Monday, December 17, 2012

FM... Radio At It's Finest

When FM radio first came out people actually needed it explained to them. Not that laypeople have any idea how it's works now, but FM actually had an uphill selling battle for decades. But while the public was still mulling over new broadcast modes, manufacturers had bought in to the idea. New products mean new revenue, plain and simple. It's what capitalism does. But in those early days FM was so poorly understood, that Zenith (among others) felt the need to include pamphlets like these with their console radios because they needed to sell this feature in addition to selling the actual appliance. This pamphlet came with a a Zenith stereo, it's part education, part sales pitch. It reads like this:

"FM brings new life-like realism to radio reception that makes you feel you are present at the original performance. Standard AM is good— but it does not capture all the brilliance, richness and natural tone quality that FM does. FM is like a beautiful painting in full color, while AM is an incomplete picture with much of the color missing."
Must of the rest of the document is more directly slagging on the known reception problems connected to AM. People who hadn't yet heard FM really didn't know how much better it was. They didn't know that FM radio was impervious to the static from a thunderclap, or that it didn't fade at night, or in the summer. This was all new.  I did some snazzy line graphs to illustrate the rise of FM /fall of AM in an old post here. You can download the pamphlet below:

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