We examine early supply chains for entertainment radio sets. Manufacturers sought to coordinate down-stream distribution to maximise profits and create barriers to entry. Lacking the market power of auto manufacturers, they developed cooperative strategies using authorised distributors and dealers who were incentivised to follow the manufacturer’s policy. This included home demonstration – which dealers increasingly perceived to benefit only the upstream value chain. Our analysis indicates that while dealer revenue from direct selling was largely negated by increased costs, it constituted one of several barriers to entry, which underpinned the competitive advantage of the specialist dealer.