I found this Goldstar portable radio ad in the Seoul Women's University (서울여대) newspaper from the summer of 1972. While the images initially caught my eye, the text proved to be rather interesting:
A symbol of prosperity and modernization of the fatherland
A radio for love, friendship, and active people, RM-707
The mini-transistor radio RM-707 for active people and friends and lovers amid overflowing youth is ideal for...
- Campus singing groups where friendship grows
- Enjoying go-go rhythms while picnicking
- Conveying the thrill of being at sporting events
- Background music while with your lover
The RM-707 is a high-performance portable radio uniquely designed by Goldstar for the styles of active youths.
Clear sound, sophisticated design
Goldstar transistor radios
Sold at Goldstar specialty stores nationwide.
Battery-powered transistor radios gave one the freedom to roam and integrate music or other broadcasts into your activities as never before (with such activities including singing groups on campus, picnics, sporting events, or even romantic escapades). I also couldn't help but note the phrase at top left: "A symbol of prosperity and modernization of the fatherland." While advertising a product that allowed young people to take part in frivolous activities, name-checking the authoritarian state's development drive was probably a good idea. Note the price of the featured product: 2,980 won. This inflation counter suggests that would be around 60,000 won today, but I suspect it felt like a lot more at the time.
I should note that in 1966, anthropologist Vincent Brandt, who was doing ethnography in a remote village on Korea’s west coast, described "the sudden development of a new youth culture" facilitated by the growth in the number of transistor radios and the resulting exposure of young people to broadcasts from Seoul. As Brandt described it,
the constant expression on the radio of romantic love as an ideal through popular songs and radio dramas seemed to have substantially undermined the repressive force of Confucian puritanism and made a severe dent in parental authority within an extraordinarily short time. The inﬂuence of Seoul broadcasts was also evident in the outspoken determination of many young people to make their own decisions with regard to occupation, place of residence, and choice of spouse.*
Brandt also described the consumer goods which appealed to the young: "A transistor radio, dark glasses, new clothes, trips to town, and for some a guitar, have an immediate fascination that may conﬂict with the requirement that individual interests be subordinated to those of the family."*
There's a certain irony here, since in the early 1960s the military junta that took power in 1961 oversaw the distribution of thousands of radios to towns and villages throughout the country so as to disseminate official news and propaganda, but the commercial broadcasts (such as TBC and MBC) that were also available provided "counter-examples" that could also undermine authority.
*Vincent Brandt, A Korean Village Between Farm and Sea (Harvard University Press, 1971), 16, 102.