Q&A With Mod Radio: Putting the ‘Rad’ In Radios (And More)

If there’s one classic song that captures the gist of Mod Radio’s mission, it’s “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees. Armed with experience in electronics and fiber optics, founder Jon Almeda enables outdated objects to “stay alive” by rewiring them as speaker systems that hook up to mp3 players and iPods. And the encore? Every speaker preserves the special, retro design details that vintage collectors know and love. It’s tantamount to having your cake and eating it, too.

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In addition to classic radios, Mod Radio also works magic on relics like cameras and globes—all of which are available here on Fab. Tune in to our conversation with Almeda, the rock star who makes it all possible.

How did you come up with the idea to turn radios, cameras, and other vintage items into modern-day speakers?

I found an old radio at a flea market. It was caked in cigarette smoke residue, the chipboard back was crusty and falling apart, and the power cord had been cut. Despite all the flaws, I fell in love with the design and aesthetic. I took it home and found a mess of defunct electronics and a blown speaker. I bought a couple of different amplifier and speaker combinations and got to work. This is when Mod Radio was born. There are so many fantastic radios that are nonfunctional, and I love giving them new life.

I’m a photographer, so I have always been into vintage cameras. I had a collection of old film cameras that sat unused, simply because the film stocks are no longer available. They were relegated to display pieces in our home. With technology, amplifiers have gotten more compact, which allowed me to fit them inside these old cameras and give them a new purpose.

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Besides being the genius behind Mod Radio, what else do you do for fun (and/or work)?

I am a photographer: onelovephoto.com

I am a sculptor: jonalmeda.com

I am a potter: almedapottery.com

What’s the sound quality like on these stereos? Will they pass the test for audiophiles?

Anyone will be impressed with the sound that comes out of these vintage units.

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Out of all the speakers in this Fab event, which are your favorites?

I am very excited by the overall look and sound of the vintage globes. I love being able to take something that wasn’t intended to make music and mod it out. My favorite radio for sale in this event is the Zenith Owl Eyes, I just love the design on that one. My favorite camera that will be up for sale is the Macy “120.” It’s so shiny and classic.

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What’s your favorite band or singer of all time?

That is constantly changing. However, at the moment, it’s got to be Ernest Ranglin. That guy knows how to make his way around a fretboard.

Visit our Mod Radio event to treat your eyes and ears to speakers that will keep vintage design alive and rockin’ for many decades to come.

-Emily Chang

Notes

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