I have encountered the Salton Beachcomber Radio many times while browsing thrift stores. This mid-eighties beauty always makes me pause and with good reason. It was a mini-boombox designed to be taken to the beach and while you get the impression of “beach radio” when you look at it. Upon further inspection, you realize that it is all design and very little substance.
Which in 1985 might have been a drawback. You could buy much better radios, for the same price. Now though, the Salton Beachcomber Radio stands out like a beacon and after years of passing on them, I finally picked this one up.
The price tag? A whopping $4. Which is pretty good. I often see them in the $10-$15 range in person. Online that price will double. The thing looks so darn eighties that dealers will attach a premium. So pay what you want, but know that anything above $20 is in overprice territory for now.
What do you get with your Salton Beachcomber Radio? You get a decent AM/FM radio with middling sound. But it is really the case that makes this radio shine. That brilliant yellow color, translucent plastic door storage cubby, and wide shoulder strap make this a compelling piece. None of those things really please me though like one feature. The tan timer.
Are you curious about how long you have been tanning? Well, don’t be burned to a crisp. With your Tan Timer, you will know just how long you have been baking in the sun. It’s a magnificent idea that helps this radio earn its beachcomber moniker. The other is this little compartment where you can store stuff.
It is not large enough for a bottle of suntan lotion, so I assume you might put your keys or other valuables in it to keep them free from sand. The former owner of my Salton was kind enough to attach a Leroux Cordials sticker to the door. While part of me wants to try to remove it, I kind of like it as a reminder that this is a party radio.
Salton was a US-based company based in Florida which manufactured home appliances, most notably the George Foreman grill. It would eventually become Russell Hobbs, Inc. In June 2010, Russell Hobbs, Inc. was taken over by and became part of Spectrum Brands.
After one day of use, my Salton Beachcomber Radio stopped working. I made some attempts to fix it, but ultimately decided to put it back into the wild and donated back to goodwill. Good luck you beautiful yellow monster. May someone with better electronic skills will restore you to the world.