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Dirty Discourse at the Beach

Down with trashy paperbacks. Fie on beach novels. Here are three summer reading suggestions just for fans of Radio World. No sex, just lots of information.

In the June 4 issue of Radio World you’ll find 500+ column inches devoted to the new products of summer 2003.

But what about your literary needs? As you sizzle in the sun listening to the sounds of the surging surf, you’ll probably reach for a tall cool drink. But how will you quench your ongoing thirst for knowledge?

Down with trashy paperbacks. Fie on beach novels. Here are three summer reading suggestions just for fans of Radio World. No sex, just lots of information.

OK, maybe a little sex.

. . .

Engineers who want to be managers can turn to a text by B. Michael Aucoin. “From Engineer to Manager: Mastering the Transition” is a hardcover that is not specifically for radio or broadcast engineers, and yet it is.

How many times have we written in these pages that engineers should learn to be more effective managers to advance their careers, attain their goals and find a seat at the corporate table?

Aucoin helps. He understands that certain principles can help any technical person become more effective in the big, bad world of non-technical management.

What does it mean to facilitate ownership? Why can’t other people follow explicit rules? Are office politics ever healthy? How can I manage risk, manage assets, prompt changes, make recommendations, organize a group?

It’s pricey at $75 retail, but it’s a fine investment for any engineer with managerial ambitions. 360 pages, published by Artech House,

. . .

In his recent Workbench columns, John Bisset has shared funny examples of silly or downright stupid behavior by DJs and radio station operators. Hey, don’t these folks know how to run a radio station?

Maybe not. The FCC longer requires operator licensing. But now there’s a book for operators to help them handle their responsibilities, the “SBE Certification Handbook for Radio Operators” by Ron Bartlebaugh, published by the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

It educates in a straightforward way that is never condescending, using simple photos and diagrams to explain such items as a digital audio workstation, a four-bay FM antenna, a balanced patch bay cable. It discusses important topics like EAS, FCC inspections, the station log and even smoking in the studio.

This is a super overview for non-technical readers about the responsibilities of an operator and the various terms and types of equipment used in radio. The book also will prepare the reader for the operator certification exam available from the SBE; sample questions are included.

You can hand this 74-page booklet to any novice who crosses your path in a radio station and be doing them a favor. Congratulations also to the SBE National Certification Committee, chaired by Chriss Scherer, for this much-needed publication.

Cost: $42 plus shipping including the exam fee. Call (317) 846-9000 or e-mail [email protected].

. . .

And if those two selections don’t float your beach ball, try “Dirty Discourse: Sex and Indecency in American Radio.”

Burning ears. Topless radio. Rap lyrics. Sexpot radio. Wolves in she’s clothing. Eargazm. The King of All Raunch. Call letters that spell out anatomical phrases. “Is it smut or satire?” And how many dirty words are there again?

Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Keith take on a touchy subject in an academic way, giving us a hardcover look at softcore radio.

They explore the question of how broadcasting evolved to the point where … well, to this point. (I was going to quote some examples of shock-jock words and behavior, lifted from actual radio broadcasts, but I think I’d better not.)

They include examples of songs and bits that were considered indecent, commentary from various participants and observers, and a deep appendix of relevant FCC and legal material.

It’s quite fascinating. If you are interested in questions of freedom of speech, radio indecency and the cultural questions raised by these issues, read this book. If you are easily offended, skip it; the authors don’t shy away from the language. (Sorry, there are no photos.)

Published by Iowa State Press, 300 pages, retail $49.99. Visit