Streaming Radio

A few months back, my wife and I had been listening to Pandora at home, and I had as well on my PC at work.  We then found out that she can stream Pandora via Bluetooth through her car stereo, and she was hooked. So we had the idea to replace the old radio (cassette player!!!) in our boat with a new stereo that had this same Bluetooth functionality.

One Friday we went to Best Buy, and told the dumbass in a blue shirt that we wanted a cheap Bluetooth radio. He gave us one, but I looked and saw on the box that it was described as “Bluetooth Capable”.  I asked him what that meant, and he said you need the adapter ($79) to receive the Bluetooth feed. No thanks.  Next radio on the list: $109 JVC. Says “Bluetooth Enabled” on the box, and even has a PANDORA sticker on the faceplate.   I buy it, go to the boat, install it (cutting holes, soldering connections, the whole bit). The whole process took about 2 hours. Before finishing the installation, I plug it in to test it, and the radio works. I finish installing it, turn it on: phone connects to Bluetooth first try! Open up the Pandora app, and … music only plays through the phone. Not the stereo.   Open up the laptop and start searching the web for solutions. On Amazon, find the line that the Pandora app only works through USB, not via Bluetooth. No Thanks. Open back up the cabinet, snip, snip, snip…. rebox.

The next day we are back to Best Buy. Returning the JVC, I tell the next dumbass in a blue shirt that we don’t care about any features of the radio EXCEPT for streaming music via Bluetooth and specifically Pandora. Next up, a Kenwood model for $179. I ask what the difference between the logo on the one I bought vs. the logo on the new one is, and he said the difference is “Bluetooth Capable” vs. “Bluetooth Enabled”. I say nothing about noticing the difference yesterday myself, and decide to just give him $70 more dollars instead.   Back down to the boat, re-open the cabinet, solder all the wires, plug in the harness, hook up speakers (left speaker doesn’t work all of a sudden, I’ll deal with that later), put it in the bracket, turn it on… perfect so far. Connect via Bluetooth: works on the first try. Open Pandora app: nada.   Ask the interwebs once again. Find the following on the Kenwood website: “Note: This particular model does not support Bluetooth streaming. To stream media, connect the supplied auxiliary cable”. No. I want to wirelessly stream Pandora, thanks. Re-open cabinet, snip, snip, snip; forget reboxing; throw it as is into the bag.

Next day, back to Best Buy. 3rd dumbass in a blue shirt. This time I actually CALL him the third dumbass in a blue shirt I’ve talked to.  I say… slowly… enunciating each word….. I. WANT. TO. WIRELESSLY. STREAM. PANDORA. FIND. ME. A. STEREO. THAT. DOES. THIS.   He disappears for 15 minutes.   He comes back with a Sony model. BIG STICKER ON THE BOX: Wirelessly stream your digital media via Bluetooth. BIG STICKER ON THE FACEPLATE: Built in PANDORA App. All for $120. Dumbass in the blue shirt the day before cost me $50 and didn’t give me what I wanted, not to mention my time, effort and $4/gallon gas. I Buy it and EVEN GET BACK $50!

Back down to the boat. I re-run speaker cable (that I remembered to bring from home) to both the left and right speaker. Don’t solder, just twist tie the wires together. Turn it on and the radio works. Connect the phone via Bluetooth, and that works. I open the Pandora App and play. It CONNECTS! But no sound.   After a few minutes searching the manual, I find this note: “Hit pause when first starting the media stream (#6 station preset button)”. I push the button and MUSIC STREAMS THROUGH BOTH SPEAKERS! YAY!


Then: solder, hook up, faceplate, etc, etc. Turn it on, and….




#($&(^)(  !#% QUIET!

I investigate with my meter, and discover that a fuse simply blew. Old radio had a 7 amp fuse. Current radio needs a 10amp. Run to the marina store to get a replacement fuse… ALL IS GOOD!

FINALLY!   3 days. Probably 12 hours of driving, buying, and install time.  $109… er $179… er $120.  But on a Sunday afternoon we had it set up and streamed music all music all night, with no problems. Stereo remote even skips, pauses, and adjusts volume on the Pandora app. It’s a really nice feature.

If anyone is looking for the same feature, and to save the aggravation of talking to the dumbasses in the blue shirts, make sure your new radio supports A2DP. That is the specific Bluetooth profile that allows streaming media wirelessly.