Radio Boy

by Jim Mattern on December 5, 2012


While Randy is on hiatus recovering from a writing-induced ailment, some friends are taking up the slack. Today’s post is by Jim Mattern.


One of my early memories is being in the living room listening to the family radio.  In the late 1940’s.  there was no television reception in our small Illinois town.  Cable television would not arrive until the early 1950’s.  So, after dinner each night, the family would gather in the living room around the radio.  My parents would talk and read while the kids would do their homework and play games.  The radio was a huge piece of furniture that dominated the room.  I don’t remember much of the programming, but I knew that I wanted a radio of my own so that I could pick the station to listen to.

In 1950, I received a small table model AM radio made of white plastic as a holiday present.  The first program I found was The Arthur Godfrey Show.  That radio became a fixture on my desk and I could choose my own programming and no longer had to go the living room to listen.  I soon had my own schedule of programs to listen to each evening.  Of course, my parents quickly discovered that they had a hold over me because I had to finish eating my dinner, including the vegetables, before I could retire to my room in time to listen to The Lone Ranger.  I always could clean things up quickly as the minutes drew down to the program starting time.

While I loved the Lone Ranger, my favorite show was always White Sox baseball as I am an avid fan.  I even listened to the games that the announcers made up while reading the progress of games on the Western Union wire on the days that the White Sox did not have a game.  I loved everything on that AM radio.

I came into my teen age years at the same time as the birth of Rock ‘n Roll music.  I quickly found the best station in Chicago, WLS.  My radio dial rarely moved from that station and I loved all the music and the deejays, especially Larry Lujack.  The most important decision in selecting my first car was the quality of the radio.  In fact, the radio usually went on before the car started up.

When television entered our house, I still turned to the radio first for entertainment.  But marriage and children changed things and that television set took over the evening entertainment.  Fortunately, I still had my own radio in the car.  Cars came and went, but I still relied on the AM radio for my entertainment while driving.

Many years have passed since then.  Last week, our cable television signal was disrupted and it took three full days for it to be restored.  We had electricity and we had our AM radio.  After searching the radio dial during the first 24 hours, I discovered how much the AM radio offerings had changed since my early years.  It was hard to find much adult entertainment that suited my political leaning and I gradually gave up and took out a book.  Does anyone know what station carries The Lone Ranger?


The Radio Boy by Jim Mattern, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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