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 started asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was 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 customers 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. We learned 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.
We 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 (Sue Crane’s Mom) gave the best compliment; “You can hear the voices with this radio”.
The original CCRadio has gone through a several 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 combination.
Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception, audio, and ease of use remains. We’ve also expanded into voice focused audio accessories. C. Crane has talked firsthand 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 and C. Crane is here to support them.