Pocket Calculator Show is our effort to provide and share memories and information on popular consumer electronics of the ’70s and ’80s, what we define as the “Golden Age” of electronics. Our effort began in 2001 through a radio show called “Pocket Calculator” on shortwave station WBCQ. Every Saturday at 11pm ET, we would pontifcate and ramble about classic electronic goodies like radios, video games, digital watches and various consumer electronics. We enjoyed presenting such unusual subject matter to a great audience across the east coast of Canada, the United States and the Carribean. Sadly, the unstable nature of the station’s shortwave signal at this time of the evening led to our demise. We had a good run until the Voice of America began transmitting a signal at this time on a nearby frequency. This turned our show to static and left us questioning the nature of the medium for our subject matter. We decided to end the show and focus our efforts on the website. It was fun while it lasted and we hold no hard feelings for WBCQ. To Al and our faithful listeners: you were terrific, thanks for the experience!
By the way, don’t let our experience dissuade you from the magic of shortwave radio. If you’ve had a hankering to do our own radio show, contact WBCQ!
Why the name “Pocket Calculator?”
Boy, we had a hard time coming up with a title. This one was just thrown out in a brainstorming session one evening–we were ambivalent at first, but it was the least worst of the ideas we had. Later, we realized Pocket Calculator seemed to encapsulate the significance of the topic rather well–these oftentimes overlooked, but historically revolutionary devices signified a new age for technology. Then there’s the nerdy albeit funny stereotype that comes to mind when one thinks of a pocket calculator.
I’ve got some photos of cool electronics from the 70s and 80s. Can I email them to you?
We have all we need, thanks. Are you kidding? Of course we want your email! There are so many electronic products from the 70s and 80s that whose day has come and gone, or whose day never even came. Your hosts grew up in New England, and while they’ve made every efforts to travel to different corners of the country or obtain information from manufacturers, collectors, and so on, we’re all discovering items we missed during what we call the golden age of electronics. By all means, drop us a line.
Can you help me with background information on vintage electronics? Year of production? Specs?
In many cases, we can and will make every effort to provide you with information not discussed on the show or available on the website, provided we has access to such data. However, as our show covers an entire spectrum of products of the 70s and 80s, in some case we not be as helpful as you wish. Be assured we’ll use all resources at our disposal, such as vintage retail store catalogs, original product brochures, expert recollections and more, to obtain a satisfactory answer to your request.
I see some cool stuff on your website–is any of it for sale?
Paul and Jay are intriguing. Where can I get some dirt on these two?
About the Hosts
Jay and Paul are both Connecticut natives, attending the same junior high and high schools. Jay was working in commercial radio by 19 while attending UConn in Hartford, CT. However, he started in “radio” well before that. Paul and Jay hosted “pirate” shows while in school at a low power FM facility. Jay makes his living as an on-air personality for a commercial radio station in eastern Maine. While’s there no secret in Jay’s passion for electronics old and new, he’s also an
avid Red Sox fan and enjoys radio and television history. Jay’s a licensed ham operator–his call sign is KB1HOW.
Paul attended college and studied stuff in which neither he, nor you really have an interest. He became intrigued with computers and eventually returned to college to study them. He now works for a large company doing IT stuff. Paul is also in love with all sorts of electronics, but enjoys Crossfit and mountain biking, too.
Sharing many of the same interests and friends for years, today Jay and Paul are pleased to be your hosts for ‘Pocket Calculator’.
While they both are devoted vintage electronics collectors, one of Paul’s collecting niches is video games and boomboxes, while Jay likes picking up 70’s and 80’s calculator watches and multi-band radios.