A great history of listening to music in the car with radios and other gadgets

Yesterday was World Radio Day, which resulted in a bunch of stories about how radio has factored into our everyday lives for over a hundred years.

One such story came from MSN Cars which details the history of the car radio and the other ways we came to enjoy music while we drive. I learned a lot from this article.

“Radio has been a part of the automotive landscape for nearly 100 years, as our guide to in-car entertainment highlights.

“From an in-car entertainment perspective, today’s motorists have never had it so good. Thanks to streaming services, internet radio and podcasts, the modern car can be transformed into your own portable listening device.

“Gone are days when you’d spend hours creating a holiday mixtape, or filling the footwells with a dozen CDs before a long journey. Now, you can switch from King Crimson to Kings of Leon, or Queensrÿche to Queens of the Stone Age, in royally quick time.

A hundred years ago, things were very different. Aside from chatting to your passenger or listening to the engine, there was little to take your mind off the terrible road surface. In those days, even a dreary DJ in the afternoon would have been preferable to radio silence.

“The rate at which in-car entertainment develops is such that the stuff we lusted over just a couple of decades ago has been rendered obsolete. The cassette player has gone, and the CD player is hanging on like Debbie Harry on the telephone.

“Here, we’ve created a mixtape of the life and times of in-car entertainment.”

This is seriously, seriously interesting. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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