHS, his issues are perpetual and ever-present, sometimes to the point of defining his personality. The issue could be a disability, or a particular physical or mental flaw. But whichever the case, COHS is especially sensitive to it and will launch a barrage of verbal abuse at anyone who displays a lack of respect or sensitivity toward his particular issue. COHS often uses his "condition" as a crutch to solicit sympathy, or as an excuse for not having to be as responsible for his actions as the rest of the people. Agitator will use COHS's sensitivity against him.
"D.J. Wannabe" -- It's sometimes tempting to pretend that CB radio is a stepping stone to a career in broadcasting, and the D.J. Wannabe takes full advantage of the captive audience on the channels, in order to hone his "talents". Whether simply playing music, or constructing elaborate comedy bits, the DJW is more than willing to disrupt the harmonious flow of the daily conversations just to "entertain" the locals. Most DJW's are also Clowns, although the reverse is not always true.
"Diplomat" -- The diverse social nature of CB radio invites a certain amount of disagreement and conflict, and Diplomat feels that it's his divine inspired duty to mediate any such situation. He tries to act like the voice of reason between two (or more) warring parties, and attempts to defuse a situation before it can escalate to a physical confrontation. His intentions are usually good, if perhaps a little too idealistic. Too often though, the only thing Diplomat succeeds in, is re-directing the warring party's anger at him.
"Drunk" -- Some people can't go through a single day without tying a load on, and the CB Drunk is no exception. Late night conversations are anything but routine when Drunk is on. Depending on his mood though, he could be either extremely entertaining, or a belligerent troublemaking agitator. Some drunks have been known to sing ballads, hymns or popular tunes with the right encouragement. Others do little more than utter strings of profanity-laced diatribes. Usually the next day, he has a sore head, but little clear recollection of what transpired the night before. But on the following night, the cycle will repeat itself for yet another round.
"DX-er" -- The allure of DX and the potential for communicating over hundreds or thousands of miles is attractive to most radio ops at one time or another. DX-er though, takes it to the extreme. He will spend most of his time scanning the band for the smallest hint of a band opening, and the chance to work yet another distant place. Usually, the true rabid DX-er will forgo talking with the local gang in order to pursue his DX habit. His equipment is predictably geared toward DX'ing. Usually he runs a top notch SSB radio, or a ham-converted-to-CB rig along with a large beam antenna, and usually an amplifier. DX'er can't understand why many of the other locals do not share his passion for DX, or why they sometimes get annoyed when he tries to work DX right in the middle of local chatter.
"Flirt" -- Typically a female (The male counterpart is Romeo), Flirt enjoys the fact that men usually greatly outnumber women on the radio, and looks at the home channel as her own personal "boy toy" store. During a typical conversation, Flirt will take even the most innocuous comment and spin it into some sort of of sexual innuendo, which she then builds on to steer the conversation in that general direction. Flirt enjoys the apparent sexual power that she is able to wield over the men on the radio which then works to feed her ego. She plays teasing head games, but she rarely gets serious with anyone, and skillfully dodges any attempt to take things to the next level. In many cases, Flirt is physically unattractive and her radio "virtual sex" is as close as she'll probably ever get. For that reason, she is also seldom seen in person. Flirt also despises other women worming in on the (her) channel, and treats them either coldly or with overt contempt. Flirt is also not too fond of Techie, who's usually more interested in his latest radio project, than in exchanging smut talk with her.
"Gadget" -- While CB radio is first and foremost a forum for communications, Gadget believes that there is more to the radio hobby than just plain old talking. Like using salt, pepper, or other condiments to accent food, Gadget believes that CB radio conversations themselves, are usually bland and need to be "spiced up" with some distracting toy or another. Gadget will acquire all sorts of noise toys to amuse or entertain (usually only himself). Gadget is the guy with the roger beep that plays Dixie, has 3 different birdies, an echo box, and any other noise toy that is on special at the local CB shop. Gadget usually suffers from a bit of the "Look at Me" complex, but lacking anything substantive to talk about, he instead calls attention to himself through the use of his toys. Gadget has difficultly understanding why a good many people do not share his fascination with toys, and the criticism which normally follows. But he usually brushes it off as "sour grapes", or believes that the critics are simply "jealous" of his station.
"Gullible/Conspiracy Junkie" -- Ever wonder who that person is who actually reads (and believes) the articles in the National Enquirer or the Weekly World News Tabloids? It's probably a given that they would also be a Gullible/Conspiracy Junkie on the CB. The G/CJ easily buys into or believes each and every rumor or myth on the CB band. Whether it's proliferating the ever-present rumor of the FCC being in town, to regurgitating every dubious "technical" signal improving myth, the G/CJ is there and usually proud to be the mouthpiece for it. G/CJ's especially frustrate the heck out of Techies, as the G/CJ will believe as gospel any half-baked "CB Science theory", but will suddenly become a strong vocal skeptic when presented with actual facts which dispute this "theory".
"Jekyll & Hyde" -- Like the famous story of the same name, a J&H persona is one of opposite extremes. One set of J&H personalities could be Legal Beagle and DX'er. Another set might be Regular Guy and Agitator, or Serious and Clown. Whichever the case, the J&H will operate one way under one set of circumstances, and become someone totally different under a different set of circumstances. The best word to describe the J&H would be hypocrite.
"King Of The Hill" -- Typically a predominantly male trait, borne from the seemingly genetic drive to be fiercely competitive, the KOTH persona looks to earn respect, or fame through the attainment of high status and thereby becoming the envy of his CB peers. Achieving this status usually revolves around a contest of radio equipment and/or signal strength. The KOTH is usually the guy with the 40' long beam at the top of an 80' high tower, the largest amplifier, the loudest modulation, the modified to the hilt radios, and/or the most gadgets. All keydown participants are KOTH's. The key defining word for a KOTH is MORE. In order for a KOTH to be seriously competitive though, he has to either be a Techie himself or have a lot of disposable income. Many KOTH's strive to be at the top of their game on CB radio, often as a compensation for failures in their real life situation.
"Legal Beagle" -- CB radio was never intended to be a hobby band full of idle chit-chat. Nevertheless, it evolved in that direction. Legal Beagle, though, tried his best to follow FCC rules to the letter, and would also be quick to remind everyone else when they were bending or breaking the rules. LB always used his FCC assigned call letters and never ran anything besides a completely legal, type accepted CB radio. A more arrogant LB would sometimes become a Channel Master as well. Many Legal Beagles eventually migrated to ham radio, where they are now serving as official observers (Kilocycle Kops), sending out "friendly" notices of rule violations to other hams.
"Look at Me" -- This person likes to be the center of attention, and their conversations usually emphasize, or eventually gravitate toward, something that they are personally involved in, or have intimate knowledge of. Whether it be their kids, their aches and pains, their job, or some other personal issue, it's all about them. This is not to say that LAM's are all totally self-absorbed or narcissistic (many are), but they simply prefer to talk about themselves (Which they have a comfortable knowledge of), rather than other topics in which they may not be as well versed.
"Master Sandbagger" -- Most people get into CB radio to talk to other people, and derive their greatest pleasure in building meaningful interactive on-air relationships with these people. The Master Sandbagger is the exception. While most people will sit by and just listen occasionally while they're busy doing something else in the background, or otherwise occupied, the MS normally would rather just listen as he engages in a more passive enjoyment of the hobby. His thrill is in listening to other people interacting. Whether from of a keen psychological interest standpoint, or maybe because he's just a bit shy, the MS will only be heard from on rare occasions. Because they focus on listening so intensely, MS's will usually know quite a bit about the locals and will put together that elaborate jigsaw puzzle of each of their lives from the many bits and pieces of info that are casually revealed during the many conversations that he eavesdrops on. A MS with a "Jekyll and Hyde" persona may have a tendency to jam certain people when the moon is full.
"Mentor" -- The mentor is one of a few special people who is always willing to help a newcomer learn the ropes, or comes to the aid of anyone in need of radio related assistance. Mentor will offer up sage advice and has been known give the shirt off of his back, and never ask for anything in return. Mentors have been known to actually lend equipment to other CB'ers when theirs are down for repairs, or while they're saving up for a new radio. He's also normally the first one to show up at an antenna raising party. A truly positive influence to the local scene.
"Mother Hen" -- Typically an older adult female, the "MH" is a motherly type who tends to "adopt" the local channel regulars as part of her own brood. She is often found doting on them by inviting them over for fresh baked cookies or some other refreshment. She has been also known to immerse herself into their personal activities, at least those which involve activities over the CB radio. She frequently offers up her advice on how one should handle their personal lives, including their dating scene, and will often comment on who they think an ideal match would be. Mostly she has a genuine concern for their well being and means well, as any mother would. But occasionally she may go a bit too far. I mean, we already have one set of parents to deal with right?
"Old Timer" -- It seems that almost every area had at least one guy who was around when the CB radio service took its first breath. Or at least that's what they'd like you to think. In any case, an OT is usually someone who has been around for longer than most, has seen everything, done everything, and owned practically every popular brand of radio and/or antenna. Some OT's are a wealth of useful knowledge and sage anecdotes. Others are little more than a wealth of hot air. Most have stories to tell, some of which can be interesting, even if only from an entertainment standpoint. Some OT's make good Mentors.
"Paranoid/Victim" -- The Paranoid operator is convinced that a fair percentage of the locals on the channel are plotting against him. It may have started with one little gag or incident, but from that point on, Paranoid feels that every bad thing that happens to him is the result of an elaborate fiendish plot concocted by some rival "posse" on the channel who are out to get them. The Victim side of this personality manifests itself as the Paranoid laments, to anyone who will listen, on just how innocent they are and how they don't deserve the treatment that they're getting. Sometimes the P/V is a total moron and his actions precipitate much of his own grief. But they either refuse or are unable to see their own role in the situation.
"Pontificator" -- The Pontificator is someone who cannot convey a simple thought using short sentences. Instead, the Pontificator prefers to elaborate each and every thought in fine detail down to the Nth degree, and can transmit a monologue for over 5 minutes straight, just describing how he feels on a particular day. Usually his long winded nature will eventually attract the attention of the Agitator, while simultaneously sucking the life out of the rest of the channel, as everyone loses their train of thought while waiting for Pontificator to unkey.
"Regular Guy" -- Regular Guy is unremarkable, the guy most likely to be forgotten 30 years in the future when someone else decides to put up a web page about their experiences with CB radio. RG neither creates nor partakes in any controversy, nor does he stand out from the crowd in any significant way. He's just there. He enjoys exchanging the daily small talk, he steers away from disputes, and runs modest, usually unmodified, equipment. It is the ultimate insult to a King Of The Hill, to be outdone in signal by a Regular Guy, who by his very nature wasn't even trying.
"Romeo" -- It's a natural thing for younger guys to be on the prowl for members of the opposite sex (hormones and all that), but Romeo makes sexual conquest his top priority on the CB. Romeo has perfected that smooth talking suave demeanor which he then uses to woo the few unsuspecting ladies who happen to grace the local channels. Romeo would rather sneak off to a secluded channel to charm the pants off of his latest "prey", rather than socializing with "the guys". In fact he'll likely be condescending and annoyed if one of the guys should interrupt him in the middle of one of his conquests. Romeo usually leaves a bunch of broken hearts in his wake as he moves from one conquest to another in his dating equivalent of a King of the Hill contest.
"Secret" -- CB radio is pretty much an open public forum, where anyone can listen and take part in conversations. Most people, either deliberately or inadvertently, reveal much about their personal lives during the normal exchanges which occur over the air, and in the subsequent personal relationships which develop and often transcend on-air conversations. Secret is the exception. Secret goes through great pains to insulate his CB world from his real one. Secret rarely attends coffee breaks, or other face-to-face get-togethers, rarely talks about his family or any other aspect of his personal life, and is very uncomfortable with letting CB visitors into his home. One can only wonder what it is that he's hiding, what he's ashamed of, or whether he's just paranoid......
"Serious" -- Serious is, as the name implies, a meticulously serious radio operator. He prefers procedure, purpose, and regiment, and has little tolerance for Clowns, DJ Wannabe's, Gadgets, or other people who take a more laid-backed, hair-down approach to their radio escapades. Serious almost exclusively prefers SSB as his mode of operation and he is a stickler for following locally accepted radio practices. But unlike Legal Beagle, he may not always be 100% legal as many Serious radio op's could be found on the freeband, using modified equipment. Serious is essentially a ham-wannabe without the license. He rarely associates with the operators on AM, as he considers himself above their form of "communicating". About the only time he would venture onto an AM channel, would be when one of them was interfering with him, and he would appear only to berate the operator and dispense his disgust. When someone really attracted the ire of Serious, the channel would see his "Mr Hyde" side, when his normally regimented, and professional demeanor would break down amid his anger. Serious would eventually migrate to ham radio, and could be found there incessantly complaining about how removing the Morse Code requirement will eventually ruin ham radio by letting in "less serious" radio ops.
"Showboater" -- You've probably seen them at parties. The guy (or gal) who has to make the grand entrance, and who makes sure that all eyes are on them. Usually they are very extroverted, loud, boisterous, and flamboyant. Their CB counterparts are no exceptions. These are the guys who monologue with extraneous and colorful metaphors and hyperbole for 30 seconds just to convey a simple "hello" or "goodbye". Their normal conversations are usually void of any real substance but are overindulgent in flair. Anyone who uses terms such as "knees in the breeze", "wavin' a hand", "got a grip on your lip", etc. regularly, is probably a showboater to some degree. Most of the present day Channel 6'ers fall into this category.
"Supreme Overlord" -- A particularly evil mixture of Techie, Channel Master, and King of the Hill, with a smattering of Look At Me thrown in for fun. The SO is technically adept (At least enough to be dangerous), has the arrogance of the Channel Master, and is driven by the KOTH competitive drive to best his rivals. And, like Look At Me, he craves attention. The SO rarely fits in for long in most casual channel groups, as he is far too abrasive. The SO's favorite slogan is: "It's my way, or the highway".
"Techie" -- The Techie is the guy who is fascinated by, and driven to learn all there is about, the technical aspects of CB radio. Techies are sometimes formally schooled, and other times learn strictly by experience. These guys are always experimenting with their own radios and sometimes experience a bit of smoke in the process. For the true Techie, the best parts of the CB experience revolve around the mysteries of radio, and most of their conversations involve technical matters. Techies usually evolve down two distinctly different paths. Some Techies, like the Jedi Knights of Star Wars fame, will follow the force of good and become Mentors. They will usually also end up becoming the local "Mr. Fixit" for the locals who have radio or antenna problems, and will readily dispense sage advice concerning radio issues. Other Techies will become more like Darth Vader, and follow the dark side of the force and use their skills for self-serving aggrandizement and ego boosting through King of The Hill type behavior. They will be driven to modify their radios well beyond their design limits, even beyond the limits of practicality, in order to do things that no one else can just so they can claim certain bragging rights. Many of these types of Techies will also get into the business of repairing and modifying radios, but they will be more likely to do things that violate FCC rules and good engineering practice in the name of "pushing the limits". A radio tech who promotes "peaking" a radio, including removal of modulation limiters, and endorses the use of Class "C" amplifiers for CB, is most likely a "dark" Techie. Fortunately, many "dark" Techies can be saved, with a little further education and maturity. Many Techies will eventually move on to ham radio, when they outgrow the inherent technical limitations of the CB band.
"Troubled" -- Whether he appeared when his parents thought that CB radio would be an excellent form of group therapy, or if he was simply a vapid, lonely and dateless adult social outcast, Troubled was the guy who had certain mental or emotional "issues" which went beyond the usual geeky or nerdy tendencies that were normally associated with a "tech"-style hobby. Troubled could probably be classified as "mildly retarded" (Or "mentally impared" if you prefer a more politically correct term), or simply socially challenged. Troubled usually caused much strife on the channel, as his simpleton child-like comments and demeanor just didn't fit in, and he did not possess the necessary comprehensive ability to understand why he was so universally loathed. He is immune to the taunting of Agitator, and he drives Channel Master and Serious batty.
"Trucker" -- (Thanks to Andy in Ohio for the inspiration for this) The Trucker personality originated from those, as the name would imply, who were professional truck drivers. Over the road drivers invented a dialect and lingo all their own, and it was usually easy to spot a Trucker by the hillbilly drawl (even if they lived on the east coast), the use of trucker's slang terms and the transient nature of their transmissions. Someone frequently using terms like "Keep the shiny side up, and the dirty side down", "Catch you on the flip flop", "Smokey", or any of a number of similar phases immortalized in such movies as "Smokey and the Bandit" or "Convoy", were probably Truckers. While they were among their own on channel 19, Truckers were not a problem. But every once in a while a group of them would venture off of channel 19 and onto the local home channel and just barge in, without even checking to see if the channel was in use first, and cause all sorts of disruption in the process.
"Trucker-Wannabe" -- A sub group of the "Trucker" personality type, a TW had basically the same character traits (or flaws depending on your perspective) as a true Trucker, except that they didn't drive trucks at all. They just tried to act like they did. The very worst of the TW's didn't even have a mobile, and operated their base station that way. Ah, the lengths some people will go through to seek acceptance.......
I'm sure there are more personality types, and if anyone has a particular type that they'd like to include here, send it in.......