It's definitely not the best-known tech stock out there. But Silicon Labs (NASDAQ:SLAB) is making real money off the spirit of radio.

The semiconductor designer, which outsources most of its manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM), cited strong demand for its AM/FM receiver modules to explain how the company's sales and profits could be so impressive. Net sales leapt 25% from last quarter to $104.2 million, or roughly the same level as the year-ago period. Net earnings skipped from a single penny per share in the last report to $0.21 per share today -- though less than the $0.29 per share of yesteryear, it was still an impressive gain.

The company ships mixed-signal chips to electronics designers like Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG), Samsung, Panasonic (NYSE:PC), and Motorola (NYSE:MOT), who then use Silicon Labs' tight single-chip designs to design smaller gadgets with increasingly impressive features. You'll find Silicon Labs products inside MP3 players, cable set-top boxes, and even cell phones.

Back to the future
And the story this quarter is based on radio-enabled handsets taking off across the pan-Asian market. Last year, the hot topic was high-end TV tuners that could handle digital broadcast signals and high-definition video formats. That market could reignite at any moment if recent consumer spending trends continue. As it is, even before today's jump, Silicon Labs' shares had soared 37% in the last three months and 23% over the past year. Yes, that includes the great crash of 2008.

High-def cable boxes or cell phone radios -- Silicon Labs is happy to profit either way. This company picked very exciting markets on which to focus, back when nobody else seemed to think they were important. And for such a small chip supplier to hold significant market share against massive rivals like Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) and Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI) boggles the mind.

That's the kind of plucky attitude and clear-eyed management that gets a company noticed by the Gardner brothers, which is why Tom has recommended Silicon Labs to Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers three times over -- with market-beating results. Grab a free 30-day trial subscription today and check out the whole story for yourself -- no strings attached.

Further Foolishness:

Start investing today – just $7 per trade with Scottrade. Or find the broker that’s right for you.

Silicon Labs is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Taiwan Semiconductor, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.