Turn your radio on

Proposal to pipe in Channel One radio to school buses offers benefit of appropriate programming but critics resist corporate programming to captive audience of kids.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

The yellow school bus might bring to mind the innocence of youth, but a new proposal would equip Massachusetts school buses with the controversial Channel One radio station—piping in music, games, safety tips and eight minutes of advertisements played every hour to a captive audience. The corporate sponsored school bus just might change this nostalgic fantasy, reports ="http: www.eschoolnews.com="" news="" showstoryts.cfm?articleid="6358&page=2">eSchool News.

BusRadio hopes the free radio programming will keeps kids well-behaved and entertained during the ride, but critics say it's just an a perfect opportunity for children to ingest corporate advertising. The one-hour radio show has music and news, six minutes of public service announcements, eight minutes of corporate sponsorships, and two minutes of contests.

The concept of a closed network radio show came about because the majority AM/FM shows that are played on buses are innappropriate for elementary school children.

"Instead of kids listening to shock-jock type programming with inappropriate songs and advertising, we decided that we'd give schools the choice of playing programming that is appropriate for students," said Steven Shulman, the company's president.

Content is reviewed by parents and officials via the school board. Students even have a say in what's being braodcast by voting each day on their favorite songs.

"We want to have responsible sponsors on the programming," Shulman said, noting that, for example, a food advertiser reportedly will be accepted only if its advertisement promotes healthy food.

The proposals does have it detractors, however. The watchdog organization, Commercial Alert, an organization that seeks to keep commercialism away from children commented about the proposal in a letter,

"The compulsory school laws would become a pretext for compulsory listening to commercial propaganda. In addition, you would be intentionally interfering with the ability of students' [sic] to read, pray, or do homework on the school bus."
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