Biography: Glenn Streeter
October 31, 2014
Glenn Streeter, owner of Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation, is as much a name in the jukebox industry as the Rock-Ola itself. Having owned and operated Rock-Ola for nearly 15 years, Streeter takes pride in the fact that he is only the second owner of Rock-Ola, a private company with legendary status, dedicated to the business for the love of the jukebox, rather than strictly capitalistic gain. Streeter works hard to maintain Rock-Ola’s unparalleled reputation as both the high-end jukebox leader and technology innovator by never cutting corners and always keeping his jukeboxes always on the cutting edge of technology, which is no small challenge in the digital age.
Streeter got his first taste of working with electronics when he received electrical training in the United States Navy while serving in the submarine service. When he was discharged from the service in 1969, he went to work for U.S.A. Petroleum and built the first vapor recovery automotive service station in the state of California.
At the same time, Streeter began to take a more than casual interest in antique radios. He bought his very first radio while on a Morgan Club road trip and his appreciation for their design and craftsmanship grew from there. He began collecting radios and selling them out of his garage, growing the sideline business to the point where he had eventually become the largest antique radio dealer in the world. He also founded the Southern California Antique Radio Society Club in an effort to bring other passionate collectors together for social interaction.
In 1977, Streeter founded The Antique Apparatus and elevated his hobby into a profession. The company started out selling antique radios and tubes out of store front in Los Angeles. When Streeter heard about a collection of 42 jukeboxes for sale in Denver, he corralled two partners, one of them Charlie See of See’s Candies fame, and purchased the group. He expanded the niche of Antique Apparatus to also restoring classic jukeboxes and manufacturing parts, thus beginning his entrance into the business of jukeboxes. In 1985, Streeter launched the production of “Gazelle” jukeboxes and solidified his place in the jukebox industry with his first successful nostalgic replica jukebox model. If television exposure is any kind of barometer for success, then Streeter received the ultimate compliment when one of his restored Bubbler jukeboxes found its way onto the set of “Cheers” where it lived for 12 years. Today, that very same jukebox is on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C..
While Streeter was at a trade show in Texas in 1992, he heard a rumor that Rock-Ola Manufacturing Company was for sale. Streeter immediately left the trade show and returned to his hotel room, called his office and dictated a proposal letter over the phone. The letter was rushed to Donald Rockola, founder David C. Rockola’s son and CEO of the company at the time. Within the year, Streeter officially bought Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation and moved production to the current factory in Los Angeles, California. Three years later, Streeter merged Antique Apparatus and Rock-Ola into one corporation, a move that coincided with the 60th anniversary of Rock-Ola’s first jukebox.
With 2007 Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation’s 80th anniversary, Streeter has ensured Rock-Ola’s tradition of having the highest quality and most technologically innovative jukeboxes on the market, a niche which Streeter determines Rock-Ola will occupy for the duration of its existence.