Denver Post Urges Schools To Dump BusRadio

March 8, 2009


The Denver Post’s editorial board today called for school districts to remove BusRadio from their school buses.

This is a tremendous victory for young people, their parents, educators, and all those concerned with the welfare and safety of schoolchildren.

On the other hand, it is a terrible blow to the prospects of this Needham, Massachusetts marketing company.

It will be difficult now for any Colorado district superintendent, school board member, or transportation director to continue supporting the use of BusRadio. None of these people can now say they didn’t know BusRadio was controversial.



School districts should pull plug on BusRadio

Children are bombarded with enough advertising. They don’t need to hear Hannah Montana and cellphone ads on the bus.

By The Denver Post
POSTED: 03/08/2009 12:30:00 AM MST

Many parents rightly wish to filter at least a fraction of the rampant commercialization that bombards their children.

Yet these days, even on the way to and from school on their yellow buses, children in several Colorado districts are listening to BusRadio.

The Internet-radio program purports to "calm" children with "age appropriate" programming, according to The Post’s Carlos Illescas. What it actually does is subject its captive audiences to pop culture and advertisements for such things as toys, cable networks and cellphone service.

BusRadio is featured on several Colorado school-district buses, including in Aurora, Denver and Douglas County, and apparently was added with limited parent buy-in.

School districts should pull the plug on BusRadio, or at least let parents decide if they want their kids to ride on a taxpayer-subsidized bus listening to commercial ads.

We understand, and benefit from, advertising. We have nothing against toys and music and phones.

But children already are inundated with a bewildering mix of images and sounds that vie for their attention on a near-constant basis.

Denver Public Schools spokesman Alex Sanchez tells us that parents at one school in a pilot program last year "overwhelmingly" supported the "sanitized" BusRadio over the regular FM/AM broadcasts the district had been using.

We suggest another alternative: silence, or at least the natural noise of kids being kids.

We can think of a few things better to do on the bus than listen to commercial radio: Read, do homework, talk with friends, laugh, stare out the window, daydream