Because I travel a lot in my current job, I've come across a minor complication: I hate the radio. Ever since I got my first Pocket PC and discovered that I could copy MP3 audio files onto it to listen to, I've done all I can to avoid listening to the radio. I got a cassette adapter and somehow every car I've had has had a cassette player. But now that I'm renting cars, I'm finding that nobody makes a car with a cassette player anymore. All rental cars have CD player. That does me no good. As I said, I hate the radio.
Why do I hate the radio? Sure, there are some decent songs and talk programs, but for the most part, listening to the radio for me is painful. I may hear a good song, maybe I'll hear a helpful talk program, but in between are the horrible songs, the mindless DJ chatter, and the pointless at best and annoying at worst commercials. Thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple (and my Dad's generosity,) I'm on my second iPod, the 32 GB iPod Touch. I love it. I have hundreds of podcasts that I can listen to, anything from This Week in Tech to Theology Unplugged, from Chuck Missler to John C. Dvorak, I can listen to what I want just about whenever I want considering the mood I'm in. That is unless I'm in a rental car. In a rental car, I'm stuck with the radio. The radio is painful considering the podcasts I could be listening to.
When my family went with me on a week long trip to the Virginia Beach area, I stopped and bought an FM modulator, as I expect to have lots of rental cars in this job. I found that it didn't work very well. Even driving around the block I couldn't keep a decent signal on any given station. Then, leaving the area, leaves you constantly tuning the radio and the modulator. That's no good. I returned the modulator to Circuit City today.
On my last trip, since I rented a car and drove 5 hours rather than deal with another butter knife issue with Homeland Security (I'll write on that later), I solved the problem by bringing my own speakers. But that really only works if I'm driving from New Jersey to my business location. If I'm flying, the speakers might take up too much room in my luggage.
Why can't rental cars just include an iPod dock? I don't know about the rest of you, but it would make my life so much easier. Does anybody really listen to CDs in a rental car? I guess I have one case of circumstantial evidence. One car I rented for a business trip in 2005 had a Steven Curtis Chapman CD left in it.