Boombox History

Boombox History
A boombox is a portable radio that usually comes with a cassette player, amplifier, AM/FM radio, speakers, and can be carried around with a handle. Some had double or dual cassette drives, detachable speakers, the ability to record thru a mic, off the radio or from one cassette to another. They can be plugged into a wall or ran on batteries, usually size D.

Early boomboxes even had an 8-track player or turntable. Sony introduced the first one to play cds in 1986. Boomboxes of today can play mp3s, have wireless options such as Bluetooth and can accept USB flash drives, micro-SD cards and more. They have been referred to by many names including boombox, ghetto blaster, radio-cassette player, box, jambox, Brixton briefcase, ghetto briefcase, walking boombox, boomblaster, just to name a few.

The first boomboxes came on the scene around 1977. The first boombox ever is in dispute. I’ve read that Aiwa claims to have the first one in 1977, the TRP-810. Marantz had an ad for one in 1976. Hitachi also had one out in 1968, the KS-1700H. It had AM/FM radio, a handle and detachable speakers.

Some of the first mainstream advertising for the boombox occurred in 1983 with stores such as K-Mart and Sears running ads for them. That was also the time that some of the best (in our opinion) and most collectible boomboxes were being made. When Sony introduced the CD boombox in 1986, that was about the time the boomboxes became smaller and cheaper, trying to find a larger audience.

Today, we’ve noticed some companies such as Lasonic and TDK producing boomboxes with the look and feel of boomboxes of the past. Let’s face it, they just look better.

7 Comments

  1. I have a m9970 sanyo 1 owner for 46 yrs still plays radio , not cassette , it was submerged in the Alabama river it became disconnected from home made floatilla raft yearly event by mistake . took it home disassembled it as far as I could let er dry reassembled still plays radio, its tough , I am so attached to that thing it’s crazy but I love it. my parents about shot me when I paid 250 dollars for a radio brought it home on a 10 speed . but I have gotten my money back also owned for 15yrs a sanyo land line phone I loved also , there a great name product

  2. Hi, 61 year old techno-geek here. Not so much into the history culturally, but mechanically.
    I collect all kinds of old portable music players. Including boomboxes. I also have electronics catalogs.
    I’m thinking about a video exploring what was the first boombox. I have severa proto-boomboxes. Wondering about opinion as to what constitutes a boombox. Features? looks?
    Does it at least need to have a stereo cassette deck, stereo FM radio and 2 speakers, and run on batteries? Or what…?
    Thanks

  3. I have an JVC RC-M90C, that a buddy found in the garbage. He knew i was looking for one to use as rear speakers for my 84 car, the fact that its ”the king of the blasters”. I differently don’t doubt it! It needs some work the knobs don’t all work but it still blasted the tunes and its very loud. lol

  4. Certain models like the JVC RC-M90 and the Sharp GF-777 were known as the boombox kings, having the power to drown out other ghetto blasters; they were frequently used in music battles.

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