TiVo for the Radio

Back during the anxious buildup to Christmas, I posted about the single strangest development of married life: That of Ana checking my email. What irked me in particular was how she read an email I’d sent to myself, a sort of reminder to put the Griffin RadioShark on my Christmas list. Well, here we are four months later, and all has finally been forgiven.

Thanks to Ana’s snotty comment about the RadioShark to my family, my Secret Santa got the message, and shortly after Groundhog Day the device was delivered. I’ve waited ’til now to post my thoughts because I was on the fence about whether it was, as billed, “TiVo for the radio” or just another gizmo-of-the-moment, destined for the electronics scrap heap that is my closet. I’m happy to report that the RadioShark does indeed kick ass.

As a quick aside (actually a shameless Mann-family plug), if you’re not familiar with the idea of on-demand radio, you should check out my cousin Cam’s March 2005 Wiredarticle in the March ’05 issue of Wired. Titled “The Resurrection of Indie Radio,” it’s about how digital (HD) radio and on-demand radio have given DJs outside of Clear Channel’s empire a fighting chance. There was also a little sidebar about devices like RadioShark and programs like RadioTime, which allow you to record programs and — may the Royal We forgive me — save ’em to your iPod.

I love NPR, but I love this technology even more. It’s always seemed to me that “This American Life” is only broadcast at the most inconvenient, hard-to-remember times. For a while now, I’ve gotten around this by downloading the show from Audible.com, but it hardly seems fair to pay for public radio. Enter RadioShark. Now I can get not only TAL, but also “Fresh Air,” “On the Media,” and all the other goodies WHYY has to offer. Sure the gizmo lists at $70, but if you’ve got a procrastinating Secret Santa on your side, it’s free as a can be.

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