radio

  • A look at broadcast history happening

    When I was a kid in the 1950s and early 1960s, AM was the ruling form of radio, and its transmitters were beyond obvious, taking the form of towers hundreds of feet high, sometimes in collections arranged to produce signals favoring some directions over others. These were landmarks out on the edges of town, or… Continue reading

  • Building a Relationship Economy

    In faith that nothing lasts forever, and that an institution that’s been around since 1636 is more likely to keep something published online for longer than one that was born in 1994 and isn’t quite dead yet (and with full appreciation to the latter for its continued existence), I’ve decided to re-publish some of my… Continue reading

  • My podcasts of choice

    As a follow-up to what I wrote earlier today, here are my own favorite podcasts, in the order they currently appear in my phone’s podcast apps: Radio Open Source (from itself) Bill Simmons (on The Ringer) Fresh Air (from WHYY via NPR) JJ Reddick & Tommy Alter (from ThreeFourTwo) The Mismatch (on The Ringer) The New… Continue reading

  • A half-century of NPR

    NPR, which turned 50 yesterday, used to mean National Public Radio. It still does, at least legally; but they quit calling it that in 2010. The reason given was “…most of our audience — more than 27 million listeners to NPR member stations and millions more who experience our content on NPR.org and through mobile… Continue reading

  • On the persistence of KPIG

    On Quora, William Moser asked, Would the KPIG radio format of Americana—Folk, Blugrass, Delta to modern Blues, Blues-rock, trad. & modern C&W, country & Southern Rock, jam-bands, singer/songwriters, some jazz, big-band & jazz-singers sell across markets in America? I answered, I’ve liked KPIG since its prior incarnation as KFAT.I’ve liked KPIG since its prior incarnation as… Continue reading

  • A toast to the fools standing high on broadcasting’s hill

    In Winter, the cap of dark on half the Earth is cocked to the north. So, as the planet spins, places farther north get more night in the winter. In McGrath, Alaska, at close to sixty-three degrees north, most of the day is dark. This would be discouraging to most people, but to Paul B.… Continue reading

  • Radio 2.x

    On Quora, somebody asks, How can the radio industry stay relevant in the age of streaming music and podcasts? Here’s my answer: It already is, if you consider streaming music and podcasting evolutionary forms of radio. But if you limit the meaning of radio to over-the-air broadcasting, the relevance will be a subordinate one to what’s happening… Continue reading

  • How the once mighty fall

    For many decades, one of the landmark radio stations in Washington, DC was WMAL-AM (now re-branded WSPN), at 630 on (what in pre-digital times we called) the dial. As AM listening faded, so did WMAL, which moved its talk format to 105.9 FM in Woodbridge and its signal to a less ideal location, far out… Continue reading

  • Vermont Public Radio rating wins, and the future of streaming & podcasting

    Public Radio: What is the best NPR station in the country? That’s a question on Quora I thought needed answering. So I did, with this: Here’s a quantitative answer to your qualitative question: WVPS of Vermont Public Radio. Because, in Nielsen’s Audio Ratings, it scores a 12.6 in its home market of Burlington, and a 16.2 in its neighbor market… Continue reading

  • How long will radio last?

    The question on Quora was How long does a radio station last on average? Here is my answer, which also addresses the bigger question of what will happen to radio itself. Radio station licenses will last as long as they have value to the owners—or that regulators allow them to persist. Call signs (aka call letters) come… Continue reading

  • About a pretty pole

    The tallest structure in Santa Barbara’s skyline is a (roughly) 200-foot pole painted red and white. It stands in a city equipment yard, not far from the ocean and the city’s famous Wharf. You can see it in the photo above, with the Wharf behind it. As landmarks go it’s not much, but I like… Continue reading

  • Digging in Radio.Garden

    Radio.garden is an amazing and fun discovery, perfect for infinite distraction during life in quarantine. (James Vincent in The Verge calls it “Google Earth for Radio.”) Here’s a list of just some discoveries I’ve made while mining that Earth with Shazam open on my phone: CIAU/103.1 in … not sure where this is, except in… Continue reading

  • Where Public Radio Rocks

    Where does public radio rock—or even rule? And why? To start answering those questions, I looked through Nielsen‘s radio station ratings, which are on the Radio Online site. I dug down through all the surveyed markets, from #1 (New York NY) through #269 (Las Cruces-Deming NM), and pulled out the top 31 markets for public… Continue reading

  • Bad and dead air

    That was yesterday. Hard to tell from just looking at it, but that’s a 180° shot, panning from east to west across California’s South Coast, most of which is masked by smoke from the Thomas Fire. We weren’t in the smoke then, but we are now, so there’s not much to shoot. Just something more… Continue reading

  • Still no serious coverage of pirate radio

    Here’s what I wrote about pirate radio in New York, back in 2013 . I hoped to bait major media attention with that. Got zip. Then I wrote this in 2015 (when I also took the screen shot, above, of a local pirate’s ID on my kitchen radio). I got a couple people interested, including one college student,… Continue reading

  • Where the nickname came from

    My given name is David. Family members still call me that. Everybody else calls me Doc. Since people often ask me where that nickname came from, and since apparently I haven’t answered it anywhere I can now find online, here’s the story. Thousands of years ago, in the mid-1970s, I worked at a little radio station owned… Continue reading

  • Defibrillating a dead horse

    Before we start, let me explain that ATSC 1.0 is the HDTV standard, and defines what you get from HDTV stations over the air and cable. It dates from the last millennium. Resolution currently maxes out at 1080i, which fails to take advantage even the lowest-end HDTVs sold today, which are 1080p (better than 1080i).… Continue reading

  • The best FM radio

    Somebody in Quora asked “Which is the best FM radio?” So far, mine is the only answer. It’s tops with a whopping 3 upvotes, out of 139 views. Not a lot of box office there. So I’ve decided to duplicate the answer here,, for whatever additional good it might do. I also added a bit,… Continue reading

  • Thought: mobile apps are just hors d’oeuvres

    Yesterday morning, while I was making curtados in the kitchen, I was also trying to listen to the radio. The station was WNYC, New York’s main public radio station. The program at the time was This American Life. Since the espresso machine is noisy when extracting coffee or steaming milk, I kept looking for the… Continue reading

  • The slow sidelining of over-the-air radio

    I’ve always loved AM radio. But it’s not a requited love. AM radios these days are harder to get, and tend to suck. The band is thick with electronic noise from things that compute (a sum of devices that rounds to everything). AM stations are falling like old trees all over the band, and all… Continue reading