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January 23, 2006



Hey Prof,

More canuck stuff from us crazy french people:

Radio-Shack is now The Source in Canada (owned by Best Buy) and yes, they suck. Too bad.

CKAC belongs, since late 2005, to the Chrorus Group, now one of the largest agglomeration of media in Quebec. They mainly feature news and sports (and one of my faves in the morning on the way to work). If you know french, you can listen to the unbelievable sports psychobabble after 16:00, which is sometimes quite pathetic, and the odd and upsetting psychiatrist Doc Mailloux in the afternoon. Never seen or heard a psychiatrist lacking such empathy for his callers.

Info690, that you mentioned in the post as well, is also part of the Chorus group so they have the same news coverage as CKAC and a few other regional stations.

But just how can you record stations that deep in the woods? Cassette deck, MP3? I'm curious.


Not that I know how it happened but...

Last year right about now the AC adapter for by RS DX 398 got rolled up in some clothes and got a free trip through the Maytag. It didn't survive the rinse cycle so I went to the nearest RS to get a new one. The kid behind the counter just stared at me like I'd asked for a quart of milk , five bucks worth on pump two, and a lottery ticket. (Radios? Us? Whaa? Let me get the manager!) Eventually I wound up at another RS about 10 minutes further on where they knew what I needed.

RE: Phil Hendry - given all the press the guy gets how is it that more people are not onto his schtick?

The Professor

In recent years, I’ve dispatched attractive young sales associates straight to the manager for assistance after asking for arcane devices like shortwave radios and patch cords at Radio Shack. However, in my travels I have noticed that the evolution of Radio Shack stores from geek hut to tech toy emporium seems to be progressing at different rates in different stores. Some outlets still carry a fair supply of radios and radio/audio accessories. However, Radio Shack was never the BEST place to buy a good shortwave or DX worthy AM radio. For new shortwave radios, the best selection I’ve seen in New York was at J&R Music World downtown. But these days there’s plenty of ways to hunt down quality new and used radios online without ever getting near a rack of cell phone holsters.

As far as questions asked in the above comments– I still make all my remote radio recordings on a cassette deck. A tape recorder running on batteries is a relatively RF noise free companion to a portable receiver when DXing. When I head off on the highway for the north woods I bring a fat bag stocked with dollar store batteries too.

While I do some radio recording at home going directly into the computer, using a laptop or mp3 recording device in the field would add unwanted noise in an RF quiet environment. When I get home I dump the cassette audio into the computer and make mp3s which I archive. And if you’re going to encode AM or shortwave recordings to mp3, don’t forget to encode in mono, and the bitrate doesn’t need to be anywhere near what high-fidelity music requires (32 to 56K is fine).

As far the unwitting callers on The Phil Hendrie Show, they are CAREFULLY chosen. Hendrie is quite open about how he conducts his radio puppet show, and it takes some heavy screening to keep his kiddie pool stocked with callers who don’t realize that his goofy and outrageous guests are actually Hendrie himself. He's doing a national show, and there's always people coming across the program without a clue about what's going on. You can read more about his talk radio methodology and philosophy here and here (You’ll need to login to the New York Times for the second link.)

And thanks M.G. for the information on CKAC in Montreal. And I welcome and encourage any multilingual readers/listeners of these posts to offer insight and information on non-English broadcasts I might feature in this series as comments. I’m always curious about what I might be missing as a unilingual radio listener, and I’m sure there are other readers who feel the same way.


I don't think there's an ID for the Spanish station on 560 or 570. The stinger when the woman starts talking sounds like it's just identifying a switch to headlines or something.


560am is WIND in Chicago. From '85-'05 it was all Spanish. I know they had a pretty good frequency; I could pick them up around Detroit at night sometimes when I was a kid. I'm thinking it was that?

**edit: Wiki has a good entry on the history of WIND

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