Happy Independence Day

4july

We wish all of you a safe and fun holiday – C. Crane Family

It’s Officially Summer – Time to Travel!

timetotravel

Summer solstice was June 21st and we hope you were able to enjoy the long hours of daylight (and maybe some sunshine too). With summer comes travel. Whether you’re chasing sunshine or trying to get away from the heat, we have some ideas of essential items for your traveling:

CC Spot XB LED Spotlight – Even if you’re only traveling a few hours this light is perfect for changing a tire or finding the spot for your RV hookups. It’s bright, easy to hold, runs a long time on standard C batteries and has a kickstand for stability if you need it.

C. Zimmerman says Sturdy and powerful spotlight  “This is a very powerful spotlight that is well built but lightweight. I took it out and compared it to an incredibly bright 750 Lumen flashlight I have, and this has to be at least 100 Lumens on the bright setting. It lights up a large are to make it look like the sun came out. I don’t think you will be disappointed with this spotlight.”

CC Skywave Radio – This has become a favorite for those who want all the various communications and functionality with good reception in a small size and the weather alert comes in VERY handy if you’re traveling in areas with unpredictable weather.

N. Rosas says Perfect travel radio “This is the perfect radio for travel. I’ve had several, and this is the best. I tend to go to the same places, so the page memory feature is great for saving stations by location. The lighted display is a great feature. I would recommend this radio.”

Senta Ally Bluetooth® Wireless Speaker – There’s nothing better than being able to play your own tunes! Works with your iPhone™, Android ™, or any Bluetooth device or you can plug it in directly from any line out or earphone jack using the included stereo patch-cord.

TD says My 2014 favorite gadget of the year! “I use it pretty much every day. By following the instructions it paired easily with my iphone. Once I started using it, I realized it also paired wonderfully with my CC Witness. I record radio programs all week with the CC Witness using sandisk cards (the witness is able to screen out hours of commercials if you program the timers). I can play the disks in either unit at my convenience. I also use it to play The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, episodes that are available for free download on the internet, the voices are crisp and easy to listen to with the Senta. Navigation is a little tricky, but once I got the hang of it, its very simple. Also pairs great with the pillow speaker!“

And for those of you who struggle with WiFi at campgrounds, RV parks or hotels – the CC Vector Systems are a great solution for extending WiFi to multiple devices or the Super USB WiFi antenna is great for a single Windows Computer.

B. Freeman says Exceeded My Expectations “We travel full time in a motor home. Often RV Park WiFi is weak or unable to connect. This ‘kit’ makes it strong and stable and fast. Super easy to use and setup. Couldn’t be more satisfied.”

Whatever your travel plans are this summer – stay safe and make some amazing memories! If you missed it before, and your AM listening is leaving a lot to be desired with all that daylight – check out the tips on our blog.

Tell us your summer plans in the comments below and be entered to win a Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker. Drawing will be held July 3rd. Please only one entry per person.

Congratulations Julie Horner winner of the Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker!

C. Crane’s Employee Recommended Gift Guide

christmasgiftsonplanks

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).

The Month for Thanksgiving

begrateful

This is the month to reflect on all that we have and what we are truly grateful for, to get in the spirit we wanted to find out which radio show, host or station you are most thankful for! Enter in the comments below and be entered to win the product of your choice (excluding the AEGO sound systems).  Drawing will be held November 30th. Please one entry per person.

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

Gift Guide for Dads and Grads

dadgrad

Tis the season to shop for some of the most important people in your life. Your dad (or husband) – the man you can never figure out what to buy for since he’s already bought everything for himself. Your graduating child or grandchild who thinks the world of you but may not share your taste in gifts….

We have some ideas to help you find the perfect gift.

An emergency radio that has a built in flashlight – what a great way to show you care. Make sure that they have what they need in the event of an emergency. Everyone thinks their cell phones replace a good radio nowadays, but we’ve learned (in some cases the hard way) that this just isn’t true. All circuits busy anyone? Phone died and the power is out, and your car is floating down the river? We’ve heard stories like this, and more, where radio is the only way they know what’s going on – and the CC Solar Observer can charge most cell phones.

The Senta Ally Bluetooth speaker with FM Radio is always well received – We can’t tell you how many employees here have given these as gifts to their dads, siblings and graduating family members. This speaker has a very broad appeal and is really easy to use. They are in work shops, on kitchen counters, and out in the garden. The only limitation is your smartphone’s apps or your playlist. It also has a replaceable, rechargeable battery.

Have a gardener in your life? Get them the garden noise blocking headphones – This may be more geared for dads, although Jessica’s younger brother has found great use for this with his smartphone in the wood shop. The planer is just too loud! Bob’s gardener uses the kit with our CC Pocket radio regularly while weed eating out in the yard.

The Super WiFi Repeater System will allow anyone looking to extend the distance from their router by repeating the signal. Great for apartment complexes and dorm rooms where the signal might not be so great or for offices in the back of the house that are too far away from the router.

If you’re in a house where your political views (especially this election year) and thus taste in talk show hosts are as far apart as you being a vegetarian and him being a cattle rancher, a pillow speaker could be your best investment ever. We can’t help you with your differences in the kitchen, but this lovely little piece of equipment allows him to listen to his preferred stations in bed, and you don’t have to hear it. It also works great for audio books.

Still not sure what to buy? A gift certificate allows for them to pick whatever they prefer.

If you need any help with a recommendation, please call us and we’d love to help you pick out the best gift for your loved one.

Tell us – what’s the best or worst Father’s Day or Graduation gift you’ve ever received?

 

The Traveling Life

rvcamping

With summer looming on the horizon, we start to hear from more and more of our customers who are preparing to travel. We get to speak with quite a diverse group – from folks who travel seasonally throughout the year and stay in one location for several months or weeks; those who only travel during the summer; others who travel every weekend; or some who now only travel only through books and radio listening.

Whether your travel involves RVs and campgrounds; airplanes, hotels and exotic locations; or books and radio, we have heard some great tips from your fellow travelers on what you need for the best experience.

First, having a radio that also includes the weather band and alert is a priority. As the weather has continued to show this year, it can be completely unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous. If you are traveling somewhere new there is nothing better than a radio that can alert you to weather related incidents that might impact your travel plans (or your life). The local radio is often the best place to learn about where to go and what to do in the event you are caught in a weather related emergency like a fire or tornado.

Second a flashlight or our spotlight can come in really handy. If your vehicle has broken down, or you have a flat tire, or you’re at a campground with less than fantastic lighting and paths, then you will be so thankful you bought that flashlight and stashed in your glove box or emergency bag next to the jumper cables.

And last but not least – this is more for the RVers, campers and long haul truckers than anyone else. If you are at parks or gas stations where the WiFi is weak or spotty, we do have a couple of options that can help you improve the signal reception.

Enter to win:
Are you a traveler? Where are you heading and how do you prefer to travel? Tell us your best vacation story in the comments and be entered to win the CC LED Spot XB. Drawing will take place Friday June 3rd. Limit one entry per person.

Congratulations So Cal Pal, winner of the CC LED Spot XB!

Back to School Must Haves This Season

Whether your kids or grandBacktoSchoolkids are starting pre-kindergarten or taking their first steps into college this fall, send them back to school with the right gear and most helpful must haves for the year. We can help you find the best electronic equipment to keep your scholar connected through the entire year.

The Necessities

Radios aren’t just for adults
Give your kid the opportunity to open up an entire new world of radio listening. The internet is great but your kids may not have considered listening to the radio as an amazing wealth of knowledge and information. Kids love music on FM and their MP3 players but introducing a bit of AM talk radio into their lives may do major justice. The information is endless on the AM dial. The CC Pocket Radio is small and compact so the size will be familiar and it fits into any size backpack. The CC Pocket Radio offers AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert. 

Why would my kid need a radio, they have a cell phone
Kids may have the impression that their cell phones will always keep them informed but whether or not we’d like to admit it, we all know an emergency can happen at any time and cellular communication may go down. A reliable way to stay informed at all times during an emergency is with an all hazards weather radio. Radio communication will always have the ability to stay in operation with reliable sources like Ham Operators. Ham Operators are local and have equipment ready to help coordinate emergency efforts. The CC Radio 2 E is C. Crane’s all hazards AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert with the 2 Meter Ham Band Radio http://www.ccrane.com/CCRadio-2E-Enhanced-AMFMWX2-Meter-Ham-Band-Radio-Black-Mica that will stay up and keep information flowing. The CC Solar Observer is also a fantastic emergency radio that comes with AM, FM, the Weather band and can be powered by using the built in hand crank, solar panel or by using regular alkaline batteries. It also comes with a built in flashlight and in an emergency it can charge cell phones.

A Flashlight can save your life
Having a reliable flashlight on your key chain or in your bag can be a lifesaver. The Power Vivid Pocket Flashlight is small, light-weight and will provide a large amount of light to see by. Never be too cautious when it comes to staying lit. The Unity Plus Flashlight is a beefier version. It’s larger and puts out more light but it can also act as a self-defense tool with its firm grip and rigid top. It’s the perfect combo of power, size and weight.

The Fun Stuff

Tricked Out Dorm Room
Turn any dorm room from a dull den to a chic chill zone by livening up the place up with a small and portable, Bluetooth® speaker. The Senta Ally Portable Speaker with FM will fill any room with rich, full range sound. Its generous battery time will last hours and hours. Connection via Bluetooth makes listening to music endless and it comes with all the cables necessary to connect to anything from cell phones, to tablets, to laptops.

Beef Up the WiFi
The School’s WiFi can be hard to receive and depending on location, almost impossible. A WiFi Antenna can be your internet savior. The Super WiFi Antenna 3 will receive a WiFi signal from hundreds of feet away and will significantly boost the WiFi to your computer or laptop. Couple the Super WiFi Antenna 3 with our Repeater to create the Super WiFi Repeater Kit that will connect multiple WiFi devices. Free WiFi normally surrounds campuses so a good WiFi antenna is a priority to stay connected.

Now that we’ve given you a few back to school tips, we want to know what your back to school must haves will be this school year. Let us know what’s on your school shopping list and you’ll be entered to win a C. Crane back to School Starter Kit filled with a few necessities any scholar would need. One entry per person. Drawing will be held September 3rd.

Congratulations to winner Paul Walker! You will be receiving the Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker, a pair of CC Buds, the Power Vivid Pocket Flashlight as well as a pair of AA batteries.

Summer is for Travel

beachsummerrevisedWith summer in full swing, we know many of you are on the go. Whether you’re traveling for your bucket list, to visit family or for a little R&R, C. Crane has a few things that you can use to make your travels more enjoyable.

For news and information, the CC Skywave is hard to beat. It will also keep you informed of the weather with weather alerts. It’s the perfect size to stash in your travel bag regardless of your mode of travel. If you want something a little simpler, the CC Pocket might be the right choice. We’ve had several customers who mention using it on the golf course or by the pool.

What fun is the destination without some music? The Senta Ally is a versatile portable Bluetooth Speaker. Use your smartphone with your favorite app to transmit music to the Ally or you can connect a device directly through the line in, or even load your playlist onto an SD card or USB thumb drive. This is great for the lake, on the patio boat, by the pool, at the river or the beach. It’s small enough to easily throw in your towel bag.

Traveling to campgrounds or RV parks that have WiFi or even some hotels – the range isn’t always very good. Use one of our WiFi antennas or the Super WiFi Repeater Kit to get the range you need. We have a great explanation on the different options and how to pick the one that is best suited for your situation.

If camping or hiking is more your style, the Unity Plus LED Flashlight is one of the best or even the Power Vivid Pocket LED Flashlight. Long battery life and easy operation. Everyone will be asking where you got yours. They are an essential part of the camping or hiking pack.

Wherever your summer takes you, we hope you make the most of it!

We love a good story, and you guys have given us some great ones! Vacations are some of the best stories (sometimes for calamity). Tell us your favorite vacation story in the comments and be entered to win any one of the products mentioned above. One entry per person. Drawing will be held August 12th.

Congratulations to Jason Vanderveen who is the winner in our drawing for our blog post Summer is for Travel. Thanks to everyone who participated! ~Jessyca M.  from C. Crane