Radio Shack: Wikis


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RadioShack Corporation
Type Public NYSERSH
Founded 1921
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Key people Julian Day, Current CEO
Industry Retail
Products Mobile + Tech
Revenue $4.821b (2007)
Employees 37500+
Corporate site
The exterior of a typical free-standing RadioShack store.
The exterior of a RadioShack store in a shopping mall.

RadioShack Corporation (formerly Tandy Corporation) (NYSERSH)  is a chain of electronics retail stores in the United States, as well as parts of North America, Europe, South America and Africa. As of 2008, it had 4,653 company-owned stores, 688 kiosks, 8 service centers, and 1,408 dealer outlets. RadioShack reported net sales and operating revenues of $4.81 billion. RadioShack briefly reopened stores in Canada after losing its former subsidiary InterTAN (independent since 1986) to a purchase by Circuit City in 2004. However, in December 2006, RadioShack Canada announced it would be closing its nine corporate stores to focus on strengthening its core business in the US. The headquarters of RadioShack is located in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas.[1] RadioShack is also a sponsor for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. On July 21, RadioShack announced that they will partner with T-Mobile USA, and will start to offer the service beginning August 19.

RadioShack's current proprietary brands include RadioShack branded products (parts, adapters, telephones and other legacy/classic products), AntennaCraft (outdoor antennas and amplifiers), Auvio (audio/video cables, LCD TV's, headphones, premium surge protectors and speakers), Enercell (batteries and power), Gigaware (computer, GPS and iPod accessories, mp3 players and accessories, as well as digital cameras, digital camera accessories and digital picture frames) and PointMobl (Wireless Phone Accessories).

Discontinued brands include Accurian (audio and video equipment and accessories), MyMusix (MP3 players; now marketed under the Gigaware brand), Kronus (tools), Optimus (formerly audio and PA/DJ equipment; later used for digital camera accessories), Presidian (audio and video equipment, telephones, flashlights, calculators, and 2-way radios), VoiceStar (wireless phone accessories), Archer (wiring and antennas), Duofone (telephones & accessories), Micronta (scientific and educational equipment) and Realistic (sound equipment).

The company was reported to become the main sponsor of a new cycling team with Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.[2]



The first 40 years

The company was started as Radio Shack in 1921 in Boston, Massachusetts, by two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, who wanted to provide equipment for the then-nascent field of amateur, or ham, radio[3]. Theodore and Milton Deutschmann opened a one-store retail and mail-order operation in the heart of downtown Boston on Brattle Street, near the site of the Boston Massacre. They chose the name "Radio Shack," which was the term for a small, wooden structure that housed a ship's radio equipment. The Deutschmanns thought the name was appropriate for a store that would supply the needs of radio officers aboard ships, as well as "ham" radio operators. The term was - and is to this day - used by "hams" when referring to the location their equipment is in.

The company issued its first catalog in the early 1940s and then entered the high-fidelity music market. In 1954, Radio Shack began selling its own private-label products under the brand name Realist, but was subsequently sued and consequently changed the brand name to Realistic. After expanding to nine stores plus an extensive mail-order business[4], the company fell on hard times in the 1960s. Radio Shack was essentially bankrupt, but Charles Tandy saw the potential of Radio Shack and retail consumer electronics and bought the company for $300,000.[5]

Tandy Corporation

Logo used from 1974-1995, still in use on some signs.

In 1962, Radio Shack was purchased by the Tandy Corporation, which was originally a leather goods corporation, and renamed Tandy Radio Shack & leather. Tandy eventually divested itself of its non-electronic product lines.

Tandy (through InterTAN) also operated a chain similar to RadioShack in the UK under the "Tandy" name from the 1970s until the late 1990s. The stores were sold to Carphone Warehouse in 1999, and over the next few years were converted to that format, or sold off.

Tandy entered the Australian market in 1973. In 2001 Woolworths Limited acquired the Australian operations and merged them with their Dick Smith Electronics business.

During the 1960s through the 1980s, Radio Shack marketed its free battery card; a wallet-sized cardboard card, free, which entitled the bearer to free batteries when presented at one of their stores. The bearer was limited to one a month, although many customers would frequent several stores with several cards every month. These cards also served as generic business cards for the salespeople in the 1980s; the "battery club" card was still used until the company-wide changes in the early 1990s.

In 1978, three years after the famous MITS Altair, Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80, one of the first mass-produced personal computers that became a big hit. This was followed by the TRS-80 Color Computer designed to attach to a television for use as a monitor. In the late 1980s, Radio Shack made the transition from its proprietary 8-bit computers to its proprietary IBM-PC-compatible Tandy computers; however, shrinking margins and a lack of economies of scale led Radio Shack to exit the computer-manufacturing market by the mid-1990s.

In 1970, Tandy Corporation bought Allied Radio (both retail and industrial divisions), and began to merge the brands into Allied Radio Shack. However, after a federal government review, the company sold off the remaining Allied retail stores and resumed using the Radio Shack name. Occasionally, collectors can find some of the "ARS" and Allied Radio Shack branded products from time to time on EBay. The industrial division (Allied Electronics) continued as a Tandy division until the 1990's, when it was sold.

Radio Shack had another big hit with products designed to take advantage of the Family Radio Service, a short-range walkie-talkie system. Since the mid-1990s, the company has attempted to move into the consumer small components markets, focusing on marketing wireless phones.

In 1993, Len Roberts became president of Radio Shack. The move came as a radical career departure for Roberts, who spent more than 20 years in the food industry, beginning with Ralston-Purina, where he served in various management and marketing positions.

In 1994, the company introduced a service known as "The Repair Shop at Radio Shack", through which it provided inexpensive out-of-warranty repairs for more than 45 different brands of electronic equipment.[6] The company already had extensive parts warehouses and 119 regional repair centers, and hoped to leverage these to build customer relationships and increase store traffic. Len Roberts estimated that the new repair business could generate $500 million per year by 1999.[7] As of May 2009, this service is still being offered.

In early summer 1995, it was elected that the name "Radio Shack" would be spelled in CamelCase as "RadioShack", and a new logo would be launched.

RadioShack Corporation

RadioShack tape recorder

In May 2000, the company dropped the Tandy name altogether, instead opting for RadioShack contracted into one CamelCase word. The logo had been changed from the '70s-style bullethole lettering to the current stylized R in 1995.

Also in 2000, the company-owned Realistic and Optimus brands were discontinued when the company entered into an agreement to carry RCA products, although RadioShack hasn't made products under the Realistic name since the early 1990s. When the RCA contract ended in 2004, RadioShack added its own Presidian and Accurian brands, and then re-introduced the Optimus brand in 2005 on some low-end products. RadioShack still has its own brand of batteries, called Enercell.

A few RadioShack stores still carry products dating as far back as the 1980s. Older RadioShack products feature the old logo, or an older Realistic or Archer brand name. It is not uncommon to see a few generations of packaging variations on slower moving products.

Until 2002, RadioShack routinely asked for the name and address of customers who made purchases so they could be added to the mailing list. Name and mailing address information is requested when purchasing a service plan, RSU Part (RadioShack Unlimited - an instore ordering method for parts and accessories for select RadioShack and other brand products), Direc2U item (ordering of a special product or not in stock product with free shipping), and returning an item. Name and mailing address information and identification is required to apply for a RadioShack Answers Plus credit card, activate a cellular phone (by the wireless carrier), or to pay with a check.

On December 20, 2005, RadioShack announced the sale of its newly built riverfront Ft. Worth headquarters building to German-based KanAm Grund. RadioShack will continue to lease the property for 20 years.

Charles Tandy also inspired the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids, a comic duo of teen calculator enthusiasts who teamed up with the likes of Archie and Superman.

"Fix 1500" initiative

In a controversial and wide sweeping move, RadioShack in early 2004 introduced a program to "correct" inventory and profitability issues company wide called Fix 1500. District managers and administrators assessed the skill level of all store managers (5,000+ at the time) and put the 1,500 lowest-graded managers on notice. The strategy was revolutionary because employees were not included in the program because of parameters based on tangible store and personnel data. Instead, managers were selected by assessed skill deficiencies obtained in subjective one-on-one interviews between district and store management. What created more controversy was that the metrics of the skill deficiencies were graded in comparison to all other store managers, with a predetermined number (1,500) of selections. Simply put, store managers were not selected for Fix 1500 based upon their own skill level, but in comparison to how the other 70% of store managers company wide were subjectively graded.[8]

Typically, a 90-day period would be established for the manager to improve his/her "grades" (thus causing another manager to then be selected for Fix 1500). As a result, a total of 1,734 store managers were reassigned as sales associates, or terminated, in a 6-month period. Also, during this period of time, RadioShack canceled the employee stock purchase plan. Although the stock price began to surge, by the first quarter of 2005, the metrics of skill assessment used during Fix 1500 had already been discarded, and the corporate officer who created the program had resigned.

By May 2005, RadioShack (RSH) stock fell over 30%, and the company offered to buy back shares from former employees and managers at a comparatively much lower price than the original purchase. This predictably decreased earnings per share (EPS), but improved overall volume at that time. Stock options for district and regional management however were never revoked.

CEO résumé scandal

On February 20, 2006, the company announced that its CEO, David Edmondson, had resigned over questions raised about his résumé. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram discovered that he had not earned degrees in theology and psychology from Heartland Baptist Bible College as claimed on his résumé.[9] RadioShack's board of directors stood up for Edmondson, but Edmondson admitted to the errors, calling them "misstatements", and resigned.[10]

In wake of Edmondson's absence Claire Babrowski acted as CEO, chief operating officer and president for RadioShack. She had just joined several months prior, after spending 31 years employed with McDonald's Corporation, most recently as a vice president and Chief Restaurant Operations Officer. In August 2006, Claire Babrowski left RadioShack, later to become COO and Executive Vice President of Toys "R" Us.

RadioShack had also admitted that 2005 fourth-quarter earnings had fallen 62 percent after a switch in wireless providers led to an inventory write-down. The news sent the company's shares to an almost three-year low.

On July 7, 2006, RadioShack's board of directors announced it had chosen Julian Day, 54, to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the company. Day had previously served in senior leadership positions at several large publicly traded retailing companies in the U.S. and had played a key role in revitalizing such companies as Safeway, Sears and Kmart.

New strategy

In the spring of 2006, RadioShack announced a strategy to increase average unit volume, lower overhead costs, and grow profitable square footage. In early to mid 2006, RadioShack closed nearly 500 locations. There were more than profits in mind when making this decision. In some areas RadioShack would have literally a dozen locations in only a few square miles, sometimes a RadioShack across the street from a RadioShack. When there were stores this close to each other they would compete with one another; month to month one store would thrive while the other would die. Most of the stores closed in 2006 brought in less than $350,000 in revenue each year.

Corporate layoffs

Despite these actions, stock prices plummeted within what was otherwise a booming market. On August 10, 2006, RadioShack announced plans to reduce its workforce at company headquarters by approximately 400 to 450 positions across its various support functions. Company officials said this action was necessary to reduce the company’s overhead expense and improve its long-term competitive position in the marketplace while supporting a significantly smaller number of stores.

Most of RadioShack’s planned reductions occurred on August 28 at its headquarters operation in Fort Worth, Texas. Approximately 1 out of 5 positions were eliminated, and it affected employees at all levels of the company.

All employees at the corporate headquarters were informed of the impending cut 10 days in advance. As previously communicated to employees, an e-mail notification was sent on the published day and time to employees whose positions were terminated. They were given 30 minutes to collect their personal effects, say their goodbyes to co-workers and then attend a meeting with their senior supervisors. Afterward, a larger meeting with human resources allowed departing employees to obtain their benefits packages and ask questions.

This move drew immediate widespread public criticism for its lack of sensitivity.[11]


In Mid-December 2008, RadioShack opened three concept stores under the name "PointMobl." The Stores, all located in Texas: Dallas, Highland Village, and Allen, sell wireless phones and service, Netbooks, iPod and GPS navigation systems. The stores are furnished with white fixtures akin to the newly remodeled wireless department of nearly every RadioShack store, however there is no communicated relationship to RadioShack itself. It is thought that if the test proved to be successful, RadioShack could move to convert existing RadioShack locations into PointMobl stores in certain markets. Executives continue to decline comment on this test. [12]

Customer relations

RadioShack and the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth, Texas met on April 23, 2009 to discuss the condition of their file and the number of unanswered and unresolved complaints. At this time RadioShack had the grade of "F" and was not listed as a BBB Accredited business. The company is now working on a plan of action to address the existing and future customer service issues. Part of this plan is already visible in stores which are now required to post a sign with the District Manager's name and the question "How Are We Doing?" The sign also includes a direct toll-free number to the district office for an area and every office has received a unique phone number. has also been created as another portal for customers to resolve their issues through the internet. As of May 29, 2009, the BBB has upgraded RadioShack from a "F" to a "C-" rating.[13]

International operations

Operations in Canada


The Canadian counterpart of RadioShack, also known as RadioShack, was run by a company called InterTAN, acquired in 2004 by Circuit City. However, RadioShack sued InterTAN one week after the purchase, claiming InterTAN had breached the terms of their agreement. On March 24, 2005, a U.S. district court judge ruled in favor of RadioShack and cancelled their agreement, meaning that all 950 RadioShack stores in Canada must stop using the brand name in any of their products, packaging or advertising by June 30, 2005. As a result, all of the InterTAN stores were rebranded under the name The Source by Circuit City and RadioShack Corporation planned to open its own stores in Canada under the RadioShack name.


After preventing InterTAN from using the RadioShack trademark, RadioShack announced its intention to re-enter the Canadian market itself with a Canadian division. InterTAN pursued court action to prevent RadioShack from using the trademark in Canada until the original 2010 expiry date of the original licensing agreement. The company had planned to have 20 to 30 stores operating in Canada as RadioShack by the end of 2005, mostly in the Toronto area, but progress was slower than anticipated. As of September 2006, nine company-owned stores had been opened and 16 dealer stores were operating under the name RadioShack, signing new agreements with RadioShack Corporation.

In January 2007, RadioShack Corporation announced that it closed its nine company-owned stores in Canada in order for the company to refocus its attention and resources on strengthening its core business in the U.S.[14]

The Source by Circuit City was sold to Bell Canada and continues to operate in Canada despite the closure of all US Circuit City (big box) stores in February 2009.

Operations in Australia

InterTAN Australia ran Tandy stores until 2002, when it was announced that Woolworths Limited would acquire them for AUD$114 million and merge them into their existing Dick Smith Electronics business. After the merger, Woolworths found Tandy to be in poor condition and has been trying to rejuvenate that part of the business since. Various RadioShack & Optimus branded stock continue to be sold exclusively in Tandy stores, but these are continuously being superseded by DSE branded stock.

Operations in France

InterTAN operated Tandy stores in France, selling standard RadioShack brands, Realistic, Optimus, and Archer. Sales people sometimes came from the French-speaking Canadian province of Québec. The French subsidiary went bankrupt and closed by the end of December 1993. Sales representatives blamed this on the practice of selling non-store brands (such as IBM laptops) with margins that were too low.

Operations in Belgium

Tandy stores were introduced in Belgium in the early 1970s. The opening of a Tandy store was usually accompanied by a publicity campaign where free 5-D cell flashlights were given away, with free batteries available through the Tandy battery card. Initially, the Tandy stores only sold their proprietary brands such as Realistic, Archer or Optimus. By the mid-1980s however many Tandy stores had closed and by 1990, Tandy had disappeared from the Belgian market. In the last years of operation, they also stocked mainstream brands, which made the stores lose a lot of their peculiar character.

As of 2007, one Tandy store remains open in Merksem, claiming to be the only remaining Tandy store in Europe.[15]

Other operations

Corporate citizenship

RadioShack's charity of choice is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit organization. The organization's store presence is the StreetSentz program, which is a child identification and educational kit readily available to families free of charge.

RadioShack's green initiative involves the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, in which end-of-life rechargeable batteries are dropped off in-store to be safely recycled. End-of-life wireless phones can also be recycled.

RadioShack and other retailer partnerships

In August 2001, RadioShack opened new kiosk-style stores inside Blockbuster outlets. The project ended in February 2002 when CEO Len Roberts announced that the stores did not meet expectations.[16] A more successful venture for RadioShack has been the wireless kiosks the company has been operating since 2004 within Sam's Club discount warehouses. RadioShack purchased the kiosk operations from Arizona-based Wireless Retail Inc. Kiosk employees are contracted through RadioShack Corporation, and while no RadioShack-branded merchandise is sold, they do sell products produced by RadioShack. The name Wireless Retail inc. has since been changed to SC Kiosks inc.

RadioShack cycling team

RadioShack has announced that it plans to sponsor seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's newly created professional cycling team in 2010 .[17][18]

Corporate headquarters

In 2001 Radio Shack bought the former Ripley Arnold public housing complex in Downtown Fort Worth for $20 million. The company razed the complex and had a 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2) corporate headquarters campus built after the City of Fort Worth approved a 30-year economic agreement to ensure that the company stayed in Fort Worth. The company sold the building and, as of 2009, had two years left of a rent-free lease in the building. The company intended to make $66.8 million in the deal with the city. By 2009 it made $4 million; by 2009 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the company was considering a new site for its headquarters.[19] The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that rumors spread among Tampa Bay Area real estate brokers and developers that RadioShack may select Tampa as the site of its headquarters.[20]


  1. ^ "Corporate Information Contacts." RadioShack. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  2. ^ Bonnie D. Ford (July 23, 2009). "Source: Lance's team lands sponsor". ESPN. 
  3. ^ RadioShack rigs Amateur radio equipment
  4. ^ Popular Mechanics, November 1962 issue, advertisement on p.235 which has their story.
  5. ^ RadioShack Corporation. "RadioShack History". Retrieved September 11, 2006. 
  6. ^ Tony Magoulas. "RADIO SHACK LAUNCHES MAJOR STORE EXPANSION". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  7. ^ KATHRYN JONES. "Fix-It Service Remodels Radio Shack". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ 101 Dumbest Moments in Business. CNN. 2007. Retrieved on January 23, 2007.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Blockbuster pursues CE, as RadioShack deal dies - Consumer electronics launch in 2002 - Brief Article | DSN Retailing Today | Find Articles at
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Fort Worth-based RadioShack may move headquarters out of town." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wednesday November 11, 2009. Retrieved on November 13, 2009.
  20. ^ "RadioShack might be seeking new headquarters city." Dallas Business Journal. Thursday November 12, 2009. Retrieved on November 13, 2009.
  • Irvin, Farman (1992). Tandy's Money Machine : How Charles Tandy Built Radio Shack into the World's Largest Electronics Chain. Chicago: Mobium Press. ISBN 0-916371-12-3. 

External links

Business data

Radio shack is a slang term for a room or structure for housing radio equipment.[1]


In the early days of radio, equipment was experimental and home-built. The first radio transmitters used a noisy spark to generate radio waves and were often housed in a garage or shed. When radio was first adopted by the U.S. Navy, a small, wooden structure placed on deck to house the ship's radio equipment became known as the "radio shack".[2] The term was soon adopted by military and hobbyist alike to describe any form of radio room. Today, amateur radio operators use the term to describe the space occupied by their radio gear, usually a room, but for some the entire "shack" may consist of a hand-held radio or two while others may operate mobile equipment in a vehicle.[3]

In 1921, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann chose the name "Radio Shack," for their radio parts retail and mail-order business in Boston, Massachusetts in order to appeal to radio enthusiasts. The enterprise has since grown to the multi-billion dollar retail chain RadioShack Corporation.[4]

See also


  1. Random House Unabridged Dictionary by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
  2. RadioShack Corporate Information. The name "RadioShack" is a nautical term that dates back to the invention of the radio at the turn of the 20th century. At the time, wireless radio equipment aboard ships was generally housed above the bridge in a wooden structure called the "radio shack." The founders of RadioShack thought the name appropriate for a new retail business that supplied electronic equipment to "ham" radio operators and ships' radio officers.
  3. Ham Radio For Dummies, by H. Ward Silver, # ISBN 0764559877, ISBN 978-0764559877 Where did the phrase, radio shack, come from? Back in the early days of radio, the equipment was highly experimental and all home-built, requiring a nearby workshop. In addition, the first transmitters used a noisy spark to generate radio waves....many early stations were built in a garage or tool shed. The term “shack” was only natural and carries through today as a description of the state of order and cleanliness found in many a ham’s lair
  4. RadioShack Corporate Information. Beginning in 1921, RadioShack would grow to a handful of stores clustered in the Northeast, and become a leading electronics mail-order distributor to hobbyists.

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