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September 1, 2007

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Designed to compete with the Stereomaxx and Orban 222A, Jeff Keith built the first SMO900 and put it on the air at 100kW WKZL-FM in August 1987. By Spring 1988, he had worked an agreement with Broadcaster's General Store to manufacture and sell the unit exclusively. The first units made by Keith and many of the production units had the gray panel, like the unit shown here. The later BGS units were made under BGS's Hit Design label and were black.

Keith's original plan was to create the unit for his own stations and not market it. Through word of mouth, the unit saw success, which led to the commercial distribution.

Want to know more about the SMO and its creator Jeff Keith? Access this article at

That was then

That was then

Transistor radios hit the market on Oct. 18, 1954, with the Regency TR-1. Although Intermetall introduced one in 1953, the TR-1 was the first to be commercially produced. It cost $49.95 in 1954, which by today's standards would be about $375. Comparably, the General Electric All-Transistor Pocket Radio in the 1957 ad seen here would cost about $360 alone or $467 with rechargeable batteries and charging case. GE spared no expense touting the radio's 10,000-hour capacity. Why with its “handsome” recharger and two “glamorous” colors, full-range sound volume and jewelry finish, who wouldn't want this 20oz wonder? Well, the wonder of transistor radios met its peak in the early 1960s and slowly declined in price from there.

More online

That was then

To see another ad for GE radios, visit: For more information on transistor radios, visit:,, or

Sample and Hold

Source: Nielsen BDS. Based on one week of broadcasts on 1,450 stations.

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