Don’t give them flowers. Or candles. Or absolutely anything “as seen on TV.” You need a housewarming gift that expresses intelligence, creativity, and a sense of place—yours and theirs. For the price of a Dean & Deluca spice-rub sampler or couple of middling bottles of pinot, you can present a housewarmer that really warms. Meet the Public Radio, a defiantly simple tabletop receiver that occupies, as a hermit crab does its shell, a squat glass Mason jar. The radio is fixed on a single FM frequency—chosen when you place your order. It’s precious yet practical, a conversation piece that says to the recipient, “you’re one of us now.”
The $60 radio is the brainchild of “hackers, makers, and engineers” Zach Dunham and Spencer Wright, and it’s handmade at workbenches in Brooklyn and Massachusetts. It’s called the Public Radio because, naturally, its single speaker is best suited to the newsy mornings and chatty afternoons of NPR—be it WQXR in New York, WPPB on the East End, or WLRN in South Florida.
It’s precious yet practical, a conversation piece that says to the recipient, ‘you’re one of us now.’
The radio bits—a tuning module, a single speaker, and a couple of AA batteries—are attached to the underside of a metal disk, held in place by the standard Mason screw ring. A simple telescoping antenna and a power/volume knob sit atop the perforated lid.
This is no Bang & Olufsen hi-fi, but the Public Radio’s monophonic audio quality is quite good—bright and clear—and unless you’re habitually cranking Carnegie Hall Live, the batteries should be good for 36 hours or so. (It’s worth noting that should your housewarming giftee decide to make another move, the Public Radio can be manually reset to another station.)
You can purchase one directly from the manufacturer.