Moving from San Francisco to rural Humboldt County, California in 1983 was not without a few oversights on my part. Due to poor radio reception my love for AM radio was met with a good deal of silence until the sun went down. It was only then that I could receive AM stations from several hundred miles away. I learned to adapt to the local earthquakes but not the absence of radio reception.
I went on a six month research project to improve the radio reception at my house until I finally found an AM antenna, the Select-A-Tenna. In the day time this antenna could receive a clear channel station from over 250 miles away. I was absolutely sure there were more radio-heads like me that wanted this antenna as much as life itself, so I wrote a letter to the address on the bottom of the antenna asking if I could sell them. The phone rang one day with the inventor and builder of this device. I garnered a somewhat exclusive distribution right to the West Coast for a capital cost of $350.00 so my wife and I began selling the Select-A-Tenna out of our home. We advertised the antenna on KGO Radio in San Francisco. At first, it did not go particularly well but we adjusted our advertisements and soon orders started coming in.
A plastic surgeon from L.A. was our very first customer. He heard the ad on KGO and called to order one. I was shocked when he asked me to put the antenna on a credit card. We weren’t set up to take credit cards so we had him mail us a check. Never considering failure we started shipping out hundreds of antennas with the bill enclosed hoping the honest talk show listeners would pay. Ninety-nine percent of those customer sent us a check! Word started spreading about the magic of the AM receiving antenna.
One unforgettable day in 1992 cars and RV’s lined our 500’ shared, one lane gravel road to the house making our neighbors less than thrilled. That’s when I turned to my wife and said ‘Sue, I think we need to get a store for the company”. We soon moved the business to downtown Fortuna.
During this time, my wife and I both had full time jobs and 2 kids to raise. Our little company continued to grow and was starting to get out of hand, so we hired others to help us. With the dedication of a few good people we hired, the C. Crane Radio Division was born.
C. Crane continues the quest to improve reception with a selection of excellent long range radios and antennas. Our latest model, the CCRadio-2E is one of the best radios for AM and FM reception and it’s the most reliable we have built so far.