Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2004 / 30 Tishrei 5765

Recording radio

By Mark Kellner | A new product promises to allow you to shift time, recording a radio program for later playback. At other times, you can use it to just listen to what's on the air, using your computer.

The product is the $69.99 radioShark from Griffin Technology. It's good — but not totally great — and it might be the solution for many people who want to use the benefits of their computer to save radio shows for another time.

Ergonomically, the device, which does look like a shark fin and has cool blue lighting that turns on when connected to a computer, via a USB connection. The cable is long enough to allow you to position the radio for good reception. Its built-in antenna receives AM and FM bands.

The software provided with the radioShark works on both Macintosh and Windows-based computers. I tested the device with an iMac G5, at my home in a suburban area.

Setup and installation is easy: install the software, start the radioShark control program, and plug the device into a USB port. The radio powers up and you're listening to whatever appeals to you.

I've had better success with FM stations than AM — there's a high-pitched whine that seems to accompany the AM broadcasts. The software provides a sound equalizer that can minimize some of this when a user experiments and adjusts the various sound settings, but I've not been able to totally eliminate it. Repositioning the antenna didn't help on the AM side.

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FM reception and sound is much better, although it's easy to suspect the product is not an FM stereo receiver. The sound seems to be mono, and there's no indicator on the software display to denote stereo broadcasts. But taking a recorded program and running the stream through Apple Computer's iTunes software revealed it was a stereo track.

However, the radioShark works as advertised: It was easy to set up, I programmed in a specific broadcast, and it recorded without a hitch. I could have saved the program as a file automatically usable by iTunes, but importing it wasn't too difficult.

You can do something rather neat with the radioShark: a "timeshifting" feature will let you "rewind" live radio, or pause a program — up to 30 minutes' worth if you have enough hard disk space. That's not bad, though there's a lot more that's, frankly, lacking in the radioShark. I'd love an easier way to program the software to select shows: though it works somewhat like a digital video recorder, the radioShark, unlike video devices from TiVo or Replay TV, lacks an onscreen programming guide.

There's a port on the radio that's not at all explained in the documentation: is it for an external antenna or for stereo headphones? Your guess is as good as mine, but it shouldn't have to be guesswork.

I'd like an easy way to edit recorded programs — it seems you'd need an external software program to do this — and it would also be nice to have a way to tune the device using a keyboard as well as the mouse. You can record while the system is muted, but don't look to the instructions to tell you that.

In short, I believe the folks at Griffin Technology — a firm that's produced some very nice products in times past — might want to refine things a tad more on the radioShark. I have every confidence that they can build an even better mousetrap, or radio program trap to be more precise.

Details can be found at Despite my reservations, it's still worth investigating.

In doing research for this column, I came across a service that seems to combine over-the-air recording with finding radio shows on the Internet. I hope to check out, and if that service improves on the radioShark, you'll read about it here.

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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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