FCC Reports To Congress On BusRadio
September 8, 2009 at 12:03 PM (PT)
The FCC is telling Congress that it will leave the issue of commercial radio and TV programming aimed at school bus passengers to local authorities' discretion as long as parents and others are provided with adequate information about the operation, but took the opportunity to criticize BUSRADIO for its policies and for not being clear to parents as to what programming is being aired. The Commission made its determination in a report responding to a Congressional request for review of such programming, which is presently only being offered by BUSRADIO; such services are not presently subject to regulation by the FCC.
"We conclude," wrote the Commission, "that the issue of whether services such as BUSRADIO serve the public interest may be one most appropriately decided at the local level, where individual school districts in close partnership with parents and other stakeholders can weigh the particular benefits and potential harms of the service in their communities. We note, however, that parents and other concerned parties can make educated decisions about services such as BUSRADIO only if given access to timely, accurate, and complete information about the programming practices and content to which their children are or will be exposed."
In the report, the Commission suggests that "BUSRADIO’s Content Guidelines could be revised to set forth more objective criteria that would enable parents and other caregivers to more effectively monitor program content," such as being more clear about what the company considers "swear words" or objectionable content to be edited out of songs, or using an independent ratings entity to determine what songs to play. The agency also criticized BUSRADIO for use of "host-selling" promos and contests and for driving kids to its "child-targeted" website, which carries advertising.