My New Car Radio…

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  • #6071
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    …is actually an old Droid 4 phone. I’m going to get the stock radio in my Kia replaced, but not for a while.

    Need to do some research and think about what I want to put in there that isn’t so distracting as most units these days are. Speakers in that car are pretty nice, but the stock audio isn’t.

    So… A while back, I mused over setting a car up to fetch programming and just deliver it when a person is driving.

    Turns out, the old phone is just great for this, and it’s got the basic EQ / Processing needed to make the most of the stock audio.

    Ended up just leaving it in there, once I retired it from phone service. It’s setup for wi-fi calls now, and it can Bluetooth pair with a lot of different devices. If I want to stream live, I do it with the new phone hotspot; otherwise, it syncs up anytime it’s near a wi-fi it’s setup to access.

    A little time spent on Stitcher Radio results in a great set of shows, talk, music, whatever, all queued up and ready to go. Streams via iHeart, or direct link to stream source are cake, and setup nicely.

    Really, I’ve not actually used a real radio for driving for sometime now and I’m not missing too much. Once in a while, I’ll be in the truck, and I’ll listen a little, and it’s noisy. Not signal quality noisy, just NOISY. Content to AD ratio is just the wrong side of “not worth it”, with a few exceptions.

    If you’ve got an older, but still useful smartphone, leaving it setup and in the car works very nicely. And a little work on the home screen results in a few quick button presses to get the programming desired with only minor hassles. Recommended.

    At some point, I’ll install a better audio system, and I’ll tune KNRK + NPR as I did, and sometimes do now, but having such a nice, easy setup is definitely taking the pressure off to do that. A couple of the HD2’s remain attractive too.

    I’ll not do Sat radio. Thought about it for a while, but no go. The quality trade-offs and cost just don’t play out for me well. Nice choices –too bad about the sound overall. Most streams and podcasts are reasonable, and those don’t cost me anything, or if they do, it’s a small amount worth it for good programming, and that amount goes to the little guy.

    Looks like I’ll continue with Terrestrial Broadcast with mostly stream / podcast for the time being.

    #6085
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    I love music in the car, and since the majority of radio stations don’t offer any music worth listening to I bring my own. My car is old (’98) and has a 6 CD changer/cassette/AM/FM/Weather radio that is quite good (Alpine/HK). When not listening to CD’s, I keep track of the Portland metro radio stations (that takes only about 5 minutes). Sometimes I will DX the mid channels. I would offer a percentage of about 5 to 7 percent of content available on the metro stations is worth listening to, and that is spread out over about 8 to 10 percent of the channels available. There is no one station that is tolerable all the time anyway. Unfortunately, that is not the kind of radio I grew up with, contributed to, and find sorely lacking in the current environment. Yes, a station that you can tune in anytime and enjoy without having to tolerate bad songs, worn to death songs, badly done talk radio (I think talk radio is mostly worthless because one person’s point of view just isn’t that valuable. I know a good lecturer when I hear one and talk radio hosts rarely can achieve that level) or bush league sounding wannabes that are never going to work in the industry down the road. I haven’t picked up on audiobooks because I do tire of hearing one voice for very long and also because most of my travel these days is short trips. Besides, I still prefer reading than being read to. I pick the CD’s for my car with care so I can listen to them three or four times through (6 CD’s fit in the changer) before I really get bored with them. I combine regular album CD’s with mix CD’s that I make on my own. It’s when I am finally bored with the CD’s that I scan the dials, reaffirm that my favorite stations of old still suck and are playing overplayed music from yesteryear or pop slop that isn’t worth my time or new music that should remain unknown because it is really bad. I could group all the stations in these categories but don’t wish to give them credit for being as bad as they are or even discuss it. I would probably listen to satellite radio if I had it and wanted to pay for it, but most of that stuff that I want to hear I already have in my own collection. Radio is dead. It died in 1996 when the government gave the industry to the big money players who are now in control for just about 20 years. KXRY is the leading tip of a new group of possibilities coming to the market but won’t be available all over the metro, but it will make scanning the dial a little more interesting for a while. It will be interesting to see what groups like Free Form and Portland Radio Project put together, and probably about half of the soon to be on the air LPFM’s will catch some interest. It’s sad that some of them like the Western Oregon Radio Club (KISN-LPFM) are going in the opposite direction, using canned formats that are old, out of favor in a big way, and offer very little to anyone but a small group of very old men that think teenage pop hits of the 50’s and 60’s are going to appeal to anyone but. Sad. It’s also worth noting that the local translators are completely worthless, bringing nothing interesting to the dance either. Religious broadcasters continue to prove that you can serve a small group of well heeled underwriters and ignore the needs of the community with no consequence. Commercial broadcasters are now doing the same thing since ’96, just replace the word “underwriters” with “sponsors.”

    I am not surprised that automobile manufacturers are in a conundrum over what to do about entertainment equipment in their future models. Pretty soon it will all be optional. They will probably do away with anything being standard equipment and in fact if you buy a bare bones sedan with the lowest trim package, it may include no radio at all and just a WiFi package for your phone. After all, historically what were options in the past have become standard in plenty of instances.

    #6092
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    I won’t completely go down the road (pun intended) of complaining about everything on broadcast radio. However, the stations I find myself attracted to are out-of-town AM signals that “normal” people would not enjoy. These include KOMO 1000, CBR 1010, KSL 1160, and sometimes KKOH 780.

    On the whole, I don’t find that having more choices translates to more overall quality. YouTube offers many choices, and much of the stuff offered is crap. I won’t put KXRY on a pedestal because I have been dismayed by some of the programming there. I recently tuned in, on two occasions, only to find this horrible avant-garde ambient noise “music” that sounded almost like radio static. I hope that the other LPFM groups don’t feel tempted to program stuff like this.

    #6094
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    That’s what I meant by there is no one station that is doing such a bang up job I can listen to it all the time. That ambient crap on XRAY for sure drives people away, but community programmed radio is bound to have a percentage of useless programming because their aim is to be eclectic. The community model is quite limited, and KBOO has proven time and time again that too many people on staff and too much diversity of programming is not such a great thing. The best non comms don’t use the community program model. On the other hand, when you are managing a station with limited coverage, inconsistent programming isn’t going to hurt you all that much.

    #6095
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    Limited range does make the station a highly opportunistic thing.

    I am maybe 2 of 5 for good experiences.

    Of course there is the stream, but setting up for a stream means picking from any stream at that point.

    …where that programming choice does hurt.

    #6098
    paulwalker
    Participant

    “sorry for taking the liberty, Paulwalker”. Not sure where that reference comes from, but I would be interested just for my own edification.

    #6099
    jr_tech
    Participant
    #6100
    paulwalker
    Participant

    Yes, Jr tech, where did I trash talk here? Or are you just showing that I didn’t? To bring this post up, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    #6102
    jr_tech
    Participant

    Huh? I just answered your question, I did not originally bring up the post.

    #6103
    paulwalker
    Participant

    OK, sorry. I actually thank you as you brought up a post where I was actually positive about the Ducks post.

    #6219
    Dan Packard
    Keymaster

    Nice overview KSKD of setting up a dedicated car media device. I think the web online aggregators like Stitcher, iHeart and TuneIn will become more important to get us to what we want to hear. However, it’s still difficult to get a solid interrupt free stream connection on most cell services, that i’ve used, while cruising around in my automobile (or bicycle).

    So local radio still has the coverage benefit, even if the programming can sometimes be just ghastly.

    #7285
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Now this looks interesting. Clearly more dough then an old Droid beater, but hey, it’s only two grand. I’ll bet the tuner in it is top notch. For that price, it better be. Imagine, a 9″ in dash screen. But, alas, you still would have to go through the phone to get a stream but you could put the phone in the glove box.

    http://www.radioworld.com/article/alpine-shipping–inch-dash-systems-for-ram-trucks-toyota-tundra/274566

    http://wwv.crutchfield.com/p_500X009U/Alpine-X009U.html?tp=20212&awkw=75839050225&awat=pla&awnw=g&awcr=48679670905&awdv=c

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