Why is Television so Hard to Hear?

This question came up during a recent tour at C. Crane with the Fortuna Senior Center. “My brand new television has terrible audio and I have to turn the volume way up and then next thing I know it’s blasting out my eardrums – do you have a fix for this?” There was a Wall Street Journal article on exactly this issue and we were able to share some ideas on possible solutions and some basic info on why this happens. While we’re usually known for radio, we do know a bit about audio as well.

Often it’s assumed that the sound issues are all related to hearing loss, but it turns out while that may be part of the problem, it’s not the whole story. With TVs getting thinner and thinner, speaker size, positioning and sound are often an after thought if even considered at all. This could be a big reason why personal sound systems are making a come back. We offer the AEGO Soundbar system to help combat poor audio. Not ready to make that kind of an investment? Here are a couple things you can try:

  1. Locate the speakers on your TV – depending on where they are (often pointing down on the bottom of the television), move your TV. Setting your TV on a wooden surface could do the trick because the sound needs something to bounce off of. Try out different combinations since even a table runner could muffle the sound by absorbing it.
  2. Play with the settings on your TV’s sound. Depending on the issue you are experiencing – illegible voice, too loud, too soft, etc. – you may be able to find a better audio setting on your television.

If none of those things, work you might want to consider our FM Transmitter that can bring the audio from your TV to your radio. Our CCRadio 2E has amazing sound quality and then the audio is right next to you. This is a pretty inexpensive way to improve the sound. Or if you don’t mind wearing earphones, there are many wireless and Bluetooth® options that might work with your new television.

Have you found this to be an issue for you? Share your solutions in the comments below!

 

Spring is Officially Here?

dreamstime_xl_86642419At least that is what the calendar says! The first official day of Spring was March 20th. Here in Northern California, where spring storms bring a return to winter-like conditions, that is definitely being called into question. It’s supposed to rain on us for the next several days and our California pals to the East are still shoveling ALOT of snow (see the pictures below). Once again, the unpredictable weather brings having a battery operated radio with the weather band and considering one with weather alert to the forefront.

Flooding and mudslides are wreaking havoc not only here in the states (California has been hit hard), but even internationally. Peru was recently hit with huge flooding and mudslides that have left thousands homeless. There a severe weather alerts issued across the Midwest and the South for tornadoes and harsh weather. We think mother nature missed the memo about Spring, but C. Crane has not missed Mother Nature’s memo on why we should be prepared.

We’ve heard from many customers about how their radio alerted them to potential weather threats so they could plan accordingly. If you don’t have a plan make one. If you don’t have a radio, now’s the time to get one – don’t miss the memo! Make sure you’re ready for whatever Spring throws at you.

Happy Holidays from C. Crane!

C. Crane is celebrating the holidays with a silly Ugly Sweater Contest… who do you think should win?!

 

 

C. Crane’s Employee Recommended Gift Guide

christmasgiftsonplanks

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).

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?

Keep Your Family Safe – Prepare Ahead of Time

prepkit

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:

  • What essential supplies do I need?
    If you are missing some, it might be time to re-think priorities since stores often sell out, are out of service, or have no way to process payments (even cash).
  • Do I have a written list of important phone numbers?
    If you answered no, then you have some work to do. An electronic list on your cell phone isn’t going to do you much good once the phone dies and the power is out.
  • Do you have any cash or would you need to go to the ATM?
    If you answered no to the cash and yes to the ATM then you need to stash some cash. ATMs go down and require power and banks are so automated now and reliant on computers, they often can’t even provide cash from the tellers if there isn’t any power.
  • Do you have copies of important documents stored safely somewhere else?
    As cumbersome as this sounds, having copies of things (think insurance policies, passports, deeds, titles, etc.) stored in a safe deposit box or at a relatives’ home will really reduce the headache and time spent in the event you lose your home to a disaster. It can help even if it’s just a time where you’re out of town and you end up with a water leak that damages your ceiling.
  • Do you have a good emergency radio and flashlight? How about spare batteries?
    No? Well this is the one we can actually help you with! Call us or visit the links above and order online. We’ll get you set up right away.

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.

Earworms – The Science Behind Songs Stuck in Your Head

earwormpiechartRegardless of who you are or what you do, it happens to everyone at some point in life: earworms.  Not to be confused with that pesky larva that destroys corn and tomatoes, an earworm is defined by Wikipedia as “a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing”.  This annoying condition is formally referred to by experts as involuntary musical imagery (IMI), and a great deal of research has been done on this particular phenomenon.  This is no surprise since earworms are experienced by about 90% of us at least once a week, according to the Earworm Project conducted by the University of London.  Though most of us regard earworms as merely irritating, research indicates that 15% of people consider them so disturbing that they disrupt thought patterns and interfere with their lives.  This is a more serious condition known as intrusive musical imagery (IMI).

While it is still not understood exactly why we get them, analysis reveals that the type of song and your situation definitely influence the probability of catching an earworm.  In a Discover Magazine article, Professor James Kellaris, also known as “Dr. Earworm”, asserts that we are more susceptible if we are stressed, tired, or exposed to music repeatedly or for long periods of time.  And catchy songs with an upbeat melody or repetitive lyrics are more likely to get stuck in our heads than music without such patterns.  Which explains why so many of us are significantly distracted by the innocent verses of Disney’s “It’s A Small World”, doesn’t it?  Oops, sorry about that.

So what can you do to unstick that bothersome song?  Suggestions made by HowStuffWorks in “Getting Rid of Earworms” include some of the following:

  • Sing another song, or play another melody on an instrument.
  • Switch to an activity that keeps you busy.
  • Listen to the song all the way through (this works for some people).
  • Turn on the radio to get your brain tuned in to another song (or news program).

Here is where C. Crane can help you cure the dreaded earworm syndrome.  We have great radios for audio and reception, and have a number of options depending on your priorities.  Keep one of them handy for the next time you get that annoying commercial stuck in your head.

Enter to win in the comments on this blog by answering this question:

Tell us the most irritating or unusual earworm that ever got stuck in your head.

Win the CC Pocket Portable AM FM and Weather Radio. Drawing will be held August 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations Emily Taylor! Thank you All for participating!

CBS Radio Division May be Sold

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?wccowccosignwcconabaward2016wcco2

25 Days Of Christmas

CC Radio 2 EToday’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!

C. Crane’s Employee Recommended Gift Guide

Ugly Holiday SweaterEvery 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!