This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why Your Dad Is Mourning Radio Shack

I distinctly remember that when PBS did a documentary on the 1984 Presidential campaign, the reporters turned away from the Mondale-Hart battle to ogle a Model 100, and the show turned into a user group.

So what happened? There are lots of theories on that.

First RadioShack couldn't scale with the PC revolution. When IBM (IBM) launched its PC, RadioShack was stuck with incompatible CP/M machines.

It became an importer (the Model 100 was actually made by Kyocera in Japan), then slowly evolved into a parts store. By the early years of this century I would sometimes find myself dragging the kids into a musty RadioShack in a mall, searching for a cable or an obscure battery. I think they were scared of the place. It was next to a movie theater. They didn't know what a movie theater was, either.

As late as December 1999, RadioShack was worth almost $77 per share. The next year it traded for some time in the 60s. Then it slowly bounced downward, each peak lower than the last, each trough more worrying. But it still paid a dividend until 2012. On Wednesday morning, it's trading at about $2.30.

For some reason, RadioShack threw up a Super Bowl ad this year, filled with celebrities from the 1980s such as Hulk Hogan and Alf. The ad got good reviews, and lots of mentions on social media, but the horrible quarterly numbers were already in.

Some analysts think RadioShack's demise represents the end of retail as we know it. Amazon.Com (AMZN) is taking over the world, they say.

Other analysts ask why RadioShack hasn't reinvented itself as a "maker space," devoted to 3-D printing, which they see as analogous to the PC revolution of RadioShack's heyday.

Certainly RadioShack's attempt to make itself a haven for mobile device lovers seems doomed. Phone companies have their own stores, cool kids go into Apple Stores, and there's nothing special about the company's mobile offerings that anyone would cross the street for.

The fact is that, like the celebrities it brought into its Super Bowl ad, RadioShack got lucky once. It fit the zeitgeist of a time, then woke up one morning to find its time was past.

So give your dad a hug today. When Yahoo (YHOO) gets bought out by Disney (DIS) or Facebook (FB) crashes and burns, you'll understand how he feels.

At the time of publication the author owned shares of AMZN, YHOO and AAPL.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs