Free Country Free Ride

The Free Ride Blog

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Truth About That One “Orange” Drink

There’s usually a good reason whenever food labels are vague. That’s exactly the case when it comes to Sunny D. Because, while it may be orange & seem like juice, it’s not actually orange juice. So, what is Sunny D really?

Sunny D calls itself “orange-flavored citrus punch”. But in reality, it barely resembles anything squeezed from a fruit. The two main components, water & high fructose corn syrup, are combined with some fruit juices, citric acid, sweeteners, sodium, and colorings (all of which make up less than 2% of the recipe). One of the most flagrant additives is an alternative sweetener called acesulfame potassium, which has actually been banned in several countries for being a potential carcinogen.

Sunny D certainly isn’t good for you, though it’s not really any worse than most other sugary kids’ drinks. But the difference between Sunny D and, say, sodas or chocolate beverages, is that Sunny D’s marketing tries to make it seem nutritious. Nutritionists & the orange juice industry have been combating Sunny D’s deceptive branding practices for many years. Because, for a long time, the orange taste, color, and images of actual oranges on the bottle have fooled customers into thinking they’re buying genuine orange juice. They also advertise the drink’s high vitamin content, with even the name “Sunny D” indicating each container is loaded with vitamin D. Yet, while it does contain 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, its sugar content negates whatever nutritional value it may have otherwise held.

Sunny D did experiment, back in 2009, with a 70% fruit juice drink over in the UK. But it wasn’t long before they reverted back to the old formula after sales plunged. But if you like the sugary taste of Sunny D, then keep drinking it. If you’re looking for something actually nutritious to quench your thirst, however, just make sure the label of the bottle you buy says “real orange juice”.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Do Stores Ask For Your ZIP Code?

If you’ve shopped in an actual store any time in the last 10 years or so, you’ve probably experienced that uncomfortable moment at the checkout counter when the cashier asks for your ZIP code. It feels odd & a bit intrusive, since it doesn’t really seem relevant to whatever you’re buying. Soliciting your email address makes sense, but ZIP codes don’t seem like they’d be too helpful in trying to make you a repeat customer. So why do stores ask for your ZIP code?

Most of the time, it’s a stealthy form of marketing. When a store has both your name (usually from your debit or credit card) and your ZIP code, they can pull more personal info about you (address, phone number, past purchases, etc.). While not all stores do it, they can end up sending you junk mail, and, what’s worse, they can also sell your info to third parties.

Sometimes, shops will say your ZIP code is mandatory to complete a transaction. But a court in Massachusetts ruled ZIP codes are personal information shielded by consumer protection laws, after Urban Outfitters got sued for their mandatory ZIP policy (other stores, like Michaels & OfficeMax, have also faced similar complaints).

But ZIP code gathering isn’t always a way to jam unsolicited sale flyers in your mailbox. By tracking sales tied to specific locations, stores can tell which products sell better in which areas, which could ultimately benefit you, the consumer, through better stocked shelves or more variety. But if you’re paying by card & want to maintain your privacy, you absolutely can simply decline to share it. Some credit cards, however (like American Express), do expect stores to ask for a ZIP code as a means of fraud protection.

The one place it’s actually good to be asked for your ZIP code is gas stations. Whenever you fill up, the pump usually prompts you to enter your ZIP code, not to gather data on you but to deter credit card theft. Thieves will test to see if a stolen card works by performing an automated transaction to avoid face-to-face interactions with cashiers who might catch them in the act.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Makes A Clock A “Grandfather Clock”?

What exactly makes a majestically tall clock a “grandfather clock”? No, it has nothing to do with the only people who seem to have them these days (though it’s understandable why someone might think that).

Grandfather clocks are technically called “longcase clocks”, with their tall wooden cases, long swinging pendulums, ornate roman numerals, musically echoing chimes. They seem to belong in a world of courting parlors, model A Fords, and silent movies…basically, the world of our grandparents. But how they really got their geriatric nickname actually has nothing to do with grandparents.

When American songwriter named Henry Clay Work visited England back in 1875, he checked into the George Hotel in North Yorkshire. The hotel’s lobby had a large pendulum clock that no longer worked, and just sat in the lobby collecting dust. It piqued Work’s interest, so he asked the staff about the clock’s history. He was told that it had belonged to two, by then deceased, brothers who’d been the inn’s former owners. The clock had reportedly kept perfect time during the brothers’ lives, but when the first brother died, the clock stopped working. After having been repaired, however, the clock ultimately broke down & completely stopped working, allegedly, on the very day & at the very moment that the second brother died. And the clock stayed that way, even after multiple attempts to fix it.

Mr. Work loved that story, so he wrote a song about it entitled, “My Grandfather’s Clock.” And, while it may not have been Garth Brooks-caliber songwriting, the public went crazy over the song, ultimately selling over a million copies of the sheet music. From that point on, the public almost immediately stopped calling them “longcase clocks”, and instead began referring to the tall timepieces as “grandfather clocks”.

Fascinatingly, Henry Clay Work’s song lives on, having been recorded multiple times across the 20th century, including by Johnny Cash in 1959 & even as recently as 2004 by R&B/Soul group Boyz II Men. Yet, while the song lives on, clock-lovers worry that old pendulum-swinging grandfather clocks may not be long for our modern, digital timekeeping world. But…for now, at least…just like the song, the grandfather clock keeps on ticking.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning

Andy Webb, a 25-year Radio entertainer & content creator, is the new Program Director for 99.9 WFRE & host of “The Free Country Free Ride” weekday afternoons from 3pm-7pm.

From his very first job in 1995, in his hometown of Meridian, MS, Radio has been the only occupation Andy’s ever known; from the age of reel-to-reel tape to today’s digital audio, he worked his way up through late-night air shifts all the way up to morning drive. Always an eager student of Radio, Andy has used every opportunity to hone his skills and personality into an affable mixture of humor and gravitas listeners can instantly identify with & latch onto. He’s been featured across many formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC; and, as a testament to his talents and commitment to fun-yet-informative radio, Andy was awarded the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters“Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years between 2006 and 2011.

While having attended The University of Southern Mississippi on an Opera Performance scholarship, Andy always followed the path Radio set before him, which has taken him from Meridian to Hattiesburg, MS, to Charleston, SC, and now Frederick, MD. Andy enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma (a fellow Broadcaster), and daughter, Isabel, while also spending his infrequent free time golfing, wood-working, an motorcycle riding.

Brought to you by:


Mundane Mysteries! 3:50 PM

Numbers In The News! 4:20 PM

Drive at 5. 5:00 PM