The internet is turning us all into hyper-connected maniacs. Every morning is a fresh nightmare of push notifications. News is relentless and all-consuming. In an era when rage = clicks, and clicks = money, and we have a President who offends every standard of righteousness, we're drowning in a stream of emergency-level news.

What if it didn't have to be this way?

For my birthday this year, my girlfriend scored big and got me a Tivoli AM/FM radio. Tivoli is known for simple to use, elegantly designed, high quality radios and speakers.

It has completely changed my life.

(Amazon)
(Amazon)

I made a pledge to not look at my phone before I get dressed for the day. Finally, I got relief from the always-updating feed of news coming out across the internet. Every morning I wake up and shower to a completely digestible NPR newscast on 91.5. The news is urgent, but feels actionable. Hearing the latest news, instead of reading it on your social media feed, keeps you focused on what's at stake, instead of spinning off into an argument with the cousin who posted a rage-inducing Facebook status. And if the morning has me beat, I'll turn the dial to 89.9 for a relaxing hour of classical music to remind me that the sun is still shining.


The sound from the Tivoli Model One radio is crisp and resonant. The tuner can snag any local frequency and broadcast it clearly. It will work just as well in your basement or attic as it does in your kitchen or living room. For even more remote locations, it packs an extendable antenna. Plus, it has an aux input so you can use it as a conventional music speaker.

This model ranges in price, depending on the color combination, from $116.06 for the black box, to $150 for this beige palette. Want to go cordfree? Opt for the slightly pricier Bluetooth version.

Includes 3.5mm auxiliary input and headphone jack. (Amazon)
Includes 3.5mm auxiliary input and headphone jack. (Amazon)

Tivoli also makes a portable edition called the iPal, which includes a battery that'll get you a dozen or so listening hours before it needs charging. You can pack it in your backpack for a picnic, or take it on a camping trip.

There is still magic in this world, and a small sum of it can be found on the radio dial. Discovering a new song, listening to a moving episode of This American Life you might've otherwise skipped in your podcast feed, or getting the latest coverage of breaking news without having to turn to a panel of partisan morons on CNN are just a few reasons to embrace this old bit of technology made new.

The Tivoli AM/FM radio proves there's still a good dose of humanity swimming in the air around us, and that all you need to access it is a good antenna.

(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)