Radio Road Show
What we do…
MARC sponsors four quarterly swap meets a year. Our meets are held at various sites throughout Michigan, allowing more members to attend at least one MARC meet each year in their area. EXTRAVAGANZA, our annual multi-day convention, is held in Lansing each July and draws collectors from all over the U.S., Canada, and the world.
The other three meets are 1/2 day events. They are held in Kalamazoo in November, Farmington Hills in February, and Midland in April. These meets feature a silent auction, contests, donation auction, and our popular “Radio Rescue”.
The silent auction allows people who only have a few items to sell, or walk ins to sell a radio they brought in for evaluation. Sellers can set a minimum bid and if the item does not sell, they can take it back without penalty. Otherwise, the club receives 10% of the sale price.
Our contests have three or four radio-related categories. The people vote for their favorites. First, second, and third place awards are given for each category based on the votes. This allows members to share their favorites and let attendees view rare and beautiful radios they would otherwise not likely see.
At the end of the meet we hold a donation auction. Anything a seller doesn't want to cart home can be donated to the club. We sell the items in a live auction and the money helps pay for running the meet. Many items go for under a dollar. Even a junk radio has a small value in parts. The donation auction helps insure that they don't go to the landfill while still useful.
Throughout the meet, we hold our “Radio Rescue”. This is what makes our meets the “Road Show of Radio”. Most everyone has an old radio they listened to as a child or were left to them by their family. Often, they would like to get it fixed, or sell it, or just find a home for it so they don't have to throw it away. We do a lot of local advertising of our meets and encourage people to bring their radios in for evaluation. We will look the radio over and give a current market value of the item. We show where replacement parts can be bought, find local repairmen, or give them the outlet to sell the item. MARC does not buy radios outright, but we can line up potential buyers or put the item in the silent auction. Most of the radios brought in are fairly common and not very valuable. But our goal is to insure that the seller receives a fair price for the item and not get cheated out of a potentially valuable radio.
But the main event of these meets is the flea market. We typically have between 70 and 120 tables rented. Even at our smaller meets, you will see more collectable radios than at any other event in the state. The activity of buying, selling, and swapping radios and parts keeps our club and the hobby in general active and dynamic. Both the beginner and veteran can find affordable treasures for their collections.
Once a year in July, we hold our main event, EXTRAVAGANZA. This event is one of the largest in the country. It centers about an outdoor flea market held in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn South in Lansing. We usually rent between 200 and 300 spaces. Sellers from around the country set up here. In the center of the lot, we have a huge big top tent set up. It covers over 80 seller tables as well as our registration and hospitality areas. This tent has a big advantage over other meets, because the activities continue even during the few times it has rained! Besides the flea market, we hold presentations, contests, our “Radio Reception” social event with live entertainment, live auction, and our huge “Good Buy Affair” donation auction. And our “Radio Rescue” is held throughout both days near the big top.
The event starts on a Thursday evening with registration followed by a presentation under the big top. On Friday, at 7 am (no earlier), the flea market starts. There are two presentations during the day held in air conditioned conference rooms.
During the afternoon is contest check in. There are typically 12 categories, most following a theme. Entries are judged by an appointed panel. Along with first, second, and third places, special ‘global’ categories, like “Best Restoration”, “Best of Show”, and “Chairman's Trophy” are awarded to exceptional entries.
In the evening is the “Radio Reception” social event. We present awards and show off the contest display. Also, the attendees vote for the “People's Choice” award from all the entries. A live band provides entertainment before and after the awards presentation. Finger food and a cash bar is also present.
Saturday starts off with the flea market at 7 am. There is another presentation in the morning. During the morning is auction check in. In the afternoon, we hold our live auction with veteran auctioneer and radio collector Rich Estes of Estes Auctions.
Immediately following is our “Good Buy Affair” donation auction, which caps off EXTRAVAGANZA. It is held under the tent as the sun sets. It contains all the “treasures” the sellers do not want to haul home and have donated to the club. This is a great place to pick up parts and projects for just dollars or less. Its also a place to socialize and say farewell to friends and acquaintances who you will not likely see again until next year.