View Full Version : Radio Shack closing a store near you. Soon.

02-09-2015, 06:31 PM
Here are a selection of articles regarding the failure of Radio Shack.




Do you recall the first time you went into a Radio Shack? WOW! I do! I was about 9 or so and my brother took me over to Greenbriar Mall to the store there. It was huge. I loved the catalog! And all the real electronics stuff for the ham, CBer or just a guy trying to repair his TV (and likely did)

The logic of Radio Shacks failure is speculated upon by WSJ:

In 1979 the average worker put in 1,687 hours a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and by 2007 that number was 1,868. The net difference, 181 hours a year, represents more than a month of extra work every year.

I don't know where they got their numbers but with an average of 6 hours overtime each week I logged closer to 2300 hours. But people make time to do the things they want. This is not the reason Radio Shack is dying. The real reason is failure to dance with the one(s) who brought you. They moved away from the Ham, CB, Audiophile crowd and tried to compete with Walmart and others in the consumer - all plastic - and cell phone markets. And got their heads handed to them.

A generation grew up on RadioShack’s “150 in One Electronic Project Kit.” Remember those? I wanted one so badly in Jr. High. I wanted to do all 150 experiments. You could get a decent start in an electronics career with what you could learn at Radio Shack. Alas, my parents were convinced I'd burn down the house with it so I had many disappointing Christmases. But you couldn't get that at Walmart!

And I still have much of my Realistic stereo component system down in the basement and it sounds so much better than any of the plastic cased crap that passes for sound equipment today.

Radio Shack stood at the brink of greatness. They could have been Microsoft or Apple:

Bill Gates himself wrote the operating system for the original TRS-80. A teenage Michael Dell saw his first PC in the RadioShack that happened to be stationed between his home and school. Steve Wozniak , who more or less single-handedly designed the Apple I and II, was intensely devoted to RadioShack, and relied on it for parts.

They were selling cutting edge computers and writing up the sales on paper ticket books!! ARRG!! Right about this time they lost their way, not realizing the Ham, CB, audiophile crowd were the ones leading the way into the world of computers, and they wanted their computers in addition to, not instead of, the traditional Radio Shack electronics hobby fair.

The Tech America experiment, with all it's hope, failed. Had the internet been available they could have been the next Newegg or Fry's. Instead they wondered around lost, threw out all the hobby stuff and became a cell phone retailer.

Capitalism is a great system but it can be harsh. We all quit spending our money in the odd little store we all grew up in. They no longer catered to us.

And now it's all online at Fry's, Ebay, Amazon, Newegg and others. And Radio Shack will likely not survive our absence.

02-09-2015, 09:32 PM
Before it was Radio Shack electronics it was Allied Radio. Allied used to have a catalog that was at least 2" thick, not a 8 1/2 x 11 size but about 8"x5". It was bought by Radio Shack division of Tandy back in the early 60's. The competitors back then were Newark Electronics, Olson Electronics, Lafayette and Burstein-Applebee. I remember buying some things from just about all of them many years ago. Radio Shack was THE place to get your hands on stereo radios (HI-FI back then), tape decks, high end turntables and great speakers. They had a moderate line of ham radio gear in stock. The downfall I think was they turned it into a Tandy leather store rather than focus on the electronics. I'll bet a lot people never heard of Tandy Leather. Then they drifted away from the products that the audiophile, ham and electronics experimenter bought.

Some companies just didn't keep pace with the fast changing development of electronics. I grew up in and around Council Bluffs, Iowa where back from the 40's through the 70' there was a major manufacturer of ham radio equipment. That was World Radio. My FIL (W0LGQ) was a good friend of the chief engineer, Lee Treft (W0GG) at WRL and had a Globe King 300 transmitter himself. The owner, Leo Meyerson was a good friend of Art Collins. DW worked at WRL one summer during school break and wired up Globe Scouts. She was a good friend of Leo's daughter, Daralynn and used to play in their basement. I used to go to the WRL factory store and I bought a Hallicrafter SX-140 ham band receiver in kit form back about 1961, which I still have.

Radio Shack lost sight of their customer base. Like Radio said, they could have been another Frys but there were too many stores to maintain. A number of the stores were franchises and those people seemed to be better than the company owned stores.

02-09-2015, 09:50 PM
Bill Gates himself wrote the operating system for the original TRS-80.

Actually the first OS for the TRS-80 was written by a young Dallas consultant named Randy Cooke. Randy's lawsuit against Tandy was an interesting one, and didn't do any good for Tandy's already bleak reputation among the Dallas consulting community.

02-10-2015, 08:28 AM
Radio shack was created by Tandy Leather, I do not think it derived from Allied.

That said my first receiver was a Knight Kit (Star Roamer) from Allied.

02-10-2015, 09:00 AM
Sad to see 'em go. I purchased a couple of high-end turntables from them in the 70s. And the cartridges and needles to keep them going over the years. Then it was the odd stereo amp and or preamp from them. Even some occasional sets of bookshelf speakers and blank reel-to-reel tapes. During Christmas, I'd load up on their always great Radio Controlled toys and terrorize the cat or dog, whichever was resident at my QTH at that time :-) I watched the local Lafayette Radio store turn into a Radio Shack. RS was always a fun place to visit.

I don't remember any ham gear in my local Reno, NV store back then, but maybe my memory fades...

In the last few years, I raided their parts bin many times for switches, PL/S0-259 connectors, and connectors, adapters, cables, clocks, soldering accessories, WX stations, phones... just a bunch-0-stuff.

Over the last two weeks RS has been deeply discounting everything in their stores. Including the fixtures in some of them. I've stopped at a few "Shacks" since the discounts began. I've now bought dozens (hundreds?) of additional connectors, audio adapters, ground rods, cables, switches and just misc electronics stuff. Some at 50% off. Some at 60 or even 80% off.

Radio Shack will live for a long in my junk box (crate, really :-) until I don't live anymore.

Yup, Sad to see 'em go.

02-10-2015, 11:57 AM
The store in my home town had leather and radio parts in the same store. I even had a "Trash 80" computer and I upgraded it to 4 KB of ram I was styling! I might take a run to Conway NH (closest store) and see if there are any good deals to be had. Kind of looking for a Raspberry Pi computer board things sure have come a long way.

02-10-2015, 01:23 PM
[QUOTE=wa8yxm;13426]Radio shack was created by Tandy Leather

Correct, Radio Shack was already owned by Tandy, Radio Shack bought Allied Radio in 1970

02-10-2015, 05:59 PM
Over the last two weeks RS has been deeply discounting everything in their stores. Including the fixtures in some of them. I've stopped at a few "Shacks" since the discounts began. I've now bought dozens (hundreds?) of additional connectors, audio adapters, ground rods, cables, switches and just misc electronics stuff. Some at 50% off. Some at 60 or even 80% off.

Dang! I'd better get over there. There are two stores in Fayetteville, I can hit them both in one afternoon.

04-05-2015, 09:12 PM
I can remember testing tube's, buying parts and building some of
the small projects they sold.....I have been cleaning out a good
friend of mine's shack for his widow, he had allot of small switches,
diodes, restores in small packages from Radio Shack in the old
small rappers, bought back allot of memories :):)

Sign of the times, no one wants to build any more and allot
of the Electronic parts stores are going under. Radio Shack
forgot their base a long time ago trying to keep up with
changing times and didn't do a good job of that even :(