On The Dial: Listening While You Work…At Home

How are we entertaining ourselves through these days of self quarantine and social distancing?

Of course, we’re at home. So, we have to watch something. We got Netflix, Amazon Fire, Hulu, our cable or satellite broadcasting at our beck and call. But, what if you need to concentrate on your work while you are at home under government orders?

This is where your computer and/or mobile device comes into play with a variety of other entertainment options. That means listening to local radio, satellite radio, a streaming service, or a podcast.

It is great that we can take some of what we listen to our favorite shows or songs as we get through our tasks at our home office, working out, or just relax in the comfort of somewhere quiet in the house.

All you really need is a signal. A lot of computers or mobile devices can feed off a Wi-Fi signal from the router of your broadband service, as long as you have the bandwidth to cover all devices. Otherwise, a mobile signal is just as good as gold for apps that stream content into your device.

The list of apps and services are long. I start with SiriusXM, because it is one of the services I use for content. Most of the shows now sound different, as a lot of the on-air hosts are now broadcasting from home. Sound quality may vary, depending on the equipment each host is using. Not everyone has a top end microphone or an ultra-strong connection to the station before it goes out to the satellite and back to your device.

Keep in mind that some of your favorite hosts have been broadcasting from their home studio for years. Richard Blade of 1st Wave is one. Of course, his wife and their furry children are kept out of the hoe studio for the duration of the show. Yet, you can hear Sway Calloway, Heather B, Nic Carter, Lori Majewski, and our friends at the Dave Nemo Weekends show – including Dave himself – are doing their best to keep their voices live on air from the comfort of their homes.

On the user side, SiriusXM sounds as good as inside your vehicle. That is, if you have external speakers for your computer set up or via Bluetooth connection from your mobile device. I found no fidelity issues from either my computer or iPhone, even with the connection to my Harmon Kardon Bluetooth desktop speaker.

There are many other streaming services you are using to keep your workday at home lively. Services, such as Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Android Music, and so forth.

If you still listen to the good ol’ radio, the folks at your local station are doing exactly what the SiriusXM hosts are doing – broadcasting from home though the station’s uplink. You can hear them on your home radio, of course. But once you get onto their station's corporate app – iHeartRadio, TuneIn or Radio.com, for example – you will find that local advertisements. are filtered out by the feeds from these apps. That might be a good thing – or not.

Is there a strategy to keeping you entertained without binge watching your favorite television shows while you are at home working? You have certain tastes in music and programming. You can tailor your day to what ever you want to listen.

Just don't forget to mute it when you get a work-related phone call or get on a conference call. Just common sense is the rule of thumb when you transform your office life into your home routine. I’m sure your boss, client, or vendor wants to hear Jude Angelini. Jason Ellis or your favorite podcaster(s) curse up a storm in the background when you are on the phone.

Think of this as a way to extend your commute time. We listen to our favorite programs and songs to and from work – whether it is in your vehicle or on public transit with your headphones on. A few of us do listen while we work at our office. Now, we bring this home, even with the spouse, the kids, and the pets within six feet of your home office setup.

We are all making adjustments to our lives in the face of this pandemic. That does not mean that we shut things off. However, I do suggest that we take this time to de-stress from the world we’re used to. It all starts with a soundtrack. Go ahead, listen while you work. Your furry co-workers will enjoy it, too.

Photo by Randy Stern

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