Monday, March 27, 2006

Don't touch that dial

The stereo in my El Camino has 12 preset buttons for FM, and 6 for AM.

I installed an old, used Sony that $5 plus $8 shipping from eBay sent to my doorstep. The wires were cut and not labeled, there was no faceplate, no manual, and no knobs -- which is why it went so cheap.

I was able to correctly connect the myriad of wires to their appropriate appendages, am running it without a faceplate, found a manual for it online as a pdf file, and put some knobs on it donated by an old car stereo from my past.

Lately, I'd been disconnecting the Elky's battery at night and taking it inside the garage to be trickle charged. It was on it's last leg and I was procrastinating buying a new battery since I was only using the red and white car/truck beast on runs to the dump, or to pick up large items that S would buy at an auction.

Disconnecting the battery would all but wipe out the preset radio stations that I had assigned to the Elky's Sony. Since the car was only being used for short burn-out free trips around town, I usually didn't even bother turning on the stereo, opting instead to relish in the sound of a healthy American V-8 expelling exhaust gasses via 2.5" exhaust pipes and dual fully-welded SpinTech mufflers.

Besides, resetting all 12 FM stations always proved to be time consuming, as I hadn't yet memorized the station selections of choice.

Those days are no more. It's taken me almost a year, but I think I have finally memorized the main 12 FM preset radio station buttons in my car stereo.

This may not seem to be a big deal, but historically, whenever I would travel and rent a car, the first order of business was channel surfing the FM band to find radio stations to my liking, assign them sequentially to the numbered preset buttons, then figure out the various other controls of the rental vehicle.

Somehow, having the radio presets tuned to stations of my liking provided me with a sense of security and familiarity in strange surroundings. Besides, I didn't want to have to be constantly scanning the FM band trying to find decent background music for my life, all the while navigating highways and byways foreign to me.

Stands to reason then, that I was anxious to find stations suited to my taste in music when I made the move eastward.

Fortunately (or not), OKC is somewhere in the top 100 media market listing for the US, and as such gets all the same, syndicated radio station prattle that one can find in just about every major market city.

We have a KISS-FM. We have the new "iPod-on-random-play-like" station BOB-FM (called Jack-FM in LA, thanks Mark B). We have several golden oldies stations, a couple different levels of rock (from KLOS to KROC in LA), the required easy listening tunage (very KOST-FM like), one or two rap oriented signals, and yes, even a country music radio station or two...or three...or twelve.

I finally broke down and bought a new 1000 CCA megabattery for the Elky (car show season is quickly approaching), and took the time to set the presets on her stereo. Much to my surprise, I was able to scan and set the 12 FM stations by memory, recognizing the numbered station ID's as they blipped green on the digital readout of the stereo.

It was small moment of triumph, but a significant one. I am no longer a visitor here. I am starting to feel like a (gulp), resident.


Nicole said...

My resident moment (am also a transplant, but from the other LA - Louisiana) when I returned to Louisiana to visit family and found myself putting the TV on Oklahoma channels and wondering why CBS wasn't on channel 10!

OKDad said...

CBS is on channel 10? Do you have satellite or some other megabuck system?

Up here where I am, CBS is 9, ABC is 5 and NBC is 4.

Here's a test...what were the 3 networks back in Baton R, LA?