PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
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June 30, 2020

No farm is complete without a good old-fashioned radio. While many people prefer to stream their audio content these days, radios are still hard to beat when it comes to providing an endless stream of convenient, hands-off entertainment while you work.

Need convincing? Here are five reasons why you need at least one (if not several) radios on your farm:

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1. They’re Simple

The biggest benefit to radios is their pure simplicity.

They’re not reliant on an internet connection or cellphone signal to provide you with entertainment, so you don’t have to think about data usage or staying within range of a connection.

Even better, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use a farm radio. There are no apps to install, or wireless Bluetooth speakers to connect.

You just turn it on and spin the tuning dial until something comes in.


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2. They’re Portable

Radios aren’t very big and don’t need much power, which makes them highly portable.

Many offer multiple means of power. You can plug them into an outlet if handy or run them off battery power if you’re out in the field.

Some battery-powered models can even be charged using built-in solar panels or a hand crank, so you’ll never be caught without a power source.

Whether you’re feeding your livestock in the barn or repairing a fence on the back 40, you can bring your radio with you and trust it will work.

3. They’re Inexpensive

Unlike some forms of technology, radios aren’t very expensive. There are plenty of decent models out there that can be purchased brand new for $30 or less, and if you’re willing to shop for used radios, you can find real bargains.

Garage sales can be a rich source of such “outdated” equipment. My brother once bought a perfectly good used radio for $1.

If your investment is minimal, you’re not going to worry if your radio sits out in the shed during a -30°F winter night. Speaking of which…


Get ready now for the inevitable return of those cold winter months.


4. They’re Tough

Dusty barns and fields aren’t the best places to bring delicate and/or expensive electronics. One moment your smartphone is streaming music, and the next moment someone tosses a 50-pound hay bale on top of it. Ouch!

Fortunately, radios are pretty tough and can handle a lot of dust, dirt and extreme weather without suffering any particular ill effects.

One of my barn radios withstood decades of use—across multiple generations!—before the power switch finally wore out. That’s a pretty good return on investment.

5. They’re Entertaining

Sure, with a smartphone or tablet you can stream whatever podcast or music you want. That’s not the case with a radio—you’re stuck with whatever you can find on the handful of channels available.

This might seem restrictive, but then again it can be surprisingly entertaining. You wind up listening to talk shows with interesting guests you’d never heard of, and you find yourself enjoying genres of music you’d never previously considered.

Sometimes you’ll find there’s truly nothing of interest on the airwaves, but once in a while you’ll stumble across a gem of a program you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Have fun listening!

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