City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

From crystals to satellites

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Doc Searls reminisces about crystal radios and old-timer radio headphones:

"My father, pictured to the left there, was born in 1908, and was a teenager when radio took off, much like the Net did in the late 1990s, complete with the speculative boom. I remember Pop telling me about listening with a crystal radio receiver, which involved a coil made by wrapping wire around a cylindrical quaker oats container."

I have a vague memory of making a crystal radio when I was a kid too.

While we’re stuck on this dial, there’s an discussion at 37 Signals as to which satellite radio to get. I’m intrigued by this as we don’t have it here in the UK. The UK’s digital radio technology is digital audio broadcasting (DAB), which has its own benefits. But I can tell there’s a big buzz around satellite radio in the states at the mo’ – anybody care to comment on the user experience and offering?

Doc Searls: The More Things Stay The Same
Signal vs. Noise: XM vs Sirius satellite radio… Which one?


2 responses to “From crystals to satellites”

  1. Frankie Roberto Avatar

    Satellite radio does exist in the UK. Firstly there’s the radio stations that are transmitted over the digital satellite TV network, many of which are broadcast unecrypted. However, these do require a fixed sky dish and a digital receiver.
    In pure radio terms, there’s the Worldspace network, which broadcasts a range of radio services on satellites aimed at whole contintents. The ‘AfriStar’ satellite currently covers Africa, the middle east and most of Europe (see Coverage maps). Services come from a range of networks, including the BBC and Radio Caroline. Many of the channels come free, but they’re due to launch a premium subscription service, er, this month…
    Radios available from World Space Radios.


  2. andrew Avatar

    From listening to sat rad a couple times in a co-worker’s car on the way to lunch, it strikes me that it’s appealing in the way that internet radio was at first: deeper exposure to smaller genres and no waiting for artist information (i.e. none of that “maybe they’ll announce who that was four songs ago, right after the next song.”)
    Compared to the total awfulness that is commercial US radio, it’s amazing.


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