19 December 2016

(Re)Emergence of #InternetRadio: Hey @VTechPhones What happened to... #VTechIS9181? #GadgetGeek #GlobalNews #Trends #WorldMusic

Was flipping through the January/February 2017 issue of Men's Journal magazine (Liam Neeson!) yesterday, when I hit the Style & Design Notebook section and paused to check out the page of products being touted as "What's New". Under the heading "Tune in to the World" there's a blurb about a $300 standalone WiFi-connected Internet Radio player that allows one to "tune in to radio from all over the globe." The (unknown) authors go on to crow, "Reggae from France? It's our new favorite preset."

This, of course, immediately made me think of the standalone VTech IS9181 WiFi Internet Radio [See vtechphones.com/internet-radio/internet-radio] that I won in some random contest back in November 2010 and have been enjoying ever since. (Sadly, it seems VTech gave up on the product. I don't believe that it's still in production --- when one clicks [Buy Now] on the product page above it returns a "product not found" error --- but I absolutely love mine.)

For an information junkie and music maniac like me, it's nothing short of amazing to have access to 11,000 odd radio channels streamed on demand from around the world, particularly ones featuring my favorite genres Talk Radio, News, Opera, Early Music, Classical and Rai. I'm that geek who would tune in to obscure channels from around the world using my lowly desktop computer back in the day, so it's a treat to have a standalone player with good sound that can handle the same task, retrieve basic weather data, and function as an alarm clock, if needed. There's also a little remote which allows me to change settings on the fly.

Winning a VTech IS9181 WiFi Internet Radio as a contest prize back in 2010 was definitely a score! Nice to see that standalone internet radios are seemingly making a comeback and being touted as cool gadgets. I concur.

In what could certainly be viewed as a serendipitous move, I picked up the December 12-25, 2016 issue of New York magazine after finishing Men's Journal. Its "The Urbanist" column examines "The Globalization of Local Radio" through a lens which focuses on the local radio station as truly endemic of its surrounding community (formerly its broadcast area), i.e, what defines the culture, what makes the place unique. Of course, the beauty here --- as the column author aptly points out --- is that in modernity anyone with an internet connection and the appropriate hardware & software can eavesdrop on these "vignettes of local life", because so many local radio stations are now streamed online. The Internet morphed limited broadcast area local radio into Global Internet Radio. And we all can benefit.

The meat of the column is several pages --- which I scanned to compact PDF in order to save as a reference --- of interesting local radio stations from around the world, complete with show highlights, broadcast URLs and airtime. In other words, myriad new stations to tune in to using my VTech IS9181.

My listening future is so bright, I've gotta wear... Hey Alexa, close the shades. Ha! Ha! Welcome to the New Age of the Wireless!

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