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Two things in older houses that can affect radio reception: lead-based paint and metal-lath plaster walls. Having been a computer network consultant for the last 10 years, I've found that wireless networks don't work well in old houses primarily for these reasons. In my own 2003 house, the wireless works very well.
The lead based paint may not have much of an effect, but I don't know for sure. I've seen a few old houses where wireless stuff didn't work, and that's the only reason I could think of.
I don't know if metal lath was used in 1912. It's basically a metal mesh that's fastened to the wall studs, then the plaster is applied to it. This metal mesh acts as a "Faraday shield" which effectively blocks radio transmissions.
Some plaster is made with sand that is rich in metallic minerals. This could also have an effect, though I don't know to what degree. Concrete is fairly effective at blocking radio signals. Red clay brick -- high in iron -- might be, too.
Some FM receivers have external antenna connections. You could connect this to an aerial on the roof. Also, many cable TV services provide an FM signal; just connect your radio receiver to your cable jack. You shouldn't need any kind of converter box, but you might need a "75 ohm to 300 ohm" adapter if your radio doesn't have a round F-connector.
What an amazing font of information! Thank you so much for taking the time to assess my radio reception problem. I'll look into the cable solution.
Thank you very much.
Uncoil the power cord for the radio if you have it bundled up. Try plugging it directly into an outlet if you have it plugged into an extension cord or a power strip.
A dipole antena can be mounted inside to see if improves reception if you have auxiliary antena terminals on the back of the radio, can get creative with hiding it like pinning it to the back of a picture frame. They are generally "T" shaped ribbon wire.
External outside antena with amplifier can be mounted outside a window and cabled to the radio.
Stucco lath can interfere with reception, I've experienced this. You might also experiment with disconnecting the base units of any cordless telephone devices (unplugging both electrical and telephone line cables)and disconnecting and turning off any other radio devices like cell phones, baby monitors, wired or wireless modems or routers and fluorescent lights.
Some low cost solutions to experiment with might be found at your local Radio Shack store.