World Radio Day – Radio is You!

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Celebrated February 13th just in time for Valentine’s Day World Radio Day! The theme this year is “Radio is You”.

This couldn’t sum up our founder’s belief about radio any better. Radio is you! Bob and Sue Crane, founders of C. Crane, continue to be avid radio listeners.  The main reason they love to listen is because radio can be a very personal medium.  Even though it reaches the widest audience of any medium in the world, there is an individual connection to it that is unavailable elsewhere.

This synopsis from UNESCO in regard to their theme this year for World Radio Day really says it all:

Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face. Radio informs us and transforms us, through entertainment, information and audience participation.  Having a radio means you are never alone – you always have a friend in radio.  

C. Crane is proud to be a friend to many in radio from customers to stations to hosts and shows! We hope you celebrate World Radio Day, and if not, don’t worry about it – it’s never too late to celebrate radio (we do it here every day!).

Tell us how radio is personal to you in the comments section and be entered to win the CC Pocket Radio! Please one entry per person. Drawing will be held 3/10/2017.

What is NOAA and NWS?

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Eel River Delta Flooding in Ferndale, CA
  Photo Courtesy of Humboldt Office of Emergency Services.

NOAA is a government agency and stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Many people think NOAA is just weather but these folks have some of the most amazing super computers and satellites that help to provide data both above and below ground to monitor anything and everything related to weather and climate. They also monitor oceans and coasts; are involved in fisheries and marine sanctuaries; administer fleets of ships, aircraft and trains through their Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and maintain the nations nautical charts. And you thought they only issued alerts when there were weather related advisories!

The National Weather Service is a division of NOAA. They provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy. This is probably what most of us are familiar with. In particular C. Crane uses the NOAA Weather Radio Service as part of many of the radios we manufacture. Several of our radios even have the ability to issue an alert if there is an emergency.

Over the years, we’ve received several letters, testimonials and reviews from folks who were extremely grateful to own a radio during an emergency and even a few who are certain that the warnings issued kept them out of harm’s way.

With all of the recent weather we’ve experienced here in Northern California, we’re reminded how important it is to be prepared and how much having a battery operated (or a wind up) radio assists with that goal. Below are some pictures of the flooding and downed trees we’ve been experiencing. Our Governor, declared a state of emergency for our county as well as many others in California due to all of the storms.

Tell us in the comments how radio (whether one of ours or not) has helped you during a storm or other emergency and be entered to win the CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Portable Radio. Please one entry per person. Drawing to be held February 13th 2017.

Congratulations JB Quayle on your win of the CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Portable Radio!

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Ferndale Road. Photo Courtesy of Annette Adams

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You may think this is the Amazon River, but it’s actually the Eel River at flood stage moving at 300,000 cubic feet per second. Photo Courtesy Bob Crane.

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Hiking in Avenue of the Giants. Photo Courtesy Seth Downey

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Watching the waters rise. Photo courtesy Deanna Tocyzl

 

 

C. Crane’s Employee Recommended Gift Guide

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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).

It’s Snowbird Season!

snowbirdrvFor those that may not be familiar with the term, a “snowbird” is an individual from the Northern United States or Canada that spends the colder months in the warmer climates of Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii, or well, you get the idea.  After spending a balmy winter among the palm trees or cactus, they pack up and make their way home to family, long-time neighbors and hopefully, a house that is exactly as they left it months ago.

For those of you unfamiliar with the not-so-rarely sighted snowbird, they are a special species with a lot to offer the communities where they land.  Making a visit to the BLT blog for lifestyle & travel will fill you in on “30 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Snowbirds.”  Maybe one day you can join the flock.

If you are one of the millions of people that already call themselves a snowbird, you probably don’t need to be reminded of the many complications this human migration can bring.  In addition to a mile-long checklist to winterize the home up north and arrange for your absence, there is also preparation for the trip itself.  This includes saying goodbye to family with a strict promise to give them up-to-the-minute progress reports on your journey, lest you should fall off the face of the earth.  These days a whole lot of folks still do this by email or Facebook, which leaves you relying on the WiFi signals available at RV parks, or a free signal from an eatery across the road.  These signals can be spotty, causing a lot of frustration and keeping you from sending out those anticipated updates, or getting a weather report for tomorrow.  You have enough to worry about without receiving a verbal finger wagging from your adult children, or having everything strapped to the roof get soaked because you didn’t know rain was headed your way.

CC Vector Home WiFi Repeater System Item # VEC1 $149.99

CC Vector Home WiFi Repeater SystemItem # VEC1 $149.99

CC Vector RV WiFi Repeater System Item # VEC2 $169.99

CC Vector RV WiFi Repeater SystemItem # VEC2 $169.99

 

C. Crane has the perfect solution for unreliable WiFi with a variety of antennas and signal repeaters based on your situation.  Please visit our web site to help make your migration a smooth one.

 

 

 

 

National Grandparents Day: Do Something Grand

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In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation that established the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Since beginning a campaign in 1970 to set aside one special day recognizing grandparents, Marian McQuade spearheaded the movement that focuses on three main goals:

  1. To honor grandparents
  2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
  3. To help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.

It is the third goal of National Grandparents Day that a radio buff can really take and run with.

Do you remember when a cloud was something you saw floating in the sky and tried to decide if it looked like a dolphin or a motorcycle?  Perhaps they caught more of your childhood attention because you were actually outside.  Admittedly, today’s youth faces a more complex world full of different challenges than previous generations, but they lack hands-on experience beyond a keyboard.  Most people’s grandkids are a wiz with all things internet and computer related, but few can tell you how any of it actually works.  By contrast, radio wave reception is a readily explainable concept that can be demonstrated, experimented with, and shared with one’s grandchildren.

Since the line between entertainment and education can be on the thin side, the wisest path is to find a way to combine the two.  Most grandparents don’t even attempt to achieve “cool” status since they learned long ago through their own children what a no-win game that is, not to mention expensive.  But without the day-to-day stresses of the parent/child relationship infringing on your time together, the passion that grandparents show for the world of radio can then spur excitement for further discovery.  Your grandchildren need you to pass along this important information.  One day the cloud may rain torrents of megabytes, and then where will they be?

Crane has a free library on our web site that may prove helpful:  http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

These links help explain AM reception facts:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/am-reception-1
http://www.ccrane.com/University/Sky-Wave-Radio

This link is great for those looking to share a hands-on experiment:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/How-To-Make-a-Simple-Powerful-AM-Loop-Antenna-For-Free

This year the holiday falls on Sunday, September 11th.  To find out more about the history of Grandparents Day, visit http://www.grandparents-day.com/.

We’d love to hear about the favorite thing you’ve taught your grandchildren or learned from your grandparents! Tell us in the comments below.

What is Shortwave?

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Shortwave radio
is a radio transmission using shortwave frequencies, generally 1.6–30 MHz (187.4–10.0 m), just above the medium wave AM broadcast band. Many of SW’s properties are similar to AM like the ability for the signal to travel long distances.

Since the early 1900’s, there have been significant advances in radio. One of the biggest advances that has had the most impact on shortwave, is streaming on the internet and through internet enabled devices like smartphones and Internet radios. Many of the most popular shortwave broadcasts in the late 90’s and early 2000’s have almost disappeared from shortwave and switched to streaming. If stations are still broadcasting, they often no longer broadcast to the Americas or much of Europe.

At any one moment, there are literally hundreds of millions of signals now transmitted from a wide range of devices. Cell phones, garage door openers, AM and FM broadcast stations, police, fire, airlines, TV stations and even the AC power to your home all occupy a part of the frequency spectrum. Time, propagation and the ionosphere all have an impact on what you are able to receive. Because all signals are affected by these things, it is important to understand the basics of radio transmission.

If you really want to learn about shortwave, the best way to learn, is to listen to it. ShortwaveSchedule.com provides a list of all the signals currently broadcasting at the time of your search and is a great starting place for your shortwave listening quest.

Why Would I Listen to Shortwave?

  1. Governments often use shortwave “utility” bands. Utility bands are where the action is on shortwave and are used for reliable long range communication. Coast Guard Search and Rescue, coordination of US military aviation and spy networks all use this band. One reason it continues to be used, is it is very difficult to block these transmissions. Utility stations generally operate in upper sideband mode. Virtually none of these type of transmissions is on the Internet.
  2. During a big crisis, whether it be an earthquake or hurricane, your best source of real news can be shortwave. Ham operators do an excellent job of contacting emergency services and handling messages between people. You may have experienced “all circuits busy” situations or failed text messages in a large scale emergency situation due to cellular towers being down or overloaded. Amateur radio is the only communication that works well under all circumstances and for that reason, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
  3. News from other countries will give you a new perspective on the world. Following shortwave closely over a few months will give you information that approximates the political information the President and staff have at their disposal to make global decisions. When you listen to shortwave you find out how difficult it is to make decisions with global consequences. The political bent of a country slips out providing you with an alternative point of view. There is a whole world of listening and very little of it may be found on the Internet.
  4. You might stumble across a Pirate Radio station

If you have the urge, you can even take to the air waves yourself by becoming a Ham operator through the American  Radio Relay League (ARRL). You don’t even have to learn Morse code anymore unless you go for an advanced classification.

SWLING.com is probably one of the most comprehensive sites in regard to shortwave and advocating for it. This article on Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future really outlines what’s available and what’s not and why.

Share with us the most interesting shortwave broadcast you’ve heard.

DO YOU RIDE?

P1020104 curves Sue Garcia is an avid motorcycle rider and works here at C. Crane. She and her husband ride as often as possible. Sue has lived in Humboldt County all of her life. She’s ridden in over 22 states. With thousands of hours of riding under her belt, she can’t wait to explore more roads.

DO YOU RIDE?

For those of you that ride and like to cruise the roads on motorcycles, this is for you. I’m assuming if you clicked on “Do You Ride?” you probably ride too or maybe you’re considering it.

I don’t know how old you are, but I feel the need to tell you we are both 60ish and our mantra is this: “We are going to ride as much as we can, for as long as we can.” The reason I told you how old we are is that in our travels, we meet more bikers in our generation than any other age group and I feel a special kinship with these “seasoned” riders” that still get on and ride. Our passion is curvy roads with corners. Lots and lots of corners! The more corners the better! There are so many roads and so little time.

A couple of weeks ago (the latter part of July) I rode the California Hwy 101/Hwy 20/Hwy 36 loop (11 hours and 466 miles). My husband Scott and I ride big cruisers and we ride every single weekend we can. We’ve only missed 2 weekends in the last year. Even with 50 lbs. of leather on, we ride. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary are no exceptions. The only thing that makes riding better fSue Gor me is my rock n’ roll music. I take my CC Witness Plus with me always: Bike – check, me – check, CC Witness Plus – check and so on (and in that order). I hear stereos blasting from other bikes when we pass them on the freeway or in town and although I’ve had a stereo on a bike myself, it doesn’t compare to how great my music sounds with my CC Witness Plus! I’ve tried all kinds of earbuds over the years and the CC Buds are my favorites for comfort, price and sound.
Last summer we hit 15 states in 12 days (CA, NV, WY, UT, NE, KS, TX, OK, LA, MI, AR, MO, IL NM and AZ). (I counted CA, even though we live here, beStrugescause we rode the entire length of the state on that trip). We averaged about 650 miles a day. Late this summer (August to September), we’re going to take a month off and hit all 48 states in one trip. Even though my CC Witness Plus has 2GB of memory built into it already, I add my recorded 4GB memory card to the SD card slot on the side of the unit (for a tremendous amount of music) and in preparation for the upcoming trip I’ve got 5 memory cards full of rock n’ roll! I’ve been recording from my CC WiFi Internet Radio for months now and believe me, I won’t get tired of the music I’m taking on the road with me. I want to ride the Tail of the Dragon starting in Deals Gap, NC (318 curves in 11 miles)! And I can’t wait to let you know what I think of the Dragon and the other twisty roads around Deals Gap. I’m sure we’ll need to spend 3 or 4 days in this area, because we just can’t miss rides with names like Devil’s Triangle (TN), Blood Mountain Run (GA), the Moonshiner (NC/GA/SC) and my personal favorite, the Warwoman (GA)!

This coming road trip we’ve allowed enough time to actually get off the bikes and check out some neat stuff along the way. On our road trip last summer RedwoodsI was honking my horn and pointing as we passed things we could see from the freeway. We had a blast when we rode Route 66 in 2014, so we rode it again last summer. Williams, AZ is worth a look-see and a good place to stay if you’re going to the Grand CaLivin the dreamnyon. Bourbon St and the French Quarter in New Orleans were awesome too, but mostly it was just a lot of honking and pointing from the freeway. It’s a little scary riding through tornado country, we just have earthquakes where we live, so I’m keeping my CC Skywave in my saddlebag with it tuned to WX Alert and I’ll check it when we stop for breaks or see those dark, funny looking clouds in the sky. Seriously, last year we rode at a 45 degree angle for miles and miles in Kansas. When we finally checked into a motel and turned on the TV there was a big red warning on the screen and they were telling everyone to get on the bottom floor away from windows. You bet I’m taking my CC Skwyave!

C. Crane is right off California Highway 101. In fact you can see it off the overpass that’s right out the front showroom doors. I invite all of you to stop by and have a cup of coffee and a cookie (heck, they’ll give you as many cookies as you like). Come and enjoy our weather and by all means, take a ride through the Redwoods and aMendolong the coast.

But, if you like a challenging ride: a ride with corners, curves, twisties and switchbacks, stop by and if I’m in the office, I’ll share some of the secrets of our roads with you.    If enough riders respond, I may be able to keep writing about what I love to do most and I’ll share our road trips and tips with you. For the many, many riders that come into Humboldt County and for those that like to ride the kinds of roads Scott and I do, there are some rides you don’t know about yet and will love. Maybe, after yScott and Sueou ride Hwy 36, you’ll even want to start your own Best Rides list.

If you are intrigued about riding Highway 36, stop by before your ride and I will give you an idea of what to expect. You might even want to take a picnic lunch with you. If you start the ride from the east side and you get to C. Crane before 5:00 on a weekday, I’d love for you to come by and tell me your Hwy 36 thrills and chills stories!! Take a photo of your bike along 36 and we will post it on our Facebook page and in a future blog post.

Until then, Journey On Biker Buddies!river

Where do your travels take you this summer? Enter to win in the comments on this blog and win the CC Witness Plus. Drawing will be held August 17th. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations Terrance, the winner of the CC Witness Plus! Thanks to all who participated.

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!

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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.

Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest

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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!