Handmade Public Radio is a killing jar for choice

It is on. It is off. No other concerns for you

Well, of course. Everything is either on or off

Maybe for you, Binary Bob. But some people struggle with the concept of everything being delineated. They like nuance, shading. Options! If you were to ask them to choose between 0 or 1, they might reply “0.6”.

That’s not really how binary works

Shut up about binary, already. This is about radio. This radio, which is made by people. It is tuned to one particular station and then sent to you. You can turn it on, or off. In a concession to the lack of a human aural standard, you can adjust the volume. And, with grudging acceptance that FM signals vary due to local conditions, you can extend or retract the aerial. But you can’t alter the station. Once the makers program it in, it’s hard-wired. Fixed. Signed off.

So you can’t change the station?

Yes. You can. But it’s not easy – you have to unscrew the lid. And it’s not proper, more to the point. The idea is that you choose your station and you stick by it. You think “I might listen to the radio” and so you turn it on and you do, for better or worse. This is simplicity and purity. You want diversity? Try the internet, muthafishbowl.

What station would you choose, then?

Ah, well, that’s tricky isn’t it? Because we quite like radio, which means that we’re attracted to this object. But also, we like radio, which means that we have a number of favourite stations. Clearly BBC Radio 4 might be a winning choice, but 6 Music gets a lot of local airtime too. Which is a problem, because The Public Radio is from the USA so it’s FM, not DAB digital radio.

Oh, ho. That is a problem for us: FM’s days are numbered

Well, this was never going to be a potential family heirloom. It’s an objet d’art, a curiosity. It’s some kind of statement about overwhelming media choice in the modern age and, if the transmitters ever do come crashing down, it’s a lovely little jar. Either or all of these things are why The Public Radio did so well on Kickstarter and why it’s post-crowdfund stocks are now also sold out. But more will come, so start thinking what station you’d choose.