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National Music Centre launches new exhibition to showcase century of radio

Click to play video 'Radio exhibit launches at National Music Centre' Radio exhibit launches at National Music Centre
WATCH: The National Music Centre in Calgary has teamed up with iHeartRadio to launch the Radio Lounge, an interactive exhibition that showcases the history of radio technology – Jan 22, 2019

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 Radio Lounge features audio devices from the last century. Global News

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.

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“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 National Music Centre has partnered with iHeartRadio to launch the Radio Lounge in Calgary. Global News

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.”

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The free display opens on Wednesday.