Another Switch of a Classical Radio Station from Commercial to Public – The total remaining number of commercial classical radio outlets in the U.S. has been further reduced to around 18 at the moment. Commercial classical stations in New York, Boston, Detroit, Seattle, LA, Washington D.C. and Miami have given up the paid advertising model because they just couldn’t attract enough advertisers. Classical KDFC—not long ago the No. 1 radio station in San Francisco, even over rock stations—was bought by The University of Southern California. It was the last commercial classical stations in the country still operated by a commercial radio company. (It achieved its top listenership with a programming policy best described by Peter Schickle as “All-Pachelbel All the Time.”) As with most of the other station switches, KDFC now broadcasts in the noncommercial band, on new less powerful frequencies (it has a poor signal in the San Jose area), while their old frequency has gone to commercial rock programming. One of the two new frequencies was formerly KUSF—the University of San Francisco public station—which is now confined to netcasting only. In spite of the frequency and coverage downgrades, most of the switched classical stations have done well and their programming is more varied; WQXR in NYC is now the top-rated station in all of public radio, according to Arbitron, as well as being a popular netcaster.
Reduce Your Overly-Bright TV – Video connoisseurs have long known that out of the box most TV displays are set for far too bright images—usually the “retail mode” in order to display the brightest most attention-getting image in the showroom. They either have a licensed expert come in and calibrate their new TV to ISF standards or use one of the popular video setup discs themselves. At the least it is simple to go to the Picture setting in your TV setup menu and turn down the brightness. In addition to providing a higher-resolution, more detailed and film-like image, dialing down the brightness also reduces electricity consumption—especially important with many plasma displays. Such a step could save you as much as $50 a year in electric bills.
HD Radio Still Struggling for Acceptance – In spite of most people not even knowing it exists, HD Radio (which does not stand for High Definition) continues to catch public interest. Kenwood has teamed up with the HD Radio Alliance to promote an instant-rebate $15 offer on a Kenwood CD receiver with built-in HD Radio, thru September 4. Spots are being carried on the Alliance’s 700 member stations, encouraging consumers to visit the HD radio website or Kenwood USA site for details on the promotion.
Nostalgic-Design Internet Radio – Grace Digital, maker of headphone amps, D-A processors and various networked audio products, has introduced their Victoria Nostalgic Internet Radio, combining “Old World charm with Cloud music.” It looks like a 1940s’ vintage large tabletop radio, with a Class D 16-watt amp and 4-inch mono speaker. It has Wi-Fi and integrated Pandora controls on its remote, and users can also download Grace’s own free remote control apps for iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone or Android smartphones or tablets. Content on the Victoria also includes SiriusXM, Rhapsody, NPR, Live365, CBS Radio, DAR.fm, WeatherBug and over 50,000 netcasters and podcasts. Music can be streamed to it from one’s computer or a USB thumb drive can plug in and play local audio files. It has a four-line adjustable backlit display, five alarm settings and 110 station presets. www.GraceDigitalAudio.com
Rememberance of the artist