Throwing a Party This Holiday Season?

oldfashionedparty
If you’re throwing a party this holiday, C. Crane has some products for you! Whether it’s your annual Halloween Spookfest, a Thanksgiving Feast, or National Lampoon’s Christmas – we’ve got you covered.

The Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker is a great addition to any party. Load up your favorite Pandora station or your playlist and you’re ready to go. The music will fill a medium sized room though it’s small enough to sit on a shelf out of the way.

If you have a more specific audio preference, we have the AEGO Speaker System which offers amazing sound for the money.  It even comes with a remote so you can control what is heard and when you hear it.

The FM Transmitter comes in particularly handy, especially if you want to send ghoulish sounds or great music around your home. Setup a handful of FM Radios in strategic places and let the good times roll!

And last but certainly not least, the small, indispensable Power Vivid LED flashlight. This is the go to flashlight for all your party needs. Don’t get stuck using your phone’s flashlight, this little guy is so much better and doesn’t drain your phone battery! Great for trick or treating or as a stocking stuffer.

What parties are you planning this season? Tell us in the comments and be entered to win two Power Vivid LED pocket flashlights. Drawing will be October 27th. Please only one entry per person.

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!

Is Radio in Crisis?

WarningTape1

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?

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

dreamstime_xs_69000994

We know it’s still early, but we wanted you to have plenty of time to find the perfect gift for Mom. After a quick internal poll here at C. Crane, we’ve compiled a list of what employees have purchased and would recommend as Mother’s Day gifts. We hope this helps you find a great gift for your mom this Mother’s Day.

John recommends the PowerVivid Pocket Flashlight. He’s given them as gifts and everyone loved them. They are the perfect size for purses and glove compartments.

Christine loves the CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio. Her perennials that survived the record rain fall are popping up all over the garden and of course there are plenty of weeds which need attention now and this radio allows her to power it with the solar panel. She can listen to music all day long while gardening and not using any batteries or electricity.

The Senta Ally is always a favorite. Whether doing the dishes or cleaning the house, being able to stream your favorite audio like Pandora through the Bluetooth® speaker definitely makes the work go by more quickly.

Carolyn recommends the CC Pocket Radio. She gave one to her sister when her iPod® died. Her sister likes to take morning walks with music as motivation. The CC Pocket overcame her initial skepticism because this unit brought in plenty of FM stations from her city, and she was able to program her favorites into the preset buttons to easily switch between them while on her walks.  Now she also tunes to the AM band for news updates and information about what is going on in her city – something she had not done in a long time.  When asked if she ever bought another iPod®, she said the CC Pocket Radio worked out so well for her that she had forgotten all about it!

Many of you may know Bob Crane always recommends the CC Radio-EP because that’s who he built the radio for – His Mom. She wanted a radio that was easy to use without all the extra stuff, so that’s what he gave her.

Isaiah recommends the CC WiFi internet radio. His mom has her radio on every day for several years. It only goes off at bedtime and when “The Voice” comes on television. Jessica’s grandma loves this radio as well. She gets to listen To St. John’s out of Newfoundland Canada and it brings her information and music from her home country.

Sue recommends the CC Witness Plus – whether she rides a motorcycle, works in the yard or loves to shop – she can record her favorite music, talk shows or even her language lessons and take it with her and listen at her leisure.

So many options for you to choose from, you’ll have no problem picking a great gift this year! Tell us what your plans are for this year’s Mother’s Day!

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!