I didn’t ride the bus to school very much. I don’t exactly remember why but I do remember walking to school a lot and it was uphill both ways with snow up to my neck and….well you get the idea. But the few times I lived where I did get to ride the big yellow school bus I remember it as tedious and not much fun.
Of course this was long before laptops and I pods and cell phones which I am sure take some of the boredom out of the trip. But I noticed the other day that there is a move afoot to program bus rides with radio designed for kids.
According to the CEO of an outfit called Bus Radio, a guy named Michael Yanoff, buses now have FM radios that play stations that- Gasp- have commercials for beer and R-rated movies. Oh, the horror. Like they don’t see ten times worse on the TV. But anyway Yanoff and his company are providing school buses with a broadcast mix of music, kid oriented news (Justin Timberlake? Dreamy or Hunky?) and of course ads, presumably not for Vodka or Viagra.
The problem here is that the kids don’t get to choose what they are listening to. And with a name like Yanoff I am wondering about this guy’s intent. Could he be a Russian trying to turn our kids into little communists? Nah, that’s just paranoia on my part but the real point is, who elected this guy the judge of what is appropriate for our kids to hear on the bus?
Bus radio plays what the company refers to as Pop music, Kelly Clarkson and that sort of pabulum. If your are like me you think maybe it would be ok if kids were occasionally fed music that matters like maybe, oh I don’t know, Symphonies or heaven forefend blues or jazz then you are not on the same bus with Bus radio.
Recently a small town in Massachusetts which happens to be where Bus radio is based pulled out of a deal with the company that was paying them $10,000 a year, covering most of the costs of maintaining the bus fleet. According to a school official, numerous parents worried about exposing elementary school students to the “subliminal messages that kids would get through the advertising.” In other words they didn’t want big brother or Bus radio to have control of the kids ears. It’s a small step but in my humble opinion one in the right direction. And believe me when I say I don’t care if the kids listen to my radio station on the bus or not.