Feline stud gets wired for sound
We all know that cats are arguably the most popular animals on the Internet. It seems like the local print media also never missed out on an opportunity to report on an extraordinary feline. On page 10 of the edition dated 2 August 1989, the Leader Messenger featured an article about handsome white Yuri, a show cat who enjoyed listening to music on the radio through his headphones. Yuri’s favourite radio program was the SAFM Morning Zoo. So who was “Max the Stereo Cat”, we wonder?
Triple SA-FM was the first commercial radio station to broadcast on the clear sound of the FM bandwidth in Adelaide in 1980. The radio station later changed its name to Double SA-FM and then SAFM and dominated Adelaide’s ratings for many years.
The Morning Zoo was a new style of breakfast show. Lead by radio veteran John Vincent with newsreader Anne Fullwood and Grant Cameron, the Morning Zoo show was a mixture of music, news, absurd comedy segments and crazy stunts. For example, there were no shortage of listeners who signed up to go on the station’s Magical Misery Tours (the title of which was based on the Beatles’ song Magical Mystery Tour). Participants were taken to dubious destinations around Adelaide, including the Bolivar Sewage Treatment Works! The Morning Zoo eventually became the popular breakfast show on Adelaide Radio. SAFM is now called Hit107.
Perhaps Yuri was lucky enough to be listening to his owner’s personal stereo. The 1980s was the decade for being ‘wired for sound’ that is, having your own personal stereo. Before the Ipod, there was the Sony Walkman, technology which changed the way people experienced and enjoyed music. Cliff Richard even released a song and album called Wired for Sound in 1981. The video clip for the song features Cliff Richard on roller skates, listening to music on a Walkman cassette player.
Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel is credited with obtaining the patent for the Stereobelt, in 1977, the original concept for a portable stereo. On 1 July, 1979, Sony Corp. introduced the Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a compact, lightweight, blue-and-silver, portable cassette player with chunky buttons, headphones and a leather case. The Walkman was powered by two AA batteries. It featured a headphone jack but as there was no external speaker you could listen to your music in private. Using a second earphone jack two people could listen in at once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman).
Before this time, people had to play vinyl records on a turntable with attached speakers or carry around a cumbersome cassette radio to enjoy music. You could carry the Walkman in your bag and listen to it while commuting. It was just what you needed to help you exercise during the aerobics craze of the 1980s. Or you could clip the device onto your belt when you went walking or running.
During the 1980s Sony added features to its original design, such as AM/FM radio, receivers, improved speakers, bass boost, and an auto-reverse function. You could even purchase a solar-powered or water-resistant Sport Walkman.
Sales of the Walkman were phenomenal. It was known by other names in different countries, as the Soundabout” in the USA, the Freestyle in Sweden, and the Stowaway in the UK. Other companies created their own personal stereos manufactured under brand such as Toshiba and Panasonic. (http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907884,00.html).
With the introduction of compact discs in 1982, Sony also manufactured a portable CD player (known as a Discman for a short time). Later the company marketed MiniDisc and MP3 players under the Walkman brand.