The Car Radio Keeps us Connected


Tuning in to the evolution of car radios


It’s the perfect “California Dreamin'” fantasy: Riding in a Mustang down Sunset Boulevard with the car radio going. Almost from the beginning, the radio has been our traveling companion, playing the song of the open road, or helping pass the time when the road isn’t so open. From pop hits to preachers, and pretty much everything in-between, the car radio has been part our lives for almost 100 years.

From pop hits to preachers and pretty much everything in-between, the car radio has been a part our lives for almost 100 years.  CBS NEWS

“Radio is still this common experience in the car,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeart Media, owner of more than 850 radio stations across the country. “I think if we weren’t listening to the radio we’d felt isolated. We love other people, and we can’t be away from people too long.  Radio keeps us connected.”

The first official car radio wasn’t invented until 1930, and after the transistor came along in 1947, the car radio would soon be a standard feature.

“After World War II, that’s when you start seeing a more middle-class approach to radio,” said radio historian Donna Halper. “Not only does the cost come down, but there’s more of a demand, because you have more people with leisure time.”

Sitting in the car listening to songs, Halper said, “It was the DJ that really spoke to me.”

DJ’s like Wolfman Jack and Bruce Morrow, better known as “Cousin Brucie.” Now 83, he’s been on the air for more than 50 years.

“There’s nothing as exciting and free as sitting behind that wheel [and] turning that radio on,” he told correspondent Nancy Giles.

Radio DJ Bruce Morrow, a.k.a. Cousin Brucie, has been broadcasting pop and rock hits for more than half a century.  CBS NEWS

You can still ride with the broadcast pioneer pretty much anywhere today, on SiriusXM. “Radio changed; technology changed,” Morrow said. “Did I know what the future was going to hold? No. I’m flying out of satellite. I’m on the satellite!  What is next?”

Read more HERE  at the CBS News website


  1. It’s unfortunate that the sound produced by AM radio is so technically inferior and I suspect auto makers no longer bother installing a quality AM receiver. Add to the fact that some stations (630CHED) seem to deliberately distort their sound for purposes known only to them. Wherever possible I have to resort to FM or streaming audio via a usb stick in order to get quality good-sounding entertainment.

  2. oh brother, your right on . NW cant be heard even if you are on Georgia St infront of the black tower.

    Total waste Sound is very poor

  3. RE:13
    You do realize that NW’s transmitter is NOT downtown (at the black tower) right?!? You are smarter than that right? I swear people in BC just complain to hear themselves talk!

  4. David, I am aware that they do not transmit from Georgia ST. NWs signal is crap in the most densely populated area of the city. Its crap when near any power lines . Mind you when the signal is crystal clear the content is crap, the shows are repeats of other shows, they have no real news gathering, they have no sports dept. Thanks for the tune up Dave. PS Dave NW is fully aware that their signal is crap.

  5. RE:13
    Yes they are so terrible! That’s why they are #1 right? If all that hate NW so much then why do you even listen to it?! Just sayin….

  6. Kinda like number 2. But Ill bet their payroll today is at least 30 % less than when they were #1.

    Money well saved


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