Required Reading

September 15, 2009


Every school board member, superintendent, board attorney, and director of pupil transportation needs to read this important study on BusRadio. Here is a brief sampling of a quotes from the report.

After mentioning various claims about whether BusRadio will improve or diminish safety on school buses, the FCC says, "As these conflicting views demonstrate, BusRadio has the potential both to enhance and hamper the safety of bus passengers. Given the paramount importance of this issue for children who are or could be recipients of BusRadio, it would be beneficial for parents and other relevant stakeholders to engage in a timely and extensive dialogue about whether the safety benefits of BusRadio service clearly outweigh any potential harms."

Other comments:

"We note that PSAs comprise a relatively small percentage of the total programming distributed by BusRadio every hour." Page 16

"It is unclear whether, or to what extent, BusRadio conforms its practices to the Content Guidelines. In this regard, we find valid some commenters’ views that the posting of BusRadio’s daily programs –after they have been distributed –fails to enable parents to avoid exposure of their children to undesirable content." Page 13

"Although BusRadio asserts that school districts control what is played on their buses,it is not certain when, or to what extent, school districts are able to exercise such control." Page 13

"First, we agree with commenters who contend that BusRadio’s purported four to eight minutes of advertising likely understates the amount of commercial content actually carried." Page 18

"BusRadio’s use of on-air personalities to conduct promotions, including contests, makes it difficult to gauge with precision the amount of commercial content actually distributed, and has the potential to confuse children." Page 19

"We also find, as some commenters assert, that BusRadio’s promotional practices have the potential to exploit the relationship between BusRadio’s on-air personalities and its young listeners." Page 20

"Moreover, BusRadio’s Internet website does not appear to maintain a clear distinction between editorial and commercial content, contrary to CARU Guidelines." Page 21

"In this regard, we note that BusRadio’s child-targeted website appears to be a significant vehicle for commercial activity." Page 21

"Our review of the record leads us to conclude that the amount of commercial matter distributed on BusRadio likely exceeds that claimed by the company." Page 22

"Although a number of parties in this proceeding, many of whom have direct experience with BusRadio, support the service, the overwhelming majority of commenters assert that the potential harms inflicted on children by BusRadio far outweigh the service’s countervailing benefits." Page 24