Hello Glenn, The wire sticking out, would be for an antenna. The “loop” antenna that it is coming out of the back of would normally be ok for local stations. If the radio was located far from a good local station then a “long wire” antenna was added for better reception. This would just be a single long run (basically just along the baseboards). As long as would be convenient, and not be tripped on. Sometimes they were run through the bottom of a window frame and out into a tree or other structure in the yard. It greatly improves reception. The only problem is, with all the late model “made in china junk” switch mode power supplies and cf lamps we have now a days, they can ad a lot of “hash- aka, buzz” to the AM band and make it almost unusable. They did not have this problem back “in-the-day” as the cheap junk we use now-a-days just didn’t exist. I hope the radio has been re-capped before you use it full time.