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The New : Retro Radio a Blast from the Past

December 12, 1985

Remember when radios were strictly utilitarian instruments? Oh, they had a couple of functions besides playing music, such as annoying people on buses and establishing your presence at the beach. But, beyond that, there wasn't much you could do with them.

Now, however, radios have stepped out of the plain milieu of electronics and into the glamorous world of interior decorating. And it all started with the Sharp QT-50, a streamlined Art Deco AM/FM radio-cassette recorder that costs about $100 and comes in seven chic shades, with pink being the most popular. The model is doing so well that Sharp is coming out with a smaller, less expensive version in January.

"I think they are going to be a hot item," said Fred Campi, assistant manager of Aaron Brothers in Studio City. "People really like the different colors. Let's say they've done their apartment in a certain color--the radio can accent it. It's become more than just a radio. It's a part of home decor."

Not only is the QT-50 the best selling item in the Sharp line right now, it was the first to be sold in places besides electronics stores (besides Aaron Brothers, the radio is carried at aahs! in Sherman Oaks, among other places.)

Who is buying it? "Basically two groups: teen-agers and old people," said Brad Rowen, sales and marketing director for Sharp's distributing center in Glendale. To teen-agers, of course, its trendy. "And old people like the nostalgia," said Rowen. "It's like an old poster, or soap on a rope. It kind of reminds me of old posters."

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