Long Time Radio Host Dr. Joy Browne Has Passed Away

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Dr. Joy Browne
was a gracious and intelligent radio host. She was exactly the same in person. We were fortunate to meet her several times throughout the course of our attendance at Talker’s New Media Seminars. Her show was a welcome alternative to all of the political talk. She talked about real life and real life issues with real people. We know she will be missed on air.

Here’s a great article Retrospective: The Life and Career of Dr. Joy Browne from Talker’s.

Her show will continue to run with Michael Harrison filling in until a permanent replacement is found. Some details about the show and Michael Harrison filling in from Talkers News.

“Beginning Monday, September 19, the time slot will indefinitely be hosted live by Michael Harrison until a permanent replacement is named.  Upon agreeing to keep the seat warm, Harrison states, “It is an honor to serve as interim host of Joy’s program.  I deeply believe in her mission and the importance of keeping generalist, non-specifically political talk programming alive within the context of ‘news/talk’ during the daytime hours.  I will do my best to provide her wonderful affiliates and audience with a meaningful listening experience within that time-honored radio tradition.”  Harrison says he has cleared his schedule during that time slot for at least the rest of 2016 but will step out during that time frame if and when “a permanent replacement is named.”  Simultaneously, GCN will be continuing to offer Dr. Joy Browne’s radio show, podcasts and archives to radio stations and listeners worldwide on a separate channel.”

Keep Your Family Safe – Prepare Ahead of Time

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Not many people are really prepared for a disaster, especially in areas where they aren’t common. Maybe folks in areas where there are regular hurricanes, tornadoes or winter storms that shut everything down have a good handle on being prepared or people like the Preppers, but the rest of us find it easy to slack on preparedness and then find ourselves scrambling when a real disaster strikes.

It’s easy to make a case for being prepared. Look around at all of the unexpected emergencies like the recent flooding in Louisiana and tornadoes in the Midwest. Emergencies don’t have to be only weather and naturally caused. In California, recent fires that destroyed entire communities have been attributed to arson. With record breaking temperatures across the US and people using electricity like crazy or an even more sinister possibility – an energy grid hack, our next disaster might be extended blackouts or there is the very real possibility of terrorism that continues to plague the entire world.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to see how you fare on the preparedness scale:

  • What essential supplies do I need?
    If you are missing some, it might be time to re-think priorities since stores often sell out, are out of service, or have no way to process payments (even cash).
  • Do I have a written list of important phone numbers?
    If you answered no, then you have some work to do. An electronic list on your cell phone isn’t going to do you much good once the phone dies and the power is out.
  • Do you have any cash or would you need to go to the ATM?
    If you answered no to the cash and yes to the ATM then you need to stash some cash. ATMs go down and require power and banks are so automated now and reliant on computers, they often can’t even provide cash from the tellers if there isn’t any power.
  • Do you have copies of important documents stored safely somewhere else?
    As cumbersome as this sounds, having copies of things (think insurance policies, passports, deeds, titles, etc.) stored in a safe deposit box or at a relatives’ home will really reduce the headache and time spent in the event you lose your home to a disaster. It can help even if it’s just a time where you’re out of town and you end up with a water leak that damages your ceiling.
  • Do you have a good emergency radio and flashlight? How about spare batteries?
    No? Well this is the one we can actually help you with! Call us or visit the links above and order online. We’ll get you set up right away.

We’ve written several articles on how to be prepared and what that might look like. REI has a great article on basic concepts with some important additions that people often forget like medications, infant formula and diapers, and pet food.

If nothing else, at least create a basic plan, get a radio and flashlight, write down the list of phone numbers and read about Bob’s potable water trick with your water heater.

Tell us about your emergency plans in the comments below and be entered to win a CC Solar Observer – the best all-around emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and Weather and has a built in flashlight. You can even use it without batteries and if it came down to it, it even will charge most cell phones.

National Grandparents Day: Do Something Grand

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In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation that established the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Since beginning a campaign in 1970 to set aside one special day recognizing grandparents, Marian McQuade spearheaded the movement that focuses on three main goals:

  1. To honor grandparents
  2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
  3. To help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.

It is the third goal of National Grandparents Day that a radio buff can really take and run with.

Do you remember when a cloud was something you saw floating in the sky and tried to decide if it looked like a dolphin or a motorcycle?  Perhaps they caught more of your childhood attention because you were actually outside.  Admittedly, today’s youth faces a more complex world full of different challenges than previous generations, but they lack hands-on experience beyond a keyboard.  Most people’s grandkids are a wiz with all things internet and computer related, but few can tell you how any of it actually works.  By contrast, radio wave reception is a readily explainable concept that can be demonstrated, experimented with, and shared with one’s grandchildren.

Since the line between entertainment and education can be on the thin side, the wisest path is to find a way to combine the two.  Most grandparents don’t even attempt to achieve “cool” status since they learned long ago through their own children what a no-win game that is, not to mention expensive.  But without the day-to-day stresses of the parent/child relationship infringing on your time together, the passion that grandparents show for the world of radio can then spur excitement for further discovery.  Your grandchildren need you to pass along this important information.  One day the cloud may rain torrents of megabytes, and then where will they be?

Crane has a free library on our web site that may prove helpful:  http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

These links help explain AM reception facts:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/am-reception-1
http://www.ccrane.com/University/Sky-Wave-Radio

This link is great for those looking to share a hands-on experiment:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/How-To-Make-a-Simple-Powerful-AM-Loop-Antenna-For-Free

This year the holiday falls on Sunday, September 11th.  To find out more about the history of Grandparents Day, visit http://www.grandparents-day.com/.

We’d love to hear about the favorite thing you’ve taught your grandchildren or learned from your grandparents! Tell us in the comments below.

Listening Fatigue: Are Your Ears Tired?

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We’ve often debated here at C. Crane what exactly listening fatigue is, but then Bob (yep, Bob Crane, founder of C. Crane) mentioned something that struck a chord. Bob has some hearing loss due to years of working around loud equipment and growing up in an era where the louder the music, the better (and Bob is REALLY excited we’re making a public announcement to everyone – yes that’s sarcasm). He said “Listening fatigue is real. It’s caused by your brain trying to piece together the missing parts of the audio. Having hearing loss does not help but if an audio source has poor bass response I find myself trying to fill in the missing low tones and make them whole. If an audio source has poor mid-range then voices are muffled and difficult to understand.”.

Wikipedia’s definition: Listener fatigue (also known as listening fatigue) is a phenomenon that occurs after prolonged exposure to an auditory stimulus. Symptoms include tiredness, discomfort, pain, and loss of sensitivity. Listener fatigue is not a clinically recognized state, but is a term used by many professionals.

C. Crane has always tried to tailor our audio for voice clarity. Meaning that we manipulate the bass and tone to accentuate consonants which can make voices more legible. Since it seems many of you are listening to talk a good percentage of the time, having clear words is a no brainer. We’ve also heard a lot of people say things like “I’m finally able to hear the words to my music” or “Your radio is the only one I can listen to all night” and “Your pillow speaker is a life saver; I can now fall asleep listening to my audiobooks”. In our research we found some great sites that give far more in depth explanations that we could, but these quotes from a site about hearing loss in relation to listening fatigue really stood out “…Processing and constructing meaning out of half-heard words and sentences. Making guesses and figuring out context…. ’s like doing jigsaws, Sudoku and Scrabble all at the same time. And “…with the addition of hearing loss, the brain has to work, think and concentrate harder than it would with normal hearing and this teamwork is disrupted, increasing the challenges of communication and leading to listening fatigue.”

We believe that comfort also plays a role in the fatigue. If something is irritating or doesn’t fit well, energy is expended to compensate or negotiate that factor. If it’s really uncomfortable whether due to poor audio quality (think harshness or distortion), additional noise (like noise in a line or hum or buzz) or poor fit, the timeline to listening fatigue can be shortened dramatically. This is where figuring out the correct tool for the job comes into play. Much like being a craftsman and knowing when to use which tool, the same can be said for listening. While some of it is subjective, some isn’t. If you’re listening at night, a pillow speaker might be a great choice. This allows you to keep the volume at an appropriate level, have the privacy you desire and eliminates the discomfort of wires in your ears and around your head. If you plan to sit and listen for an extended period, headphones might be a better choice for comfort of your ears. If you’re in an area without a lot of background or other noise, a radio may be better. If you walk or jog, finding a good pair of earbuds that don’t introduce noise in the cables is a big deal.

Last but not least, consider turning down the volume and/or taking a break. It seems counter-intuitive but your body is amazing and will do things to protect itself including shutting down. Keeping the volume at an appropriate level, especially when listening to earbuds, can make a huge difference.

Have you experienced listening fatigue? Enter your tips for preventing or reducing it in the comments below.

What is Shortwave?

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Shortwave radio
is a radio transmission using shortwave frequencies, generally 1.6–30 MHz (187.4–10.0 m), just above the medium wave AM broadcast band. Many of SW’s properties are similar to AM like the ability for the signal to travel long distances.

Since the early 1900’s, there have been significant advances in radio. One of the biggest advances that has had the most impact on shortwave, is streaming on the internet and through internet enabled devices like smartphones and Internet radios. Many of the most popular shortwave broadcasts in the late 90’s and early 2000’s have almost disappeared from shortwave and switched to streaming. If stations are still broadcasting, they often no longer broadcast to the Americas or much of Europe.

At any one moment, there are literally hundreds of millions of signals now transmitted from a wide range of devices. Cell phones, garage door openers, AM and FM broadcast stations, police, fire, airlines, TV stations and even the AC power to your home all occupy a part of the frequency spectrum. Time, propagation and the ionosphere all have an impact on what you are able to receive. Because all signals are affected by these things, it is important to understand the basics of radio transmission.

If you really want to learn about shortwave, the best way to learn, is to listen to it. ShortwaveSchedule.com provides a list of all the signals currently broadcasting at the time of your search and is a great starting place for your shortwave listening quest.

Why Would I Listen to Shortwave?

  1. Governments often use shortwave “utility” bands. Utility bands are where the action is on shortwave and are used for reliable long range communication. Coast Guard Search and Rescue, coordination of US military aviation and spy networks all use this band. One reason it continues to be used, is it is very difficult to block these transmissions. Utility stations generally operate in upper sideband mode. Virtually none of these type of transmissions is on the Internet.
  2. During a big crisis, whether it be an earthquake or hurricane, your best source of real news can be shortwave. Ham operators do an excellent job of contacting emergency services and handling messages between people. You may have experienced “all circuits busy” situations or failed text messages in a large scale emergency situation due to cellular towers being down or overloaded. Amateur radio is the only communication that works well under all circumstances and for that reason, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
  3. News from other countries will give you a new perspective on the world. Following shortwave closely over a few months will give you information that approximates the political information the President and staff have at their disposal to make global decisions. When you listen to shortwave you find out how difficult it is to make decisions with global consequences. The political bent of a country slips out providing you with an alternative point of view. There is a whole world of listening and very little of it may be found on the Internet.
  4. You might stumble across a Pirate Radio station

If you have the urge, you can even take to the air waves yourself by becoming a Ham operator through the American  Radio Relay League (ARRL). You don’t even have to learn Morse code anymore unless you go for an advanced classification.

SWLING.com is probably one of the most comprehensive sites in regard to shortwave and advocating for it. This article on Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future really outlines what’s available and what’s not and why.

Share with us the most interesting shortwave broadcast you’ve heard.

Earworms – The Science Behind Songs Stuck in Your Head

earwormpiechartRegardless of who you are or what you do, it happens to everyone at some point in life: earworms.  Not to be confused with that pesky larva that destroys corn and tomatoes, an earworm is defined by Wikipedia as “a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing”.  This annoying condition is formally referred to by experts as involuntary musical imagery (IMI), and a great deal of research has been done on this particular phenomenon.  This is no surprise since earworms are experienced by about 90% of us at least once a week, according to the Earworm Project conducted by the University of London.  Though most of us regard earworms as merely irritating, research indicates that 15% of people consider them so disturbing that they disrupt thought patterns and interfere with their lives.  This is a more serious condition known as intrusive musical imagery (IMI).

While it is still not understood exactly why we get them, analysis reveals that the type of song and your situation definitely influence the probability of catching an earworm.  In a Discover Magazine article, Professor James Kellaris, also known as “Dr. Earworm”, asserts that we are more susceptible if we are stressed, tired, or exposed to music repeatedly or for long periods of time.  And catchy songs with an upbeat melody or repetitive lyrics are more likely to get stuck in our heads than music without such patterns.  Which explains why so many of us are significantly distracted by the innocent verses of Disney’s “It’s A Small World”, doesn’t it?  Oops, sorry about that.

So what can you do to unstick that bothersome song?  Suggestions made by HowStuffWorks in “Getting Rid of Earworms” include some of the following:

  • Sing another song, or play another melody on an instrument.
  • Switch to an activity that keeps you busy.
  • Listen to the song all the way through (this works for some people).
  • Turn on the radio to get your brain tuned in to another song (or news program).

Here is where C. Crane can help you cure the dreaded earworm syndrome.  We have great radios for audio and reception, and have a number of options depending on your priorities.  Keep one of them handy for the next time you get that annoying commercial stuck in your head.

Enter to win in the comments on this blog by answering this question:

Tell us the most irritating or unusual earworm that ever got stuck in your head.

Win the CC Pocket Portable AM FM and Weather Radio. Drawing will be held August 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations Emily Taylor! Thank you All for participating!

DO YOU RIDE?

P1020104 curves Sue Garcia is an avid motorcycle rider and works here at C. Crane. She and her husband ride as often as possible. Sue has lived in Humboldt County all of her life. She’s ridden in over 22 states. With thousands of hours of riding under her belt, she can’t wait to explore more roads.

DO YOU RIDE?

For those of you that ride and like to cruise the roads on motorcycles, this is for you. I’m assuming if you clicked on “Do You Ride?” you probably ride too or maybe you’re considering it.

I don’t know how old you are, but I feel the need to tell you we are both 60ish and our mantra is this: “We are going to ride as much as we can, for as long as we can.” The reason I told you how old we are is that in our travels, we meet more bikers in our generation than any other age group and I feel a special kinship with these “seasoned” riders” that still get on and ride. Our passion is curvy roads with corners. Lots and lots of corners! The more corners the better! There are so many roads and so little time.

A couple of weeks ago (the latter part of July) I rode the California Hwy 101/Hwy 20/Hwy 36 loop (11 hours and 466 miles). My husband Scott and I ride big cruisers and we ride every single weekend we can. We’ve only missed 2 weekends in the last year. Even with 50 lbs. of leather on, we ride. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary are no exceptions. The only thing that makes riding better fSue Gor me is my rock n’ roll music. I take my CC Witness Plus with me always: Bike – check, me – check, CC Witness Plus – check and so on (and in that order). I hear stereos blasting from other bikes when we pass them on the freeway or in town and although I’ve had a stereo on a bike myself, it doesn’t compare to how great my music sounds with my CC Witness Plus! I’ve tried all kinds of earbuds over the years and the CC Buds are my favorites for comfort, price and sound.
Last summer we hit 15 states in 12 days (CA, NV, WY, UT, NE, KS, TX, OK, LA, MI, AR, MO, IL NM and AZ). (I counted CA, even though we live here, beStrugescause we rode the entire length of the state on that trip). We averaged about 650 miles a day. Late this summer (August to September), we’re going to take a month off and hit all 48 states in one trip. Even though my CC Witness Plus has 2GB of memory built into it already, I add my recorded 4GB memory card to the SD card slot on the side of the unit (for a tremendous amount of music) and in preparation for the upcoming trip I’ve got 5 memory cards full of rock n’ roll! I’ve been recording from my CC WiFi Internet Radio for months now and believe me, I won’t get tired of the music I’m taking on the road with me. I want to ride the Tail of the Dragon starting in Deals Gap, NC (318 curves in 11 miles)! And I can’t wait to let you know what I think of the Dragon and the other twisty roads around Deals Gap. I’m sure we’ll need to spend 3 or 4 days in this area, because we just can’t miss rides with names like Devil’s Triangle (TN), Blood Mountain Run (GA), the Moonshiner (NC/GA/SC) and my personal favorite, the Warwoman (GA)!

This coming road trip we’ve allowed enough time to actually get off the bikes and check out some neat stuff along the way. On our road trip last summer RedwoodsI was honking my horn and pointing as we passed things we could see from the freeway. We had a blast when we rode Route 66 in 2014, so we rode it again last summer. Williams, AZ is worth a look-see and a good place to stay if you’re going to the Grand CaLivin the dreamnyon. Bourbon St and the French Quarter in New Orleans were awesome too, but mostly it was just a lot of honking and pointing from the freeway. It’s a little scary riding through tornado country, we just have earthquakes where we live, so I’m keeping my CC Skywave in my saddlebag with it tuned to WX Alert and I’ll check it when we stop for breaks or see those dark, funny looking clouds in the sky. Seriously, last year we rode at a 45 degree angle for miles and miles in Kansas. When we finally checked into a motel and turned on the TV there was a big red warning on the screen and they were telling everyone to get on the bottom floor away from windows. You bet I’m taking my CC Skwyave!

C. Crane is right off California Highway 101. In fact you can see it off the overpass that’s right out the front showroom doors. I invite all of you to stop by and have a cup of coffee and a cookie (heck, they’ll give you as many cookies as you like). Come and enjoy our weather and by all means, take a ride through the Redwoods and aMendolong the coast.

But, if you like a challenging ride: a ride with corners, curves, twisties and switchbacks, stop by and if I’m in the office, I’ll share some of the secrets of our roads with you.    If enough riders respond, I may be able to keep writing about what I love to do most and I’ll share our road trips and tips with you. For the many, many riders that come into Humboldt County and for those that like to ride the kinds of roads Scott and I do, there are some rides you don’t know about yet and will love. Maybe, after yScott and Sueou ride Hwy 36, you’ll even want to start your own Best Rides list.

If you are intrigued about riding Highway 36, stop by before your ride and I will give you an idea of what to expect. You might even want to take a picnic lunch with you. If you start the ride from the east side and you get to C. Crane before 5:00 on a weekday, I’d love for you to come by and tell me your Hwy 36 thrills and chills stories!! Take a photo of your bike along 36 and we will post it on our Facebook page and in a future blog post.

Until then, Journey On Biker Buddies!river

Where do your travels take you this summer? Enter to win in the comments on this blog and win the CC Witness Plus. Drawing will be held August 17th. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations Terrance, the winner of the CC Witness Plus! Thanks to all who participated.

There are Elephants in the Audio Room

There have always been diverse opinions about what comprises “good” audio. In the last 15 years I have witnessed many people, younger than me, that seem to discount full bass with their music. How did this happen? I remember the first time I saw a girl dancing with her friends to cell phone audio. I winced. Then came Rap music with the characteristic monotone electro bass thump. . . I was confused by the dichotomy! Why Isn’t it a good thing if music sounds realistic? Like it or not it turns out audio profoundly affects everyone at a traditional point in their lives about or when we are in junior high or high school. It seems like it then becomes our “idea” of what good audio sounds like by timing and/or peer influence for the rest of our life.  This may be a generalization but we all get attached to our favorite music at some point.  From what I know about science each of us hear the same music differently because each of us has a unique set of ears and probably a brain supplied equalizer. There is probably more diversity now as to what makes good audio that ever before in history!

At C. Crane we strive for realistic full voice and legibility but we understand how to make great audio for music too. This means reproducing music so well that you can’t tell the difference between what you’re listening to and a live concert. I have found that “Voice of the Theater” type speakers do this well because this is generally the type of speaker used in live rock concerts in the late 20th century. Similar speakers are still used today but you will also find banks of 18” woofers along with other speakers running  50,000 watts or more! It should be noted that most of this power is used for bass notes since bass requires perhaps 10 times the power of higher audio frequencies to sound equal in intensity. This is also why an inexpensive radio or speaker system will likely have poor bass because audio with good bass response is more expensive to design and build. These speakers are way too big and expensive for most situations and so are typical Home Theater receivers and speakers. There is very little superb audio gear available for a typical room.

The point of this article is to let you know we have a new piece of audio gear for those who love music with generous bass and live by the spoken word.

AEGO Amplified Speakers, has Bluetooth and a remote for all functions including bass level!

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Normally I would not recommend you purchase a serious home audio system without hearing it at a store first. The notable exception is our new AEGO stereo speaker system for two simple reasons: 1) To my knowledge, through countless tests, it is perhaps the only system with full well rounded bass that you never tire of at a modest price. 2) You can reduce the bass with the remote until voice clarity is beautiful. You can have your music and your voice clarity cake too!

Technical Benefits:
-Simple to setup and use
-Bluetooth or patch cord to phone
-Remote with bass control

Aego Remote Control v1

 

 

 

 

Uses:
Audio from your TV, phone, pad, Internet radio for office, kitchen, party, for any medium size room (about 20 x 14),

Installation tips:
The central control bass speaker (7.75”W x 14”H x 12”D) can be tucked under a  desk, unused corner or in a kitchen base cabinet. It should have eye shot to the remote.

The two satellites are 3”W x 4.5”H x 5”D can be mounted six feet or more apart for good stereo separation.

Wires and connectors do not protrude from these sizes.

Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest

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Select-A-Tenna – AM Antenna

C. Crane started in 1983 selling AM antennas. After starting to gain momentum selling mostly antennas and radio accessories, we received our first real technological challenge when customers starting asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was pretty easy to select the Sangean 803A as the first radio we offered to our customers. Tuning was precise and voice audio was sharper and more legible than most other radios on the market. With the Select-A-Tenna that we sold, it turned into one of the best radios made for reception. It was a little complex to use as a regular daily radio but it met many customer’s needs. We also carried the GE Super Radio which was much easier to use but lacked some of the functionality customer’s wanted and supply was erratic. It seemed that there wasn’t a good blend of features, performance and ease of use.

In the background we went about acquiring and testing just about every popular radio made at the time. It turns out that most radios are tuned for music and FM. There are many that have too much bass or filtering which distorts the human voice for talk radio and even voices found in music tracks. It turned out nobody was making a radio that made voices sound realistic and very few had good reception. If they did, they were so complicated that you needed a PhD just to turn it on or they were so expensive you needed a small loan to pay for it. It took 10 years to convince a manufacturer to help us make the radio we knew our customers needed and wanted. Something that had some of the most desired functionality (memory presets, clock, alarm), audio tuned for voice, excellent reception and wasn’t too difficult to use.

ccradio2eWe started the CCRadio by selecting a speaker and an amplifier designed to react well with voice frequencies. Trying to make a sensitive radio that picked up weak stations was the real challenge. The new solid state chips generated their own static noise that masked the weak signal so that is all you heard. It took months to reduce the noise and make the radio quiet so a weak station was above the noise level. The original CCRadio was introduced in July of 1998 and we haven’t looked back. Grandma Faye gave the best compliment; “you can hear the voices with this radio”. It’s gone through a few different iterations based on customer feedback and changes in technology but the idea behind it remains and it continues to be one of the most popular radios we offer. Models based on our design are still popular worldwide. It took several more years but we eventually invented and received a patent for the Twin Coil Ferrite AM antenna. This allowed us to exceed the reception of our original AM antenna and radio.

Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception and audio remains. C. Crane has talked first hand with over one million radio listeners concerned with improving their reception. There is a considerable group of listeners who enjoy or by circumstance choose to use radio as their primary source of news and entertainment.

In honor of our anniversary month, 18 years of CCRadios, you can enter to win, tell us your if you own any of the CCRadio line and which one, how long and your favorite thing to listen to on it in comments on this blog and win the CCRadio of your choice. Drawing will be held July 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations winner SoCalPal! Thank you for participating!

Battle of the Platforms

Boxing gloves

We had an excellent comment from one of our blog readers recently on our blog post Is Radio in Crisis? “…….We need to get back to what made radio great in the 30s and 50s (and 60s and 70s) instead of trying to ‘beat’ the technology game. The PLATFORM is not relevant. The PROGRAMMING is.”

Platform battles aren’t limited to Podcasts vs. AM vs. FM vs. HD, etc. There’s also a battle for the platforms that include/exclude content. This is especially true when it comes to internet radio. When we first started offering internet radios back in 2006 everyone was just trying to stream. The streams weren’t great but you could get a lot of stations and there was a desire for adding listeners regardless of how they got there. The content available on internet and WiFi radio is pretty incredible.

As the technology progresses, different issues continue to appear. Some sites use flash players for their streams, which can’t play on devices without screens where you can press play (like our radios). Other networks, decide that they want you to listen through their app or device so they choose to limit the distribution of their content unless you are able to negotiate a licensing deal. Others change the format that they stream in to a less widely supported format or brand new format again limiting the devices the stream can be heard on.

There are content aggregators, meaning they don’t actually own any of the content. They gather it; host the database and often the website where it can be accessed; and work with chip manufacturers that create chips with access to their content on them. These then are embedded in devices like our radio. These aggregators can usually turn content on/off and add/remove streams (if it’s in an accepted format) – like Reciva, Frontier Silicon and TuneIn. Some have negotiated “premium” subscriptions that allow you to hear content that is otherwise not available via streams due to outside licensing agreements (like professional sports, archived shows, etc.). However, these premium services are often only available through their app or their web portal. There are also networks that own their own content like iHeartRadio (also known as Clear Channel) and Radio.com (CBS Radio Network). Maybe this provides some insight into why we call it the “Battle of the platforms”.

Our job here at C. Crane is to help listeners connect to their station, show or host regardless of the platform. There are times where an internet radio is the only viable solution such as when a person moves from Los Angeles to Florida but still wants to hear LA broadcasts. Or when Rush Limbaugh or George Noory  are no longer playing on a station they can receive, often we can help the listener find this content on another station.

It’s been interesting sharing “our job” with some of the content providers. Often there seems to be a disconnect within the networks themselves. Digital media in many cases is an entirely separate division or company. Sometimes the representatives don’t know the AM/FM market outside of call letters or what it says on their published papers. Some networks are changing staff, and appear to be working toward some better integration but there is a long way to go from what we see. Eliminating the platform wars and making it easier for companies to get listeners the content they want to hear would be a huge step in the right direction.

More than anything we try to be an advocate for the listener (because we listen too!). If you haven’t tried an internet radio, now might be a perfect time. Whether you choose one of our radios or another manufacturer, make sure to find out if the radio will play the content that you are trying to hear and supports any other functionality that is necessary for you to be happy with the radio (like Pandora, Bluetooth, clock or alarm, etc.).

For more information on what you might here on internet radio, read some past blog posts

Before You Give up Listening to Radio by Ken Hoffman, Columnist Houston Chronicle

A Secret Garden of Music

Check out this video on What You Might Hear

Also, if you’re having a tough time deciding, check out The Pros and Cons of WiFi and Internet Radio

How can we help you find a station you have lost, a host you are looking for? Contact us – we’re here to help!