Listening to radio in our kitchen used to require blasting the stereo in the living room--making it uninhabitable--and yet you'd still barely make out the sound in the kitchen (that's where I pack books and it's often filled with horrible squealing from the tape dispenser and the KER-CHUNK of the industrial stapler).
So for Xmas Alice asked for a small radio / boombox and I got "her" (it's kind of a Homer gift) one of these:
A Grace Wireless Internet Radio and it's one of the top 5 electronic purchases of my life.
Basically you can listen to any radio station with an internet stream, any podcast, your own music files, and Pandora (with the ability to rate and bookmark songs), all in a sleek and intuitive package with robust sound.
You need broadband and a wireless router but your computer doesn't need to be on for the Grace to work and there's no additional service fees.
It was very easy to setup. There are five buttons for presets on the front and you can add thousands of more stations either from the Grace itself or from a web page interface (Reciva). If you add a station through Reciva, next time you turn on the Grace it'll be added to your station lists.
I do a lot of repetitive work that requires my hands and eyes but not necessarily my brain, so radio is my friend. But even in NYC there's plenty of dead airtime with nothing on or shows I only grudgingly listen to. Now I can happily swap between Brian Lehrer, Irwin Chusid's Calypso podcasts on WFMU, Crime OTR from the 40s, the Goonshow, Soundcheck and a surprising number of Bollywood stations (already on the Grace if you search by "genre").
I couldn't recommend this more to booksellers, crafters, or radio enthusiasts. And it's less than $200.
My only (very slight) complaint is that when listening to podcasts if the Grace loses connectivity it starts over at the beginning of the podcast and there's no way to fast forward.
So I'll end this with a request: Are there any college/freeform/public radio stations that you can't live without? Podcasts? Please let me know. I need to feed this thing.