TIL that the practice of playing music for callers on hold began with a faulty phone line connection. A loose wire touching the steel frame of an office building caused it to act as a giant radio receiver, allowing callers to hear music from local radio stations while they waited on hold.

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The quality of music played when I’m on hold directly affects my patience with whoever I’m about to speak to.


Being able to hear radio stations on old copper land lines is actually rather common. A “radio suppressor” is put on lines when ppl complain they can hear something when talking on the phone besides the person they are calling. Sometimes it is just cross talk from other lines and sometimes you can hear music or commercials.


The wikipedia article linked does not site a reliable source. This story is likely apocryphal.


Haha dude patented his shit right away.


“nobody actually gave a fuck if callers had to sit on hold – but it was getting complements already so they implemented it like they’d invented it!”