Consider the days when only the affluent could afford a radio — or the ones when you lugged your Walkman around town.

The National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary is showing how far technology has come over the last century — and letting people relive the sounds that shaped their youth — by launching the Radio Lounge.

The Radio Lounge features audio devices from the last century.

The interactive exhibition explores the history of media players and how they influenced popular music and listening habits. It features devices like tube radios, transistor radios and digital music players as well as listening stations and a video installation.

“In the 1920s, only a certain demographic could afford radios,” said Jesse Moffatt, director of collections and exhibitions at the NMC.

“Moving onto transistors where, in 1954, it revolutionized radio where you could walk around — again, something we take for granted today.”

The “pocket-sized” exhibit shows how much has shifted over 100 years. Now, “being able to curate your own playlists any time of the day” is a reality, Moffatt said.

The National Music Centre has partnered with iHeartRadio to launch the Radio Lounge in Calgary.

The lounge, in partnership with iHeartRadio, will run until summer 2020 and is tactile so people can experience devices they might not have grown up with.

“Visitors can come in, hang out in a lounge atmosphere,” Moffatt said. “We encourage them to download the iHeartRadio app onto their personal device or hang out at one of our listening stations.”

The free display opens on Wednesday.


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