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Radio Revolution, The Transistor Radio and "Top 40 Hit Music"  | June 10th, 2013 By Norman R. Smith It is always challenging to begin on a new project, and it has been for me, a question of selecting a starting point for this series. The plan is to randomly select a radio that has some significance, tell the story about it,and tie in to the story the "Top 40" Hits that were "on the air" at the time when that radio was new!  With that plan in mind, we will begin our journey in to the Radio Revolution series with the Continental model TR 632 radio.     The Continental model TR 632  is a typical shirt pocket sized radio which was available for purchase in the year of 1960. This set is a great example of the really great little sets that many of the "Baby Boomer" generation had as their first radio. Small, extremely stylish, and quite a good performer, this radio has all of the features that made the Transistor Radio to be the "Must Have" item for most people.         This radio used a  6 transistor "super- heterodyne" circuit, which was the most common in use at the time. Powered by a small 9 Volt battery, this radio was very inexpensive to operate. The battery retailed at 59 cents for a major brand, and less for an imported model. The radio would play for many hours on that single battery.  "Made in Japan" was a new and mis-trusted concept in the early 1960's and the marketing organizations were aware of this challenge. While the large radio companies from the United States made a big point of "Made in the U.S.A.", these Japanese manufacturers used very American sounding names such as "Continental", "Americana","Realtone", and many others.  The styling of these little radios was based on many great American automotive designs. The beautiful reverse painted front panels gave you a real feel and look of quality and the bright metal speaker grills complimented them to make a very attractive package. Included as a nice way to protect your new radio was a really nice genuine cowhide carrying case along with an earphone for personal listening. All of this for only about $35 to $40 at a time when most American sets were sold at $60 to $75 or more.   At this time in history most American made radios were sold at a franchised dealer for the respective brands such as Zenith, Motorola, Westinghouse, or Sylvania. The great little imported radios were marketed through outlets such as drug or department stores. It was not very long before the idea of "Made in Japan" had become the hallmark for a product of exceptional quality! The driving force behind the success of the Transistor radio fad was more than anything caused by the overwhelming popularity of "Rock & Roll" or popular "Top 40" radio. The teen age population was tuned-in and wanted to have their music with them wherever they went. This featured radio was for sale in 1960 so let's take a look at a "Top 40" survey sheet from that time! The survey sheet photo is from an actual radio station in Sarasota, Florida. WKXY was extremely popular on the West coast of Florida in 1960. The number one song on that survey was "Cathy's Clown" by The Everly Brothers. It was followed by number two- "Sixteen Reasons" by Connie Stevens. The Hollywood Argyles enjoyed the third spot with their one and only hit, "Alley Oop! The survey in those days contained a large variety of music styles. From the new "Rock & Roll to many selections from the left over "Big Band, and " Middle- of - The Road" singers. "Country" cross-overs were also very common as big hits in these early years for " Top 40" radio. This outstanding variety of music was the reason that almost everyone wanted to own a transistor radio and be part of the "Radio Revolution" that we now remember so fondly.   I hope that you have enjoyed this installment of the series, we are at the beginning of a long list of great radios and music to remember. Please visit this site often, it will be updated frequently with a new story. Thanks for your interest in this part of our Nation's history. Please submit your comments to this site. I will try to use your comments to help guide me to make the series as interesting as possible for you.     Sincerely,     Norman R. Smith