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#TBT: Tune In to Coca-Cola's Radio History

By:  Emily Bucherati Oct 16, 2013
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Paco Obregon and Irma Gonzalez

Singers Paco Obregon, baritone, and Irma Gonzalez, soprano, take a break during the recording of the first ever radio program for Coca-Cola to be broadcast in Mexico City, in 1950.

On October 18, 1954, Texas Instruments introduced the first transistor radio, and the easily portable devices would quickly transform the world's listening habits. In honor of this anniversary, for this Throwback Thursday (#TBT) we're looking back at Coke's own history with radio, from the big-band orchestras of the 30s to the miniature music devices of the 90s. So come tune in and tune up your knowledge of Coke lore, and then drop by our Music section for a timeline of Coke's musical past.

And if you finish this slideshow with a craving for more music, we can help you out with that, too: listen to the latest up-and-coming artists featured in our 52 Songs of Happiness feature, or download the Coca-Cola Placelists app on Spotify.


Ray Noble Orchestra ad

Throughout the 30s and 40s, Coke sponsored a number of big-band radio shows. This illustration was used in 1935 as an advertisement for Ray Noble and his orchestra. Today we feature orchestras in whole new ways, such as when the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra recorded an anthem for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola earlier this year.


Cooler radio

With the increasing popularity of radio came creative new approaches to listening. This "cooler radio" was created in 1948 and, according to advertisements, was a "smooth, lustrous all-plastic cabinet in that familiar red, containing an extremely sensitive, high selective, powerful radio set having superb tone quality."

In recent days we've redefined the cooler again, including creating solar-powered coolers for rural parts of India as part of the 5by20 initiative.


Hi-Fi Club

The Hi-Fi club was created in 1958 to give teenagers a place to listen to music and dance, as a way to promote positive youth activities. By its second year there were already 47 clubs with almost 2 million members. Read more about the Hi-Fi Club here.



Dutch "Things Go Better With Coke" ad

This 1969 calendar page from the Netherlands reads "Alles Gaat Better Mit Coke" - a slogan perhaps better known in the original English as "Things Go Better With Coke." This famous ad campaign transformed the concept of the radio jingle, as Coca-Cola invited the biggest musical stars of the 60s, including Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, to incorporate the slogan into hit songs. Over 100 musicians would eventually record their own versions and radio history was made.


Japanese bottle radio

The Coke-memorabilia-as-radio concept seen earlier never did fade away, as seen in this Japanese contour bottle radio from 1995...


Can radio

...and this can radio from 1970. For more creative takes on the classic Coke can, check out the Coca-Cola Sharing Can, or watch as Atlanta high school students send a Coke can into space.