It's personal!

Although it was originally pitched to adults, teens co-opted the transistor radio. In the late 1950s, prices fell, rock and roll took off, and AM radio stations began to spin Top 40 hits. Teens tuned in and sales of the handheld units, many imported from Japan, soared. Portability and a single plug-in earphone made listening a personal experience—one teens did not have to share with their hopelessly square parents.

Teen listener, 1950s

Teen listener, 1950s

© H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis

“So small it fits in your pocket. So powerful it plays everywhere. Play it a home, at the office, when you travel . . . Anywhere!”

– Ad for Sony TR-610, 1958

Regency transistor radio, 1954

Regency transistor radio, 1954

Ad, 1954

Ad, 1954

This Regency advertisement reads, "It's the World's Smallest Radio!" The device cost $49.95.