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SBE Offers HD Radio ‘Field Guide’

This book is appropriate for engineers as well as managers.

You know I can’t go long without dipping into the ol’ book bag. Here are three titles that caught my eye recently.

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Tom Ray brings his distinctive voice to the topic of digital radio in his new book “HD Radio Implementation: The Field Guide for Facility Conversion.”

Ray gets a lot of attention for his pro-IBOC views, thanks to his ardent advocacy and his employer’s use of IBOC at WOR, a prominent AM station in the largest U.S. market. He’s also a contributor to Radio World, which was not involved in the book, though he quotes from some of his RW commentaries.

The author’s scope is how to put an HD Radio station together and make it work. He talks about studio facility considerations, STLs, audio processing, installing AM HD Radio, installing FM HD Radio and how to make it all work.

This book is appropriate for engineers as well as managers, though if you already have an HD operation or if you read Radio World you will already know a good deal of what’s in here. But if you are thinking about HD-R or if you wish to expand your practical understanding of it, the book is definitely a useful read. This is practical content, though it’s pricey at $89.95 retail (a problem common to engineering books that publishers feel are likely to have a relatively small, targeted readership).

He writes in a chatty style, or as Tom describes it, as if you were sitting around sharing a beer or coffee with him. It’s one experienced engineer talking to fellow engineers and to other technically intelligent managers.

Tom adds an appendix of his personal experiences with HD Radio, providing more practical observations and also sharing the bile he has built up from receiving strong criticism for his pro-IBOC stance. He says he has been insulted, harassed, stalked, threatened and accused of killing AM radio; and he addresses those experiences briefly.

This 214-page hardback is published by Focal Press and the SBE, of which Ray is a board member.

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The late John M. Eargle was honored this year with a Technical Grammy. An engineer, musician and JBL Professional consultant, he passed away in 2007.

Among his final contributions to the industry is “The JBL Story: 60 Years of Audio Innovation,” a 326-page softcover issued in late 2006 by JBL that provides a corporate and engineering history of the company followed by many pages of photos of products and installations.

JBL dates to 1946 and has roots in earlier companies founded by James Bullough Lansing, whose initials it still bears. In nine chapters, Eargle provides great early pix and an easy-to-read chronology from the days when Jim Lansing (which was not his name at birth) launched this important contributor to loudspeaker technology.

The history is strongest when Eargle covers the early years of the company’s business growth. Later developments are less well described. Specific products and installations tend to be explored mostly with a photo and a brief description rather than detailed specs. The JBL transducer timelines are interesting. Some of the images are quite large, which is nice in a book like this.

Really the book is half history, half JBL promo piece; but it will appeal to audiophiles and readers interested in the history of amplified sound.

As Eargle wrote in the preface, JBL was founded at the beginning of the high-fidelity era. “Those of you who remember those heady postwar years will recall the enthusiasm and sheer fun of it all. Not many of those early companies exist today, largely because they lacked long-term knowledgeable corporate guidance.” He dedicated his book to William Thomas and Sidney Harman, and Les Paul provides the forward.

An author of several earlier titles on recording engineering, microphones and loudspeakers, Eargle worked on the project for a year and wrote the preface six months before he passed away.

Published by JBL Professional, distributed by Hal Leonard Corp. Retail price $29.95.

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My friend Craig Baker is a radio broadcaster in Georgia and often suggests books that other small-station owners and managers might benefit by.

He tipped me off to Kathy J. Kobliski and her book “Advertising Without an Agency Made Easy,” part of a “Made Easy” series from Entrepreneur Press. She’s a former sales rep and now the owner of Silent Partner Advertising, a small agency in New York state.

She says she wrote the book to help direct advertisers who must “wing it” with little or no professional help. Radio sales folks may wish to share this with clients, or can benefit themselves by learning about other media choices they can recommend or fend off as part of an ad strategy. It’s practical and presented in a format familiar to readers of “Dummies” and “Idiot’s Guide” books.

A companion booklet is “Successful Radio Sales,” aimed at people who want to be radio account execs or who are starting in such a job. It can be a reminder of sales basics for more experienced sales people. She deals with cold calls, file management, promotional material and so forth.

You can also find good information and tips about sales at her site

“Advertising Without an Agency Made Easy” by Kathy J. Kobliski retails for $19.95 and is published by Entrepreneur Press. “Successful Radio Sales” is available through her Web site.