Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest


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!

42 Responses to “Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest”

  1. psteckler Says:

    Regrettably, I do not own a CCRadio, although I have a Solar Observer and a CCrane FM transmitter. A Skywave is probably in my future.

    If I did have a CCRadio, I’d use it to listen to late-night music and talk shows from around the country. It’s always fun to see what you can hear from remote locations, even if some of it is nonsense! 🙂

  2. bruce Atchison - author Says:

    I love the CC Solar Observer because of its simplicity and utility. Unlike digital radios with LCD screens, this radio has a simple slide rule dial and nice LED dial light. It’s a great emergency radio as it can be charged up with sunlight, dynamo crank, and from a car’s cigarette lighter with the appropriate adapter.

    Better still, totally blind folks can use the radio. Manufacturers of radios assume that everybody can see the labels on their tiny buttons and all the microscopic print on the LCD display. This radio is perfect for blind and visually-limited folks.

    It’s wonderful as well that AM and Fm reception is excellent. I certainly enjoy scanning the dial at night for AM and FM DX. Even the weather band reception is great. During tropospheric ducting, I can tune in weather stations which are normally out of reach.

    I’m glad as well that the radio works even when the battery is low. Digital radios shut down when the voltage drops even a slight bit. This analogue radio keeps playing even when the cells are almost dead. That’s good value if you use non rechargeable AAs.

    And the price is nice too. A radio like this can be used or left in a glove compartment for deployment anywhere. What an excellent radio this is for both emergencies and daily, or in my case nightly, listening.

  3. Chuck mound Says:

    CC RADIO PLUS (AM listening)
    CCRADIO SW ( AM / SW listening) bought it for my father – I inherited it )
    CC SW POCKET (AM / SW night time listening with single earbud)
    CC POCKET (AM /FM-PBS- night time listening with single earbud)

    You should have a record of dates of purchase on all but one?… As I purchased them.

  4. Richard Sperring Says:

    One might say that I am a “radio fanatic” – but only a C.Crane radio fanatic! I own two CC radios, two C.Crane internet radios, one of each style, a Solar Observer in my Emergency Pack, and a C.Crane pocket radio. My wife is the reason why I own two as mentioned-she uses one and I use the other.

    We live in a retirement community in a brick and stone building. The internet ratio helps with our C.Crae pillow speakers for listening before we go to sleep and when we awake. I am in my mid-eighties, and she is also. We love the reach to the outside radio we achieve with our C.Crane radios.

  5. Ted Champagne Says:

    I have a 10+ year old CCRadioPlus (AM/FM/VHF-TV/WX) and a CC Solar Observer, purchased recently. Both radios are great!

    The CCRadio is my “daily driver”. It and my 2-meter amateur radio were what kept our family informed in the aftermath of the Norther New York ice storm of January 1998. I run it on batteries exclusively so I can carry it around the house. It plays about 2 hours a day, and at that rate it takes a couple of months to exhaust a set of four alkaline D batteries. The radio sits on the vanity playing classical music while I’m in the shower in the morning, then it goes with me into the kitchen for the national and local news on AM, and any of five different music stations on FM after I’ve heard the news. If I’m upstairs in the evening, I’ll listen to music on it. Sound quality is superb for both voice on AM and WX and music on FM.

    The CC Solar Observer is a great travel radio, and the radio is sensitive and selective on all three bands. (Only complaint is with the backlash in the tuning.) I took it on a trip to Colorado recently, and it was small and light enough to pack easily in the carry-on luggage. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the AM section was for picking up distant all-news stations both day and night. One thing I found is that the AM section appears to have a type of AFC circuit or something that seems to tune the station exactly on center when you are tuning through it (I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining that). I’ve never seen that before on an AM radio, and it took a little getting used to, but I find that I like that feature. The FM and weather bands also acquitted themselves well. The sound is very good for such a small package.

    As Neil Young said, Long May You Run (the radios and the company!!).

  6. William Brown Says:

    I don’t own a CCRadio at this time but hope to in the future. I enjoy all types of radio listening even though I am 75.

  7. Alexander Rabinovich Says:

    Currently listening to KFI AM 640 KHz on a CCRadio-SWP from my temporary quarters in Los Angeles. I’ve owned this radio for over 10 years now and have literally taken it with me around the world. It shows some patina from use and needs a new antenna, yet continues to deliver excellent reception and audio for such a compact package.

    I also own a Sangean 909, which I bought from CCrane back in ’04 and keep it by my bedside at my in-law’s farm in NW Colombia for use during my periodic visits. Next purchase? an enhanced CCRadio for my Mother-in-Law, an avid (rabid?) AM radio listener.

    Keep up the good work, CCrane, and thank you for bringing excellent radio receivers to market. Cheers!

  8. Mark A. Says:

    I really enjoy my C. Crane CC Radio2 which I share with my wife. She likes to listen to a distant AM station in the morning, which this radio pulls in beautifully. I like to listen to Red Sox games on FM in the evening, or sometimes I will pull in distant AM stations, which is always fun. I feel C. Crane got it right with this radio as the voice quality and reception is excellent, and I find it a very versatile and easy radio to use. I also enjoy listening to the various weather channels. I live in southern New Hampshire, and I guess it is unusual that I can pick up 6 of the 7 weather channels. The only one I can’t pick up is channel 5 162.500mHz. Lastly, during some of the big snowstorms that we get, I enjoy listening to the ham radio band. As you can see, our CC Radio2 gets lots of use!

  9. mark d. antonino Says:

    Yes,I own the cc radio2,cc radio sw,cc radio swp,cc radio pocket and cc radio ep. love them all and listen to them all mainly for talk radio for the last 15 some years I have owned them al…

  10. James B, Says:

    I don’t own a CC radio, but I have owned a CC Pocket for about a year now. Fantastic product. Really enjoy all of its features.

    I am still patiently waiting for the Mini CC Radio to come out. 🙂 Hopefully with a Bluetooth option. One can dream……

  11. Dave Cardillo Says:

    I own 3 iterations of the CC (plus several other Crane radios). The first suffered from the dreaded dying display. Last year I finally sent it in to be repaired and tuned up. It is nearly as effective in its own way as the CC2E, in my humble opinion. The 2E sits aglow in our kitchen so I can monitor news, etc. Not much if any ham activity on the ham band in this area, however. 5 star rating.
    I tote the re-furb around the house and yard with me. Love ’em!

  12. David Burkhead Says:

    I have a CC Skywave now that I bought about six months ago. I had a CC radio that I bought back around 2000, It worked well for about 2&1/2 years, then the LCD display went out and I couldn’t really use it anymore. So far my Skywave is just fine and I might try another CC radio pretty soon. Hopefully it will last longer this time.

  13. Rose Marie Wilson Says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t own a CC Radio, but I would love to, due to reception problems where I live. I’ve never been able to treat myself to one, so far. It would be very nice to be able to listen to local stations clearly, and interesting to find and listen to remote stations from around the country. Winning one would be very special!

  14. Russel Thorup Says:

    My CC radio, first generation, still works well and has given many hours of talk radio enjoyment. CC2 radio has also worked well and given many talk radio hours. The only wish I’ve had was when using house current, the dial light turns on and has to be turned off manually. Third generation, CC2e and the dial light doesn’t turn on unless turned on manually which isn’t used very often. Reception is even better and all three generations can receive Radio station KGO here in NE Oregon at night. I’m sold on CC Radios and they are all I use.

  15. Matt Says:

    I have both a CC Radio 2E and a Solar Observer and I LOVE these radios! The 2E is far better than the GE Superadio II it replaced-I live 35 miles west of Cleveland and at night I can easily get KDKA in Pittsburgh (roughly 160 miles), where I’m from originally. The Solar Observer was a gift to my wife for Christmas and is great little radio as well! We take it camping with us all the time, the handy hand crank and solar panel keep the radio charged and reception on that little unit is great! My wife likes the weather feature because we always bring bad weather with us when we go camping and she’s not a fan of the big boomers whilst waiting them out in a tent…ha ha ha.

  16. lwc30326 Says:

    I don’t own a C Crane radio.
    If I did, it would be either the CC Pocket Radio or CC Witness Plus.
    I would use it at night to listen to Coast to Coast AM with George Noory when I have to go out in the late evening.
    There’re groups of runaway teens hanging out in some parts of town. Once or twice a month, volunteers will go out to try take those who are willing off the street.
    A pocket radio would be easier to carry.

  17. Jeremiah Rogers Says:

    While I’m a happy owner of an FM Transmitter, I don’t own a radio from C. Crane. I sure would love it if that changed as a result of this comment. Like Bruce, I’m totally blind, and I love the fact that C. Crane provides documentation for nonvisual use of many of the products it sells. The best shortwave rig I ever owned was my old DX-390, and from what I read, the SkyWave will likely come close to equaling that radio. I’ve long looked for a rig with direct entry, strong reception, and coverage of the shortwave and FM bands. Congratulations on 18 years of CCRadio

  18. Doug Doyle Says:

    I don’t have a CC Radio right now, but would love to see how it would perform to pick up the stations across Georiga Strait.

  19. William Lavin Says:

    I have one of the antenna and still use it.

    Bill Lavin

  20. Earl Blankenship Says:

    Own 6 c crane radios like the enhanced the best.
    Listen to a lot of talk radio, very good reception.
    Pocket radios have good sound quality.

  21. Mike Mullholland Says:

    Have two CC Radio SW – one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom use them daily and a lot ! For hiking and biking I have a CC Pocket. Reception and ease of use of all of them is GEATLY APPRECIATED ! !

  22. Fran Guidara Says:

    I own the CC Radio Plus. I purchased it in Dec. 2002. It used to receive TV audio also but since they went digital it no longer does. Several years ago one of the station memory buttons on top quit working for some reason. I basically only listen to two different AM stations that are local and it works fine.

  23. Randy Fox Says:

    I have several CCrane radios, started with the EP, then purchased the SW, the 2E, the Pocket, and most recently the Skywave last year. Also had the Solar Observer but gifted it to my parents as I figured that I had more than enough radios in case of emergency. My favorite go to radio is the EP, love the simplicity when it comes to listening to my beloved Cleveland Indians.

  24. Mark Cromwell Says:

    I have had the CC Skywave for about a year and a half. I use it mostly for AM talk show listening and occasional shortwave. Unlike most of the small multi-band radios, this one actually will perform the ATS function on the shortwave band (which is very useful for comparing antennas). I also have one of the older Sangean/CCrane twin coil ferrite antennas. Good stuff. I can tell that you guys understand listeners like me.

  25. PAUL HAASE Says:


  26. Jim Berry Says:

    I have a CCRadio Plus in my office to listen to sports and news and it also allows me to monitor 2 Meter Ham Repeaters since I have a Ham Radio License (WA3JAT) and I also have two of your Internet Radios, one of each model. One of the Internet Radios is in my “man cave” and the other is in our bedroom. Love to listen to stations from around the country and the world,

  27. hubenak Says:

    My first CC radio was the tv- weather-AM/FM beauty! I was so excited to finally own the radio that I heard about all the time ad I listened to Art Bell. I was in graduate school so I was always broke – but I saved and was so excited to purchase the famous radio!

  28. Wally P Says:

    I have a CC Radio plus that is about 10 years old or older and listen to it at night. I also have a radio your way, a cc witness, a solar observer and a cc skywave. All my cc radios are great. I also have the tape recorder. I hope to have the internet radio next.

  29. John Kasprzak Says:

    I’m planning on purchasing a CC shortwave radio in the near future. I have an antenna I purchased from CC many years ago and it still in great shape.

  30. Frank Zupancic Says:

    I hate to say I do not own a CC radio but I have a GE super radio which has a hard time pulling in local stations 60 miles away, would love to win a CC radio and ditch this old GE radio !!

  31. Art Says:

    I own and truly enjoy 5 CC Radios:

    1 CC Pocket, 8/2013, use at sporting events
    2 CC Skywave’s, 8/2013 & 6/2016, radio on the road
    2 CC Radio 2E’s, 9/2013 & 6/2016, AM/FM/WX listening at home
    with a little 2 meter listening too

    Radio is a medium that I have enjoyed since I was a kid. It was magic
    to hear voices coming from a vacuum-tube filled box! Shortwave was
    even more exciting because these voices came from halfway around
    the world. I still enjoy listening to radio today while I am doing other tasks.
    There is something special about hearing a shortwave station
    over-the-air instead of listening via the internet. Too bad so many
    international broadcasters are not broadcasting over-the-air

    I am happy that CCrane has taken the lead to provide and continually
    improve high quality radios for both casual and serious listeners.
    Keep up the good work!


    PS Since today is July 22, I wish everyone a Happy Pi Approximation
    Day (22/7)! Today is also known as Casual Pi Day.

  32. Don Dorward Says:

    Then CC Skywave radio was left to me by a very good friend who sadly passed away several years ago.
    David always made sure that whatever he purchased, he wanted it to be the best in its kind. So its no surprise that the little Skywave has superb voice audio and is great listening to various talk radio shows. My son has it now and he uses it for the same thing. It has even survived a dive into a basin of water!
    My next door neighbour heard it playing in our yard and was so impressed he says he wants to get one too.

  33. Kevin Horner Says:

    I got the CC Radio from my wife as a Christmas gift. She heard me saying that I wanted to get one. I love Baseball and there is nothing better than listening to the game on your radio. Never used the power cord as it goes were I go. Has “great” battery life. I think I’ll start talking about the WIFI radio next. You never know who’s listening!

  34. SoCalPal Says:

    Back in 1999, the news was rife with apprehension of the arrival of the new millennium. The concern was that our computers and power grid system would stumble with the date change at 12:01 AM, January 1st, 2000 effectively thrusting society back to the days before electricity. This event was affectionately known as ‘Y2K’.
    Being the father of a young family, I began to hope for the best but plan for the worst.
    One evening I was listening to the ‘Art Bell Show’. One of his advertisers was a little electronics company located in Northern California. Art said that he liked the company and mentioned that they sold a ‘wind up’ radio which he admired. A radio that didn’t need electricity to work. This caught my attention.
    The next day, I contacted that business and requested a copy of their sales catalogue which arrived a few days later. I read the catalogue from beginning to end and found the radio that Art had spoken about a few days earlier. Needless to say, I contacted the business and ordered my ‘Bay-Gen Freeplay Wind-up Radio’ (Model FPR-1).

    Fast forward 17 years and here I am sharing my radio story.
    No…..Y2K never really happened and all my kids pretty much grew up with out a scratch. They have all moved on with their own lives now but guess what?
    Sitting on the counter next to my desk is my ‘Bay-Gen Freeplay’ radio…Just as good as the day I bought it so many years ago!
    Time has moved on and so have I. Today I pretty much stream all my news and music over the I-Net.
    But every couple of weeks or so, I reach over and crank up the Bay-Gen and give my local stations a listen.
    Every time I do, I get a little smile. Art Bell was right….It is a good radio. Crisp, clear and still going strong.
    And oh, that little company in Northern California that sold me my radio? The one that 17 years ago I had never heard of?
    Well….They’re still there and they’re also going strong!
    You may have heard of them…..C. Crane?

  35. Alan Knockwood Says:

    I own a cc crain radio and it is the best Investment in any Radio I have ever made. Thank You

  36. Gary K Says:

    I have a CCRadio-SW that I bought in 2009. I listen to it daily, mostly news and talk radio. It has excellent sound quality for a radio its size, for both talk and music.

  37. angeline parsons Says:

    I love the radios I bought from you except for the SWP, I was never able to master the memory buttons. I rarely use it.

    • C. Crane Says:

      We would be happy to troubleshoot the memory buttons on the SW Pocket Radio with you. Please call us at your convenience, we are available Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm Pacific time at 800-522-8863. Best Regards, Jessyca M.

  38. Michael K. Says:

    I own a CC Crane Skywave. I listen to all of the SF Giants games broadcast on KNBR in San Francisco (100 miles away) on this radio. I take it with me whenever I travel. Great little radio!

  39. margaret worrell Says:

    I have a crane cc SW radio that I have had for quite sometime and it is one of the best radio’s that I have ever had, I especially like the way that it brings in long distance radio stations as I listen to WSM in Nashville Tennessee quite a lot. I would like to own the latest one that brings in long distance radio stations but on a limited budget it is almost impossible to order one . if for some reason the one that I have quits working I would try to save enough money to order another one as listening to long distance radio stations helps me pass awasy the time and keeps me from being
    so lonely.

  40. Tim H Says:

    I have the CC radio SW and it is just great for listening to my local AM stations. I am ordering the Twin Coil ferrite antenna right this moment to make my home stereo pick up something as I am sick of the factory wire lead antenna that is just rubbish and never stays in tune and always needs repositioning thanks for some great products.

  41. Tim O (@weeniewawa) Says:

    I originally heard about your company on the Art Bell show and later the Rollye James show, which is sorely missed on XM, so I bought a CC radio SW and basically listen to it to pick up local AM stations and it works great. I am just now ordering a Twin Coil Ferrite antenna to make my home stereo do the same. I posted this same post earlier but I don’t think it posted as I can not see it. if it needs to be moderated and I posted the same thing twice, I will feel like a silly goose. thanks for making quality products as not many others feel the need to do so anymore.

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