Now Hear This

The Samurai finally gets hip with the MP3 player revolution. I’ve been wanting to get an MP3 player so I could download and listen to two of my favorite radio shows: Coast to Coast AM and the Phil Hendrie Show. As an online subscriber to both of these shows, I get access to both streamed and MP3 archives of the shows. I used to listen to the streams but got tired of being stuck to the computer if I wanted to hear the shows. The solution: an MP3 player.

Rio Cali Sport:  the Samurai's MP3 playerAfter much hand-wringing over which player to buy and one false start, I ended up buying the Rio Cali. The first player I bought was an Apple iPod. Several things annoyed me about it: the LooneyTunes software did not mesh with my brain, the rechargeable battery drained quickly, it was heavy, expensive ($250), and that damn menu wheel drove me insane. I returned it. I had given up on the whole MP3 player thing when I happened to see the Rio Cali Sport in a Radio Shack at the mall in Concord. It was everything the iPod wasn’t: intuitive to use, lightweight, runs for 18 hours on a single AAA battery (even longer if you use rechargeable NiMH batteries), and over $100 less than the iPod (you can buy ’em for $110 at Amazon). It even has an FM tuner which I use in conjunction with my Sirius satellite radio rig in my van–more about that later. It comes with 256 MB of flash memory which, for my use, is usually more than enough. You can buy an SD card and double the memory for about $25.

The Rio has turned out to be the perfect solution and has even opened up a whole new world of online radio shows to me. If you have an MP3 player and you’re looking for talk radio content to add, here are some sources I’ve been enjoying:

  • Bush/Kerry in '04:  heads they win, tails we lose.The Harry Browne Radio Shows: Harry Browne, a past Libertarian presidential candidate (for whom I voted in the last presidential election), does two excellent radio shows: one is about libertarian philosophy and issues and the other is about investment advice. Both are great listening.
  • The Weekend Interview Show with Scott Horton: A libertarian talk show featuring thought-provoking interviews with prominent libertarians, classical liberals, and traditional conservatives.
  • Ludwig von Mises Media Archives: This is the motherlode of libertarian and free-market teaching. A vast collection of scholarly treatises on all sorts of topics from a free-market, libertarian perspective.
  • WebTalk Radio Show with Rob and Dana Greenlee: An informative and entertaining show about the bleeding edge of the web’s technological evolution.

  • Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church Music Ministry
    : A great collection of some beautiful Orthodox Christian music. I love Byzantine chant and this is the only music I have loaded on my Rio.

Most people probably get an MP3 player to listen to music and the software that comes bundled with ’em is definitely geared toward that. But setting up and maintaining your music library on an MP3 player is a tedious and colossal waste of time, something of which I’m always in short supply. The last thing I wanted to do was eat up more precious time dinking around with music files. I use my Rio to listen to radio shows and lectures. For music, I use Sirius satellite radio. I figure it’s worth a meager $12 a month to have professional DJs put together a great line up of rock n’ roll music for me. (You can get a complete Sirius radio channel guide in pdf format here.) If you’re unfamiliar with satellite radio, check out these articles in the
Crutchfield Advisor
and Wired News for some good background information.

So, I’m sitting here at my computer after midnight, writing this post and jamming on one of the 17 rock channels on Sirius–commercial free! If a song comes on that sucks, I just flip to one of the other channels where, inevitably, I find a song I like and then I go back to pecking on the keyboard. Sometimes this keeps me going until the sun comes up.

But the other cool thing about Sirius is that I have a great selection of news and music, with perfect reception, for those long commutes to the White Mountains. For example, from my home in New London, New Hampshire, it takes two and a half hours to drive to the Wildcat Trailhead on Route 16, south of Gorham. Driving to the Mahoosuc Range in the North Country is at least a three hour drive. Flipping around on Sirius makes the trip seem shorter.

Ah, Classic Vinyl just started playing BTO’s Let It Ride. I’m gonna grab a brewski and kick back a while. Later.


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