The Denver Post is reporting that Congress has ordered a Federal Communications Commission review of BusRadio—a radio programming service used by 9,000 buses in 24 states. Critics of the program claim that the music played by the service is sometimes age inappropriate and that the students on the bus are being held hostage to the commercials played on the station, according to the article.
The issue of advertising on buses is not a new one. I wrote a quick story about that very subject coming up in South Carolina a few years back. Officials in that state were considering adding advertising to buses to increase revenue for education. And indeed, the buses that play BusRadio do receive some money for allowing the service, says the article.
There are different stations of BusRadio, one geared to elementary school students, one toward middle school students, and a third for high schoolers. And although some parents may have qualms with the content on the station, the service claims to provide a safe, age-appropriate alternative to traditional AM/FM radio. A spokesman from Denver Public Schools also said in the article that the service has helped keep the bus rides more calm and safe, which is the reason why the school district installed the service originally.
What do you think? Is BusRadio appropriate for students, or is it wrong to advertise to students in a school setting? Will getting rid of this service shield students from advertisements, or will the ads simply sneak through some other way?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.