At CCFC’s request, the Federal Communications Commission will be reporting to Congress whether specially designed commercial radio broadcasts for school buses such as BusRadio are in the public interest. As part of this proceeding, the FCC is now calling for public comment. CCFC is submitting extensive comments that detail the problems inherent in advertising on school buses and the hyper-commercial content of BusRadio. But the FCC needs to hear from you, too.
Please follow the instructions below to tell the FCC that forcing schoolchildren to listen to ads on their way to and from school is not in the public interest.
- Click here to open the FCC’s comment form (it will open in a new window so you can still access the instructions).
- Fill out the FCC comments form cover sheet. The proceeding number (09-68) is already filled in for you. The FCC REQUIRES that you provide your NAME and ADDRESS in order for comments to be submitted. Fields 4, 5, 6, 11 and 13 do NOT need to be completed (but you may wish to include your email in order to receive confirmation that the FCC received your comment). Field 12 is already filled in for you. An example of what your completed form will look like is below.
- Write your comment in the box marked “Send a Brief Comment to FCC (typed-in).” Because personalized comments will have a greater impact, we encourage you to use your own words. If you or your child has had any experience with BusRadio, you can share that with the FCC. If you haven’t had any direct experience with BusRadio, you may find the talking points below helpful. Or, If you prefer, you can cut and paste the sample comment below. Please note: all comments to the FCC are public and will be posted on the FCC website.
Commercial radio broadcasts designed for school buses are not in the public interest. I do not want my child – or any child – to be forced to listen to student-targeted advertising on their way to and from school. Services such as BusRadio undermine my ability to monitor my child’s exposure to media and marketing messages. I am particularly troubled that BusRadio routinely plays songs from albums that come with parental warnings and advertises products that undermine children’s wellbeing and education.
Talking Points for Personalized Comments
- BusRadio exploits a captive audience of schoolchildren and makes exposure to advertising a compulsory part of the school day for students who ride the bus.
- BusRadio undermines parental authority. Parents who wish to shield their children from commercial media and marketing messages are unable to do so if their school districts signs up for BusRadio.
- BusRadio undermines children’s wellbeing. On its website for children as young six, BusRadio has promoted extremely violent video games and and television shows like 90210, that glamorizes teen sex and alcohol use.
- BusRadio undermines education. Products advertised on a school bus carry the school's implicit endorsement even when the products advertised may run counter to lessons schools want to teach. For instance, a BusRadio advertisement for Answers.com, tells students to do their home work by looking up their answers on the Internet. The ad even includes one student making fun of another student who is carrying around books.
- BusRadio pitches itself to school districts as an age-appropriate alternative to regular FM radio, but it plays many of the same controversial artists such as Nickelback, Timbaland and Seether.
- BusRadio violates FCC rules for children’s broadcasting by failing to maintain a clear separation between programming and content. BusRadio DJ’s regularly promote the company’s sponsors without ever identifying their promotions as advertising.
- BusRadio has a web site for parents, but refuses to list their playlists and advertisers. Instead, they tell parents to listen to recordings of the broadcasts themselves. Each day’s broadcast is more than two hours. No parent should have to put in that kind of time each day in order to find out what’s being played on their child’s school bus.
For more information about the advertising and content on BusRadio, please visit http://www.obligation.org/busradiohome.php.