Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The new shortwave

Before during and after World War II, listening to shortwave radio -- dropping in on what was up a world away -- was all the rage.

If what was on the Omaha airwaves was just too boring. well, let's see whether Radio Moscow is worth a few socialistic laughs and giggles. Alternatively, you might find less ironic enjoyment from the BBC World Service or Radio Netherlands International.

AND IF THERE was a crisis somewhere on the globe, maybe you could pull in a broadcast from the thick of the action through the static as the signal came and went.

Shortwave radio was exotic. Shortwave radio was romantic. Shortwave radio helped you escape the ordinariness of your ordinary old American town.

It's a new century now, and what's left of the Omaha airwaves is more boring than anyone ever could have imagined in 1958. I'm serious, here. Radio nut that I am, I'm pining for those comparatively exciting days when KFAB was spinning vinyl like the Mills Brothers' "Cab Driver." Or maybe even some 101 Strings or Jerry Vale.

But there is escape today via Internet radio . . . the new shortwave. And, lo, manufacturers are starting to advertise 'Net radio the same way they sold us shortwave well over half a century ago.

I mean, listen to this from Tivoli Audio:
When Tivoli Audio CEO Tom DeVesto and his team of engineers set out to create the next generation of home audio, they began with a simple question: What would the ideal radio do? The new Tivoli Audio NetWorks radio is the answer to that question. Taking advantage of broadcasting over the Internet, NetWorks delivers crystal-clear reception of any radio station, near or far, with no need for a computer. NetWorks allows listeners to tune in to Italian Opera from Milan, rock music from New York City, or any specialty, niche radio station from any location in the world in its native language, and in real time.
BETTER YET, watch:

THE BIG DIFFERENCE between now and then, though, is that you didn't have to sell your daughters into white slavery to buy that RCA shortwave table radio way back there then. There are, of course, well-heeled folk today who wouldn't think twice about dropping anywhere from $599 to $750 on an Internet table radio.

I, however, am not one of them. Me, I got no frame of reference for that kind of thing.
I also got no daughters to sell into white slavery.

Running audio cables from my computer to my stereo will just have to suffice. Either that or firing up the old shortwave set atop the bookcase.

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