I love radio.
Ever since I can remember at one time or another we were always listening to the radio. I can remember a summer 25 years ago just by what was playing over the airwaves. I grew up listening to the usual rock and pop stations with my mom Z100, WPLJ 95.5. My dad listened to the oldies whenever we were driving so I grew fond of WCBS Oldies 101.1 and 98.1 when I was a kid. When I started to buy my own music my dad introduced me to my first “college station”. He turned the knob all the way to the left. I didn’t even know those lower frequencies existed as the lowest I’ve ever had on was 92.3 KRock. On this college station I heard a wide spectrum of music. When I heard my first curated show with the host giving a snapshot of a local rock scene, I fell in love. Growing up in central New Jersey I was lucky enough to tune into New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia stations. I fondly remember listening to Columbia university 89.9, Seton Hall 89.5, and Villanova 89.1.
In the mid 1990s I went to college in Hoboken, NJ where I was able to pick up a lower radius broadcasting station named WFMU 91.1. WFMU was my first introduction to free form radio programming. Free form radio is where the host has total control and can do and play whatever they want. You just tuned in on the dial and had a curiosity of where the programming would take you. Love it or hate it, I always learned a bit more about music. My first year of college in 1997 streaming radio online was in its infancy. I discovered a college station in California named KFJC that broadcast online over RealPlayer software. Every Saturday they would have a program that featured surf music from the 60s. I was a huge surf nerd in high school so you can imagine my excitement. We had nothing like this in the tri-state area growing up. KFJC was also working on an online database called the “edge of obscurity”. They had tried to catalog hundreds, if not thousands of different genres of music. I went down many, many deep rabbit holes and this was really the beginning of my love for finding unique online radio stations. I was fascinated by online curated or prerecorded radio programs like Weirdsville! radio that you could download. These were the precursors to podcasts.
Another love I have is exploring design from the mid century decades, 1940s-1970s. These atomic and space age radio designs are refreshing compared to the black or silver box designs I grew up with in the 80s. In the 90s and 2000s technology was all about “how flashy can we get”, which was never my style.
Enjoying the look of mid century radios, but also loving the fact that we can now dial into any station or programming in the world led me to create these radios that function with wireless capabilities and stream music from a Bluetooth enabled device. I don’t care if the knobs work on the radio, I just care that the knobs are still there and it can make sound. A large majority of these radios were rescued from estate and yard sales. Broken and left unkempt, I wanted to breath new life into them. I’m on a mission to preserve the past and these ultra cool designs. I don’t restore the radios to work as they once originally have which makes them a lot more affordable for everyone to own a piece of the mid century era.
Enjoy the look. Enjoy the music. Enjoy radio again.