Happy Holidays from C. Crane!

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

 

 

The Month for Thanksgiving

begrateful

This is the month to reflect on all that we have and what we are truly grateful for, to get in the spirit we wanted to find out which radio show, host or station you are most thankful for! Enter in the comments below and be entered to win the product of your choice (excluding the AEGO sound systems).  Drawing will be held November 30th. Please one entry per person.

Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest

selectatenna

Select-A-Tenna – AM Antenna

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 starting asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was pretty 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 customer’s 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. It turns out 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.

ccradio2eWe 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 gave the best compliment; “you can hear the voices with this radio”. It’s gone through a few 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.

Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception and audio remains. C. Crane has talked first hand 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.

In honor of our anniversary month, 18 years of CCRadios, you can enter to win, tell us your if you own any of the CCRadio line and which one, how long and your favorite thing to listen to on it in comments on this blog and win the CCRadio of your choice. Drawing will be held July 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations winner SoCalPal! Thank you for participating!

Battle of the Platforms

Boxing gloves

We had an excellent comment from one of our blog readers recently on our blog post Is Radio in Crisis? “…….We need to get back to what made radio great in the 30s and 50s (and 60s and 70s) instead of trying to ‘beat’ the technology game. The PLATFORM is not relevant. The PROGRAMMING is.”

Platform battles aren’t limited to Podcasts vs. AM vs. FM vs. HD, etc. There’s also a battle for the platforms that include/exclude content. This is especially true when it comes to internet radio. When we first started offering internet radios back in 2006 everyone was just trying to stream. The streams weren’t great but you could get a lot of stations and there was a desire for adding listeners regardless of how they got there. The content available on internet and WiFi radio is pretty incredible.

As the technology progresses, different issues continue to appear. Some sites use flash players for their streams, which can’t play on devices without screens where you can press play (like our radios). Other networks, decide that they want you to listen through their app or device so they choose to limit the distribution of their content unless you are able to negotiate a licensing deal. Others change the format that they stream in to a less widely supported format or brand new format again limiting the devices the stream can be heard on.

There are content aggregators, meaning they don’t actually own any of the content. They gather it; host the database and often the website where it can be accessed; and work with chip manufacturers that create chips with access to their content on them. These then are embedded in devices like our radio. These aggregators can usually turn content on/off and add/remove streams (if it’s in an accepted format) – like Reciva, Frontier Silicon and TuneIn. Some have negotiated “premium” subscriptions that allow you to hear content that is otherwise not available via streams due to outside licensing agreements (like professional sports, archived shows, etc.). However, these premium services are often only available through their app or their web portal. There are also networks that own their own content like iHeartRadio (also known as Clear Channel) and Radio.com (CBS Radio Network). Maybe this provides some insight into why we call it the “Battle of the platforms”.

Our job here at C. Crane is to help listeners connect to their station, show or host regardless of the platform. There are times where an internet radio is the only viable solution such as when a person moves from Los Angeles to Florida but still wants to hear LA broadcasts. Or when Rush Limbaugh or George Noory  are no longer playing on a station they can receive, often we can help the listener find this content on another station.

It’s been interesting sharing “our job” with some of the content providers. Often there seems to be a disconnect within the networks themselves. Digital media in many cases is an entirely separate division or company. Sometimes the representatives don’t know the AM/FM market outside of call letters or what it says on their published papers. Some networks are changing staff, and appear to be working toward some better integration but there is a long way to go from what we see. Eliminating the platform wars and making it easier for companies to get listeners the content they want to hear would be a huge step in the right direction.

More than anything we try to be an advocate for the listener (because we listen too!). If you haven’t tried an internet radio, now might be a perfect time. Whether you choose one of our radios or another manufacturer, make sure to find out if the radio will play the content that you are trying to hear and supports any other functionality that is necessary for you to be happy with the radio (like Pandora, Bluetooth, clock or alarm, etc.).

For more information on what you might here on internet radio, read some past blog posts

Before You Give up Listening to Radio by Ken Hoffman, Columnist Houston Chronicle

A Secret Garden of Music

Check out this video on What You Might Hear

Also, if you’re having a tough time deciding, check out The Pros and Cons of WiFi and Internet Radio

How can we help you find a station you have lost, a host you are looking for? Contact us – we’re here to help!

Spring is Here!

Petrolia

SugarLoaf – Petrolia, CA. Photo courtesy Colton Stokesberry

Well, at least in Northern California it is. The daffodils and tulips have been blooming and now the Rhododendrons are here. With all the rain this past winter things are looking more beautiful than ever. We are so fortunate and blessed to live where we do. We swear we aren’t trying to rub it into our friends in the Midwest and the South that have been battling late winter storms that include snow, flash floods and even fires possibly caused by lightening.

With Spring in the air, household projects ensue. Yard work, windows, cleaning out closets or even more ambitious projects like new flooring or decking– you name it – the honey-do list is getting long! One thing that can make any project more enjoyable and go by faster, is good audio. Listening to your favorite music like Bob’s good old old rock and roll from Russia, your favorite radio show or even audio books or podcasts will make the time fly by and studies have shown music can improve your mood and make you more productive.

Several of us here at C. Crane have preferences but the Senta Ally always comes out near the top because of its versatility. Great for listening to Pandora or MLB through Bluetooth from your smartphone. Listen to your playlist or downloaded podcasts on your iPod or even an SD Card. If the whole house doesn’t want to listen to your choices (we think you should barter for help, but in the event that isn’t an option…..) we have great earbud and headphone choices. Get that book you’ve been wanting to read off your list and have a beautiful yard at the same time! And of course, the faithful stand by – a good radio. We even have a kit for people who need some noise reduction.

What’s on your honey-do list and are you listening while you work? If yes, what do you listen to? Enter your answer in the comments to win your choice of the Senta Ally or Senta Wooden Headphones. Winner will be drawn on May 5th. Limit one entry per person.

Congratulations to winner Wanda Welsh! Thank you for participating in our blog post Spring is Here!