Boy did my world change when I got a transistor radio! It was Christmas, 1963 and it was the only thing I really wanted! My radio looked similar to the one in the picture. It had a leather case to protect it and a strap to carry it. It had earphones which were not comfortable at all; I don’t remember wearing those very much. I burned up a lot of batteries listening to that radio.
Before the transistor radio there was no way to take your music with you. Well, actually there was. If you had a car, and if your car had a radio (not all of them did) you just turned on your car radio and blasted it from there. But that involved either gasoline if the car was running, or using the accessory position on the ignition. Back in the 60’s turning on the accessory drained the battery pretty quickly, so that was not a viable option.
For many years, we had just one radio in our house. It was bigger than our TV set and was a combination record player (3 speeds 78, 33, and 45) and AM radio (no FM). After my mother went to work in 1962, we bought a smaller radio model that was plugged in and sat on a shelf in the kitchen, so I could sit in the kitchen, do my homework, and listen to the radio,
But when I got my transistor radio, I could take it upstairs to my room and listen to it… ALONE! and we all know how much teenagers want to be alone. It was great, but it wasn’t perfect. Reception was not great on the small radio. I quickly learned where you could pull the best signal and that was where I hung out. There was a spot behind our garage (halfway to the barn) that pulled in the best signal, so in the summer I would plant myself out there on a lawn chair or a blanket and listen to my heart’s content. There were certain spots in the house that worked better than others as well. I spent many hours moving and adjusting how the radio was positioned to get the best reception.
My favorite radio station was CKLW out of WIndsor/Detroit. It must have had the strongest signal of all stations because that is about the only one I could pull in consistently. Thank goodness it played rock and roll. There were also local stations I could get on my radio, but one played mostly classical and religious music and the other one had Phone Clubs most of the day where housewives would call in their favorite recipes and household hints! Kind of like Hints from Heloise on a local level. So CKLW it was, and I knew all the DJ’s names and favorite songs. I can remember taking my radio on bus trips with the high school band, too. You had to hold the radio right up next to the window to hear anything at all, but it was just great to have portable music!