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  • Griffin Technology RadioShark AM / FM Desktop Radio with Time-Shift Recording (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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Griffin Technology RadioShark AM / FM Desktop Radio with Time-Shift Recording (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

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  • AM/FM radio connects to PC or Mac for online radio reception
  • Records AM/FM broadcasts in real time or via pre-programmed schedule
  • Time shift recording "pauses" live radio so users don't miss a second of programming
  • Connects to computers via USB port; fin shape acts as antenna
  • Transfers recorded broadcasts to iPod or other digital music players
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Technical Details

  • Brand Name: Griffin Technology
  • Model: 4018-RADS
  • Tuner Technology: Digital
  • Item Weight: 1 pounds

Product Details

Product Manual [872kb PDF]
  • Item Weight: 1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0001WW3F2
  • Item model number: 4018-RADS
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes
  • Date first available at October 2, 2001

Product Description

There's a lot to like about Internet radio, but sometimes you just want to catch the local NPR broadcast or listen to the ballgame without searching for a streaming audio feed. Griffin satisfies this urge with its RadioShark, an AM/FM desktop radio that plugs into your computer's USB port to broadcast the full spectrum of local radio. More impressively, the device also acts as a radio version of a digital video recorder, employing a technology called Time-Shift Recording to pause and rewind live radio (think TiVo). Time-Shift Recording lets a user pause a live interview, leave the desk for 15 minutes, and then return without missing a second of conversation. In addition, the RadioShark records radio in real time with the push of a button or records favorite programs via the VCR-like scheduling window. Griffin touts the device as a great way to take control of how and when you listen to the radio. And we agree for the most part, but with a major caveat.

The software interface includes frequency and volume sliders, along with band, seek, and record buttons.
Design and Setup
The slick-looking RadioShark is shaped like (surprise!) a shark fin, with a white plastic exterior that looks perfectly at home amidst a desktop full of Apple peripherals, including the ubiquitous iPod. This makes sense given Griffin's reputation as a manufacturer of Apple accessories. Installation is quick and easy thanks to the included CD-ROM, which comes with software installers for both Mac and PC. Users will need to be running OS X 10.2.8 or higher or Windows XP to operate the software, however. Once it's up and running, users can easily reposition the device to improve radio reception and recording quality, though we didn't have any problem picking up the signals in our notoriously reception-poor region. Listeners can also add an external antenna to the rear jack should reception prove spotty.

Features and Performance
Listening to the radio with the RadioShark is as simple as flipping a switch. The basic yet intuitive software interface includes frequency and volume sliders, along with band, seek, and record buttons. It takes but a fraction of a second to change stations, and the signal responds immediately. The audio quality isn't terrific, but it's just fine given the circumstances (FM radio through computer speakers). Recording is also quite easy, whether it's for five seconds or five hours. Once you turn it off, the files save conveniently as either AIFF or AAC files (Mac) or WAV files (PC) in your computer's designated music directory, where you can listen to them later or export them to other applications. Alternately, Mac users can choose to import their recordings directly into iTunes for added convenience. This is particularly cool for iPod users, who can record songs or programs from the RadioShark and then listen to them later while on the move.

The Time-Shift feature, which offers a continuous 30-minute recording loop, is also quite convenient. Should you pause or rewind a segment, you can easily rejoin the live broadcast by clicking the fast forward button. The RadioShark also continues to record the live broadcast while you're checking out the archived footage, ensuring that you don't miss a second. And should you want to permanently record a Time-Shifted song or program, you can just hit record and it's done. A couple of other convenient features include an equalizer with several preset settings and an easy-to-follow scheduling window for upcoming recordings. Listeners can even set the RadioShark to record hourly, daily, or weekly programs.

Unfortunately, thanks to a few serious hiccups, these scheduled recordings may never come to pass. Specifically, if you let your computer drift off to sleep, the RadioShark responds by disconnecting from the software. The only way to sync it back up is to unplug the Shark and start again, but in the process, listeners lose all their scheduling information. This problem appears persistent in both Macs and PCs, though Griffin's web site says Windows users shouldn't experience the problem. Griffin recommends disabling the sleep preference as a solution, but that's inconvenient for a number of reasons. As an alternative, users can reconnect the device each time it fizzles, but that's also a pain and makes the scheduling window virtually obsolete. Until Griffin releases an update, the sleep issue will remain a major drawback.

We also experienced a few skips while using the Time-Shift feature. These weren't standard static interruptions, but sounded more like sporadic CD skips--sometimes several to a song. This wouldn't be a big deal when listening to conversational radio such as NPR, but if you're trying to record music, it could be a real drag.

But it's the sleep issue that really prevents us from giving the RadioShark an enthusiastic recommendation. Should the recording problems steer listeners away from the RadioShark? Not necessarily, unless scheduled recording is the main reason you're drawn to the machine. The radio and Time-Shift features are still pretty cool, and the RadioShark offers one of the easiest ways to record live radio into digital formats. But it does put a damper on an otherwise great product. --Rivers Janssen


  • Plays local AM and FM stations through your computer
  • Records live radio and syncs recordings to iTunes and iPod
  • TiVo-like Time-Shift Recording lets listeners pause or rewind live broadcast
  • Fun, shark-fin-like antenna receives solid reception


  • RadioShark loses signal when computer sleeps, disabling scheduled recordings
  • Time-Shift feature occasionally causes audio skips

What's in the Box
RadioShark, USB extension cable, installation CD-ROM, user's manual.

Product Description

Catch your favorite radio show or the big game and listen on your own schedule with the Griffin Radioshark AM/FM Radio. You can record broadcasts in real time, as you listen to another show, or via a preprogrammed schedule. Play it all back and listen via your computer. Connects via USB. Use the Time-Shift feature to pause live radio and not miss a thing. Includes USB extension cable, installation CD-ROM and user's manual. Imported.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

The Radio Shark has been a huge disappointment.
Dallas Electronics Fan
RadioShark often has static on FM stations and gets absolutely zero reception on AM stations.
RadioShark obviously designed the software for the Mac user and not the Windows user.
Matthew Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Dallas Electronics Fan on January 19, 2005
I already have a couple software programs that will automatically record and save radio programming but when the Radio Shark was announced, I couldn't resist. Mac elegance, simplicity and functionality. Or so I thought. The product is solid, well made and the software is easy to use. Unfortunately, the reception is unacceptably poor in my suburban, residential area. Every radio I own from clock radios, a couple Tivoli Pal's, a built in-whole house system, mini-systems and so on receive programming easily. The Radio Shark's reception is inferior to even the lowliest of portables. I've tried everything I can think of. Coiling the USB cable, moving it to every place within reach, using a high dollar shielded usb extension cable which also allowed me to move the Shark further from the computer), using the Radio Shark's headphone input with a pair of ear buds and a minijack to rca cable (as Griffin's website suggests). Nothing seems to help. I have two other radios within 18 inches of computers and they were pretty easy to set up and receive clear, static free programming. The Radio Shark has been a huge disappointment. I should have learned my lesson after purchasing the Power Mate from this company. The Power mate (ditto for the Radio Shark) is very high quality piece of hardware from a fit and finish standpoint but the software was glitchy with a pc. Maybe it would have been better with a mac. But I digress. Perhaps if you live far from all urban and suburban interference or live on a hill with better line of site to the towers you want to receive from, the Radio Shark might be fine. For the rest of us, the Radio Shark is likely to disappoint. If you want to time shift radio programming, I can recommend two excellent pieces of software.Read more ›
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60 of 70 people found the following review helpful By David H. Peterzell PhD PhD on January 19, 2006
You have bought a Griffin Radio Shark, and you have hooked it to your Mac Computer (or your PC if you are somewhat more challenged). Now being an astute, card-carrying member of Gen X or Gen Y, you may have noticed that your Griffin Radio Shark is playing static noise, not tunes. This is bad. You are pi**** off. You are not alone. Read 90% of the customer reviews.

OK, punks, Turn off your iPods and remove the earbuds. Notice how the extreme silence causes thought, concentration, and the ability to interact with other humans to gradually intrude upon your being. Now gather around old Uncle Dave because he knows what is "wrong" with your Shark and he's got some tricks up his sleeve to get you connected. (Don't expect him to explain all your gothic ink and piercing, though).

First off, imagine an ancient, primitive time when there were no wireless connections, no hotspots, no Bluetooth, and no Real World. Life was ugly, brutish and short. People wore colors other than black and engaged in quaint interpersonal rituals (called **being polite and normal**). Attention-deficit-disorder had not been invented yet. The world was ruled by large, ugly, thundering beasts (called **radios**, now extinct). Hideous metal contraptions inhabited the rooftops of human dwellings. These Jurassic contraptions were called **antennas**. In the old days, people would buy a radio and hook a **wire** from the radio to the antenna. Humans instinctively knew that if you bought a radio, you also needed to buy and own an antenna. Separately. Sadly, this ancient wisdom has been lost. Modern day radios have cheap antennas, and few people seem to know about simple, time-honored solutions. For whatever reason, the good folks at Griffin did not inform you of this.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Leon W. Blocker on December 27, 2004
Griffin Technology should have called this unit the RadioGuppy, not radioShark. There are quite a few flaws that prevent this product from being truly great. Yes, the software is easy to use, and yes it has lights that are either blue or red in the fin. I noticed a few things wrong, though.

I installed the Mac version of the software and was listening to a strong, very clear station. I noticed the "Check for Update" menu item, and found a newer version of the RadioShark software was available. I applied the update, and suddenly that booming station was not nearly as strong and loud. In fact, I had to turn the volume up to achieve the same effect.

Next, when I tried via software to shut the LED off, a very weird, very annoying screech started coming out of my external speakers. I turned the light on, the sound went away. Light off, screech. Light on, no screech.

On the whole, I would stick with the software right out of the box. My perception is it was better than what the update will deliver. There may be features missing if you don't apply the update, however. I didn't mess around with the original software for very long to notice, so you may just want to skip right to the update. It's your call. I am just far too lazy at this point to clean out the upgrade and revert back to the original software.

The documentation is not complete, as well. For instance, there is a black port on the back of the "fin"... What it is used for? The manual is silent. Spartan may be a better word, as it is light on the actual mechanics and heavy on the usage of the time-shifting software. This is good news for the less-than-geeky, but rather lacking for the more sophisticated technology user.
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