Radio Daze

It's funny how an ordinary object from your past can cause you to reminisce and conjure up memories long thought forgotten. Imagine the stories coming out of a silenced radio….

A simple black plastic box about the size of an average paperback book, the gold paint highlights the upraised letters across the bottom- ADMIRAL Super 7. Next to the name sits a familiar crown logo. A simple brass carrying handle bends backward, allowing it to set at a 45 degree angle for easy access. The AM station numbers array themselves in a half-starburst pattern, emanating from the large gold tuning knob. That this radio was a product of the Cold War era is revealed by the "CD" markings at the top and bottom of the frequency spectrum. Remember CONELRAD, the Civil Defense network we were instructed to turn to if the "big one" came? The knurled gold on-off/volume knob hovers on the left side, equidistant from the station sunburst, as if the Earth were orbiting the Sun. Dad's radio, despite its Spartan elegance was an entrée into another world when I was a boy.

The Super 7 seemed to always be in use- from Dad's listening to the Milwaukee Braves' baseball games on the back stoop to the morning news on WHBY as he prepared his coffee before work.

When I couldn't sleep, Dad would sometimes let me listen to his radio. I'd tweak the tuning knob and be whisked away to exotic places (at least for a 13 year old boy in northeastern Wisconsin.) Late at night, the powerful signals of the country's megawatt AM stations would be captured by the Super 7's tuner- KMOX in St. Louis; WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana; WLS in Chicago; KOMA in Oklahoma City; and my favorite, WABC in New York. I would delight in catching the opening of disc jockey Jay Reynolds' shift from midnight to five. WABC had a distinctive sound, but nothing to me was as memorable as hearing Jay's "drop," one of those short sound bites they play now and then on any radio station with the DJ's name and call letters. WABC was big on reverb, a sound trick that made everything sound as stereophonic as possible in the days before FM Stereo was the norm. And they used that electronic synthesizer sounding voice, you know, the way robots used to sound in old sci-fi movies? I thought that was so cool. To this day, each time I hear the intro to Three Dog Night's "Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song," I wait to hear the drop of "Jay Reynolds, WABC."

After Dad died, I was sorry for years that I hadn't talked Mom out of his radio to keep as a memento. Somewhere along the way, the old Admiral bit the dust; Mom's not sure any more if she sold it off in a rummage sale or junked it when it quit working. And when I finally asked about it, it was too late.

The last few years, I've been on a quest to find an Admiral Super 7 and with the advent of the internet, I was able to renew my acquaintance with the old warhorse. It took a while, but through a popular auction site, I scored a nifty little copy for the exorbitant sum of $9.99 plus shipping. I was even able to get it in Dad's color- basic black. This was a rather important detail as I'd seen photos of the same model in white, gray, and even a day-glo orange. Imposters!

On my bookshelf today is my very own Admiral Super 7, looking …

Radio Static

Static in the radio announcement,
music cutting over the words, she tries to hear in the broadcast,
as she fumbles with the button to fine tune,
slight bits of words on relationships, finding love, making it last.

Frustrated at the fuzz and sound,
falling in between, music, she struggles to listen, to take in more clear.
The sounds of guitars and the piano,
still echoing in her ear.

She sighs in dismay,
guessing today is not her day,
and maybe the broadcast, would not be enough to find love, make it last.
She picks up a book and walks away.

The pages wet, blurred text,
clouding the visions of love before her eyes.
A romance novel, that was mistakenly left out in the rain,
she tried to retrieve,
yet this seemed to just be the way, her life would play,
caught beneath rain and cloudy skies.

She picks up her pad of paper, the tools to draw and write.
Today the day at least shines for her, she walks along, alone outside,
stopping to watch the ducklings along the water,
one falling far behind the others, seemed it couldn't keep up,
no matter how hard it tried.

She sits upon a park bench, starts to see clouds swirling above,
covering up the blue sky,
sighs, "what is love?"

Taking shelter from a heavy downpour, she stands beneath a large oak tree,
someone else found his way there today.
He smiles pleasantly at her,
"turned out to be a beautiful day"

The clouds separate, the sun showing slightly in between,
a rainbow reflecting above the lake, the cloudy vision, beauty before her eyes.
He continues on, strumming his guitar,
the music, making the day seem so clear, it echoes in her ear,
caught beneath the rain and cloudy skies.
Just static in the radio broadcast, she smiles, and sighs.


Super Bowl Commercials are Waste of Money: But There are Exceptions, Such as Tim Tebow Spot

For years, many companies have paid millions of dollars to advertise for 30 seconds during the televised broadcasts of the NFL Super Bowl. One quick commercial with huge creative and airtime costs, though, is similar to forgetting the game plan since it goes against the fundamental principle of advertising—frequency.

Dr. John Tantillo, a behavioral research psychologist and brand expert known as the Marketing Doctor, has been against Super Bowl advertising plans for many years. This year, he said, companies are beginning to heed his advice. They are using other kinds of marketing and branding strategies that are more economical and could be very successful, or even more successful, in reaching football fans along with many other consumers who do not watch the game.

Among the corporate no-shows this year are Pepsi, FedEx, General Motors and GE. Pepsi decided to focus on a social media driven cause communications program that will solidify grass roots appreciation for the brand and the company.

Exceptions to Super Bowl Commercials

However, according to Tantillo during an interview, on occasion a commercial during the big game does makes sense, because there are always exceptions to the rule.

This year’s exception is college football star and NFL prospect Tim Tebow. He will be featured in a commercial that indirectly addresses the issue of abortion. The spot is sponsored by Focus on the Family, a Christian organization, and it showcases pro-life values and tells the story about his mother’s decision to disregard medical advice to terminate her pregnancy. The commercial has generated considerable discussion and a growing wave of controversy even before it has been seen by the public.

“This kind of ad works with a large television audience,” said Tantillo, “because it is not trying to brand a product. Instead, it addresses an issue with a specific viewpoint that makes people think, discuss and debate before and after the commercial has been seen.”

The Marketing Doctor has just published People Buy Brands—Not Companies, and in his book he cites several examples that explain the misnomer about the power of Super Bowl advertising.

TV Advertising Frequency

Tantillo said that not every person watches the game. If money is spent wisely to reach audiences that are watching other programs during game time, Tantillo concludes that the important 18-49 demographic could be doubled. He also indicated that a $3 million campaign can generate higher sales if it is used more effectively to purchase 600 30-second television commercials in the New York market or 800 30-second spots in Los Angeles rather than one commercial during the Super Bowl. This, he said, takes advantage of the marketing and advertising rule of frequency of message.

As president of the Marketing Department of America, Dr. Tantillo also knows a lot about personal branding. He has more than 5,000 Facebook friends and many others who follow his blogs.…

Virginia Tech on Their Way to Tourney?: The Hokies Should be in March Madness

The under-appreciated Virginia Tech Hokies posted a 23-8 record and finished in fourth place in a very rough Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Hokies posted a 10-6 record in conference and showed why they are the most elite team in college basketball that nobody is talking about.

Seth Greenberg

Is there a coach who gets more out of his players than Seth Greenberg? Despite injuries to key players every season, Greenberg has his team compete at the highest level in the toughest conference in college basketball. Perhaps the only coach who has his players giving as much effort is Brent “Buzz” Williams of Marquette University. Both Williams and Greenberg should be dancing their way to the NCAA Tournament and March Madness this season.

Greenberg has helped Junior Guard Malcolm Delaney blossom into a star. If Delaney played for a perennial power such as Duke or North Carolina, he would be mentioned as a player of the year candidate. Delaney is a star and has excelled under the watchful eye of Greenberg.

To go along with Delaney, Greenberg has Junior Forward Jeff Allen and Junior Guard Dorenzo Hudson showcasing their talents on a regular basis. The threesome of Delaney, Allen and Hudson can lead the Virginia Tech Hokies to a strong performance against any team in the country.

The Virginia Tech Team

Besides the “Big Three” of Delaney, Allen and Hudson, this Hokie team is well-balanced and always put the needs of the team above their own statistical glory. Players such as Terrell Bell, J.T. Thompson, Victor Davila and Erick Green have the Hokies poised to make a run.

In recent seasons, the Virginia Tech Hokies has been overlooked and disrespected by the NCAA Selection Committee. This season, if there is justice, the Hokies will take their well-deserved position in the field of 65.

Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi is the NCAA Bracketology guru from ESPN. As of Saturday night at 7:30 pm, Lunardi has the Hokies as one of the final four teams to make it in the tournament. Fans will soon see if the committee agrees.

Selection Sunday

Tomorrow night at 6pm, the world of sports will turn to the CBS and ESPN and see if their postseason dreams will become a reality of a disappointing nightmare. Whether the Virginia Tech Hokies make it or not is still up for debate. However, if there is any justice and/or objectivity within the selection committee, Seth Greenberg and his never-say-die Hokies will make a run in this year NCAA Tournament.…

Microsoft Kin Smartphones Hit the Market Yhis Spring

This month, Microsoft unveiled its new Kin smartphones, aimed at the younger, social-media savvy market. The hardware is made by Sharp, and should go on sale through the Verizon service provider starting in May. Here is a rundown of the Kin One and Kin Two specs.

Built for Social Networking

Both phones have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, although the keyboard on the Kin Two is wider and more convenient for two-handed texting. The Kin Two may be more useful for the Facebook or Myspace user, who tends to require more words for posts and comments. The Kin One keyboard is built for quick texters and would be more popular for Twitter users, who can type quick and easy sentences with one hand.

The camera on the Kin Two is an 8 megapixel with built-in flash and HD video. Quick uploads to Facebook or Twitpic are easy with this unit. On the Kin One is a 5 megapixel with SD video capabilities. Both cameras work great in low light, and each cameras offers touch-screen editing and uploading.

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other popular social networking apps are instantly available when the phones are unlocked. A unique features of these two Windows Phones is the ability to share interesting news from one network to another. This function, labeled “Kin-Spot” allows users to click and drag news items from Twitter into Facebook, and vice versa, for instantaneous updating.

Not a Practical Business Phone

Microsoft explicitly markets the Kin One and Kin Two as “an experience for the social generation.” Therefore, neither phone is as practical or useful in business as the more popular smart phones, such as Apple iPhone or Motorola Droid. Although features like calendar, mail, and weather are built into the Kin phones, it requires a few extra screen taps to get to these functions. The iPhone and Droid have these applications readily available on the main screen.

According to a recent study by Pew Internet, three quarters of US teens aged 12-17 use cellphones, and half of them text on a daily basis, some sending more than 100 texts per day. This social teenage market is Kin’s Target, which is why the Kin Studio feature – which syncs up many of the internet’s most popular social media tools and docs in one easy-to-use timeline – is available almost immediately when the Kin is powered on.

Kin Release Dates

Originally advertised to be released in late April, the dates were pushed further into the Spring for some last-minute software updates. Verizon is now projected to release the Kin in late May, just in time for kids to pick up these new phones for summer vacation.…

Video Has Not Killed the Radio Star

This past Tuesday, April 5th, Death Cab For Cutie performed the first ever live music video for their new single “You Are A Tourist.” According to, the video was directed by Tim Nackashi, who is known for his epic directing of Ok Go’s treadmill video, and was choreographed and scripted, but only shot ONCE…live for the entire world to see on the bands website. This is truly an amazing feat, as some of the dancing and all of the playing was surely a challenge for everyone involved. Nevertheless, this amazing band pulled it off, successfully pushing the envelope in the music industry.

Perhaps the most impressive feat related to the video was the band flawless playing and emotion. It takes the viewer a moment to process what they’re seeing. The product is NOT one that took many takes and hours and hours of editing to create a glimpse into how the members function as a band. Instead, it is a live representation of the band’s natural emotion, cooperation, and . Death Cab has truly offered an opportunistic idea for bands trying to prove themselves…after all, when we watch a music video, we are typically given a manufactured performance.

Hopefully the new trend will catch on, and bands will begin offering live, authentic performances as their music videos. If not, Death Cab has surely (yet again) made their mark in the music business. To see the video, go here.



How to Make Your Own Music Video

Have you ever wondered how you can make a music video without spending a large amount of money? One simple and inexpensive way is by using the Windows Movie Maker program.

To start, you must make sure all picture, video and audio files you plan to use in your video are uploaded onto your computer’s hard drive. When you open the program you should already have started a new project. Beneath the “Import” label on the left you will find links. Click on the link with the media type you wish to import for this particular project. Once all files are imported you must drag them into your timeline section. The program automatically places them into the category timeline, which they belong. You can rearrange the clips by dragging them across the timeline and placing them where you want them to be. Whether you’re using photos or video footage there are many different transitions and effects you can use in your video. You can add the fade in/fade out effect and you can even speed up a particular clip. To add these features you can click on the “Transitions” and “Effects” links on the left, and drag the selected features into your timeline (as you did your media files), placing them on (for effects) and between (for transitions) the picture/video clips. Effects can also be used on audio. You can shorten your audio (by dragging the audio clip to the left of the screen), and even create a fade out effect. All you have to do is right-click on the audio clip and choose an option from the pop-up tab. Another feature you can use is the “Titles and Credits” feature. With this feature you can add credits and titles at the beginning or end of your film, as well as on selected clips. You can even experiment with the animation, and find fun ways to display your titles/credits.

Once you are finished with your project you can save it, but it will be saved as a Windows Movie Maker file, which restricts you from viewing, uploading and sharing your video on different media programs and websites. To change this format you must click on “File” then “Publish Movie,” select the folder where you would like your movie to be saved, select the format for your movie and hit publish. Your movie should be ready to view and share within minutes!


How Digital Killed the Radio and Video Stars

I have been a professional music producer and songwriter for about 10 years now. To some heavyweight music business moguls my very opinion might not mean a thing considering my infancy to such a high-profile, multi-billion dollar industry. But I must say, given the material results proven against the music industry as far as plummeting record sales, and numerous reports of heavy pirating, this business is fighting for its life as many musicians and artists are turning to the the independent route to market their products.

One thing that has particularly stood out to me are these "360 deals" now being offered by all of the major labels still breathing. These 360 deals require artists to now sign their record deals with the addition of granting the record companies percentages of ALL outside ventures and/or deals you may acquire outside of your contract such as: movies, commercials, endorsements, etc. Now I know some of you may be thinking that this sounds familiar as artists have been taken for money and financially "raped" for years by their execs but this was never a required holding in standard industry practices.

Digital sales are up as actual in-store purchases are becoming less and less common. But even the digital world of sales faces a huge battle of their own when it comes to piracy. Piracy is nothing new to the entertainment industry in general, ranging from software to video games and movies. Back in 2001, the famous battle of the P2P file-sharing network Napster, against the music industry shocked the world. Eventually, both parties settled and became friends allowing Napster to run legally, splitting monetary profits with the record companies. Now, though that battle was settled, it seemed like thousands of P2P file-sharing networks were created overnight. In fact, so many forms of piracy were now created that it became impossible to track and fight every "lawbreaker". This to me, is the main reason for seeing the music industry fall from it's grace of happy and devout followers and record buyers.

Though, there is still a huge market for touring and other ways of making money in the industry, the main source of income has always been record sales. The industry has been forced to forget about it's roots and join the race of evolution and technology. If you still feel artists and musicians alike should be supported, by all means, we need you. Continue buying albums and supporting your favorite artists but don't force us into having to sell our souls and give up both our monetary rights and personal integrity for your gain!


AA and AAA Battery Charger Guide: Introduction to the Best Chargers for NiMH Rechargeable Batteries

From LED flashlights to GPS units to home blood pressure monitors, the humble AA and AAA batteries still rule. Making full use of these versatile batteries (and going green) means using rechargeable NiMH batteries, and using the right chargers for them.

Timer Chargers

Timer chargers are the cheap chargers often bundled with rechargeable batteries in supermarkets.

They do work, but can overcharge batteries and shorten their lifespan. They are reasonably safe if the batteries are drained before charging, but will overcharge already-charged batteries.

The Energizer Rechargeable Battery FAQ states:

“Using the batteries to end of life prior to charging is recommended when a timer based charger is used. A smart charger monitors the cell condition during charge and prevents overcharging and subsequent negative impact on battery cycle life.”

The longer the charge time, the safer. The “fast” 15 minute or 1 hour chargers should be avoided as these can overheat the batteries, further reducing their lifespan.

How to identify timer chargers

  • Fixed number of hours to charge batteries (can be 15 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 12 hours).
  • Cannot charge one battery alone, must charge 2 or 4 at a time.
  • Need to be switched off or unplugged from the wall socket (to reset the timer) before the next set of batteries can be charged.

Smart Chargers

Topping-up batteries before they are fully discharged is useful

  • Fully discharging a battery (to less than 1 volt) can reduce its lifespan.
  • Unused NiMH batteries can lose some of their charge after a few months (self discharge).
  • Charged and discharged batteries are often mixed up in the same drawer.

“Smart” or “intelligent” chargers allow topping-up and avoid overcharging by accurately monitoring the voltage of the batteries.

They also often have advanced features such as

  • Safe full-discharge of batteries (discharge until 1 volt).
  • Reconditioning overcharged batteries (multiple charge/discharge cycles, this can take a few days).
  • Measuring the actual charge capacity of a battery (this can take a few hours or days).

How to identify smart chargers

  • Will be prominently labeled as such by the manufacturer.
  • Can charge any combination of batteries, including just one (independent charging circuit).
  • Often displays battery’s charge state (empty, 1/3, 2/3, charged) on the front panel.

Power Source

For international travel, auto-switch chargers that can run off both 110 volts AC and 230 volts AC are essential.

For use with solar panels, the battery charger should have a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug, or a 5 volt USB plug (depends on the solar panel).

Battery Charger Brands

Maha (PowerEx) and La Crosse Technology are known for their smart chargers.

More well-known consumer brands such as Sony and Eveready also sell smart chargers. Care should be taken as their smart chargers can look similar to their timer chargers.

Investing in a Good Charger

Considering that a NiMH AA battery costs a few dollars, and that it could last 500 to 1000 charges with proper use; a smart charger could easily pay for itself in a few years.

Timer chargers should be avoided. Shortening the lifespan of batteries doesn’t just waste money, it also isn’t environmentally friendly.…

The Sony Walkman Bean MP3 Player Review

Hey wouldn't you like to have a bean as an MP3 player? Well now you can with the Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player, it makes carrying around a bean fashionable and practical.

No smelly oders or weird looks today, just 100% music on the go in your magic Sony walkman bean.

The Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player is amazingly compact in size and doesn't weigh much of anything. You can easily carry it around for hours and forget that it's just sitting there in your hands.

And within seconds of taking the Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player out of the box I was able to hook it up to my computer and load it with music.

The Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player comes with 1 GB built in flash memory, it supports MP3 and wave files and one of the neatest features is that the USB wire is hidden and attached within the bean. So you always have it with you.

The Sony Walkman Bean MP3 layer has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and on average you're supposed to get about 50 hours of play time before you need to recharge it.

The Sony Walkman Bean player comes with a green display menu that shows you what's on track number you're on and has a fully featured many that makes it easy to sort your music by artist, album, or group.

There is an FM tuner on the Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player which allows you to listen to local radio stations and was amazed by the sound quality that is produced by the bean. It also has basic features like repeat songs as well as shuffle.

The Sony walkman Bean mp3 player also allows you to set the time and date making it easy to use it as your own personal clock while on the go.

The buttons are very easy to find in the dark on the Sony Walkman Bean Mp3 player and don't have any trouble switching to and from songs.

You can also lock the Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player so that if a button gets hit on accident it doesn't just randomly change your song.

The Sony Walkman Bean Bean MP3 player comes with sonic stage software that makes it easy for you to navigate and find your music to launch your MP3 player will also allow you to convert CDs so that you can put your favorite albums on your MP3 player.

Like all MP3 players it comes with a standard set of headphones that are very comfortable and look like they were bought from dollar tree, so if you plan to listen to a lot of music; you'll want to find a better set of headphones.

I highly recommend the Sony Walkman Bean MP3 player. It's a wonderful new novelty item will walk around with and start conversations. It holds a good amount of music as very compact in size.