Zenith Portable Radios - The speaker's not clipping. That's the art.

Today's post is another Zenith ad (jeez, they made a lot of stuff). Is it unfair to poke fun at the hugeness of obsolete "portable electronics"? Absolutely. Is it fun? You're damn right it is.

Compare these to an iPod and, well, there is hardly any comparison at all. This Zenith is exactly as portable as a pot roast. But to be fair, an iPod doesn't concern itself with a speaker system of any real consequence. We still don't have the technology to make a weensy little speaker that fills your room with sound. So, look at your favorite iPod dock and there's your modern equivalent, even if the old radio "just" did radio and nothing else.

Also, a radio was more useful back then because, as we keep pointing out around here, there was just a lot more interesting stuff to come out of your radio a few decades ago. Even if you don't go for any of the stuff to be found on old time radio websites, it still shows you how people were dependent on radio at the time. It was a major source of information and entertainment.

Commercial radio is dying, friends, just like newspapers. Commercial radio comes in two flavors now. Flavor number one is Delusional Paranoid Fantasy Politics. Flavor number two is Three-Song Pop Rotation Interrupted by Traffic, Time, and Weather Every Nine Seconds. This is fine, because after nine seconds of your average pop song, you've heard everything the artist had to say anyway. Podcasts have taken the place of talk radio, eliminating the 50/50 ratio of program material to commercials-and-traffic breakdown that ruined it. A podcast can be an hour long interview or lecture on almost any topic that rewards an attention span that now goes ignored by commercial rad- hey look! A bird!

Here in the future, information and entertainment, being just digital data, are cheap, easy to get, and to carry around. Radio is struggling to remain relevant. It's ironic, pathetic, and funny that in most radio markets, there's at least one station trying to emulate "'Your MP3 Player on Shuffle' FM! - You never know what you'll hear next!" Two albums by 100 artists of the last twenty years does not equal "unpredictability". Nobody on "Crazy Surprising Shuffle Play FM" ever explains why anyone would listen to their station when anyone above the age of two owns a phone or music player filled with a range of music that is as eclectic or limited as the owner wants it to be.

The only real sadness of Radio Death is the loss of all the cool designs like these old Zeniths. Somebody could make a nice living reconditioning old radios like this and fitting them with 1/8 inch phone jack auxiliary inputs.

Anyway, there's some decent clip art in here. Here they come. Scanned at unreasonable resolution and presented to you on transparency, big and small, left and right. Rude finger graphic gift, coming up!


Craig F. said...

I like how the faceplate on that speaker looks like two WiFi symbols.

Podcasts have changed my life. I mean that seriously. Before podcasts, I had my collection of CDs and MP3s for music, and I listened to NPR. That's it.

Now I hardly listen to NPR anymore because even that seems contrived and ridiculous. I listen to some really cool programs that you wouldn't have thought were possible five years ago.

I like:

The Adam Carolla Podcast
This Week with Larry Miller
Doug Loves Movies
The Nerdist Podcast
Kevin Pollack's Chat Show

What am I missing? I'm always looking for suggestions.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I though that, from far away, that speaker looks kind of like a radiation symbol. Wi-fi is better though.

Re: Podcasts. Tell me about it. All five buttons on my car radio are NPR, NPR, NPR, Classical Station, Classical Station. The Aux input gets a lot of exercise when NPR is going on and on about the debt ceiling for the 35th minute in a row.

In order of priority in my podcast queue:

Adam Carolla Show
Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
The Bugle
Stuff You Should Know
This American Life
Ted Talks
The Moth
CNet Car tech
This Week with Larry Miller
Reasonable Doubts
Phychology in Everyday Life
The Age of Persuasion
Little Atoms
The Reality Check
NPR: On Science
Stuff From The Future

You being an Adam Carolla and Larry Miller listener makes total sense.

Thanks Craigf! Nominum Quid Geminus?

Craig F. said...


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