The future of radio?

It’s like this. We have a radio in the bathroom that’s used every time M or Z are in residence there, which is twice a day at least. It is an Sony ICF-M770S, battery operated, 3 band, turn to tune old fashioned radio with seven preset buttons.


Nothing amazing then but just what we need. Trouble is that it must be about ten years old now and a number of the buttons are not connecting very well, or at all, so we went hunting for a new one. Well good luck with that idea!

We tried all the usual suspect shops none of which had anything similar, with presets. The choice generally was very slim with at best 3-4 models on offer of which only one looked like it had any sort of quality.

Judging by what we’ve seen, the days of this kind of radio are dead or dying and the attitude of most of the shop assistants was “why on earth would you want one of those?”. The future it seems is mostly aimed at playing tunes you’ve got stored on an iPod or if you insist on listening to the radio, outside of your car, then it must be streamed from the interweb thingy.

We will be in the UK in February and will renew our search for an old fashioned radio when we get there.

In the meantime I got to wondering about streamed radio and decided to experiment. I fumbled around in dark cupboards and found the unused JBL Radial and M’s now redundant iPhone 4. Stripped the iPhone of all unnecessary apps, photos and whatnot, updated the IOS to 7.04, downloaded and installed a radio app called Radium, found BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and a few others and started enjoying streamed radio in the study. As I type, listening to one of Johnny Walker’s “Long Players” that features an interview with Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue.

Radium, using the iPhone and our home wi-fi, does a great job of searching for and streaming the programmes. The JBL Radial has always been a very fine player in terms of sound quality. Not as portable as some but my criteria for selection all those years ago were sound quality, sound quality and sound quality. The combination of the two is considerably better than the old Sony but as the JBL is wired to the mains (and often sends out sparks when you plug it in!) we won’t be getting it anywhere near water.

And the morals of the story are;

  • if something you want is not available any more, ask yourself why and find out what has replaced it
  • experimentation is a good thing
  • try to find alternative uses for old but good gadgets / hi fi
  • every cloud has a silver lining!



4 thoughts on “The future of radio?

  1. Yes, I think we’ll find something in the UK that’s good enough for the job. Funny, we were listening to a New York based radio station called IheartRadio although it comes up as being called Z100 in the app.

  2. Among the radio listening classes, Roberts radios seem to be the established favourite, though weather that is a choice based on merit or conservatism is less clear.. We have an ancient Sony ghetto blaster in the kitchen with manual tuning. It is generally used only for Desmond Carrington’s music programme on Radio Two at 7 pm on Friday night. Does the job, and can also play cassettes!

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