AT&T Won't Give California the Time of Day

AT&T is disconnecting its decades-long time-of-day call-in service in California. By stopping the service, AT&T will be free to give out about 300,000 new phone numbers.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


It's almost the end of time in California. No, we're not talking apocalypse or earthquake, but later this month, residents will no longer be able to hear this.

(Soundbite of telephone dial tone)

Unidentified Woman: Good afternoon. At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be 4:12 and 10 seconds.

ELLIOTT: By calling the prefix 8-5-6 and any four digits, Southern California residents could get up-to-the-second time to synchronize their timepieces.

In Northern California, it was pop seven, six, seven, plus any four digits. But AT&T is discontinuing the time-of-day call-in service to free up 300,000 new phone numbers.

Ms. JOANNE DANIELS (Voice Talent, California's Time): I believe in the march of time, but I am sad to see it go, of course.

ELLIOTT: That's Joanne Daniels. She's been the voice of California Time for more than 20 years.

Ms. DANIELS: They would pay me for each session I did. If I had gotten residuals for every time it was used, I would be the richest woman in the world, wouldn't I?

ELLIOTT: Telephone companies have been providing time to callers since the 1920s, but now that there are so many other places to check the time, from cell phones to computers, many phone companies have canceled their telephonic clock service.

Ms. DANIELS: I am sorry to see it go because it is the most accurate time you can get, even more so than your computer and your iPods.

ELLIOTT: It's 18 minutes past the hour.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.