Gift Guide for Dad

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It’s almost that time again – Father’s Day! We have some ideas to help you score a big win in the gift category.

The CC LED Spot XB Spotlight is great for any dad. We’ve had folks buy it for night time walking, camping, working under the house or to keep in the car. It’s bright, durable, and lightweight and makes an excellent gift.

If your dad likes sports or working in the garden, the CC Pocket might be the perfect fit. We hear about folks taking it to the baseball game so they can listen to the play by play on their radio. If gardening is more his speed, we’ve developed a kit that includes the CC Pocket,and noise blocking headphones with an optional chest harness.

When nothing but the best will do, the CCRadio-2E is the right choice. This is our top performer for long range AM reception. The voice focused audio on this radio is superb and will have him thanking you for years to come.

Still not sure what to buy? A gift certificate allows your dad to get what he really wants. No re-gifting or hurt feelings.

If you need any help with a recommendation, please call us and we’d love to help you pick out the right gift for that special dad in your life!

Go Vote!

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd President of the United States

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Not since 1908 has the U.S. voter turnout risen above 65% according to information posted on Wikipedia. Really? Surely with all of our transportation improvements, and immediate political info access, the modern American can match the efforts it must have taken folks over 100 years ago to “get out the vote”. Perhaps time has allowed us to take the process for granted.  After all, the biggest threats to our freedom have originated in foreign nations this last century. The stories we heard from our elders were of that period, not of the internal turmoil suffered in the 19th century. We have no connection to the time when voting was earned. It is a right many Americans carelessly squander.

So why aren’t more of us taking advantage of the privilege so many have fought for?  According to an article on Bloomberg.com, a common thread among the explanations given is down to basics – location, location, location.  We just can’t seem to get ourselves there for one reason or another.  The most logical solution that would cover almost every circumstance is to vote by mail.  A quick visit to the www.vote.org site and you can have the necessary form to register for an absentee ballot.  No more musty school libraries or echoing fire halls need be endured.  Just fill it out, mail it, and you will get your ballot.  Then you can do your voting in the comfort of your own home before mailing it in.  “Who wants to do that every year?” you ask.  Well, probably no one, which is why you can check a box on the form to permanently vote-by-mail.  No doubt Americans the 1800’s would have vastly appreciated the ease of this option.

This brings us to the conscientious American voter of today.  They demand to know information about what they consider important, and want to hear what candidates have to say on those issues.  This was proven when the first presidential debate of this election broke TV viewer records with an audience of over 84 million, according to the L.A. Times.  Who wants to bet they worked on their body language a little in preparation?  The safe money would be that they worked on it a lot.  It is easy to get distracted by how someone looks, their facial expressions, and hand gestures.  It is human nature to evaluate others on how we visually perceive them.  Which is why political candidates work on body language a lot.

Try listening to the results.  Without visual distraction, the brain can truly focus on what the candidates are telling us.  In the web article “Mindful Listening”, one of the key components is to “Listen without judgement or distractions to absorb what is being said”.  By simplifying the experience with a radio, you may gain a whole different perspective.

Regardless of your views on this election, you can still vote and that is priceless.

Let Your Ears Be the Judge

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd President of the United States

vote

Not since 1908 has the U.S. voter turnout risen above 65% according to information posted on Wikipedia. Really? Surely with all of our transportation improvements, and immediate political info access, the modern American can match the efforts it must have taken folks over 100 years ago to “get out the vote”. Perhaps time has allowed us to take the process for granted.  After all, the biggest threats to our freedom have originated in foreign nations this last century. The stories we heard from our elders were of that period, not of the internal turmoil suffered in the 19th century. We have no connection to the time when voting was earned. It is a right many Americans carelessly squander.

So why aren’t more of us taking advantage of the privilege so many have fought for?  According to an article on Bloomberg.com, a common thread among the explanations given is down to basics – location, location, location.  We just can’t seem to get ourselves there for one reason or another.  The most logical solution that would cover almost every circumstance is to vote by mail.  A quick visit to the www.vote.org site and you can have the necessary form to register for an absentee ballot.  No more musty school libraries or echoing fire halls need be endured.  Just fill it out, mail it, and you will get your ballot.  Then you can do your voting in the comfort of your own home before mailing it in.  “Who wants to do that every year?” you ask.  Well, probably no one, which is why you can check a box on the form to permanently vote-by-mail.  No doubt Americans the 1800’s would have vastly appreciated the ease of this option.

This brings us to the conscientious American voter of today.  They demand to know information about what they consider important, and want to hear what candidates have to say on those issues.  This was proven when the first presidential debate of this election broke TV viewer records with an audience of over 84 million, according to the L.A. Times.  Who wants to bet they worked on their body language a little in preparation?  The safe money would be that they worked on it a lot.  It is easy to get distracted by how someone looks, their facial expressions, and hand gestures.  It is human nature to evaluate others on how we visually perceive them.  Which is why political candidates work on body language a lot.

Should you be interested in catching the next debate, try listening to it instead.  Without visual distraction, the brain can truly focus on what the candidates are telling us.  In the web article “Mindful Listening”, one of the key components is to “Listen without judgement or distractions to absorb what is being said”.  By simplifying the experience with a radio, you may gain a whole different perspective.

Regardless of your views on this election, you can still flex your voting muscle at C. Crane. Vote in the poll below for which radio you want on sale the most, and your voice will be heard!  The item with the most votes will be put on sale November 8th for election day. Poll closes October 12th so get your vote in!!!

 

Battle of the Platforms

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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!

Is Radio in Crisis?

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There was a great article recently in the WSJ “Public Radio’s Existential Crisisby Ellen Gamerman, which brings up a topic we are struggling with as well. In her article, she talks exclusively about NPR but we don’t see this discussion as limited to only NPR. What is the future of radio and is it in crisis?

The “old guard” of radio talk show hosts are in the best of circumstances aging and retiring and in the worst dying. With hosts that boast some of the largest on air audiences around, there doesn’t seem to be much succession planning on how to recover or replace the lost talent (interestingly enough, radio is not the only industry impacted by this dilemma, it is being experienced in small businesses, trades, medical fields, education and more). Enter podcasters. Ms. Gamerman’s article states “With both its start and audience aging, NPR is struggling to adapt to the digital age: ‘The most innovative people are doing podcasts.’”

By the end of the decade, NPR projects that younger listeners under age 44 will make up only around 30% of the overall audience for its member stations, compared with about 60% in 1985. Currently more than 80% of podcast listeners are under age 55, according to recent data released by Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Here’s where it gets confusing though:

NPR itself is already the nation’s top podcast publisher with a monthly audience of 7.2 million listeners, according to podcast analytics firm Podtrac. In the past year, it has doubled the revenue it gets from corporate sponsorship for podcasts.

Despite the growth of digital, Americans ages 13 and over spend more than half their total listening time on AM/FM radio and 2% of their listening time on podcasts, according to Edison. NPR’s weekly broadcast radio audience now averages 26 million.

A recent report from Radio and Internet News proves interesting as well.

AM/FM clearly has the widest reach — a notable and much-hammered metric in the radio industry. AM/FM’s monthly U.S. audience is 240-million. Compare that to Spotify’s global 100-million, and Pandora’s mostly-U.S. 80-million, and you see why broadcasters sometimes feel they don’t get enough respect (call-back to Rodney Dangerfield). On the other hand, U.S. radio is a $17-billion business, larger than the combined valuations of Spotify and Pandora.

Radio’s reach is a cleanly brag-worthy metric, while time spent listening (TSL) has more nuance.

With radio’s reach being so significant in comparison to everyone else and the battle of “platform” and “format” wars still being fought, we believe radio is here to stay for now but when the popular long standing talent leaves and no one that connects with that audience or is able to create a new audience in the slot takes their place, advertisers leave, listeners leave and ultimately radio suffers (enter podcasts?).

We love to hear from you. Do you think radio is in crisis? Are you switching to podcasts or some hybrid in between?

The Evolving Role of Radio in Elections

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Can you separate radio from other media in the role it has played in elections?

Before radio or television were available, the only way for voters to see or hear a political candidate was if a special train tour happened to stop in their hometown.  The candidates would give short speeches from the back of the train, but only those within the sound of their voice were reached.  The invention of radio broadcasting enabled political candidates to be heard by millions.

Prior to the advent of internet and television, radio was crucial in the outcome of elections.  The Monitoring Times published an article in July of 1992 called “The 1924 Radio Election” by Don Moore which asserts that radio changed politics permanently.

Broadcaster and historian Gleason Archer wrote “The effect of the election on radio was more important than the effect of radio on the election results!” Radio was, however, credited with focusing people on the election and bringing out a huge number of voters.

Some people think that the days of radio are over, and consider it old fashioned compared to TV, the internet, and social media. However, research indicates that radio is still a highly trusted medium for political information that reaches the diverse landscape of American voters.  So regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, radio can play an important role for everyone.

Questions for you:  Do you believe radio is a more trusted source for information when compared to TV, the internet, newspaper and magazine and if so why? Does any form of media actually change the outcome of an election?

Post your answers in the comments and enter to win CC Pocket Radio  – Drawing will take place Tuesday June 28th. Limit one entry per person.

For full radio coverage on the 2016 elections – visit the links below

http://elections.npr.org/

http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2016-presidential-primary-schedule-calendar/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2016/presidential-elections-events-calendar

http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2016-party-conventions/

Memorial Day

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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.