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Mother in law can't listen to her AM radio in the retirement community... and my life is a living hell as a result...
October 8, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Mother-in-law loves AM radio...but... her new home in a retirement community is a mish-mash of fluorescent lights and steel beams so she only gets static on her trusty AM radio... I need a solution - perhaps a simple IP radio? Details after the jump...

There is free WiFi at the old folks home for residents. I was thinking, if I could get her an IP radio she could listen to her right-wing-neocon radio to her heart's content and I would have a happy life. Problem is, I own an IP radio and at times, it requires actual computer literacy to make it work. Is there a simple (as in, like a toaster) IP radio suitable for MIL's who lack even the most basic computer skills? I want something that would be as simple as pressing no more than 2 buttons to make it work. If IP radio isn't the solution, other solutions are welcome.
posted by brownrd to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Would the old folks home allow you to install an external antenna? They can be quite unobtrusive.
posted by Longtime Listener at 9:56 AM on October 8, 2012


Maybe something like an iPod Touch running the IHeartRadio app? Or if the stations/shows she listens to have their own apps, they can be big colorful icons planted on the Touch's home screen.
posted by chengjih at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2012


Perhaps this Sangean Product.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2012


@ LtL - the problem isn't the old folks home - it's her. IF I install an external antenna, the second there's a leak, a draft, or anything else which would give her reason to believe that my actions had caused some minor inconvenience, my life would be WORSE than a living hell. No good deed goes unpunished. I am going as far as asking this question only out of mercy and with the (probably delusional) expectation that there's some way I can actually make her happy.
posted by brownrd at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chumby can handle IP radio I believe, and I've never played with one but they seem relatively easy for you to set up for her beforehand. She would just hit the internet radio icon and then the station she wants to listen to.
posted by Strass at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2012


Don't know about the Chumby, since the company behind it went out of business. My hunch is that an IP Radio would be more fiddly then an AM radio, and more likely to lead to more unhappiness. If nothing else, the unpredictablity of internet connections guarantees a problem or glitch at some point. What about FM radio - are there any talkers there that she might like?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:25 AM on October 8, 2012


My stepdad always had a problem getting a radio signal at his house (old solid brick place). My mom bought him an HD radio, the wire antenna was run up on top of a tall piece of furniture and secured with a piece of Scotch tape. He gets great stations now and is very happy - especially with having a remote.

If you go this route, make sure you get a system with a back up battery and replace them on a regular basis. My stepdad's only complaint is that if the power goes out, he has to reset his channels (he's a retired rocket scientist and good on the technical side of stuff but it still takes him 20 minutes to remember how to do it)
posted by jaimystery at 10:26 AM on October 8, 2012


I second the "I Heart Radio" app. I listen to AM and the app is pretty easy to use once it is set up. Mine is on the Kindle Fire, so you could get her some books to read too...
posted by tacodave at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2012


Try one of these first. You might be very surprised how it cuts through all the interference.

The price is a gift.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 1:24 PM on October 8, 2012


Try this antenna. Have you only tried her 'trusty' old radio? Some of the newer ones have better range. A quick search on amazon shows a few models with a million 5-star reviews.
posted by barnone at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2012


This one has good reviews too.
posted by barnone at 3:04 PM on October 8, 2012


I worry that an IP radio would be to fussy and newfangled, and retirement home wi-fi is spotty IME.
You could try an HD or digital radio; they pick up the traditional analog stations as well as the newer all-digital broadcasts that many stations also run simultaneously. The all-digital broadcasts are less likely have the same interference problems. But they work just like a radio, so there's no learning curve.
Are the MIL's favorite stations on this list of HD broadcasts for your area?
posted by bartleby at 4:38 PM on October 8, 2012


Have you checked whether the station(s) she likes do web streaming? The AM radio station I like does, and I suspect most do. A simple computer (tablet?) with some shortcuts to the streaming link might be easy enough.
posted by colin_l at 5:15 PM on October 8, 2012


Looking at the recommendations for an external antenna, that appears to be the simplest solution. Thank you everyone.
posted by brownrd at 7:40 PM on October 8, 2012


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