Radio Shack did have some decent, if rebranded, stereo equipment in the early-to-mid 70's. When I was putting together my component system, they were in the running for almost everything. Their receivers, amps, tape decks were comparable to TEAC, Garrard, Sansui, etc. However, they just wouldn't deal, so I went to a specialty shop, and they actually had me "pick and choose" my components, then put them into a package that was much less expensive than RS.
They also had CB radios, but their house brand was nowhere near the quality of Midland and Cobra.
After a few years, it got to the point where they just handled RC toys, and fewer on-the-shelf components and electronics repair items. No wonder they went out of business.
I have been buying some items from Radio Shacks on line store.
The internet has changed how we shop. Radio Shack was one of many casualties.
......... cut into the corporate bottom line, so a succession of executives made themselves look good to the short-sighted stock-holders by temporarily fattening up their quarterly dividends. This has been the tragedy of American business for the last four for five decades.
Yes SO true. The all-mighty dollar and the bottom line.
Radio Shack, Tandy Leather, Sears, they used to be the cats pajamas. Then they decided to raise prices and lower quality , ( I guess so people would buy more when it broke). And with all companies that think that way , they become a memory of times gone by.
Trust me on this, Tandy Leather's demise was not due to price increases.
The internet has changed how we shop. Radio Shack was one of many casualties.
Not how I shop, it's p'ing me off. Stores carry less or go away, I cannot go SEE/handle what I'm buying to evaluate the quality, etc.
Also, how may electronics tinkerers are out there? I'll bet nowhere near as many as years ago.
I quit repairing my own electronics YEARS ago, when it started costing less to replace it, IF I could find parts...
My take on the demise of Radio Shack is a little different, though I do agree with most of the previous posts. I received a General Class (Ham) Radio license in the early 60s. I recall that the "man cave" where the equipment was kept was generally referred to as the "Radio Shack". With the decline of the hobby over time, I always wondered why they kept the original name. Today, my main hobby is amateur build aircraft. I have built two and helped on two others. When I built my first airplane, the factory was averaging 40 kits per month shipped with a reported high of 90. Today, the average is about 3 per month. My general take on both situations is a fundamental shift in the nature of our hobbies. Early on in amateur radio, we built a lot of our equipment from scratch and the customer knew about as much as the store rep did - or maybe more. Attached is a picture of the video camera mount on my most recent airplane. Cable control with about 100° vertical and 190° horizontal movement. The design is based on the one on my first airplane built in the late 90s. Lots of parts and trial and error - cost about $300 including video camera. Today for $5000 I could buy one far more sophisticated but no more effective and without the fairings - or I could buy the GoPro with all the issues that go along with fixed focus, wide angle and the nature of the sensors. I felt I needed at minimum, zoom and aperture control. In short, just not so many of us tinkerers around.
I took engineering courses as electives in college... (
Even before the Radio Shack, Atari, Apple and others, there were such computers as the IMSAI 8080, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMSAI_8080;
The Polymorphic, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymorphic_Systems_
(computers), and few others using the S-100 bus. The IMSAI 8080 was an impressive, expandable machine that you could swap out any of the components, CPU included, and with a tweaks in the BIOS via the bit switches on the front panel you would be back up and running. You could then load just about any compiler you wanted. CP/M was a common operating system for those using the computers for business applications. That was my foundation for later working with the DEC PDP 11 series computers. Ahhh, the memories....
Btw....the link for Polymorphic Systems requires the (computer) as part of the link. Copy the entire link to the last parenthesis and paste it in the browser address.
The other day I was looking at some of my old phot... (
I haven't seen a Radio Shack for years though the name crosses my mind occasionally. I didn't shop there much as I became tired of asking for something and in many cases no one knew what I was talking about. I had to hunt for the item myself. I really miss Heathkit, though, and sure wish they could have stayed in business. Now I find my parts online at places like Digikey but also shop at Fry's Electronics. We have one "locally" in Washington. In those days you could even write to Intel, Texas Instruments, etc. and ask and receive not only sample parts but the data books of their components. I once talked with a Texas Instruments rep and upon agreeing to use TI components in my projects and designs, he sent me two complete sets of data books for every component they made! I was in heaven!
Angel Star Photography wrote:
Even before the Radio Shack, Atari, Apple and othe... (
Oh yes, I remember the IMSIA 8080, CP/M, and the S-100 Bus.
I designed a CPU card and some static memory cards, but never got around to building the S-100 card cage and maintenance panel. A friend designed an interrupt controller card.
I used a test systems that was controlled by a PDP 5 or 7, and we had an 11 in the device evaluation lab That i used a lot.
Man, am I old- or what? Y'all must be a bunch of kids! I remember when Radio Shack was Allied Radio and Electronics from Chicago. Radio Shack was in existence before that but they somehow at one time took over or merged with Allied and created what most of us remember as Radio Shack.
In New York City, I used to buy form Allied and Lafayette Radio. Back in the 60s those were the real heavy-duty electronics stores- all kinds of components, amateur radio gear and everything for the hobbyist and professional technician. The sales staffs actually had product knowledge-wow! My father was an electronics repair technician and I have been dabbling in electronic since I was a kid.
When I returned from the service and came back to New York, the old Allied brand was gone and most of the Radio Shack was low to middle end stereo, citizen's band, police band scanners and electronics odds and ends imported from Japan and Korea- not bad for the price. They did have their private brand batteries. Frankly, I don't remember if the were as good as the name brands. I still remember when Eveready had a cat logo and stated that their flashlight batteries had 9 lives- I told y'all I was old! The annual Radio Shack catalogs were always fun. Well- I ran a Realistic brand stereo receiver in my studio for 20 years, day and night, and when I gave it away it was still working. Can't complain! Nowadays, um here in Canada, all the old Radio Shack stores are now The Source. The have some OK stuff but I can't "source" a resistor, capacitor, potentiometer, IF coil, transistor, or any of that stuff there. I'm lucky if I can find a good old surplus joint with those kinda parts. Too old!
when I was a kid we had a store called Olson electronics,anybody remember them?
when I was a kid we had a store called Olson electronics, anybody remember them?
Yup, I remember Olsen. Forgot until you mentioned it.
Did most of my business physically going to Lafayette Radio and Radio Shack.
Before Allied closed, they had a minimum order, so only a few orders with them. Mid 60's maybe?
E.L.. Shapiro wrote:
Man, am I old- or what? Y'all must be a bunch of ... (
I used to order from Allied Electronics. (My dad wrote the check for me.)