Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Radio Active by K-Tel

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While unpacking my old records, I also came across Radio Active by K-Tel. It’s copyright 1982.

Radio Active by K-Tel

This album isn’t available as an MP3 download, but all the songs are available separately. I was surprised how many of the songs I didn’t have in my collection. Here is an Amazon widget with clips from all the songs from the album.

I loved that album. My mom bought it for me in seventh grade for Christmas. I remember asking for it by saying that I wanted the record with the commercial with the robot on TV where he squats down with his hands and when he opens his hands it’s the name of the record. The robot guy would be one the cover.

Radio Active by K-Tel 1982

My poor mom had NO IDEA what I was talking about. She ended up taking me to the record store in Valley Fair Mall to see if they knew what I was talking about. There was a cool guy there who knew just what I was trying to describe and immediately found the album.

K-Tel RecordsIn retrospect, I’m so grateful to that record store guy for not rolling his eyes and calling me a poseur for wanting such a mainstream album. K-Tel albums were the Now That’s What I Call Music of the Eighties. The fact that I couldn’t tell him even one song that was on the album, all I knew is I wanted the record with the robot guy from TV. If he had been Jack Black, that guy would have had me running out of the record store crying. Instead, he smiled at me and nodded. He knew EXACTLY which album I meant and walked us over the the end cap where it was. I remember thinking he was CGA (Cute Guy Alert). He was probably a high school guy who loved music and the thought of a K-Tel album made his stomach turn, but he never let me notice that he thought I was just a stupid kid.

Radio Active by K-Tel 1982

I remember Dylan looking at my old records. He held my beloved Radio Active in his hands. By this time, we were in high school and I realized that K-Tel albums were lame, but that didn’t stop me from loving my old record. He looked at the song list and was impressed with the songs by The Who, The Police and Devo. I breathed a sigh of relief at his approval. We put the record on my turntable and sang along to “You Better You Bet.” Okay, that’s a lie. I sang along and Dylan just listened and told me that I really needed more Who albums.

When I looked through my MP3s to see which songs I already owned, I only had five out of the fourteen songs, so it was a nice trip down memory lane at Amazon. I remembered feeling so grateful that with one album, I could learn all the “cool” songs. It was as if I had a big sister taking me aside and telling me all the cool stuff so I wouldn’t look like such a dork. Thanks, K-Tel. I guess I owe you one…



  1. Wow!!!! I had that record!!!! memories!!!!!!

    Comment by Pablo — 1/13/2011 @ 9:54 pm

  2. Cool! I had this record. Loved it.

    Comment by Thomas — 8/27/2011 @ 1:53 pm

  3. Yay! Thanks so much for that. We no longer have these awesome compilation albums to buy based off the cover alone. I had just gotten into comics and I wanted it because of the super-hero-looking guy on the cover. My mom got it for me for my birthday and I loved it… although the Blondie song freaked me out a bit… meh! I was young.

    Comment by Min — 12/6/2011 @ 10:17 am

  4. i have a radio active record here in mint. first side is whos crying now by journey. cant get a value for it anywhear. help

    Comment by tristin — 5/21/2012 @ 12:19 am

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