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Radio AM to FM: December 6, 2002

Portable Satellite

One of the problems with satellite subscription radio services lies with the fact that the special tuners were hard wired to the vehicle or home receiver. So if you wanted to listen to satellite radio in you car and your home, you had to buy two subscriptions and the necessary equipment. More than one car? Same problem.

To the rescue, at least for XM Satellite Radio, is Delphi Electronics and its SKYFi tuner, which can be used as a portable -- moving between your car(s) and your home -- as long as you have special adapters for each.

Included for $129.99 is a remote control; not included is the home or vehicle adapter kit, which includes an antenna and costs $69.99. Quite a price break considering early systems cost as much as $300 without antenna.

As of now, the system is available only for XM. My guess is that one is on the way for Sirius. Left unsaid -- and apparently un-remembered -- is the promise to the FCC from both companies that by now receivers would be available to decode both XM and Sirius signals. Such interopability would mean that consumers would not be locked in to just one company, and would not be left out in the cold if one of the two companies didn't survive.

Gift Guide

What do you get for your favorite radio junkie who has everything? After a lifetime subscription to the Daily Breeze, how about a subscription to Don Barrett's online radio news and rumor site,

For only $36, you get (as described on the web site): the daily Current News column, behind the scenes bulletins and breaking news, night before headlines delivered to your email box, 5+ years of archival columns, over 1,000 email addresses of Los Angeles Radio People, thousands of photos documenting the history of L.A. radio, and radio-related articles delivered directly to your email box.

Lennon Tribute

Michael Stark's Rock 50 program will pay tribute to John Lennon over the web-waves of Cerritos College's WPMD On The Net ( with a special presentation called "L.A. Radio: The Night John Lennon Died - December 8, 1980" tomorrow at 11 am.

Described as an example of modern radio at its best, the program is an actual spin up and down the Los Angeles radio dial -- recordings of stations and their coverage on the night John Lennon was murdered. Also included will be some of Lennon's most important songs both with the Beatles and solo.

WPMD On The Net is a musical service of Cerritos College and is a companion to the college's low-power AM talk station located at 1700 on the dial. The calls stand for "Where People Make a Difference." Obviously the station is not officially licensed in the traditional sense -- call letters starting with W are never found in California. But it serves as a laboratory for students enrolled in radio production classes.

If you miss the program live, you can tune in throughout the week at various times by going to the web page.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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