Get Ready for Some Baseball!

bb-blogIt’s that time of year, where baseball fans of all ages gear up for the upcoming season. Although it’s soggy and wet (and even snowing in some parts) here in Northern California, there are places like Arizona and Florida where the sun is shining. We will just have to live vicariously through those fortunate fans of the sun belt who are watching their favorite teams get ready for baseball..

For the folks that can’t make the trek to Arizona or Florida, there’s nothing like listening to baseball on the radio. We hear time and again from our customers that baseball is what started their life long love of radio. There are many who even take their pocket radio to the game because they prefer the play by play of their beloved radio sportscaster to the announcer in the stadium. Some of the most famous voices in radio are baseball announcers. Wikipedia has an quite a list of current MLB announcers.

Sports talk continues to be an area of consistent growth for radio. With pre-game shows, post game shows and every imaginable facet of sports being covered 24/7 by ESPN, Westwood One, Fox Sports plus many local independent stations, there isn’t a shortage of options when it comes to listening to sports talk radio. Often local stations are broadcasting high school and college games as well.

If you find yourself having trouble pulling in the game, call us up and we can help you figure out which radio might be the best solution for your specific situation.

 

 

Unless you would rather hear more about the elections – Let’s talk baseball!!!

There’s nothing like playoff baseball. It has all of the makings of a good drama, the happiness, the love, the heartbreak, the meltdowns, the fights and the rivalries. We have some die hard baseball fans hear at C. Crane, since we’re in Northern California, we have a lot of Giants lovers (who were elated when they got the Wildcard and then heartbroken when they didn’t make it out of the division series playoffs) but we also have a few folks who root for the A’s, the Dodgers and the Cubbies.

Baseball and radio have a long history and some of the best voices in radio (in our humble opinions) are sportscasters. Just listen to Jon Miller from the San Francisco Giants call the game, or recently retired Vin Scully who had called the games since 1950. We get comments from customers regularly who buy one of our radios so they can get their favorite baseball game or take it to the games with them so they can listen to the play by play.

When sitting in on a conference about Sports Talk Radio, we learned that in order to be successful in a popular sports market like Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, sports radio hosts had to be some of the most knowledgeable and well-studied hosts in the market. Where else would radio show callers expect the host to know everything about a pitcher from 50 years ago, even if the host is only 40? That host has to know who the pitcher was, if they won any awards, how they compare to the current pitcher, if there were any scandals, etc. And that’s just one position! They need to know the history of the franchise and the management and the owners. You’ve heard a great host. It wouldn’t do and the market wouldn’t accept someone who had no idea about those kinds of details. The panelists at this conference brought up how difficult it is for an outsider or someone who didn’t grow up in the area to come in and be successful because they have to learn so much vs. someone who grew up going to the games and listened on the radio and is really passionate about their team and their city.

Sports Talk is one of the few areas where radio has seen growth and we believe a big part of that is the local talent. It can’t be syndicated (at least not widely) because it’s specific to the market. Most people in New York DO NOT want to hear about the Dodgers and people in Los Angeles really, really don’t want to hear about the Giants. We think maybe regular radio would do well to take a page out of Sports Talk’s programming book and look for and develop strong local talent with content that’s specific to their market. From what we’ve seen, the most successful stations do this.

We would love to know if you listen to baseball on the radio and who’s your favorite team?

Work Around Hearing Loss

CCR2E-FMT-IMG_0722

Since hearing loss is the third most common condition in people over 65 years of age, it is likely that you or someone you know suffers from it.  The Digital FM Transmitter-2 by C. Crane has brought relief to many individuals with this affliction under a number of circumstances.

We have heard from customers that their church purchased our Digital FM Transmitter-2 so members of the congregation with a hearing loss wouldn’t miss the sermon.  The worshipers tune a pocket radio to match the open FM frequency on the transmitter and listen through headphones or earbuds at a volume that meets their needs.  Making the sermon accessible to everyone keeps those with a hearing loss engaged, while helping to retain attendance.

A customer shared with us that the television in the exercise center at the senior citizen facility where his mother resides was becoming a source of conflict.  Some residents needed very loud audio while others found high volumes and resulting speaker distortion disruptive to their workout.  The Digital FM Transmitter-2 with a pocket radio was the perfect solution in creating a harmonious environment.

Numerous customers have reported that the audio from their television was no longer adequate after they experienced hearing loss.  Straining to hear their favorite programs created listening fatigue, and background noise from the household or outside made the problem even worse.  Using the Digital FM Transmitter-2 to send the signal to a tabletop radio close by restored their ability to enjoy television again. A pocket radio with headphones would work well too.

At $49.99 plus shipping, the C. Crane Digital FM Transmitter-2 is a low cost solution that enables individuals with a hearing loss to avoid isolation and stay connected to their world.

What is your favorite way to use the FM Transmitter?

Most unique entry will win a brand new FM Transmitter 2. Winner will be chosen by April 6th, 2016. One entry person.

Decide for Yourself

We would love to tell you all the reasons you might enjoy the CC Skywave Radio, but our customers are so much better at it.

skwyavetravel

Sorensen – Much better than anticipated
Pros: Everything about this little jewel is Pro. I have been using this for past 6 months and nothing has disappointed. I also use to check on aviation weather at local airport before I got to fly our aircraft. As an added bonus the tonal quality is amazing for such a small unit.

Cons: No Cons that I can think of.

Best Uses: Both music and spoken word. Also very good for NOAA weather.

M Mooney – Great Emergency / Travel Radio
This feature packed radio best satisfied my need for an emergency type radio. I live in hurricane and tornado country, so the weather band was a must have feature during power outages. My Skywave arrived the same day as an expensive pair of Marshall earbuds. Although not perfect, the CCrane earbuds trounced the Marshalls in every way. Quality FM stations will have your toes tapping. Problem FM stations aren’t magically transformed into powerhouses…. …Skywave does a fine job with any reasonable signal. I can imagine others would like an external antenna connection. That’s fair, but this IS a pocket radio and not a full feature desktop entertainment system. About the only major item on my wish list for the Skywave would a rubberized Otterbox like case for the inevitable drops that will occur. Overall I am exceptionally pleased with this radio. It easily covers all of my must have features in a well thought out, compact package. I believe it would be the perfect answer for many people.

Pros: Size, Weather Band, Battery Strength Indicator, Signal Strength Indicator, Ability to charge [rechargeable] batteries, Handy Keyboard Lock, Quality Earbuds, Time and Radio Presets retained on battery change

Cons: Average Sensitivity, No AC Adapter, No Batteries, Built-in speaker sound

Best Uses: Beach, Boating, Hunting, Camping, Emergency, Natural Disaster

S Lowry – The Greatest
Went on the wait list for this one to be shipped as soon as available. I’ve had several Grundigs, Kaitos and others, but the Skywave trumps all, especially with the aviation band, battery efficiency, panel layout and more. Look at the other reviews: there are a lot of good reasons for so many 5 stars.

C Stacks – Better then expected! A big smile on my face.
6:30 PM yesterday attached 20 ft long wire and counted 58 readable shortwave stations. Also able to rcv aircraft from several airports with the radio’s antenna. C CRANE please make a Sky II that covers the HF ham frequencies!!!!

Pros: Great Reception on all bands, Does not drift, Speaker does a great job even better with head phones

Cons: None except ssb is missing

Best Uses: With me all the time

H Alexander – The Ultimate Travel Radio
After putting this radio through all the paces, I am convinced that it’s quite possibly the ultimate travel radio! I am particularly impressed with the performance of the AM and SW bands. And I really appreciate the precision offered with the thumbwheel volume control, as well. Thanks for another great product, my 6th purchase from CCrane. I have yet to be disappointed!

Sharonon – Worth it.
Now my father-in-law can listen to his baseball games inside and not have to drive to a clearing on the mountain’s side. Great buy and great price.

C Desmaraison – Buy this radio.
Reception is outstanding. I am in MA and am able to receive Beijing Radio International, Radio Romania and Radio Havana Cuba just to mention a few. I also use their 23 foot clip-on wire antenna to increase reception. Radio is easy use and has many useful features. C.Crane customer service is also outstanding. Buy this radio.

There you have it folks, a wide variety of different users and uses. If you aren’t sure if this is the right radio, contact us and we’d be happy to help you determine which radio is best for you. A good starting point is our article on “Buying the Right Radio for You”. Don’t forget, we offer a no risk 60 day money back guarantee on all of our radios!

It’s Personal

If there is one thing we know about radio, it’s that “It’s personal”. You might already know this or you might be wondering – how can radio that is broadcast to millions of people all day through hundreds of different stations and different shows be personal?

From the selection process of picking the right radio to how and where that radio is used, and what is actually listened to – for each person this process is unique and personal. The radio becomes a companion. In some cases, the voice of camaraderie sharing similar views or vision. In other cases, presenting new compelling ideas that push the listener outside of their previously held beliefs. It can be a teacher. Teaching about gardening, cars or how to get your money or your relationships right. It can join you in the spirit of the game with your fellow fans, like you’re there at the game seeing that pitch or re-living that amazing catch. It’s a place you can belong. Radio is always happy to have you and that makes it very personal.

In an emergency, it can keep you safe. In an election year, it can help you make a decision on how to cast your vote. When you’re traveling it can help you become a part of your destination. When your eyes aren’t working so well, or your health has deteriorated and limited your activity, radio is a friend you can count on to be there day and night. We can listen to the same show and come away with different pieces of information that have an impact on our life. These are just some of the ways it’s personal.

Please share in the comments why radio is personal to you.

Happy Labor Day

Labor DayLabor Day weekend is upon us, it’s the symbolic end of summer and the last three-day weekend for a while. We predict about a million barbeque grills will be lit this weekend with tunes blaring and friends gathering in celebration that fall will be here soon and summer is coming to an end.

While Labor Day Weekend might mean the unfortunate end of summer, it also means it’s almost time for football to come back! The beginning of the NFL and College football seasons means Sunday football, NFL Ticket, Fantasy Leagues and national radio coverage! How will you be tuning in?

Not only can you receive coverage from your local broadcaster but there are several radio broadcasters and podcasters interviewing various former players and current coaches on the field. Here are a few of our top picks:

 

The CC Radio 2E has exceptional voice clarity for talk radio and the speaker sounds as if the broadcasters are in the same room.

Internet Radio also offers a flurry of NFL highlights and updates. The CC WiFi 2 receives TuneIn and offers a plethora of free stations to pick up NFL info. Here are just a few:
http://tunein.com/radio/NFL-c1736013/
http://tunein.com/radio/Football-g312/

Worried you’ll miss out listening to your favorite broadcaster while at the big game? Fear not, the CC Pocket Radio makes for a compact travel companion! It receives great reception and is so small it will fit in any pocket or carry pouch. Tune in to your favorite broadcaster while sitting live at the big game!

Whatever you decide to do this Labor Day Weekend, you absolutely deserve a day off to recognize your effort and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before getting back to the grindstone on Tuesday, enjoy that last big barbecue, tunes from the music box and the last final weekend of your summer. Happy Labor Day from the C. Crane Family!

Tips for Improving FM Reception

Tuning in an FM station isn’t the same as tuning in an AM station. That’s why, when you have a reception issue, the first thing you’re usually asked is “Which band or station are you trying to receive?”. FM transmissions are line-of-sight. That means that obstacles between you and the transmission you’re trying to receive can block the signal and leave you with poor reception on your radio. A hill, a coliseum, big buildings – all these things can get in the way of your FM reception and even leave you hearing the effects of multi-path interference. You get multipath interference when a signal meets an obstacle of some sort, such as a mountain. Depending on the broadcast strength, the signal might get absorbed or reflected by the mountain. Due to these issues your radio will end up with poor reception as the different paths taken by the reflected signal arrive at your receiver at different intervals.

Fortunately, multi-path interference usually happens when you’re in your car, so it tends to be pretty easy to overcome by finishing your drive around a city loop or the base of a mountain. Still, some people might experience all kinds of radio interference at home as well. That’s where a better antenna might do the trick.

Most portable radios have a whip or telescoping antenna that works fairly well when the radio is set close to a window and away from sources of significant interference. However, if you always have the whip antenna fully extended, you may not be getting the reception you’re expecting. Sometimes you’ll get better reception for a certain station when the whip antenna isn’t fully extended.

Occasionally, pulling in the cleanest signal is accomplished by trial and error. You can experiment by extending the antenna to different lengths and also pointing it in different directions (if the radio’s antenna is designed to rotate, of course).

yagi antennaIf playing around with the antenna or moving the radio around doesn’t improve your reception as much as you like, you may need to move toward a more powerful indoor or outdoor antenna. An outdoor unidirectional antenna, also known as a Yagi, is a powerful option. A Yagi looks like a rooftop TV antenna and is ideal for tuning in distant stations and for reducing multipath interference. By aiming the Yagi at the signal you want to capture, you can tune out most types of interference – be it from competing signals, buildings or a weak signal.

Another alternative in outdoor antennas is an omnidirectional FM antenna. Though omnidirectional antennas might not reduce interference as much as unidirectional antennas, their ability to pick up stations cleanly from all directions make them a good choice for overall reception.

If you don’t have access to the outside of your building, you might want to go for a good dipole antenna. These T-shaped antennas offer pretty decent reception indoors and are easy to hide if necessary. C. Crane carries the FM Reflect antenna.

There’s often confusion around how to connect an external FM antenna to a radio that doesn’t have external FM antenna jacks. We’ve created this diagram to give you an idea of what these jacks might look like.

Whichever antenna you choose, be sure you’ve tried some basic things first. Sometimes just switching to mono rather than stereo, or putting a portable radio in a different location, can improve reception. You might also be lucky enough to improve your reception by just attaching a simple wire to the external FM antenna jacks. If these quick and easy solutions don’t work for you, or if you can hear a signal in your car but not indoors, you may want to consider one of the antennas mentioned above.

The Madness Begins

Basketball Tournament BracketThis past Sunday was “Selection Sunday” which, for college basketball fans everywhere, means the madness is beginning. Whether you are an avid college basketball fan or you only watch/listen during this NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament time, the craziness that surrounds it is hard to ignore.

To say that people feel strongly about their favorite (or least favorite) college basketball team would be an understatement. This month ESPN has been running their 30 for 30 documentaries on legendary college basketball teams. One documentary was on the Michigan Fab 5 and another is on Duke’s team that had Christian Laettner and Grant Hill. In watching these you see that sales for Michigan merchandise during the Fab 5 went from something like 2 million to 10 million dollars. Someone actually wrote a book called “Duke sucks” because of how much they despise Christian Laettner and Duke basketball. This basketball fever is intense.

No matter if it’s because it’s your alma mater, it’s your family’s team or you just fell in love with the school, people just can’t get enough and the rivalries run deep. I was once told the reason people are so interested in basketball at this time of year is you just never know what’s going to happen. Single elimination. The upsets. The overtimes. The suspense. This is one of the most watched and wagered on annual sporting events in the United States and its continually growing. The crazy things are the odds. Check out this article on the odds of a perfect bracket – mind blowing but doesn’t stop us from filling one out!

If you’re like many of us and can’t watch because you work and your boss wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of you using all the company bandwidth on watching college basketball (not to mention the work you’re not doing….), you can still listen on the radio. It appears Westwood One has most of the rights to the actual games. ESPN Radio has a lot of coverage about the tournament but we didn’t find any games. I’m sure the local stations for the various participating (68) teams will have coverage of their games so find a bracket to see if your team is playing (better yet, fill one out in the many, many bracket contests and maybe win something :)) and tune in to listen.

In the spirit of competition, we are hosting our own competition. Tell us your favorite sports radio moment (it doesn’t have to be basketball related) and you’ll be entered to win a CC Pocket Radio. The more detail the better. Limited to one entry per person. The winner will be announced April 7th.

Also if you find any additional resources for listening to the games – let us know.

Super Bowl Game – How and Where You Can Listen

If television iSuper Bowl XLIXs not on your agenda for Sunday, you can still find a way to listen to Super Bowl XLIX.

Ideally, your local AM and FM stations should have the game available. Your favorite local personality may even have commentary on the big game with highlights and play by plays that differ from what’s broadcast on television. For your convenience, Westwood One (a radio syndication company) put together a station finder that will be offering the broadcast.

Local radio will not be the only ones hosting the game. Internet radio will also have a plethora of Super Bowl commentary available. For example ESPN Radio will have broadcasts all week, Super Week Live. These will include greats like Mike & Mike, The Herd and Dan Le Batard (link for each host). These will be commentary and not actual game broadcasts, due to licensing rights. It will be difficult to find a streaming version of the game outside of Westwood One.

You may also be able to find a stream here at Freefootballradio.com

Additional radio coverage that will likely include a variety of pre-game and post-game shows can be found for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Here are some great game day recipes (we know you must be hungry now 🙂

WORLD CUP 2014 BEGINS!

World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014

And so has the distraction of trying to sneak watching and listening to the games (sorry Bob). The energy and the excitement for those of us that love the game of soccer (or futbol depending on what country you hail from) is palpable. For the next month Brazil, the host country for this year’s World Cup, will be the stage for some of the best soccer players in the world to showcase their skills for their country. Brazil and Croatia kicked off today with the opening game and there will be amazing soccer until mid-July. USA plays their first game June 16th!

There are ways to watch the games if you have internet access and access through your cable company or if you need to get stuff done, you may also be able to listen on the radio by trying your local ESPN Radio affiliate. If you are on the internet or have a mobile phone and want to listen, you can go to tuneIn’s website or download their app to your phone and search “FIFA World Cup” to find the game or you can go to ESPN Radio and find it there (they have an app as well).

We’d love to hear from you soccer lover’s out there. Tell us, who you are rooting for? Will the USA make it past the first round? Do you listen to soccer? Can’t wait to hear GOAAAAAAAAAL!