I tweeted this last week, and it was retweeted heavily, with a lot of radio people posting “I told you so!” and “I’ve been saying this for ages!”; and a few online radio companies jumped to self-promote themselves as part of the all-IP future.
Calm down, everyone.
First, as a former senior manager at the BBC, I’d start with the seemingly trite statement that whenever you hear “we” coming from a BBC manager in a speech, what they really mean is, firstly, “my department”, and secondly, in most cases, they also mean “television”. Indeed, there is no mention of radio in the section of Matthew’s speech which talks about an all-IP future.
“Ultimately, we don’t belong in the world governed by time,” says Michael Cremo, a guest on KNWZ, a radio station in Palm Springs, California. “As beings of pure consciousness, we are essentially timeless.” It is around two thirty A.M. in Palm Springs and around eleven thirty A.M. in Paris, where I am tidying my apartment. Cremo is talking about the end-time, which he thinks could well be imminent, but his point is relevant to the experience of listening to local radio from somewhere I am not. I love listening to radio, but sometimes I don’t want to listen to a particular station, genre, or category. Sometimes I want to listen to a time of day. Which is, of course, entirely possible thanks to the rise of online streaming at the expense of older analogue broadcast methods. If I am feeling afternoony in the morning, I can leave the world that is “governed by time” and join whichever community of radio listeners—in Mumbai, Perth, or Hong Kong—is currently experiencing three P.M. The optimism of a morning show somewhere to my west offers a fresh beginning to a day that’s become lousy by midafternoon, whereas the broadcasts of early evening, burbling across the towns and cities to my east, can turn my morning shower into a kind of short-haul time machine past those hours in which I’m expected to be productive. But for the loosest and strangest of broadcast atmospheres, I am drawn most often to the dead of night, to the so-called graveyard shift. That low-budget menagerie of voices and music is concocted to serve an unlikely fellowship of insomniacs, police officers, teenagers, and bakers—and cheats like me, tuning in from afar to behold radio’s closest equivalent to the Arctic Circle.
“When you listen to radio, you are a witness of the everlasting war between idea and appearance, between time and eternity, between the human and the divine,” Herman Hesse writes.[…]
It’s rare that I read something in the press that so directly speaks to my own personal relationship with radio.
While, of course, I still prefer listening to shortwave radio, international broadcasts are designed with a global audience in mind; in a sense, they’re timeless and gloss over our global time zones.
Internet radio streaming brings in the local and actually provides more community context. And, of course, while a country might only have one international broadcaster, it could literally have hundreds of local stations–some catering to very small communities.
I’m certainly guilty of time zone surfing with WiFi/Internet radio, I just didn’t realize others did it too! Even in the mornings (since the demise of my shortwave staple Radio Australia), I typically listen to CBC St. John’s, Newfoundland. They’ve got an excellent morning show and they’re 1.5 hours ahead of my time. When I wake at 5:00 AM, I listen to the world report and the CBC local staff are pulling out some of their best morning programs.
Then anytime between 3:00 or 6:00 PM, I’ll tune through one of a number of New Zealand or Australian stations. Because it’s morning there, the presenters seem to have a spring in their step.
If you read the full article in The Paris Review, you’ll also note that the author Seb Emina and the artist Daniel John Jones created “a perpetual morning-radio aggregator” called Global Breakfast Radio.
Insomniacs across the world give the nod to John Watson, who has ambient music producers queueing up to feature on his channel
John Watson is the first to admit that his DJ skills put people to sleep. Luckily for him, that is the point.
For the past four years Watson, who lives in the tiny New Zealand township of Te Aroha, has been broadcasting to the world. But instead of seeking an engaged listenership, Watson wants those who tune into his station to literally fall asleep. And they do.
People from as far away as Afghanistan, Israel, Russia, Hungary, Taiwan and Puerto Rico log on to Watson’s station Sleep Radio. Someone in Prague has been listening for three days straight.
The idea of a radio station that sends listeners to sleep came to Watson after he had a heart attack 10 years ago. Following five coronary artery bypasses he began to suffer from chronic depression and insomnia.
“I never used to have trouble going to sleep but now I was lying awake watching the sun rise and feeling like a zombie,” he said.[…]
Bills head to Senate accompanied by applause from stakeholders
The House has unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act, a compromise bill that creates a framework for better compensating artists for digital plays of their music and making it easier for music rights organizations to collect those fees from distributors of streamed music like Pandora and Spotify, as they do from traditional plays on TV and radio.
The bill has been billed as the most significant change in music licensing laws in decades, and drew praise from a chorus of stakeholders. It now heads to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.
It actually incorporates a trio of bills. The base Modernization Act creates a single licensing entity for reproduction rights for digital uses, like those of Spotify, Pandora, Google, Apple and Amazon. It also randomly assigns judges to preside over ASCAP and BMI rate-setting cases, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following article from The Sydney Morning Herald (my comments follow):
Australians like AM radio, but it’s just about impossible to find a good quality digital radio with AM. Lots of digitals get FM, so why no AM?
It’s because Australia is an unusual market for radios. We’re not like Asia, Europe, Japan and America where practically all radios are designed and manufactured. These places have large populations in high densities, and one population hub is seldom far from the next. The range limitations of both digital and FM are seldom an issue.
But in Australia we have digital broadcasting only in the capital cities, meaning Brisbane’s digital radio stations are 900 kilometres from the next nearest in Sydney, leaving about 800 kilometres of dead air between. Digital can’t even hold between Sydney and Canberra. FM lasts a bit longer, not much. But with good old AM you can listen to Darwin from the Nullarbor Plain when the conditions are right. Through vast tracts of Australia if you don’t have AM you don’t have radio.
So Gary Tye’s challenge when he took on distribution of the Tivoli brand was to convince people in Boston that Australians will actively seek out and buy a digital radio with AM. They took a lot of convincing.
And so the $449 Tivoli Model One Digital is now available with AM, as well as FM and digital. But only in Australia. Caravanners around this wide brown land will rejoice; there’s at last a good sounding digital radio that will work anywhere.
[…]The sound quality is, as a very honest department store salesman observed, good but not great. I remember the original as being better. The bass can become ragged down low and the definition gets a bit fuzzy at high volumes, but for filling a study, a kitchen or indeed a caravan with good music the Tivoli does an entirely respectable job. It’s not on a par with a Wave Radio but it costs half as much and sounds better than the vast bulk of radios, be they digital or analogue. And it has AM.
It also has Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Wi-Fi to get internet radio. There’s Bluetooth and you can hook in your phone or music player with a cable to the 3.5 mm auxiliary input.
I owned the original Tivoli Model One and loved it. I recently gave it away while thinning the herd here at SWLing Post HQ. Though it was an elegant, simple radio with excellent audio characteristics, so is my Como Audio Solo which essentially replaced the Model One.
While the Model One Digital is appealing in many respects, reviews are lukewarm at best. Customers complain about the proprietary app, the audio being too heavy on processed bass and the overall performance not matching that of its predecessor.
While the Model One Digital is a “WiFi” radio, it doesn’t seem to connect to any of the streaming radio station aggregators we radio enthusiasts rely on to tune to our favorite obscure local stations on the other side of the planet. It appears to only connect to paid music streaming services and one’s own local digital library (though please correct me if I’m wrong about this!).
Post readers: Any Tivoli Model One Digital owners out there? I’d love to read your reviews!