This year I’ve put together an eclectic list of gifts for broadcast, podcast or online radio fan (or nerd). Remember that you give a little gift to Radio Survivor, too, when you buy any of these items–or any product at all–through Amazon using one of our links.
Give a Little Bluetooth
I’ve been using the Samsung HM1700 bluetooth headset not just to make calls, but also to listen to podcasts because it supports music streaming with most smartphones. It’s great for listening while cooking, doing housework, riding public transport or going for a walk because there’s no cord to get tripped up on, and it leaves one ear free so that you’re not totally cut off from what’s going on around you.
A portable bluetooth speaker is the best way to turn your smartphone or tablet into a on-the-go sound system. Cambridge Soundworks’ Oontz Angle is small enough to toss in a backpack without thinking twice, while also delivering above-average sound quality for its size.
Radios for Emergencies and Global Connection
Everyone should have an emergency radio on hand for power and cell service outages. Since batteries eventually run out, a wind-up and solar powered receiver like the C Crane CC Solar Observer is a fantastic choice from a company that makes nice radios to stay updated in almost any circumstance.
A good shortwave radio can provide hours of entertainment and global information, especially when your internet, cable or cell service is on the fritz. The Tecsun PL–660 is a highly regarded receiver that includes world shortwave bands from a company that manufacturers radios for other more well-known brands.
Listening and Viewing
WTF: First 100 Episodes – If you missed the first episodes of Marc Maron’s iconic WTF podcast when they were first published, then you missed out on podcast history being made (really). Lucky for the podcast or comedy fan in your life, those first hundred are all available on a DVD for convenient listening.
Comedy Bang Bang: Season 1 – Making the transition from podcast to TV show can’t be easy. But Comedy Bang Bang pulled it off, translating its rollicking free-form improv ’cast into a tight 22-minute show that retains its trademark zaniness and sense of spontaneity without seeming sloppy or stilted. This one doesn’t get released on DVD until January, but you can get instant video downloads right now.
Reads for Listeners
MP3: The Meaning of a Format by Jonathan Sterne – Who thought that the development of an audio format could be so interesting? Admittedly, I’m kind of the target audience, but Sterne, a professor at McGill University, has written an engaging history of the ideas that resulted in the ubiquitous MP3, situating it as a social, not just technological, process.
Radio’s New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era, edited by Jason Loviglio and Michelle Hilmes. This book is in many ways an update to 2003’s The Radio Reader, to which I contributed a chapter on the death and resurrection of low-power radio. Radio’s New Wave charts the medium’s evolution in the internet age with contributions from some of the top scholars studying radio today.
Attempting Normal by Marc Maron – This choice features a little more levity than the first two books, albeit punctuated with the popular podcaster’s brutal honesty and cutting wit.
Tasteful Nudes by Dave Hill – Hill is also a podcaster and stand-up, and this book is a collection of frequently hilarious and mostly-autobiographical essays that are steeped more in the absurd, which is an element of Hill’s podcast and stage persona that you’re not always sure is a persona.
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