TechMan always has been a devotee of radio. One of my fondest childhood memories is listening to a radio I had just received as a gift while playing a Monopoly marathon with friends.
As a teenager, my buddies and I would listen at night when we could hear WLS and WCFL in Chicago, WABC in New York and WFIL in Philly, now a Christian station. They had the best on-air personalities and played the newest music.
In college, we listened to WZUM in Pittsburgh, especially when it changed formats at noon - from polka to underground rock. You haven't lived until you hear a Frankie Yankovic song segue into Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze."
I always was interested in shortwave radio and remember receiving a new shortwave for Christmas in the early 1990s and being able to listen to the dissolution of the Soviet Union live on Radio Moscow.
Desiring to get more stations, I rigged a wire antenna in the back yard.
Was I a radio nerd?
But then came Internet radio and swept it all away.
Now, using your home WiFi network and one of a plethora of Internet radios on the market, you can listen to whatever you want from wherever you want.
A few facts:
I have a Logitech Squeezebox Boom, but there are good radios available from Sanyo, Sangean, Grace and other companies. Prices range between $100 and $300 with good radios selling for $200. Look on the Internet or in your local electronics store.
Most of these devices consist of speakers, an amplifier of some sort and a tuner. Sound quality will vary, but my unit has surprisingly good sound for a relatively small device.
Don't confuse an Internet radio with a digital radio. A digital radio can pick up digital signals from the air. An Inernet radio connects to the Internet through your wireless network and plays streaming audio.
An Internet radio has no storage. You can't download songs to it like an iPod. It's a player that can access a multitude of sources.
In the old shortwave days, TechMan would have to twiddle the dial until he finally tuned in a station. Often he would have to listen through static and a wavering signal to discover which station he had tuned in. Granted this was part of the fun, but if you wanted to listen to a specific station, it could be a pain.
On an Internet radio, you simply pick "Internet" on the digital "dial," then select "world," a country, a city and a station and you are listening to that station over the Internet, crystal clear.
And that is true of stations anywhere, including one in Antarctica.
For example, I listened to Christmas Eve mass on Vatican Radio.
You can save stations as favorites for quick access or assign them to a numbered button on the radio. And you can add any station to your favorites by entering the URL of its Web broadcast site.
Local stations are also available, as are their digital subchannel streams. WDUQ for example has a digital subchannel that is all NPR.
For music fans, Internet radio is Nirvana. Not only can you listen to music from all over the world, but you can download music apps that allow you to set up your own "personal radio station."
These include applications such as Last.fm, Pandora and Napster. You punch the name of an artist into your radio and the application will play music from that artist plus music of similar style from the same era.
For example, I have a station built around "The Band" and I get Neil Young, Leon Russell, Crosby Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan and others, often tracks that I have not heard before.
Your dial displays the name of the track and the artist. You also can listen to audio podcasts.
If that is not enough, you can stream any MP3s or other format music you have stored on your computer hard drive. Because your computer is on your home wireless network and so is your Internet radio, the two of them can connect. You probably will have to download a piece of software (free) to do this.
All in all, that little black box sitting on the shelf with its dial glowing makes the heart of a radio nerd beat a little faster.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10150/1061571-96.stm#ixzz0pQT8RYYH
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