Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mr. Microphone

In 1979, Ron Popeil's company, Ronco, marketed a product named Mr. Microphone. For Popeil this was a tad more complicated than his Chop-o-matic food processor, his smokeless ashtray, cap snaffler, GLH-9 Spray-on hair, pocket fisherman and the unforgettable Ginsu knife set. This required actual adherence to FCC rules.

The guts of the device are simple: batteries, a simple microphone, a whip antenna, and a simple FM transmitter. Mr. Microphone would broadcast to a set station on the lower end of the FM dial. Ron sold over a million of them. It's a perfectly legal device and one that predated that little iTrip FM until that broadcasts your Ipod to your car stereo.

So in a way
Ron Popeil is the godfather to that little two pronged device you have in the car. Ron was never in radio, he debuted his first foray into broadcasting was on TV in Tampa, FL on WFLA-TV with a normal 60-second ad for the Ronco Spray gun. He went on to run the same spon in Wisconsin, and Illnois. In August 2005, Ron sold his company to the Denver-based Fi-Tek VII.