I have to say, I have fallen in love with this thing. During the summer I was working a contract in the city of Chicago. The corporate housing unit I was in was just a few short blocks from WBEZ. There was no clock radio provided in the unit. Rather than trying out one of the el-cheapo GE units I had in storage at home, I opted to pick up a $13 Target special which, according to the reviews, worked well in the NPR frequency range. What a joke! Inside the new high rise building it picked up only noise and interference. I could barely find stations which would come in on it.
Yes, my cell phone has alarms. Yes, I use them. When it comes to waking up in the morning though, I like to lay there listening to the news for a bit and have the cell phone alarm go off at that “you have to really rush to make it” time. Maybe it is a generational thing. I have noticed kids prefer to get news on-line, if at all. I look on-line all of the time, but that is what I do, look. I search for a topic or simply look for a list of headlines to see if there is anything worth my time. Obtaining a valid list of headlines is increasingly difficult given the fraudulent practice of sandwiching in “sponsored” articles as well as “fake news” articles which are little more than sales pitches. Perhaps it comes from growing up on and still helping with a family farm. Long hours spent in a tractor cab leads one to search for a radio station which will do two things: 1) come in going both directions 2) keep your mind active.
Given the mass depression caused by the $13 Target special, I vowed to do real research. Several hours spent on-line taught me more than I ever wanted to know about clock radios. The bottom line was that cheap clock radios use even cheaper analog tuners. If the station you want comes in strong no matter what radio then a cheap one will work for you. I was really shocked to learn that a cheap one would not work less than a mile from the transmitter. To much interference with other signals in the city, not to mention shielding in the high rise.
I really like waking up to NPR but I wasn’t going to spend $100 on a clock radio that took up the entire night stand just to do it. Then I found the Sangean RCR-5. I will admit part of me thought it crazy to spend more than $20 on a clock radio. The reviews with people complaining about the built in 10 minute battery backup with a non-replaceable battery were a bit off-putting. I even saw a review or two talking about how the plastic case vibrated playing certain music. Since there were only a few of these reviews I assume they left out the critical detail of just how loud they were trying to play the music.
This radio is awesome! Crystal clear signal separation. There is one really awesome feature I never saw mentioned in any review. After you set the radio station for the alarm you set the volume level. Most cheapie radios just blast on at the volume setting. Not this one. It starts off at minimum volume and gently climbs up to the setting value. Happens over a minute or something. Very gentle waking.