Friday, April 18, 2008

Broken Antenna III

I got the Sirius receiver installed today. The option to replace the FM antenna didn't work. The installer tried. The stereo wouldn't work with the third party antenna. The installer recommended paying the $450 to the dealer, if that's what I really wanted. I won't bore you with the horrendous experience I had at Circuit City (again), but I don't mind telling you the installer at Best Buy was fantastic. The installation was clean and well done. I was worried because I've seen some really bad hack jobs, but this guy was a pro. I got to talking with him and he used to own his own stereo installation business before working for Best Buy. The stress of owning his own business was too much and now he's much happier.

I got to walk around the area for two hours during the installation. It was a tour of the mass market. I went to a Michael's and was overwhelmed by the selection. I had never been to one. What an amazing store! I'll be building my D&D dioramas with junk from this store and I'll be sending customers to Michael's for related stuff. Target in my areas sells a full selection of mass market games, along with a growing number of specialty games that started in our stores. Both the Target and local Barnes & Noble have an unusually large game selection. I'm guessing it's because the area lacks a game store. This was Pinole, and the closest store is Games of Berkeley, about 10 miles and 30 minutes away. If I thought multiple stores was a smart thing, I would put one in Pinole.

As for Sirius, I bought the Sportster 5.
My (boring) Presets:
  1. NPR Now
  2. NPR Talk
  3. BBC World Service News
  4. CNN Headline News
  5. Bloomberg Radio
  6. CBC Radio One
  7. World Radio Network
  8. Alt Nation
  9. Lithium
  10. Kids Stuff


  1. I may have to look at getting satellite radio. I've avoided it until now, but the local public radio station is 90% classical music and only 10% NPR and I'm starting to have withdrawals.

  2. I've had Sirius before in my Dodge Magnum. I picked it up in Cleveland and drove it back here to save thousands of dollars. We have XM in the store for the soundtrack station, a cheaper alternative than going "legit" with $900+ in licensing fees.

    The problem I have with satellite radio is the disconnected sense of place. I don't have TV service and I use the Internet for my news, so removing local radio completely disconnects me from the local community. I recall driving through Monument Valley, in the middle of nowhere, still listening to the same NPR station I had pre-set in Cleveland. At least then I could have listened to AM or FM if I wanted.

  3. Oh yeah, and another odd disconnect is driving across the country on vacation and listening to the SF traffic station every once in a while, appreciating that you're NOT there.

  4. Back in the good old days, our local public radio station used to play a lot of classical music. They also had Dick Estelle - who read novels aloud (the show is now called "Radio Reader", but used to be called "Book Time" or something like that) - in the late afternoon/evening. I used to love listening to that, along with "All things considered" when I was in school.
    Now, they repeat an hour of news for several hours in the morning, have talk shows all day, and then have "all things considered".

    I miss the days when NPR meant culture, not just another "newstalk" radio station.

  5. I have nothing against classical music, but I don't like to listen to it while I'm driving (unless it's ride of the valkyries).

    There still is a classical music public radio station that can be picked up in the bay area, it just doesn't have exactly the same coverage as KQED. I forget where it broadcasts from exactly, but IIRC it was a university based station. I listened to it sometimes when I was at home.

  6. KCSM out of San Mateo?

    In my experience, in smaller markets, NPR has a lot of classical or jazz music. This is because some is in the public domain, and licensing is cheaper for it than "pop" music.

    I miss shows I listened to in GA and KY on small NPR stations - Chinwag Theater (short stories for kids), The Thistle and Shamrock (Celtic music), and Radio Reader.

    I was in San Diego one April Fool's weekend, and the local NPR station played non-stop Led Zep all weekend as their "April Fool's" joke.
    I just can't see KQED ever doing anything that fun.

  7. Personally, I really love KQED and it's as close to my ideal of a perfect radio station as I've found. The Sirius NPR stations aren't a replacement. I guess I like all the features that you're wishing weren't there. Marketplace is one of my favorites. Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion on the weekends. Michael Krasne, although painfully academic, continually blows me away by his encyclopedia knowledge. NPR news is a fair and balanced source of information, at least on my personal spectrum. I enjoy the quirks of the local DJ's over the years.

    As for Led Zeppelin, one thing that gave me a moments pause when choosing Sirius was the Led Zeppelin channel on XM.

  8. It quite possibly was KCSM, I don't recall the call letters, but San Mateo sounds right.

    I'm sure that the classical music programming is very much an economic choice. It's basically free to the stations when compared to the other programs that can cost quite a bit of money to air.

    I'm not a big fan of NPR's weekend programming, and that includes Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion. Naturally, most of the NPR programming that KUAF has is concentrated on the weekend, the one time I wouldn't mind some classical music :-P

  9. With the occasional exception of portions of "Guy Noir", Prairie Home Companion is one of the worst radio programs I've ever been forced to listen to.

    I do enjoy "Car Talk", and "This American Life", while inconsistent in quality of themes, is the best long format radio news feature program currently in production.
    "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" can be good, but never with Paula Poundstone as a panelist.

    KQED also has the longest, most demanding, and most annoying pledge drives ever.

  10. Speaking of pledge drives, KPCC and KCRW down in LA both do something good: They set a goal for the day (something outlandish like $200,000), and if they hit that goal, they stop the pledge drive and return to regular programming.

    About 2 days out of the 10 they are running their pledge drives they hit it.

    The local NPR station here in Santa Barbara/Ventura doesn't do that, and man I wish they did.

    I'm not a fan of Prairie HC either, but I saw it live once, and that is a blast - recommended.

    Marketplace is my favorite, but the show that directly precedes it here is terrible, called Here and Now.