It was the end of an era last year when my grandmother passed away in July. She was born in the 20’s, and I was very proud of her ability to stay with the times, even having Foxtel in her room in recent years.
One thing Nana did love was her radio, which was almost always on, turned down to an indiscernible whisper when she had guests, and which was affectionately called “the wireless”. Of course, this was the term used for radio for decades, until modern technology hijacked the word to describe over-the-air internet access (we’re an unoriginal bunch, aren’t we?).
Funny thing is, many radio sets now have wireless internet access as part of their feature set, along with an entirely new broadcast format known as DAB, or digital radio. It takes all that radio stands for, in terms of spontaneous music discovery, regular news updates, and feature programs, and ramps up the quality and functionality.
Digital radio was inevitable in a way, because as an industry it was faced with the creep of technology improvement in almost every other sector, and could not afford to be left behind. To make sure it stayed relevant, the new wave of radios had to offer more than just “digital tuning” on analogue channels.
Now, there’s CD-quality broadcasts, song information similar to that of MP3 files (Song title, album, artist, etc), the ability to record the digital channel which includes the MP3-type information, genre-specific channels, scrolling news and weather updates, and on some models access to world radio – thousands of online streaming radio channels from every conceivable corner of the world.
The humble radio isn’t so humble anymore; it’s evolved to offer a higher level of interactivity and audio experience than ever before. For a little more detail, here’s a video we produced for Bing Lee that explains the benefits of digital radio, and we highlight a couple of models to show just how far the old “wireless” has come.
Nana would be beside herself.