Area code 615 has been flagged for exhaustion.
In use since 1954 — when Nashville, like a baby bird, flew from the comforting nest of 901, staid and steady — the 615 prefix is nearly devoid of available numbers. And 10-digit dialing (that’s area code plus the phone number for those of you to whom “dialing a number” means paging through your contact list and hitting “dial”) is coming to town. Nashville is joining New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and others as a 10-number town. Think of it as a status symbol.
Poor, tired and very nearly full 615 is going to get a baby brother, too — but not until 2013. The party animals at the North American Numbering Plan Administration will issue a new area code for the region, prompting the change to 10 digits for all of us, even if we have the dusty (but respectable) 615 numbers.
There’s no word yet on what our new triad will be. Perhaps those yucksters at the Tennessee Regulatory Authority will remember what they did when Knoxville got its new code: 865. Yes, that spells “V-O-L” and, yes, that’s exactly as ridiculous as you think it is.
Sadly, neither of our local pro sports teams has a name easily abbreviated.
The number could celebrate the Titans’ most famous play. “Music City Miracle” becomes 626, but alas, it’s taken — California’s San Gabriel Valley beat us to the punch. We couldn’t even boringly use our airport abbreviation, with BNA’s 262 already claimed by the Milwaukee suburbs. “Commodores” could become “D-O-R” (that’s 367), but would anybody get it?
We are still Music City. Could it be 466 for “G-O-O,” celebrating the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville’s most famous clustery confection?
This is all a mental exercise, of course, as the comedic geniuses at the TRA and the NANPA haven’t followed up their numeric Knoxville in-joke with similar shenanigans elsewhere. In all likelihood, our new area code will be something that can’t be misdialed or confused for 615.