A few weeks ago, I asked your opinion on what you would do if you could program a local station. Interestingly, a lot of responses didn’t address that question but instead reflected on radio listening habits, such as this one I thought I’d share from reader Mike Foulger:
“I am a big fan of AM-FM radio. My friends are like what you described in the recent OC Register article regarding commercials. And as you point out, that is what bugs me and makes me turn more to XM for music/talk radio.
“For AM, I want news, sports and talk radio. I only want opinion radio for the channels that state that, say KFI 640. But as you have discussed prior, KNX 1070 is the only news station but they are very opinionated and slanted and are an arm of CBS news (at least in their bias).
“Another issue you covered in prior articles is the weak signal some key stations have. Like ESPN Sports (KSPN, 710 AM), which is hard to hear in Orange County in the evenings.
“But I think most of my frustrations you outlined. If I hear the damn ‘Kars for Kids’ commercial (charity) or get the sense of it, I change the channel and might not come back. It is like nails on a chalkboard for me.
‘I like Mike Greenberg on KLAA (830 AM) around the 8 o’clock hour in the morning, but rarely listen, because I swear he has 45 minutes of commercials and the commercials breaks are ten minutes.
“When I listened to more FM, supplemented by podcasts at work, what bothered me was too much replay of the same music. I agree Go Country is great.
“My favorite station for my morning commute, if not Stuart Varney on Fox Business, is Full Ride on ESPNU with Chris Childers and Rick Neuheisel. Great stories, interviews and conversation. Plus, how can you not like a show where one anchor is called the Show Pony and has the attention span of a gnat. Thank you!”
Clock Radio Question
“I read your article months ago about HD tuners. I have a call into Sangean to discuss with them the features of the HDR-18 clock radio. I am not computer savvy but I would like to purchase a good radio and your article stated that Sangean is a good product for radios. Would you know if Sangean still sells this radio?” — Genny Tyler
I am a fan of Sangean. They make some great radios for long-distance reception, and the HD Radio tuners are well designed. The HDR-18 is still listed as a current model with a price of about $150 on Amazon at press time and mostly positive reviews.
HD Radio is the digital broadcasting system authorized in the United States, which sends a digital stream along with the regular analog signal that normal radios can pick up. The HD radio tuner decodes the stream, giving extra channels on many FM stations and arguably better sound on both AM and FM stations that broadcast in HD.
The problem is that few AM stations still use the HD system, and FM reception is often spotty in the home without an outdoor antenna. So while in the past, I would have recommended looking into it, I am now thinking that smart speakers and smartphones with apps is the better way to go. Almost all AM and FM stations (including the extra channels) stream their signals over the internet, and in most cases the apps actually work better.
That being said, this is considered a good radio with excellent sound and a good — though at night in a bedroom possibly overly bright — display. It also has two alarms and can play sound in stereo through the headphone jack. So anyone looking for a table radio or clock radio might consider it.
Streaming the Oldies
I’ll have a full ratings analysis next month when the September Nielsens are released, but I found something quite impressive that has been building over time and showing up even more in the last few months: streaming radio, especially when it comes to oldies, er, classic rock or whatever oldies stations like to call themselves these days.
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Over the past six months, KRTH’s (101.1 FM) only stream has averaged a 0.3 share, representing approximately 0.3 percent of the radio audience aged six and over turned to the online simulcast of their regular signal. Two of the months were 0.4!
To put that into perspective, there are some full-power over-the-air stations that earn that level or less. And if you combined the stream ratings with KRTH’s over-the-air ratings, the station would have been number one, rather than number two, in the August Nielsens released in early September.KRTH features the highest-rated stream in town. That’s impressive.