HELENA – The time and temperature number has provided the Helena area with up-to-date information since 1956 and still sees thousands of calls each month. But recently the free service has come under new ownership.
Daniel Lode of Butte bought new telephone equipment and assumed the number from the prior owner. Lode said the number, 406-442-1730, has stayed the same since it was created.
An expert in telephony by hobby and profession, Lode said it was important to him to keep the number going.
“I’ve always wanted to run a time and temperature number so this has really worked out,” Lode said.
Despite how ubiquitous smartphones with access to time and temperature have become, Lode said data from the equipment indicates about half the calls to the line come from cell phones. Up to 5,000 people call the line each month. Last January, that number hit a record of 19,000 calls.
Lode isn’t exactly sure why the line still sees so many calls but has some ideas.
“If you’re lying in bed, or you’re not near a clock and you don’t really want to get up or go and find the time or figure out what temperature it is – you can just pick up the phone and call a time of day service,” Lode said.
The system itself is relatively low maintenance and Lode plans to continue operating it for as long as he can. However, because the equipment is currently in his office in Butte, the temperature recorded is Butte’s temperature. Lode hopes to find it a permanent home in Helena in the near future.