How, my loyal reader(s), are you currently listening to radio? (You are listening, aren't you?) If you don't have a working radio, or are bored/underwhelmed with what you have, and if you have even just a touch of radio geekiness within you - just a tad! - I would very much like to recommend this adorable little radio. I got it a few days ago, and I'm head-over-heels in love...
It's called the Grundig Mini World 100 PE, it can fit in your pocket, and is currently being discounted at Radio Shack stores for $20 plus tax; here are reviews (admittedly radio geek reviews, but still useful). First, it gets AM reception really well. In Manhattan, I can easily hear Danny Stiles' fantastic 8-10 pm weeknight show from Paterson's WPAT 930, and WWRL 1600's oft-wimpy signal comes in like a champ wherever you are. And FM reception is not only strong as well, but sounds great through the headphones - basslines sound especially dope yet crisp (I was actually able to figure out an extra McCartney lick in "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" I'd never noticed before). The radio even has a little loudspeaker, so you can bring it to the beach - or you can pretend to be one of those weird guys in Yankees caps listening to baseball and talk radio on New York City streetbenches. (Or maybe you don't have to pretend...)
Plus: it gets shortwave. Shortwave! It's not what SWL-ers would call a "serious" reciever - it has an analog tuning dial, after all - but it's surprisingly good. I was very pleased to hear Radio Havana booming into a New York apartment at 14th and Ave B, with nice fidelity even! (through the headphones, of course). It's fine for pulling in BBC World Service and Radio Canada and weird American shortwave stuff too. Just grab a copy of the essential Passport to World Band Radio 2006 (much of which is available online, as PDF files, here - check out the "Getting Started" chapter), and you're good to go.
Anyway, do people even buy "radios" anymore, in this era of satellite this and HD that and iPods and podcasts and TiVos and TV-on-cellphones, etc.? (There's something increasingly quaint about buying a radio at Radio Shack.) No matter - this is an lovable little radio, very fun and very cheap, and it sounds great and pulls in stations great and even gets freakin' shortwave. What's not to like?