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Critics claim radio program on school buses is dangerous for kids


Catholic News Agency
February 13, 2008


Denver, Feb 13, 2008 / 05:16 am (CNA).- A radio show delivered exclusively to school children riding the bus to and from school has drawn sharp criticism from bus drivers and parents for undermining parental rights and introducing bus riders to indecent musicians.

BusRadio is free radio programming that promotes itself as an alternative to AM/FM radio and is designed for children. The BusRadio website advertises that it gives students the music they want “minus the offensive lyrics, with 1/3 of the sponsorships per hour of AM/FM and positive safety messages and PSAs.” The company has designed age-specific programs for elementary, middle and high school students.

In addition, the site states that “with BusRadio on board, noise levels drop, kids stay in their seats and the bus ride is safer and more fun than ever!”

However, not everyone is convinced. Littleton, Colorado bus driver, Danny Kenny is protesting the use of BusRadio in his school district.

Kenny told Colorado News 9 that while the songs may be “technically clean,” that are played on BusRadio, the content and themes of the songs are often too mature for the school children.

Kenny wants all parents to be aware of the door BusRadio opens for kids. He says while "clean" versions may be played on the busses, students can find the "explicit" versions online.

"Do you want to introduce a kid to, Ne-Yo and say, 'Hey this guy is a great singer. He's a great artist and this is a great song.' And then when he buys the album, you find out there are other songs on there you don't want them listen to," said Kenny.

Ne-Yo, a featured artist on BusRadio, raps about having sex with his girlfriend in one track on his album. He also has had graphic sexual photos of himself posted on the internet.

Another criticism leveled at the company stems from the advertisements being broadcast to a captive audience of school children.

Susan Linn, a psychologist told the Boston Globe that ``What these corporations want to do is be in children's faces 24 hours a day, and they're getting close to that.”

In a conversation with CNA, Danny Kenny said that the incentive for school districts to carry BusRadio’s programming is that they receive money for allowing the broadcasts in their buses.

The issue at stake, says Kenny, is a parenting issue, since parents are losing control of what their children listen to.

So far Kenny has succeeded in getting the Littleton School District (where he is a bus driver) to suspend their plans to subscribe to BusRadio’s service. He hopes to raise awareness in Denver to prevent Denver Public Schools from following through with their plans to launch the service in the spring.

BusRadio currently reaches over one million students in 23 states each day.


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