Though not as much as flashlights or calculators, I am also fascinated by any and all types of radio devices.
This piece will explain my history of being a radio listener.
I am on the older end of the Millenial Generation and can say that we are probably the last generation to appreciate terrestrial radio.
Ever since the age of two until the age of four, when I misplaced it, I had a hand me down Sears transistor radio.
I wish I knew the exact model number, but it had a blue and black cabinet, slide rule tuner with a log scale, ran on a 9 Volt battery and was on the market either in the 1970s or 1980s.
It’s pretty rare nowadays, though. In fact, I’ve only seen another one on eBay back in 2005. I would have purchased it back then but didn’t know I could use a debit card on the said website. I had no credit cards at the time either.
From ages four to seven, my interest in radio devices somewhat faded.
Then at age seven, I was in school learning about the letter “R” and one of our words was “Radio.” The flash card had a picture of a transistor radio and that reignited my interest.
I wanted one really badly, but couldn’t get a ride to Radio Shack or Sears like I wanted to.
I remember back in the Summer of 1994, at the age of seven and a half, fantasizing about how I could be in my parents’ kitchen late at night, listening to Bob Seger’s songs on my very own transistor radio.
By the way, it was a MEME about Bob Seger’s songs that prompted me to write this piece so kudos to the poster!
That fantasy never came true.
However, at the age of fifteen, I began to fantasize about having my own place and listening to a scanner in my kitchen with my future son Eric Jude “Little Eric” Monier. That fantasy has come true, at least partially. I mean I don’t have any children yet, but I do frequently listen to a scanner in my kitchen and I listen to it at night.
For Christmas of 1995, at the age of eight going on nine, one of the gifts I got was an AM/FM radio and cassette player, made by Lennox Sound. It could be run on four D Cells or grid current. I listened to it almost every night while sleeping.
There was also a station I basically kept this radio locked on. The callsign was KHOM and the frequency was 104.1 on the FM dial. It played the Top 40 songs of the day and branded itself as “…The VH1 and MTV of radio…”
I had discovered that station because that was what the morning bus driver played on her radio. She also had a CB radio of some sort in her bus, but that is another story.
In 1998 or so, KHOM played the same music but switched callsigns to KUMX and I also listened to Baton Rouge station WFMF which was at 102.5 on the FM dial.
Fast forward to October of 2000. I was in Wal Mart and saw a portable, almost pocket-sized AM/FM radio also made by Lennox Sound that ran on 3 AA batteries, half the voltage of a “real” transistor radio.
It was built in the same form factor and interface as a transistor radio, but instead used an integrated circuit.
In April of 2001, I purchased a small stereo system that had a Phase Lock Loop synthesized tuner for AM and FM reception in addition to a double tape deck and CD player.
In the Summer of 2001, KUMX changed format and callsigns, which really disappointed me, so I began listening to then KBZZ which was at 96.7 on the FM dial.
I listened to this station until about 2003, when rap overtook the mainstream music.
Also in the Summer of 2003, I purchased a Radio Shack 12-756. It was a multi-band radio with a slide rule tuner, that in addition to AM and FM could also pull in VHF TV Sound, VHF High Band, and the Civilian Airband. This radio indeed kept me amused for hours on end.
I had discovered AM radio also in 2003 and had become a talk radio listener by this point. I would listen to then WTIX, which was at 690 on the AM dial.
There were lots of interesting talk shows on this station.
One Saturday Night in the Fall of 2003, I discovered the Libertarian Party while listening to Harry Browne’s show which was carried on WTIX.
Me being a potential alcoholic even back then eschewed the drinking age laws and was an immediate convert to the Libertarian Party when Harry Browne said how he would abolish the drinking age.
Also, the Libertarian desire for getting rid of Gun Control was another factor in making me an immediate convert to the said party.
I also frequently used this Radio Shack Multiband model for AM DXing, which the furthest station I ever received was KFGO out of Fargo, North Dakota and I was in Southeast Louisiana.
In the Spring of 2004, I discovered Country Music, something I wasn’t raised on because my parents mostly despised it.
In the Summer of 2004, I converted to Christianity, the best decision I would and will ever make.
In late November of 2004, I was shopping at Goodwill and saw one of those Life Long branded Baby Boom Boxes selling for only 84 Cents!
I had a $5 bill on me so I gladly purchased it.
That was probably my best deal ever I ever had at Goodwill.
This gently used radio could only pull in the stronger or closer AM and FM stations.
I spent many afternoons after school while waiting to go home listening to KCIL which at the time was at 107.5 on the FM dial. That station played “Today’s Best Country.”
I didn’t mind listening to country music, because especially during that period of time (2004-2006), the said genre was secular, no doubt, but most conformed to Christian lifestyles.
I would carry that radio in my backpack or school pants pocket.
On my Radio Shack model, I would frequently listen to the talk shows which aired on WSMB, at 1350 on the AM dial, mostly on weekends and evenings.
Unfortunately, the Baby Boom Box died on me in June of 2005 and I was sure disappointed.
Hurricane Katrina happened in August 2005 which ruined, among other things, radio broadcasting in New Orleans. It still yet to fully recover from this horrible disaster in my opinion.
To evacuate from Katrina, my family and I went up to Bossier City, Louisiana and I demonstrated how AM signals can travel further distances at night and was able to tune in WWL on 870 AM. We could hear what was going on in New Orleans from a local perspective.
Everyone was briefly impressed. The radio, by the way, was an older Hitachi model which was given to me by Mister Earl Smith, God rest his soul. It killed on me in the Summer of 2007.
In the time after Katrina, as I have previously stated, radio broadcasting in New Orleans was really messed up.
Many awesome stations with both awesome talk and music were destroyed and never came back, or at least never came back to those wonderful formats.
In March 2006, I defected from the Libertarian Party, but still retained many of their values and tendencies. In May of 2006, I became Independent, sometimes leaning to the Left and sometimes leaning to the Right. As of 2016 or so, I became my own one-man political party known as The Ethical Party.
In the Summer of 2007, I purchased a Sangean pocket-sized radio that had a built-in speaker as well as a PLL tuner. This kept me entertained for a good while both for listening to music and talk.
It could pull in distant AM stations fairly well at night and had a wire antenna for FM listening.
My soon to be ex-wife has that radio now, but she liked it more than I did eventually.
In late 2012, I purchased a vintage entry level Realistic (Radio Shack) transistor radio a 12-636 that was made in June of 1986. It arrived in early 2013 and features both AM and FM.
In 2016, I purchased another vintage Realistic transistor radio, this time a Blueberry Flavoradio, 12-721, that features both AM and FM. It was made in August of 1992.
Both of these are powered by 9 Volt batteries.
Fast forward to March of 2017, I purchased a Sony ICF-P26 online, which has the look and feel of a transistor radio, but uses an integrated circuit and a third of the voltage.
This is still my go-to radio as of June 2018 when I am writing this piece. It runs on 2 AA batteries, has a slide rule tuner, with nearly pinpoint accuracy, there is also an LED indicator light for both tuning (red) and battery power (green.) AM DXing is fairly decent for a radio of this size, in Southeast Louisiana it is possible to here many higher powered AM broadcasters from the Midwest on any given night.
It is a very good radio especially for power outages, but I wish there was a better selection of radio stations in my area to hear on it.
I hope radio broadcasting makes a full comeback in my area, at least someday, to where I can be entertained for hours on end at little to no cost like in my teen years prior to Hurricane Katrina…
I also hope that you, the reader, find this piece entertaining and informing.