The weak link in my commute-time podcast listening routine has turned out to be the lack of unpolluted channels in the Bay Area FM band. First it was periodic interference from like-minded commuters who had also settled on 88.3 FM to broadcast. I’d be stopped in traffic, and fragments of other people’s music would stomp on whatever podcast I was listenening to. Figuring out which car was listening to the Beatles, Mariachi, or Country Western got to be a game. One morning I’m pretty sure the Grateful Dead was almost certainly coming from an 18 wheeler in the next lane. Every once in a great while, it would be another podcast stomping on mine.
Lately, 88.3 FM has been colonized by some distant religious station that’s either acquired the frequency or jacked up their transmitter power. Their signal is just strong enough to prevent the car radio from getting a reliable lock on my Tunecast. Scanning the FM band for other clear channels turned up no good candidates. Out of frustration, I tried listening to commercial radio. That lasted a few minutes. Whatever demographic I’m in isn’t one that broadcasters cater to.
What to do? I’ve gone over reviews of other FM transmitters, but those reviews suggest that what I have now is as good as can be expected. Replacing the car radio with one that has an audio input jack seems like overkill, though they’ll probably be standard equipment in a few years. Cassette adaptors have a spotty record. I may try one, but it’s not high on the list. For now, it’s back to burning podcasts onto CD.