October 31, 2008

From Jim Metrock:

This week Obligation had its first booth at the National Association for Pupil Transportation convention in Myrtle Beach, SC.

I deeply appreciate the NAPT for allowing Obligation to provide information about commercial-free busses and BusRadio’s potential for bus driver distraction to their members. The NAPT membership is broad. I talked with professional school transportation personnel from from all over the country. I talked to school transportation directors from local school districts and I talked to several state directors who had statewide responsibilities.

One state director visited my booth early on the first day of the trade show and recommended other state leaders to come to Obligation’s booth. They did and I was very thankful to be able to talk to so many people who help set state school bus policy.

It was an incredible show. I talked to dedicated public servants from California and Washington to Florida and Maine, from Texas and Mississippi to Illinois and Ohio. The response to our message was overwhelmingly positive and appreciative.

I remember only three people being so pro-BusRadio that they didn’t want to listen to anything that would undermine their thinking.

What I heard the most was outrage at the concept of BusRadio. Many people already knew about the company. Here are some of the things I heard . These are not quotes, but they come close:

They came to my district and we turned down their offer.

One person in my department thought it was a good idea, we discussed it and voted it down.

The county next to us got BusRadio, but we rejected the idea. That neighboring county has since dropped the company.

Never heard of it, but we would never allow advertising directed at our students.

I’ve been on the web and I don’t like what I have read about BusRadio. (They could have been visiting our site or the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood site.)

You can’t offer our school bus drivers money or gift cards. You can’t do that in our state. BusRadio is a "non-starter." (We showed attendees the picture of BusRadio’s David Briere presenting a school bus driver a $500 gift card because she won a driver-only contest after she heard her name mentioned while driving her route.)

I don’t need to bring controversy into our school district. We have enough already.

I imagine they would soon be telling me that my drivers aren’t playing the program enough. I’m going to discpline a driver to keep BusRadio happy?

I don’t want parents calling me and complaining. I would never agree to BusRadio or anything like it. (I handed out a list of groups and child advocates that oppose BusRadio and Channel One. That list includes the National PTA.)

Their music is not age-appropriate if they are promoting the groups you say they are, even if the songs are clean.