Changes in American society, the pluralistic nature of its citizens, and its geographic preclude a common definition of what is indecent, profane, or obscene. What may appear to be "dirty discourse" to some may be considered to be laudable satire to others. Renowned media scholars and authors Robert Hilliard and Michael Keith examine the blue side of the airways in Dirty Discourse: Sex and Indecency in Broadcasting. This first-ever analysis of the history and nature of off-color program content explores the treatment of once-forbidden topics in the electronic media, investigating the beliefs, attitudes and actions of those who present such material, those who condemn it, and those who defend it.
Written from a social and cultural perspective, Dirty Discourse concentrates on the means of greatest distribution - radio, with its phenomenal growth of 'shock jocks' and rap music lyrics, and provides coverage of television and the Internet. The book shows how and why broadcasting has evolved from the ribald antics of the Roaring 20's to today's streaming cybersex, contrasting the standards and actions of the FCC v. the First Amendment amidst the over-the-air and in-the-court battles of over-the-top radio. It examines political pressures and legal considerations, including Supreme Court decisions, and efforts to protect children from media smut.