Radio AM to FM: November 2, 2001
Lycos is On the Air
While some companies are cutting back or shutting down their internet "radio" services, internet portal and content provider Terra Lycos has decided to buck the trend and launch Lycos Radio.
A joint effort of Lycos and network radio programming supplier RadioCentral, Lycos Radio provides listeners with a variety of formats ranging from top-40 (I knew if I used continually for the past 14 years it would make a comeback) to country, classic soul to club hits -- 14 formats in all ... about ten more than can be found on the local airwaves.
Seriously, the variety is quite good, as is the production quality. I did not connect my Mac to a stereo receiver yet, but the sound quality is quite good through my regular speakers; Lycos claims "Crystal-clear audio with professional DJs spinning your favorite music 24/7," meaning that Lycos has personalities 24 hours a day, a claim that cannot be made by many local radio stations, unfortunately.
This is kind of exciting for me, as I haven't heard a new song since Craig Carpenter's Mix went off the air over a year ago; Lycos Radio's "alternative pop" is calling my name.
Windows Media Player is required for now; Real Player support is on the way. Features of the current system include a window that gives information on the song that is playing and a history button that keeps tracks of the songs you have heard. Want to be reminded of a song you like? Click "remind" and you're all set.
You'll need a computer with internet access. Fast access is preferred not only for connection stability but also for clarity: the faster the connection, the better the sound. Point your browser to http://music.lycos.com/radio.
Indecency complaints to the FCC increased four fold to 24 in September, apparently due to heightened sensitivity in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Of course, complaints do not mean anything indecent was actually stated over the air. More likely it means people were listening more attentively, and just heard things they don't like.
When the World Trade Center in New Your collapsed, it took the transmitters of many New York FM and television stations with it. Many of the affected stations -- including NBC-owned WNBC-TV Channel 4 -- were able to get their signals back on the air by placing temporary antennas on a tower off the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Alpine, New Jersey.
What makes this interesting is the history behind the tower. It was built by Edwin Armstrong in 1937 ... the same Armstrong who developed FM radio in the 1930s, who was ordered off the 85th floor of the Empire State Building by RCA (owner of NBC) chief David Sarnoff, and who fought with Sarnoff for years in a legendary patent battle in which RCA refused to pay royalties on patents owned by Armstrong and used by RCA in the manufacture of television sets.
Said Jerry Minter in a recent story in industry newspaper Radio World, "The idea of NBC ending up there ... it's kind of ironic, isn't it? Maybe Armstrong is turning over in his grave." Minter is a veteran radio engineer who actually knew Armstrong.
Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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