C. Crane is celebrating the holidays with a silly Ugly Sweater Contest… who do you think should win?!
We feel your pain in the effort to try to figure out what to buy each year, we’re in the same boat. Whether you are shopping for your spouse who buys whatever he wants when he wants, your father who already has everything, your mother-in-law who insists she doesn’t want anything but will be devastated if you don’t buy her something, or your teenage grandkids who are pretty sure you know nothing about gifts they might like and hope you give them cash, we might be able to help.
A couple years ago, we took a poll of C. Crane employees and got some great responses of C. Crane gifts given to family and friends so we thought it was time for an update. Below are some of the responses:
John: I gave a Spotlight XB to my Uncle as a gift. At home and at his rental, he works under sinks, under the house, under his truck, etc. a lot. The high brightness and kickstand help him to get his work done in a more efficient manner.
I gave a set of Voz Headphones to my Wife. She likes them for the comfortable fit and great audio quality. She uses them with a portable Blu-ray player and her computer.
For my oldest (15) I am getting him a Versa 3 to make his desktop computer WiFi capable. He prefers using an older laptop since it has built-in WiFi and lets his amazing desktop computer gather dust. The Versa 3 will allow him to enjoy his desktop the way he wants to … online.
For my youngest (8) I am getting him a set of Voz Headphones. This is so he can listen to his FM radio stations without bothering the rest of the house with that loud music kids listen to these days.
Bob: Earlier this year I visited my aunt who is now in an assisted living home. She understands everything but talking is a difficult process. She let me know that she could not find a radio that worked well where she lived. I am happy to report the CC Radio EP gave her the reception she wanted . . . WCCO . . . loud and clear.
Kim: I bought my husband the CC Skywave and he loves taking it all around the yard to listen to all the ball games. He loves that the batteries last a long time. He even asked for one to take to the race car shop.
All my kids love their Senta Ally. They can listen to all their podcast’s and “stuff” on their phones all over the house or in the yard or the kids can listen to something in their rooms and mom and dad do not have to listen.
Kathy: My husband loves the Senta Ally that I bought him. He uses it in the wood shop and listens to his music from his iPhone.
Jessica: Every year at least a few C. Crane products make an appearance at Christmas. The Pocket Vivid Flashlight goes in every stocking and often the Unity Flashlight will go with a bottle of wine for friends or extended family. I’m really excited about our new CC Buds Pro and CC Buds Pro Mic earbuds because my teenage boys have actually developed a preference for them over other much more expensive brands, those will be in stockings this year as well! Past presents have included the CCRadioplus (now the 2E) which is used daily up at my father-in-law’s lodge and the CC WiFi which is used daily at my husband’s grandmother’s house. It’s nice to know that these gifts actually get used!
Annette: I live where the power goes out a lot. I found that the CC Led Spot XB is my best friend when its dark and power is out or even when it’s not. I use it to check out the backyard since I have a lot of critters in my area that I don’t want to meet in the dark. It puts a large spot over a hundred feet away on the barn. This makes a great gift for those who don’t know what to give a parent or grandparent. I even gave them to the grandchildren for their cars. This light will also light up a room and the stand makes it easy to use. I personally shine it at the ceiling which lights up a room very nicely.
Carolyn: The Unity Plus LED Flashlight has been one of my favorite gifts to give others for the last couple of years. I was later told by some receivers that they needed another one because other household members keep taking theirs. So now I make sure to include everyone when giving out the Unity Plus to help avoid domestic disputes!
Sue G: This year I am buying myself something for Christmas from C. Crane. I love my CC Witness Plus and depend on it to work for me every single weekend, all day long. I am buying myself a second CC Witness Plus as a back-up! This is my gift to myself.
The new CC Buds Pro-Mic is my gift of choice this year for all my family members that have a smartphone and don’t have hearing aids, I won’t be giving them to Great Grandma, but everyone else is getting them.
We hope this helps you with some ideas for your Christmas gift list (or maybe gives you some ideas for a gift to yourself).
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?
Not many people are really prepared for a disaster, especially in areas where they aren’t common. Maybe folks in areas where there are regular hurricanes, tornadoes or winter storms that shut everything down have a good handle on being prepared or people like the Preppers, but the rest of us find it easy to slack on preparedness and then find ourselves scrambling when a real disaster strikes.
It’s easy to make a case for being prepared. Look around at all of the unexpected emergencies like the recent flooding in Louisiana and tornadoes in the Midwest. Emergencies don’t have to be only weather and naturally caused. In California, recent fires that destroyed entire communities have been attributed to arson. With record breaking temperatures across the US and people using electricity like crazy or an even more sinister possibility – an energy grid hack, our next disaster might be extended blackouts or there is the very real possibility of terrorism that continues to plague the entire world.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to see how you fare on the preparedness scale:
We’ve written several articles on how to be prepared and what that might look like. REI has a great article on basic concepts with some important additions that people often forget like medications, infant formula and diapers, and pet food.
If nothing else, at least create a basic plan, get a radio and flashlight, write down the list of phone numbers and read about Bob’s potable water trick with your water heater.
Tell us about your emergency plans in the comments below and be entered to win a CC Solar Observer October 11th– the best all-around emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and Weather and has a built in flashlight. You can even use it without batteries and if it came down to it, it even will charge most cell phones.
What make a great radio station? A great station becomes the fabric of a community over time. Great stations mean more to their listeners than 99% of all websites because they have heart and real people behind them. They serve and entertain their listeners. Bob Crane and Jessica Crotty visited WCCO in Minneapolis MN recently and were thrilled to get to see one of the greats.
There are respected news websites that we want to see every day but there is not the direct connection you can have with a great radio station. Great stations can be 50,000 watts and cover several states or they can be a small local station making sure the local news and events are reported. Either way, they serve a community of listeners, connecting people in a unique way.
The question that visiting WCCO brought up, since WCCO is a CBS owned station – what impact will CBS selling their radio division have on these great stations? CBS Radio is the second largest radio chain. They reach an estimated 70 million listeners nationwide each week. 117 stations in 26 markets. What is really interesting about this potential sale – is CBS radio isn’t deep in debt. In fact, their radio segment has a profit margin somewhere around 35% according to Forbes. We are hoping that these changes will help bring back more local and regional talent.
We are inclined to agree with Joan Warner, of Commercial Radio Australia “Radio will live on playing to our strengths – free to air, live, local, 24/7, sports, news, information, community – creating a real connection and engagement with the audience.”
Did you know CBS is considering this? What are your thoughts on this? And what is your favorite great radio station?
Today’s giveaway is the CC Radio-2 E.
For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.
Today’s blog question: What is your Christmas Eve tradition?
The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced Friday morning. Good Luck!
Every Christmas you try to find gifts for your family that you hope they will like and maybe even use. After the gifts are opened on Christmas day, you never see the stuff again (you know what we mean, the sweater, the tie, the gift they specifically asked for). Whether you have family spread all over the country or close by, you rarely see anyone wearing or using what you gave them. Well, we know how to help you out. Some of our staff here have had similar experiences so we took a poll here at C. Crane about what gifts employees have given for Christmas and how they were received. Below are some of the responses:
Sue G: Two years ago, we gave the CC Solar Observer to everyone in our family for Christmas and WOW!!……..we still see them using the radio all the time, even the grown “kids”. Last year we gave everyone in our family the Unity Plus LED Flashlight. We knew they were great flashlights because we use them all the time, but we didn’t know they would be such a big hit. Every single person we gave the flashlight to loves it. These were the BEST gifts we have ever given to our family. It’s pretty cool to know they liked the gift they got and they actually use it!! We will never buy anyone a sweater for Christmas again.
Carolyn: Last year I gave the Senta 40 Wooden Headphones to my best friend’s teenage granddaughter for Christmas. She is blind, so superior audio quality is an absolute must or she finds the distortions too uncomfortable for her sensitive ears. When I talked to her after the holidays I was so happy to hear the Senta 40 model passed her high standards, and that they were now her favorite pair of headphones! I gave my hard to shop for brother-in-law the Unity Plus LED Flashlight. He was immediately impressed by the light output and could not wait to take it outside and test it. So there he was on Christmas Eve, running around outside like a little kid at 70 years old, shining his new toy in all directions while everyone else was eating dinner. Needless to say, I knew I had a hit and plan to give my other brother-in-laws the Unity Plus LED Flashlight this Christmas. Hopefully, they will finish dinner first. I gave my new daughter-in-law the Senta Ally Bluetooth® Stereo Speaker for Christmas. She is a college professor, and needed an easy way for her entire classroom to hear the audio stream on her laptop, which was not cutting it. It turns out the Senta Ally was perfect for her! It is lightweight and small enough to fit in her laptop carry case, and it just takes her a minute to connect it to the headphone jack & set it for Audio Input mode. Even students at the back of the room can hear it clearly, so no one can claim they missed something. So the Senta Ally got an “A” from her!
Christine: I’ve put Power Vivid flashlights in my three kids’ (and partner’s) Christmas stockings every year since we started carrying them.
Kim: The Ally is a gift I bought recently for my daughter. She loves it. She puts on the baby station for her son and puts it in his room for his ears only! She doesn’t have to listen to his tunes. My son-in-law loves it too. He takes it to work to listen to his tunes while he is working. Oh yeah and the husband loves his Unity Flashlight as well.
Brett: We have a few relatives in their 70s- we give them a CCRadio-EP or CC Solar Observer. A couple months goes by and then we get the “What a great radio!” emails. An awful lot of radio lovers do find the simplicity of the EP is what they have always really wanted.
John: I’ve given several gifts over the years: Light bulbs like the PowerVivid A15 LED Bulb and Color Changing LED Bulb; The Unity Plus Flashlight and PowerVivid Pocket Lights; The Senta Ally Portable Bluetooth Speaker – friends use them to stream music using Bluetooth®; CC Shortwave Pocket Radio so my Aunt can pick up the Fresno State Bulldog’s games and the CC Solar Observer which was a life saver for my aunt in Maine who was without power for an entire week after a snowstorm.
Jessica: Over the 18 years I’ve been employed by C. Crane, I’ve given quite a few C. Crane products as gifts. The CC WiFi is the one I hear about most. My husband’s 89 year old grandmother is from St. John’s in Canada and she’s able to hear news and music from her homeland. We set it up for her and pre-programmed the stations and she listens to it almost every day. I regularly give out flashlights. My favorite is still the CCTrek Light. I have one that’s almost 15 years old and the only thing I’ve done is change the batteries and recently replaced the LED module.
It says a lot about a company when employees buy products from where they work. Kind of like when people work in a restaurant and you see them eating there, then you know it’s a good choice. So here’s to never buying anyone a sweater or tie for Christmas again!
Radios come in all shapes and sizes and with so many different features and configurations available it can be tough finding the one built to satisfy your needs. Whether you want a pocket radio for your daily jog, a portable radio for your next camping trip or one that will be the focal piece of your home entertainment center, we’re going to lay out the details on what to look for in your perfect match.
If you are an avid broadcast radio listener, you will want the best reception possible. In general, bigger means better. The more space a radio has inside for a bigger antenna, the more stations you will find and at a much greater distance. If you’re going on a 3-mile day-trek in the woods, you’re not going to want a massive communications receiver in your backpack. Conversely, you’ll probably need more than something with a 2-inch speaker to fill your living room with quality audio.
Trying to group all radios together in their own separate categories is a daunting task in itself, so we will narrow our field to three general sizes. Those will include:
The first choice is for people on the move or someone with very limited space. Pocket radios can be as big as a paperback book or as small as a wristwatch. As the radio gets smaller, a sacrifice has to be made for features and functionality. You probably won’t find too many good quality pocket-sized units with a full-function keypad or a high definition color display. They exist, but they cost as much and sometimes more than the bigger radios.
The next category is what can be called the “middle ground”. Portable radios can range from something you can comfortably toss into your purse all the way up to massive “boom boxes”. Anything that can be run on batteries and you are willing to carry with you to where you’re going can be considered portable. This group also has some of the best reception capabilities available due to their ability to be adjusted easily. They are, in simple terms, the best of both worlds.
The third group contains the work horses of consumer radios. Devices that would fall into the table-top category have all the bells and whistles anyone could ever want and even some nobody will ever need. They plug directly into the wall for their power and have extra connections for external antennas, speakers, controllers and accessories. They come with remote controls, multi-line digital displays, built-in keypads and multiple dials for every function available. Some even come with connections for hooking up to a home computer for added flexibility. These are where you will probably spend the greatest amount of money due to their complexity, but since their capabilities are far more advanced, you’ll be getting what you paid for and more.
The fact that some portables can be used as table-top radios gives them a great advantage when searching for the right one. You could leave it plugged into the wall for daily (or nightly) use, but you could then take it to the back yard for a family cookout.
Location, Location, Location
Where the radio will ultimately live and find its heaviest usage is a massive factor in choosing its size, function and capabilities. Many of the larger radios wouldn’t be able to sit comfortably on your bedside stand, so we’ll start by finding where you’re going to use the radio most. Once you have a better idea of where the radio will be, you can then make a more informed decision on the radio you want.
Most companies will have the dimensions of the radio either right on the box or at least detailed somewhere on their website. This will give you a chance to see if it really will fit on your side stand or that little shelf in the bathroom where your wife keeps the potpourri.
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
Some research into which features you need will be necessary. So many different features exist, though, that this one may be the most intimidating task of all. Start with the major broadcast bands you will be tuning in, such as:
• AM (Amplitude Modulation)
• FM (Frequency Modulation)
• Weather (162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz)
• Shortwave (1.8 MHz – 30 MHz)
Includes the popular 10-meter band
• Marine VHF Band
• Amateur and Citizen’s Band
• Ham Bands
• Digital or WiFi radio reception
As you look through the specifications of a particular radio, it may have only one band, just a few or a huge selection of them. You’ll likely never find a radio that contains all the bands, so choosing which you will use most and focusing on those few will narrow your search to a much smarter selection.
Function Over Form
Bells and whistles, knobs and buttons, colors, shapes and styles. We all want radios for specific listening reasons, but how you make it get to where it’s supposed to be can run the gamut of combinations.
Sleep timer function
• Memory presets
• Auto Scan
• Built-in Speaker
• Headphone and/or Line-level output Jack
• Antenna Jack
• Direct input keypads
• Internal or external antenna
Jack for outdoor antenna access
• Tone controls
• Battery or AC power
• Remote control
The amount of functions you want in a radio will depend greatly on its size. Many smaller radios sacrifice external controls or an external speaker for higher audio quality or a larger antenna.
Analog v. Digital: A New Challenger
Even though they are relatively new technology, digital streaming radios, also more commonly known as internet or WiFi radios, are quickly becoming more popular, especially with younger, more tech savvy users. Streaming media can be found all across the internet, and people are discovering that these streams are much clearer and easier to listen to than the radios of yesteryear.
The chances are better and better as time progresses that the station you listen to is already streaming their broadcast on the internet, so it doesn’t matter that you’re in your concrete basement workshop that gets horrible reception. Anywhere you can receive an internet connection, whether wired or wireless, is where you can put these digital streaming radios. Some models will only get internet streams while others can connect to a home media server and play your own personal music collection.
They may not be exactly what you’re looking for right at this point in time, but a quality media streaming device could very well take the place of your favorite radio in the very near future.
You’re Gonna Pay for That
Setting a budget for a new radio isn’t unheard of today, what with the multitude of different radios available. Do you want to spend just enough to get a couple of the features you need, or go all out and get your dream rig all at once? It’s worth working out what your budget is before you even start looking so that you can narrow your choices before spending money on something you don’t really like. Radios with a lower price tag will usually have fewer features, and sound quality will be diminished when compared to larger, more expensive units.
You may even want to include a little extra in the budget for accessories like headphones, cases, antennas, AC adapters or batteries depending on which type you’re looking for. The perfect radio would already come with all the accessories you need, but the perfect package doesn’t always exist, so we have to plan ahead to get the biggest benefit.
Everyone has experienced some type of emergency situation where communication with the outside world has been severed by one method or another. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and other natural disasters happen no matter where you are, so being able to get information before, during and after these events is critical for the survival of you and your family.
Emergency radios can save your life. You won’t always have access to electricity, and they fill the communications gap when all other power is out. They have multiple power choices, such as alkaline or rechargeable batteries, crank generators, 12-volt adapters (for use in vehicles) and, more recently, built-in solar panels. They will generally have your standard AM/FM radio bands, but what really sets them apart is the weather band. Broadcasts on the NOAA weather frequencies keep you abreast of news and critical information regarding your immediate location and surrounding areas.
Finding the right radio for you may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you know where and how your new radio will be used, as well as what you will ultimately be listening to the most, you can begin to find out just which radio will fit the bill the best. Also, it never hurts to ask for assistance. The staff at C. Crane have decades of accumulated and combined knowledge regarding radio in all its forms. If you’re stuck, give us a call. We are here to assist you with any questions you may have.
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.