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Innovation: A Mason Jar Radio With One Station Only

The Public Radio can be programmed to one station and one station only.
The Public Radio can be programmed to one station and one station only.

Mason jars have been riding a huge wave of popularity thanks to hipsters who embrace them for pickling projects, cake containers and all sorts of craft creations. Now, two engineers from Brooklyn are turning Mason jars into simple sound machines, to play your favorite FM radio station.

Their creation, called The Public Radio, has no affiliation with NPR or public media in general. But we like it, not just for the name but because it's a remarkably well-designed, simple device with only one function: It's pre-tuned to play one station, and one station only.

"Radio is about routine ... it's a simple interaction. The Public Radio recognizes this," creators Zach Dunham and Spencer Wright say in their pitch for their Kickstarter campaign, running now.

The radio hardware fits into a flattened, 8-ounce Mason jar and has only one knob, for volume and power. The creators say they hope the lack of choice is actually welcome to our overcluttered routines.

"We both have these old radios in our homes and were only ever turning them on and off," Dunham said. "When we look to discover new music or browse we reach for the computer and Internet. With the radio, we have a closed relationship with the station we love. We're committed."

While you can choose any station to pre-program your Public Radio to, the creators say they are partial to their local public radio stations.

The first batch of about 30 Public Radios was handmade by Wright and Dunham, in their kitchen. If there's enough support for these, they'll turn to manufacturers to make these and ship them in May 2015.

It will cost at least $48 for an already-put-together radio. For a smaller Kickstarter pledge, you can get a kit to make one on your own.

This post is part of our Weekly Innovation series, in which we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.