"Um, can someone help me? I can't figure out what's wrong with my phone."

That may have been the most embarrassing moment of my first week in Boise.  My first task on the job was to call a handful of winners to let them know that their prizes arrived at the station, but every time I tried to place a call something went wrong.  Pick up the phone, dial 9 to place a call outside of our office network, dial the area code and then the number...why wasn't this working?!

The joke was on me.  I grew up somewhere where you had to dial 10-digits to place a call.  When I moved to Idaho, no one told me the entire state had a 208 area code and that you didn't have to dial it for local calls in the Treasure Valley! ::facepalm:

Well, that all changes on Saturday! The 208 area code is expected to run out of available by the middle of the next year, so the state is getting a new area code: 986.

According to the Idaho Press Tribune, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission may start assigning new Idaho numbers the 986 as early as this weekend.  That means that starting Saturday you MUST dial the area code before a number even if you're a 208 number calling another 208 number. They'll still be considered local calls so there's no change in the cost of placing that call.

So what do you need to do to prepare for the change? Make sure that you update any pre-programmed phone numbers in your contacts list to include the area code.  You know, the real important stuff like our doctor's office, security alarms, mom's cell phone...and of course our contest line!