Cars and Guitars


For as long as there’s been cars, people have enjoyed listening to their favorite tunes on the car radio while driving. In fact the two seem to go together better than baseball and hot dogs but curiously enough there were those in the beginning that vehemently opposed them.

Chevrolet was the pioneer of the in car radio back in 1922 and it was hugely expensive. A Chevy equipped with a radio back in the 20’s averaged somewhere near an additional $100.00, and the antenna covered much of the roof. Reception was pretty poor and the speakers back then were huge and overall it was pretty cumbersome but at the same time it was cool to say you had a radio in the car. As time passed, dash mounted Motorola radios became standard features in cars and it seemed like the radio would evolve in automobiles uncontested.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and in 1930, laws were actually proposed to ban radios in cars. Many people argued that having the radio on distracted the driver and could cause accidents, they felt that tuning in different stations took the drivers attention away from the road and some even thought that listening to music while driving could and would put the driver to sleep.

The Auto Club of New York agreed and in 1934 conducted a poll of licensed motorists to get an idea on public opinion. Believe it or not, 56 percent of the people surveyed felt radios in cars were a bad idea and considered them a dangerous distraction. On the other side of the debate was the Radio Manufacturers Association (RMA) who argued that radios were useful in warning drivers of bad weather conditions, bad road conditions or road closures and was actually better for keeping drivers awake should they get drowsy. (Not quite the response the Auto Club was looking for) and for a time it seemed like radios and cars might be forever mutually exclusive.

Fortunately, clear thinking prevailed and those in favor of the technology won the debate. As radios became more sophisticated, push button tuning and presets were added to help drivers select stations without taking their eyes off the road and by the mid 40’s more than 9 million cars had radios. Then the transistor came along and not only did radios get smaller, they got less expensive and by 1963 more than 50 million cars had radios and an estimated one third of America listened to the radio in the car.

chevy radioHere today, radio has become digital and while the original terrestrial AM and FM type signals are still available, many people now use their smart phones or tablets to hear their favorite music. iTunes and PodOmatic are just a couple of the countless dozens of digital platforms available to seekers of music and talk and Pandora is now standard equipment on today’s Chevrolet.

Regardless of your preference, whether you’re into Rock, Country, Classical, Rap, Oldies or Talk, radio is the medium that brings it best and we suspect it’ll be with us well into the distant future.

smart phone conncted

For us here at Horsepower Broadcasting, our Automotive Talk Radio Show “Horsepower for an Hour” can be heard on more than one hundred AM and FM Stations across America and in 172 Countries World wide. Our signal is also digital on iTunes and PodOmatic as well as TuneIn radio and other digital streaming platforms and we’ll be close by when you’d like a little automotive content. Check us out sometime, we are “Your Ultimate Stop in Automotive Radio”

Hit us with a text directly to the studio sometime and let us know…. “What is it, you wanna hear” 877-209-4480

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About Author

Donny is a Southern California specialty shop owner with primary emphasis on transmission and differential systems. He is an automotive technology graduate with over 30 years of experience. He and his wife own DMC Transmission outside of Los Angeles and were awarded “Shop of the Year” honors in 2010 and 2011.

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