What does Radio Mean?
Radio is a technological device, which carries information as sound waves (radio waves). Scientifically, it modulates the properties of electromagnetic energy through amplitude, frequency, &phase width. (1)
In fact, the term ‘radio’ comes from the Latin word ‘radius’, which means ‘spoke of the wheel or a beam of light/ray’. The French scientist Ernest Mercadier used it in communications in the year of 1881. Wherein, Alexander Graham Bell adopted the term ‘radio phone’ – meaning ‘radiated sound’ as another term for his transmission system ‘photo-phone optical’. However, not all those inventions were adopted widely. (2)
What is the Science Behind it?
An actual radio communication system requires a transmitter and a receiver wherein the radio waves strike the electrical conductor; hence, an oscillating field induces an alternate current in the conductor. It happens through each antenna with a suitable terminal device say for the microphone. The loudspeaker at the receiver end translates the information in terms of sound. Hence the radio works.
Radio devices in communication usage have a certain set of elements, which you will never come to know about it. With more than decades of development, each phase has a broad range of methods, experiments, implementations, and different levels of communication purposes.
Did You Know
The ‘Father of Radio’ is Guglielmo Marconi who sent the first radio transmission in 1896. The first transatlantic experimental radio communication happened in 1901 & 1902 by Marconi. However, in 1900, Reginald Fessenden made a weak transmitted voice over the airwaves. In 1903, Marconi helped the then US President Roosevelt in sending a radio message to Edward VII. Marconi won Nobel Prize for his dedicated contributions for the development of wireless telegraphy in 1909. (3)
By the way, you know who Marconi is. He is the great-grandson of John Jameson, the founder of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
However, before Marconi, few others indulged themselves in inventing the radio. They are Oliver Lodge, Nikola Tesla, and Heinrich Hertz who have good claims in their experiments.
The world’s first commercial radio station is KDKA broadcasting, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In fact, the 1920s was the period where radios were very popular. In the history of KDKA broadcasting, people loved hearing music and voices through receivers.
The UK Government passed an order for getting radio license for 10 shillings (50 paise) in the year 1922. Officially, with no license, no one was able to have a radio in the UK from the period of 1922 to 1971.
Edwin Howard Armstrong invented the first ever FM radio in 1939s. Families gathered in small groups at the nighttime to hear radio for entertainment activity. (4)
Appending below are the key interesting facts about radio, based out of a survey study:
- Upon weekly usage, online radio has a high growth trajectory
- Both AM & FM Radio have rapid growth; say for 245 million listeners/week approximately
- Apart from all other in-car audio options, AM & FM occupy the road travelers a lot
Why is Radio so popular?
However, the technology grows faster and travels farther in recent days, still millions of fans are there for radios. A statistics state that about 90% of Americans listen to the radio
for about more than 20 hours every day. Some people feel fresh and energetic when they tune of their most favorite station on early in the morning. It will be a surprise for us that if we look at the statistics stating that, most of the people across the world stay tuned on favorite stations throughout the day. Technology grows wider and faster, hence, you can have the best radios with more number of features.
As everyone starts their day by commuting, there starts their first listening to the radio. As one of the readily available and easy to access device, millions of people stick to radios still. Moreover, in today’s wide digital landscape radio plays a big place in everybody’s life and most particularly in the media platforms and marketing plans. Still, there is a red carpet welcome for AIR slots on the prime time. However, the happy news for the radio lovers is that radio still seeks many good ways to flourish and survive more.
Apart from being played in the cars, one uses on personal, homes et al, radios are also can be seen in few of the office environment. However, more than 90 years of existence as one of the commercial media, radio is still a broad reach that helps marketing strategy in a wide range.
Who can access the radio?
Anyone can access radio. Those either who love listening to radios, be it AM or FM start their day on early in the morning with radio only. People those who commute to office & back to home, or travel across roads scaling the beauty of the world, who take cars/cabs et al access radio.
There are different types of radios, and depend upon the usage requirement, people use it.
DAB (Digital) Radio
DAB is nothing but digital audio broadcasting. In other terms, it refers as digital radio or high-definition radio. Here in this DAB, the analog audio gets converted into a digital signal and transmitted on a fixed channel in either AM or FM frequency.
The actual working principle of DAB radios is that radio station creates a digital signal and analog signal at the same time. Once when the digital signal is compressed as I said in the above paragraph, the waves are broadcasted along with the analog signal. What is the beautiful concept here isthe high definition receiver has the capability of filtering out the interfering waves, which are reflecting off any obstacles.
There is one another type along with DAB, which is DAB+. DAB stands for digital audio broadcasting wherein it is in use across Asia, Europe, and Pacific regions. The only difference between DAB and DAB+ is that DAB is not much compatible in which DAB acts only as the receivers where not the capability of receiving DAB+ broadcasts has. (5)
Internet radio is also known as web radio, net radio, streaming radio, online radio, IP radio,and e-radio. It is a digital audio service, which transmits the signals through the internet. Broadcasting that happens through web/internet is known as webcasting, wherein it happens wirelessly. It requires either a stand-alone device or a single computer system, which has proper internet or Wi-Fi configuration.
Internet radios do not have any set of limitations in terms of distance coverage, file formats such as WMA, mp3, AA et al. Internet radios do not have any limit to audio transmissions, added to that it has features to add links and images that can share with the listeners in order to create chat box or messenger space.
The special about internet radio is that you can listen in real time to n numbers of air slots across the world. Added to it, you need to struggle with tuning the frequencies manually and there will be no weak signals or dodgy disturbances. (6)
However, internet radios allow you to catch up all the shows that went air already. A channel such as BBC allows you to listen to any program that went air even a month ago. The best radios on the internet to name a few are Pure Evoke F3, Roberts Stream 93i and Roberts I Stream 2.
As the name says, battery-powered radios are nothing but work in batteries. It comes with antenna and you can tune up to any number of channels that you like to hear. However, it is your responsibility to look for features such as a flashlight, LED, charging capacity, battery power, emergency dynamo, solar feature, AM/FM/WB kind of, USB charging port, public alert system, reading lamp, camping lamp, card speaker, et al as add-ons.
It is a portable one, wherein you can carry this cute little battery-powered radio wherever you travel.
Pocket radios are nothing but transistor radios, which work on transistor-based circuitry. It is small and is much easy to carry anywhere. It became one of the most popular electronic communication devices in the years of 1960s and 1970s. You should see for below-appending factors as key considerations:
- Pocket radios should have access to both AM & FM, shortwave and also should have NOAA weather bands
- It should have wireless & Bluetooth connectivity with interface controls
However since the 1980s, pocket radios are not much expensive and superseded by devices with high definition quality say for personal audio playing feature, portable CD playing feature, smartphones (eventually matching to current trend) and boom boxes where most of the music lovers love it.
Portable radios are nothing but what we discussed about internet radios and the pocket radios. In principle, portable radios are the ones that you can carry anywhere, which looks compact with many capable features.
Here comes the important type, weather radios are the ones that help you forecast the weather conditions. As per the technology’s rapid growth, it is now easy to predict the weather condition to be safe and alert all the time. However, when compared to television or the news, weather radio designed with special frequencies with hazard alert system. You can set the weather radio in silent even of your choice at a point so that it will alert you when there are any signals of hazard.
In principle, weather radios broadcast on VHF frequencies ranging from 162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz, wherein such broadcast does not have the capability of receiving signals on ordinary AM or FM. Added to these, there are many other receiver options from portable units to desktop models. (7)
Appending below are the few key factors that every weather radio must have, that you should see for while buying it.
- Tone alarm system (1050 Hz tone)
- SAME technology (Specific Alert Message Encoding)
- Selectable alerting of events, in which for defeat the siren or in other term known as ‘event blocking’
- Battery backup
- External antenna jack
- External device jack for special requirements such as bed shakers, strobe lights et al
Weather radios have active stations of total numbers 135 and total users 151 as per the recent study.
Which Features Do You Need?
As to the current trending technology, it is the best to look for features that match digital radio.
The alarm is one of the most important features, wherein it helps you waking you morning from the bed and in turn, it can refresh you with your favorite programs. Added to it, you can look for some different models that have multiple individual alarm types.
NFC and Bluetooth
NFC (Near Field Bluetooth) and Bluetooth are similar kinds wherein you can either stream music from your smartphone or tablet wireless. Keep in mind that radios with NFC or Bluetooth feature will synchronize easily to do or play any set of functions. You can also see some radios with aux input for wire stream connection.
In earlier radios, you would have come across the feature ‘dock’, in which it helps to slot your smartphone or any Mp3 player to play music. However, in recent kinds, it is much lesser in use now.
You can see few models of radios come with touchscreens instead of vintage type knobs and buttons. However, not for all, especially for those who have dexterity issues having a problem with controls. In addition, for kitchen radios, those who stand in the kitchen side all the days have an issue with adjusting the knobs when washing up the vessels or those who knuckle-down with dough in messy hands. Hence, the touchscreen looks like a boon for them to make their time happier with easy to use the feature.
Are you the one half-lazy bug to borrow a few more minutes to get up from your puffy bed in the morning? Then, you have to go for one feature – snooze button to be set in your radio. Ensure yourself that it is there while buying one for you.
However, it is not mandatory, but yes, are you a perfect person to keep the things properly in handling and maintaining. Then you must look for remote control feature while buying a radio for you. You can give your radio a super place in your living room, and carry the remote to operate it from either your dining table or while when love to take a small nap from your cushion. Keep in mind that, you should go for one prominent with labeled buttons. Few radio models allow you to download the application of ‘remote control’ feature to operate from your smartphone too.
A USB port is one that acts as a handy function to digital radio, wherein you can plug in with other devices easily to play for any other functions. You can charge your radio then or else reverse visa.
It is good to have the recoding function in your radio, in order to record any important or good programs, which is just like PVR on your television.
What is your Budget?
Budget is not mandatory until and unless you keep a fixed number. Ranging from many different brands in the market say for Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Pagario, Creto, Portronics, et al, it is your choice that to which you are going for.
Not only the price tag of the radio you should see, but it is also much more important that you need to see for the features whether it fulfills your requirement and for what exactly you are buying a radio. Say,for instance, some buy for the entertainment factor, hence, they may go for portable internet ones, and some require weather forecasting radios, wherein there isn number of factors have to see before buying it.
It is always the best advice to look for the latest radio reviews here, in which it gives you better ideas to finalize on your opinions.
What else is there to know? (Features)
I hope that we have discussed this topic earlier in the subject of features you need to look for while buying a radio. Added to it, what else you need to look for while buying a radio is nothing big, your affordability, how well you are going to use it. Because you should not dump, after a single use and it is more important than how often you clean it, which means servicing it.
Try repositioning the place in order to receive good signals and go for updates as per the latest technological versions.
Where to buy radios?
The market is there for you both offline and online. There are advantages in both the markets. You can look for reviews, specifications, and comparisons if you choose the online market. Added to those three, you can go for a trial if you choose the offline market. That is a little different.
Google is the first place that helps to showcase you the markets and brands in a ranking vice. It is always the best to discuss with your natural market – which means your friends, neighbors who own radios before you to get genuine feedback, as per my knowledge.
Happy radio buying!
Well, we have discussed and talked upon many topics. Now it is high time to step into the market to pick your choice. Love music, listen to talk shows and relax yourself and happy radio-ing.