Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Spooky Halloween

Halloween is Almost Here

If the real world isn’t scary enough, there are plenty of shows that are willing to help spook you into staying awake all night.

Coast to Coast will offer their legendary Ghost to Ghost show, you can view some archives here

NPR has some Halloween tricks and audio treats we love that folks are even gathering playlists so you can make your haunted house or Halloween party complete!

If you want some nostalgia, this is a great post with 31 scary old time radio episodes for Halloween.

If you’re looking to try something new, we’ve found a couple things for you to try:

The Nosleep Podcast  comes with this warning:  This is a horror fiction podcast. It is intended for mature adults, not the faint of heart. Join us at your own risk.

The Black Tapes Podcast is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth and paranormal activity.

Let us know how you will be spending your Halloween and you’ll be entered to win a Unity Plus LED Flashlight to help you see in the dark.

Do you have a party or go to one? Take the kids or grand kids trick or treating? Listen to spooky radio or watch scary movies? Tell us in the comments below. One entry per person please. 3 winners will be chosen on November 2nd.

Local Radio Still Matters

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Image used with permission from National Broadcasters Association

Do you remember when you could call up your local radio station and ask to dedicate a song?  Maybe you just wanted to start a friend’s day right with their favorite tune, or wanted that special someone to know you were thinking of them.  Regardless of your sentiments, there was the thrill of knowing everyone listening for miles around heard your name and theirs over the air waves.  And if you were lucky enough to get on air yourself, you tried to come up with something aside from “This is for Tony, because he’s so cool!”, but choked on the spot instead.

Today our existence is filled with signals and public sharing, so feeling like part of the world at large is easy.  Quick as a flash, half the planet can watch that video you posted of your grandchild sticking cereal up their nose.  But for a price.  You have to pay someone for that connection, and in some way they are using your profile to make money.

Luckily, some things have not changed.  Radio broadcasts are still free and quite prolific.  According to the web site www.wearebroadcasters.com, there are 15,516 full power radio stations in the U.S., that are listened to by more than 268 million Americans each week.

According to a response to a survey from PoytnerThe purpose of local is to see, know, care about and understand your community. C. Crane believes that local radio is at the heart of every community and this sentiment is consistently reinforced when we talk to radio listeners every day. We recently experienced it first hand when our Fortuna High Varsity Basketball team traveled to the North Coast Section playoffs – below is the testimonial from one of our staff:

My son is playing in the North Coast Section’s basketball playoffs this evening in San Francisco. I didn’t travel this time and was so bummed out that I wouldn’t be able to watch or hear the game. I have been unable to find any source of live streaming or local or online televised broadcast BUT our local guy Tag Wotherspoon will be down there covering the game on 95.1 FM so I’ll be able to listen. This is the only local radio station that covers any of the local high school sports and I am so grateful.

Local radio continues to serve their community – they announce the local events, tell you who is playing at what venues, help you decide where to go for dinner and the local news highlights what issues are specific to the area you are in. If you’re lucky enough to be a sports fan in a town with a professional team, you might find yourself watching the game on television, but listening to your local announcer call the play by play on the radio.  If you are further interested in this topic, The National Association of Broadcasters has a very informative web site with information on the status of issues that affect radio listeners.

C. Crane has many options for you to take advantage of those free signal broadcasts.  Our radios are made with the listener in mind, and we can help you determine which model would best suit your needs.  We know that radio has the unique ability to entertain, inform and connect and appreciate the opportunity to help you stay connected to your community.

Please share with us – Does local radio matter to you and if so why?

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.

Best AM Reception Tips

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Summer time in all its fabulousness leaves much to be desired when it comes to AM Reception. We’ve put together the best tips we’ve found for improving AM Reception and reducing interference, especially reception on portable radios.

First, if you’re having trouble receiving your favorite talk radio program – determine if you get the signal at all. If the station is a 500 Watt station across the country, no amount of reception tips will help you receive this signal. That said, if the station streams, an internet radio or combining your smartphone and a portable Bluetooth speaker may be a viable solution.

If you get the signal but it is weak, try moving near a window or outside wall. If your reception improves, then you know that the signal is having a hard time reaching where you prefer to listen or there may be some interference. You have a couple of options – you can run an antenna over to the window (or maybe even outside). Another thing we’ve learned recently is that some stations are being rebroadcast on sister stations either AM or FM so if you go to Radio Locator and look up the station call letters you’re trying to receive; you might see another station listed as “also broadcasts from” with a different frequency so you may be able to find a closer station that is stronger that is rebroadcasting the same content.

If the problem is noise, try the radio on batteries and walk around your home and see if the static or buzzing gets worse or better. If the noise gets worse, odds are good the offending device (or electrical component) is located here and you may be able to turn it off. Rotating your radio when you get near the buzzing can help you determine exactly where the noise is coming from. If it’s the same throughout the house, try going outside. Is it better? If it is, then an antenna may help or you may end up needing to do a more thorough investigation in your home. We’ve talked to people who end up turning off all the breakers to find out they have some electrical wiring issues that are producing noise in their entire house!

If you’re on an analog radio, slowly turn the dial and consider using a piece of tape to mark where you find the station. Also, keep in mind that there are times where a signal will not broadcast exactly on frequency or a radio’s tuning isn’t completely accurate so tuning a little off frequency may get you a stronger signal.

Don’t want to buy an antenna or a new radio – no problem, we have instructions on how to make your own AM Antenna.

Many people don’t know (or forget) that stations may be required to power down, change direction or in some cases power up at night so differing signal during day and night may not be limited to summer, solar flares and the atmosphere, it may be that your 10,000 Watt daytime station switches to a 5,000 watt station at night that broadcasts in the opposite direction. Again, radio locator is a great source of information about your favorite station.

Have a tip to share? Enter it in the comments below!

Common causes for interference, buzz and hum on AM radio

Easily determined and turned off:

Incandescent Lights
Fluorescent Lights
Lights that are about to burn out
Touch lamps (must unplug turning off may not be enough)
Christmas Lights or other blinking bulbs
Televisions
Computers and Monitors
Electric Motors
Vacuum Cleaners
Microwave Ovens
Bug Zappers
Electric blanket
120V AC smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
Air purifiers
Motion detectors
Cell phone chargers
Even your own radio adapter may be the culprit

More Difficult to Determine:

Neighbor’s using fluorescent lights
Faulty electrical switch
Neighbor’s dimmer switch
Scanners
Dirty insulators on a nearby power pole

Additional Sources of AM Reception Information

http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

https://news.ccrane.com/?s=AM+reception

https://radiojayallen.com/combatting-am-and-sw-interference/

http://radiosausalito.org/listen/AM-reception-tips/

http://www.radionz.co.nz/listen/AMhelp

KGO Radio Announces Major Changes

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Update 4/4 – It looks like management has been listening. KGO has announced live and local programming and reversed their decision and are now keeping Ron Owens. The comments we’ve read about what people are hearing so far, are very positive.

4/1 – So many people this morning were upset and outraged at KGO’s announcement and the current layoffs that ensued. Phone calls were made, panic! People thought it was an April Fool’s prank, but it isn’t. We saw posts and comments of people who have listened for 10, 20, 30 years and more who woke up this morning to an odd sounding KGO radio. If you take the time to read the comments, you will see just how upset the listeners are.

Veteran talk show host Ronn Owens will be moved from KGO radio (his home for 40 years) to KSFO.

On their Facebook Page there is an announcement stating “The next generation of KGO 810 is coming Tuesday morning at 6 am”. We aren’t sure what that means, so we’ll be waiting to see just like you.

C. Crane’s very first radio ad, aired on KGO 810 and we continued advertising with them until their first format change several years ago when they laid off much of their local talent. We still have people call to this day, telling us that they first heard about us on KGO. We were fortunate to work with Mickey Luckoff and Jack Swanson in the hay day of KGO & KSFO. Both stations have a long history and are two of the greatest stations ever formed. We hope and pray the Cumulus management endeavors to carve a path with the creativity and talent that the radio hosts and the former management have previously done because we’d LOVE to advertise again!

Tell us in the comments how you feel about this change!