Hey Grandpa, Where'd You Get the Ol Radio At?
Much has been covered on our website about radios. Not a lot has been written about old radio stores.
Back in the day, we would go to an electronics store. A salesman would probably help us find the latest model or one that was on sale. We would go to the cash register. We would pay cash. We would go home and plug our new radio in. Not much has changed here.
Some Things Stay the Same!
A typical radio in 50s would cost about $45 which is approx $500 today according to the inflation calculator
at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
So, $45 was approximately 1% of the average media household income back in 1955.
Today, the median household income is $74,580 according Bureau of Census, Department of Commerce. An vintage restored radio from our site, relatively speaking, would be approx 0.5% of today's median household income. A restored vintage radio is about half of what it would have cost an average income family brand new back in 1955.
An average Smartphone today costs about $823 according to Statista
or approximately 1% of the median household income.
With respect to median household incomes, the relative pricing of new electronic devices hasn't changed much.
The radio stores, however, where we buy our electronics, seems different.
Most families bought their radios from a mom and pop store locally. It would be a row storefront with a large plate glass facade with a window having a variety of radios and electronics on display
By contrast today, 46.1% of electronics and appliances are purchased online and that statistic is increasing, according to eCommerce DB
Let's Go to Radio Row!
Here's a Davega storefront, an appliance and electronics chain with 27 stores in New York City metropolitan area in 1954. After Davega filed for bankruptcy in 1963, several of its stores were acquired by Modell's Sporting Goods which filed bankruptcy recently
and closed 115 remaining stores.
Park Radio and TV Inc
was founded in 1930 and is still in business at
406 W Cold Spring Ln in Baltimore, Maryland.
Here's a picture of that store today:
This old picture of Fox Radio store looks like it was taken in the 30s. This was the old "Radio Row" in Lower West Side Manhattan before it was demolished in 1966 for World Trade Center construction. This is looking west on Cortlandt St.
Here's another shot of Radio Row in NYC looking east toward the train station.
Eugene Blan, the Radio Man, owned a store in midtown Manhattan, then moved to Radio Row in Lower West Side of Manhattan.
When you needed replacement tubes, this is where you would go.
Here's a look inside radio stores back then. This one looks like early 40s not sure where.
By 60's, radios, stereo hi-fi could be purchased in department stores. Here's a few lads demonstrating the latest wood "entertainment" console with automatic record changer. Note the Admiral disco ball.
Later in 60s and 70's you could shop for your new TV or radio in a wall-to-wall shag carpeted showroom.