A multiband radio offers listeners multiples stations for entertainment and news. Multiband radios can pull in AM radio, FM radio, shortwave radio and even weather radio. By picking up a wider spectrum of radio waves than traditional AM/FM dual band radios, multiband radios are coveted for emergencies. Most multiband radios operate like normal plug-in radios, but some are prepared for emergencies and disasters with special energy options.
A multiband radio does not look much different from most desktop models of radios. Most are portable models, comprised of a single speaker, sometimes two, and they feature a series of knobs or digital controls for dialing in stations, switching bands and volume. The biggest difference in appearance between a multiband portable radio and a traditional dual band radio is the station display. Depending on the model, there can be four or more lines of station numbers, each representing the various bands of radio frequencies that the multiband antenna can receive.
FM radio is the most common frequency that a multiband radio will receive. In most countries, this is the band used by commercial radio stations. Reception often is crisp and clear when in range of the radio station's broadcast single. These stations mostly cater to entertainment needs, playing music, sports, news and some talk shows.
AM radio is another popular frequency for entertainment and news purposes. AM actually predates FM by many decades and still is commonly used. Even in ideal conditions, reception of AM stations often is fuzzy. This band is dominated by talk shows and sports in many markets but also features some music.
Multiband radio really gets its appeal from pulling in stations other than the usual AM and FM spectrum. One of the most popular reasons users purchase these radios is to listen to shortwave radio. Shortwave, or ham, radio is a series of frequencies that allows amateurs to broadcast their own programs. The programs come from around the world and focus on anything from talk shows, political views, music and news or simply act as a platform for personalities.
Another popular reason for a multiband radio is emergencies. Most of these radios can pull in an emergency weather channel and get updates on emergencies. Some models go a step further in preparing for emergencies by offering not only battery power but also a crank that can be turned to power the radio and even solar panels. These models are designed to keep users informed even in the harshest emergency conditions.