Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest

selectatenna

Select-A-Tenna – AM Antenna

C. Crane started in 1983 selling AM antennas. After starting to gain momentum selling mostly antennas and radio accessories, we received our first real technological challenge when customers starting asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was pretty easy to select the Sangean 803A as the first radio we offered to our customers. Tuning was precise and voice audio was sharper and more legible than most other radios on the market. With the Select-A-Tenna that we sold, it turned into one of the best radios made for reception. It was a little complex to use as a regular daily radio but it met many customer’s needs. We also carried the GE Super Radio which was much easier to use but lacked some of the functionality customer’s wanted and supply was erratic. It seemed that there wasn’t a good blend of features, performance and ease of use.

In the background we went about acquiring and testing just about every popular radio made at the time. It turns out that most radios are tuned for music and FM. There are many that have too much bass or filtering which distorts the human voice for talk radio and even voices found in music tracks. It turned out nobody was making a radio that made voices sound realistic and very few had good reception. If they did, they were so complicated that you needed a PhD just to turn it on or they were so expensive you needed a small loan to pay for it. It took 10 years to convince a manufacturer to help us make the radio we knew our customers needed and wanted. Something that had some of the most desired functionality (memory presets, clock, alarm), audio tuned for voice, excellent reception and wasn’t too difficult to use.

ccradio2eWe started the CCRadio by selecting a speaker and an amplifier designed to react well with voice frequencies. Trying to make a sensitive radio that picked up weak stations was the real challenge. The new solid state chips generated their own static noise that masked the weak signal so that is all you heard. It took months to reduce the noise and make the radio quiet so a weak station was above the noise level. The original CCRadio was introduced in July of 1998 and we haven’t looked back. Grandma Faye gave the best compliment; “you can hear the voices with this radio”. It’s gone through a few different iterations based on customer feedback and changes in technology but the idea behind it remains and it continues to be one of the most popular radios we offer. Models based on our design are still popular worldwide. It took several more years but we eventually invented and received a patent for the Twin Coil Ferrite AM antenna. This allowed us to exceed the reception of our original AM antenna and radio.

Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception and audio remains. C. Crane has talked first hand with over one million radio listeners concerned with improving their reception. There is a considerable group of listeners who enjoy or by circumstance choose to use radio as their primary source of news and entertainment.

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

Congratulations winner SoCalPal! Thank you for participating!

Bob’s Planned Move Brings Transformation

Bob and Sue in the first C. Crane Office, 1990.

Bob and Sue in the first C. Crane Office, 1990.

Moving from San Francisco to rural Humboldt County, California in 1983 was not without a few oversights on my part. Due to poor radio reception my love for AM radio was met with a good deal of silence until the sun went down. It was only then that I could receive AM stations from several hundred miles away. I learned to adapt to the local earthquakes but not the absence of radio reception.

I went on a six month research project to improve the radio reception at my house until I finally found an AM antenna, the Select-A-Tenna. In the day time this antenna could receive a clear channel station from over 250 miles away. I was absolutely sure there were more radio-heads like me that wanted this antenna as much as life itself, so I wrote a letter to the address on the bottom of the antenna asking if I could sell them. The phone rang one day with the inventor and builder of this device. I garnered a somewhat exclusive distribution right to the West Coast for a capital cost of $350.00 so my wife and I began selling the Select-A-Tenna out of our home. We advertised the antenna on KGO Radio in San Francisco. At first, it did not go particularly well but we adjusted our advertisements and soon orders started coming in.

A plastic surgeon from L.A. was our very first customer. He heard the ad on KGO and called to order one. I was shocked when he asked me to put the antenna on a credit card. We weren’t set up to take credit cards so we had him mail us a check. Never considering failure we started shipping out hundreds of antennas with the bill enclosed hoping the honest talk show listeners would pay. Ninety-nine percent of those customer sent us a check! Word started spreading about the magic of the AM receiving antenna.

One unforgettable day in 1992 cars and RV’s lined our 500’ shared, one lane gravel road to the house making our neighbors less than thrilled. That’s when I turned to my wife and said ‘Sue, I think we need to get a store for the company”. We soon moved the business to downtown Fortuna.

The Original CC Radio

The Original CC Radio

During this time, my wife and I both had full time jobs and 2 kids to raise. Our little company continued to grow and was starting to get out of hand, so we hired others to help us. With the dedication of a few good people we hired, the C. Crane Radio Division was born.

C. Crane continues the quest to improve reception with a selection of excellent long range radios and antennas. Our latest model, the CCRadio-2E is one of the best radios for AM and FM reception and it’s the most reliable we have built so far.

Bob Crane

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday

This is one of the first C. Crane Catalogs ever printed in 1992. Featured on the cover is the Select-A-Tenna and the Sangean 803A.

C. Crane Catalog printed in 1992 with the Select-A-Tenna and Sangean 803A