Public Radio Is Important

pmdmc2017C. Crane recently exhibited at the Public Media Conference 2017 in beautiful San Francisco #PMDMC17 (Public Media Development and Marketing Conference). We previously exhibited in 2013. Once again we were blown away at the awareness these stations have in relation to their listeners. It’s much different than we see and experience in other environments where there seems to be more disconnect between the station and the listener. We believe it’s because these stations exist because of their member base. No members supporting the station equals no station or a “lesser” station.

What is Public Broadcasting and why should I listen?

America’s unique public broadcasting system is a collaboration of 1,300 local non-commercial radio and television stations that meet the standards of and are supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They work with each other and with hundreds of national and local producers and community partners to ensure that Americans have universal access to high-quality non-commercial programming….

https://current.org/about-public-media/why-public-media/

https://www.metamorafilms.org/2016/08/10/why-public-media-broadcasting-is-still-important-in-our-world/

We speak with people every day who couldn’t imagine a day without their local public radio station. The variety of programming includes NPR, BBC, classical music and often local on-air talent (which you all know is hard to come by in these days of mega consolidation, syndication and automation).

You might wonder how C. Crane fits into Public Radio since we’re normally an advertiser and well….there isn’t really advertising on Public Radio. We fit in, in a few different ways.

  1. We build radios that help the listeners get the signal. Often these stations are in rural areas or have fringe area listeners who struggle to receive the signal – our radios are high quality and help them pull in the weak signal and sound great too!
  2. If the station’s power is too low (or maybe it’s HD so the coverage radius is small and limited to their vehicle or an app) – we offer our internet radio which in many cases is the perfect solution. If the stream isn’t already available, we are usually able to have it added within a short period of time.
  3. Our radios make great membership premiums. The most popular is the CC Solar Observer.
  4. In the event our products don’t make sense for a premium, we also have a radio for resale program. We offer this to both public and private stations where they can offer our radios direct to their listeners.
  5. This year there was also a lot of interest in our new CC Buds Pro – Earbuds for Voice. A LOT of people listen using earbuds daily and finding a good pair, where you can hear the voice at a reasonable price is hard to do. We see earbuds in our futures 🙂

We met the most amazing,  down to earth, community minded and radio loving individuals at PMDMC and were so honored to be a part of this event. Stay tuned for some really great blog posts based on some of the people we met and stories we heard at the show!

Do you listen to Public Broadcasting? Share your favorite Public Broadcast show/station(s) in the comments below to be entered to win the NEW CC Buds Pro! Drawing will be held July 31st. Please only one entry per person.

There are Elephants in the Audio Room

There have always been diverse opinions about what comprises “good” audio. In the last 15 years I have witnessed many people, younger than me, that seem to discount full bass with their music. How did this happen? I remember the first time I saw a girl dancing with her friends to cell phone audio. I winced. Then came Rap music with the characteristic monotone electro bass thump. . . I was confused by the dichotomy! Why Isn’t it a good thing if music sounds realistic? Like it or not it turns out audio profoundly affects everyone at a traditional point in their lives about or when we are in junior high or high school. It seems like it then becomes our “idea” of what good audio sounds like by timing and/or peer influence for the rest of our life.  This may be a generalization but we all get attached to our favorite music at some point.  From what I know about science each of us hear the same music differently because each of us has a unique set of ears and probably a brain supplied equalizer. There is probably more diversity now as to what makes good audio that ever before in history!

At C. Crane we strive for realistic full voice and legibility but we understand how to make great audio for music too. This means reproducing music so well that you can’t tell the difference between what you’re listening to and a live concert. I have found that “Voice of the Theater” type speakers do this well because this is generally the type of speaker used in live rock concerts in the late 20th century. Similar speakers are still used today but you will also find banks of 18” woofers along with other speakers running  50,000 watts or more! It should be noted that most of this power is used for bass notes since bass requires perhaps 10 times the power of higher audio frequencies to sound equal in intensity. This is also why an inexpensive radio or speaker system will likely have poor bass because audio with good bass response is more expensive to design and build. These speakers are way too big and expensive for most situations and so are typical Home Theater receivers and speakers. There is very little superb audio gear available for a typical room.

The point of this article is to let you know we have a new piece of audio gear for those who love music with generous bass and live by the spoken word.

AEGO Amplified Speakers, has Bluetooth and a remote for all functions including bass level!

Aego3-System-(white-background)-500

Normally I would not recommend you purchase a serious home audio system without hearing it at a store first. The notable exception is our new AEGO stereo speaker system for two simple reasons: 1) To my knowledge, through countless tests, it is perhaps the only system with full well rounded bass that you never tire of at a modest price. 2) You can reduce the bass with the remote until voice clarity is beautiful. You can have your music and your voice clarity cake too!

Technical Benefits:
-Simple to setup and use
-Bluetooth or patch cord to phone
-Remote with bass control

Aego Remote Control v1

 

 

 

 

Uses:
Audio from your TV, phone, pad, Internet radio for office, kitchen, party, for any medium size room (about 20 x 14),

Installation tips:
The central control bass speaker (7.75”W x 14”H x 12”D) can be tucked under a  desk, unused corner or in a kitchen base cabinet. It should have eye shot to the remote.

The two satellites are 3”W x 4.5”H x 5”D can be mounted six feet or more apart for good stereo separation.

Wires and connectors do not protrude from these sizes.

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!

Best AM Reception Tips

Best AM Tips - blog-ed2

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

Memorial Day

dreamstime_xs_70603902

We wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude and respect for all of the service men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. An important part of that includes our freedom of speech, which directly affects what you are allowed to hear on the radio. The differing points of view and the varied content should not be taken for granted. This is very different than what you find in countries where freedom of speech does not exist. So this Memorial weekend when you’re listening to the radio, take a minute to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country.

There are many Memorial Day specific programs taking place around the country. You can listen on your terrestrial radio if you are nearby the station, or you can listen on a WiFi radio or online.

WUTC 88.1 FM, the NPR affiliate in Chattanooga, has created a military-themed radio program to air Memorial Day weekend on the American Forces Network. AFN serves more than 400,000 American service men and women, Department of Defense civilians and their families stationed at bases and American Embassies and Consulates in 175 countries and 200 U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command ships at sea.

Listen to old time radio shows  or radio echoes which include historic speeches and recordings as well as parades and other patriotic remembrances.

There’s even a special broadcast for the outdoorsmen.

Whatever your plans, we hope that you enjoy the long weekend. Let us know how you plan to spend Memorial Weekend and if you listen to the radio, let us know what you will be listening to.

 

Art Bell. . . What the heck is he doing? He is going back on air July 20th, 2015!

Midnight in the Desert Art BellArt Bell will be broadcasting on Internet radio, shortwave and even some regular radio stations! What a wonderful unorthodox blend! He is dramatically reducing the number of commercial breaks so it will be very interesting how this meshes with a traditional broadcast station. Keep up with latest news and station list at Artbell.com.

Where can I hear him? Most people may already have their favorite way to listen but if not here are some tips:

The inherent streaming quality of Art’s stereo broadcast is high. You can listen on a phone, tablet, Internet radio, Shortwave or perhaps even a local station. Shortwave station WTWW at 5085 KHz puts out a powerful signal so those beyond any services can hear him. The small CC Skywave radio with 10′ of wire attached to the whip antenna works excellent along with our larger CCRadio-SW.

You can also listen to Dark Matter Digital Network on the CC WiFi Radio or the CC WiFi 2 Radio (available in classic black or gorgeous cherry wood finish).

How can I make Art’s audio stream sound great on a tablet or smartphone?

Speakers:

  • The Senta Ally Stereo Speaker can use Bluetooth or a patch cord from your smart phone. Audio on the Ally is particularly accurate and full for voice. Our price and the fact that it is portable make it a great value.
  • My “spoiled brat-best way” to listen in bed is a tablet directly connected to my CCRadio-2E for impeccable voice rendition. We offer a 1/8″ stereo 3′ heavy duty patch cord that works well for this and other similar devices.

Headphones:

  • If you have a tendency to mangle and destroy headphones you should try our low cost Voz. Many people think they are the finest for voice.
  • For audio connoisseurs check out the Senta-40 at a price that defies the quality.

Earbuds:

  • The Voz Earbuds are inexpensive but normally better than what you may have received with your smartphone.
  • Art Bell’s Hot Pick: The highly rated Voz-P Premium Wooden Earbuds are his favorite.
  • The CC Buds are a new invention of C. Crane that are tuned for voice but also accurate for music without heavy bass.

Tips for Extending WiFi Reception:

Crane has always specialized in long range reception and WiFi is no exception!

Art Bell is on 9-12 PM Pacific Time but you may not have good WiFi reception where you like to listen. There are inexpensive repeaters you can find that work very good for 30′ or more from your router. I particularly like Netgear’s wallplug repeater. But If you have a serious problem making an internet connection then C. Crane has some very powerful solutions to check out.

Good ‘Ole AM/FM Radio:

You can check out the station list on ArtBell.com and see if you can get any signal. The CCRadio-2E is probably the best radio for reception.

Art’s new show has all the signs of a great ride and the future is downright bright and mysterious at the same time. Please join the show!

If we can be of any help, please give us a call. That’s the job we love doing!

AM Reception Tips – Part 3 – Tips for Tricky Reception Areas

One of the toughest places to get radio reception is inside an office or apartment building. Construction materials like brick and metal, and noise from computers and other electronics can all combine to make radio reception nearly impossible to receive. Besides the construction of the building, you sometimes have to account for your location in the building as well. Often people are allowed to listen to music or radio while they work but a radio can be rendered useless by all the interference. Below are some possible solutions to this issue:

Conventional Solution:
The simplest way to improve radio reception it to put a radio in a window. If you can’t do that you still have several options. First using a CCRadio-2E, with its sensitive AM capabilities, is often enough to improve radio reception. If you’ve already done that, you can try running a wire from your radio to an antenna in a window. You could also try running cable along the floor or through the ceiling, or you could even wrap it around a few co-workers if you like (just kidding). But really, running a coax cable (like TV cable) from your radio to a well situated antenna might just do the trick. Two antennas to consider for this type of setup are the Twin Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna or the FM Reflect. If you have an “in” with the super, you might even be able to mount an antenna just outside your window. Not interested in purchasing an antenna? Try building your own for free, using our simple antenna plans.

conventional-solutionWireless Solution:
If you can’t imagine setting up a bunch of wires in your office or home, or it’s just too much trouble to get a cable to run cleanly along the floor or the ceiling, you’re not alone. Another possible solution – go wireless. You can set up any radio that receives the station you want next to the window or in the location you receive the signal. Then plug our FM Transmitter-2 into the headphone jack. You can then send that clear signal – be it AM or FM, to any radio that is strategically placed around your home or office. If you opt for the FM transmitter solution, you can expect up to a 45-ft range in an office setting. That will probably drop about 10 feet for every wall or large object the signal has to pass through. You can view our FAQs to see additional ways to improve the transmit range.cc2-fm-trans-1-500WiFi Internet Solution:
If you have broadband access you can opt for one of our WiFi Internet radios that stream a variety of content. You’ll just want to check and make sure that the show or station you want to listen to is available prior to purchasing. We’ve written several articles explaining in great detail the pros and cons of internet radio and what kind of content you might hear to help you decide if that’s the right solution for you.

Bluetooth Solution:
If you know what you want to listen to is available on an app, like iHeart or TuneIn, you can use your Bluetooth enabled device (such as a smartphone or tablet) with our Senta Ally Bluetooth®  Speaker. It provides much better sound than phones or tablets. Here’s a quick video to explain how it might work for you.

You can also check out Reception Tips 1- Radio Noise Problems & Static and Reception Tips 2 – How to Improve AM Reception and Boost the Signal.

And of course, if you need help figuring out the right solution for you, we’re always here to help.

A Secret Garden of Music

secretgardenofmusic“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato.

Almost everyone perks up and starts a private inside dance, (or perhaps an evocation of sadness) when they hear a treasured song from their youth. The fact is we are all happy servants to the songs we grew up to. As far as I know, this human peculiarity spans every generation, state, country, continent and probably planet. Don’t feel the least bit slighted when you find out your music is not regarded as the “best ever recorded!”. My wife loves our CC Wifi time machine and says “It gives me the ability to go back in time and listen to something that was (or is) incredibly enjoyable. Good memories!”

Our music palette is not always as limited as I have portrayed. Most people respond to various music genres outside a personal world but may not have had the time or opportunity to learn more about it. As we mature, I think there is a combination of all music we have ever experienced, that leads us to a different kind of music enjoyment potential. I have never seen this theory in a scholarly paper but I firmly believe it is true for at least a large percentage of fellow humans.

How Do I Know? 

I still have affection for and was fortunate enough to see the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix live, among other big name groups. While very talented, I did not think the Rolling Stones or Cream had the same level of creativity. I also liked Buffalos Springfield and the Moody Blues and don’t know exactly why. I became apathetic to music in the late 70’s as it became more commercial. I found a chunk of heaven during that time when I ran across KFAT FM radio out of Gilroy (R rated). I had a disdain for modern country but I grew to love the much older country music (Hank Williams Sr.) and funny modern country they played. Back then 10% of a young Silicon Valley wore KFAT T-shirts and called each other Fat Heads! You can listen to the original broadcasts at KFAT.com including old commercials (you will have to download a player).

OK, What is available?

Beatles 101 RU from Russia:  If you love the Beatles you can hear a considerable amount of their music and off takes that you have never heard before. The Beatles played heavily in Germany and Russia while they were learning and it was recorded! I am not sure today how these stations are able to play these cuts legally.

Rock and Roll 101 RU from Russia:  Cuts are played from popular and/or obscure great artists but I have never heard most of them before. It is quite obvious someone in Russia knows and loves foundational American rock more than many Americans. The sheer quantity and variety of quality music from Russia on the CC Wifi is astounding. If you like classical music you are in for a quite a great ride!

Camara 95.9 from Columbia. This Spanish station plays very high quality music of tremendous variety.

Polka Heaven 24/7:  Yes, after a few hours of listening it becomes obvious the Polka music is recorded to produce pure fun and joy. My mother loves it and can’t stop being happy when she comes over.

Another favorite is African music. The best I’d found was streamed from Germany and disappeared one day and has never come back. See a tiny selection of African spirit music by searching YouTube for Kids of Sitya loss or see Simon and Garfunkle Call me Al Zimbabwe.

I love Cajun music as well but my favorite station disappeared around the time they started enforcing licensing fees. I like cuts from highly skilled musicians that have experience doing live concerts. Please let us know if you find any good stations like this.

Why is it secret/hidden?

Many Internet radio stations are not easily discovered, or do not play reliably from your smart phone or computer. You may find that true with a few of the stations listed above. I have the most success with the CC Wifi but there are a few other internet radios on the market as good or better. The CC WiFi plays the content from one of the original stream aggregators. I know at one point they had unique relationships with many stations and streamers worldwide. The ability to inquisitively play a station by country or genre works best for me.

I recommend you amplify the CC Wifi with a sound system or amplified speakers with generous bass response. The stream quality varies from bad to excellent so you don’t need the finest audio system to discover great new music.

C. Crane’s Been Busy!

C. Crane took a short blogging break to work on exciting new radio and audio projects. We sure do feel like hard working elves in our tech shop but the work pays off. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up too.

cc-wifi-2-BLK-MER2-300-1500 (1)

The CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Black

cc-wifi-2-WOOD-MER2-300-1500

CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Cherry

The new WiFi Internet Radio; the CC WiFi 2 was released in October. This radio took us some time. We wanted to create a WiFi radio that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The CC WiFi 2 uses TuneIn and is app based driven. There are thousands of stations available and hundreds of hosts to listen to, so that aspect of WiFi Radio hasn’t changed. WiFi radio still requires a broadband internet connection but the CC WiFi 2 has a built in FM tuner to receive local FM stations. We integrated Bluetooth® into the WiFi 2 so you can play your Bluetooth® devices like your smartphone or tablet through the radio’s speaker. We also include a full size remote control for easy access. The CC WiFi Radio 2 comes in black or Cherry finish.

 

CC Skywave

CC Skywave

The CC Skywave project has also been completed and is on the way now. The CC Skywave is a small, travel size radio that has AM, FM, Shorwave, Weather and Aviation. The Aviation band allows you to listen in to nearby air traffic controllers. This radio is the ultimate travel radio. The reception and audio is remarkable for the radio’s small size and the operation is straight forward and easy to understand. It took us a while to make sure it met our standards, but it was worth the wait.

New projects continue to be in the works for all of you C. Crane fans and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Flashback Friday- Old Time Radio

Do you remember listening to your favorite radio shows on a radio, like this one below, in the “good ol’ days”?

Old Time Radio shows still play an important role for many of us radio fans. Did you know that Old Time Radio shows are still available on Internet radio? Internet Radios host many stations that play a variety of OTR shows. The shows are available with perfect clarity and no interferences; it will bring you right back to the good ol’ days!
Would you listen to an Old Time Radio show on an Internet Radio?

For more information about internet radio click here: http://www.woodenradio.com/internet-radio.aspx   https://news.ccrane.com/2012/09/26/pros-and-cons-of-wifi-and-internet-radio/

 

Do you remember listening to your favorite radio shows on a radio just like this one in the “good ole’ days”?

Do you remember listening to your favorite radio shows on a radio just like this one in the “good ole’ days”?