Radio Hits the Road

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The Birth of Radio in the Car.

Imagine you've got a long drive ahead of you. You get into your car, turn on the engine, what's the next thing you do? For most reading this, it's flick on your car radio.

Now imagine if that wasn't an option.

Ironically, during the Roaring Twenties, driving was largely a silent affair . Although the first car radio was introduced in 1922 by Chevrolet, it cost a staggering (for the time) $200, had an antenna that covered the car’s entire roof, batteries that barely fit under the front seat, and two mammoth speakers attached behind the seat.

Sufficed to say, there were not many takers.

It wasn't until 1930 that The Galvin brothers’ expensive $130 unit became the first commercially successful car radio; and the first product to wear the Motorola name.

By 1963, 50 million cars – over 60 percent – were outfitted with radios. By then, over one-third of America’s radio listening occurred in the car.

Initially implemented for listening to music and radio in a vehicle - fast forward to the present - audio is now part of car telematics, telecommunication, in-vehicle security, handsfree calling, navigation, and remote diagnostics systems.

Almost 100 years on and we've come along way.

Today's cars come with audio systems that are nothing like those early radios, from 10+ speaker systems and powerful amplifiers, to extra channels and real-time traffic and weather reports; thanks to companies like HD Radio and DAB we need not go anywhere without our favourite station accompaniment.

Check out the first ever recorded article written about a car radio.

first car radio article