GET INVOLVED     |     ISSUES     |     NEWSROOM     |     RESOURCES     |     ABOUT US     |     CONTRIBUTE     |     SEARCH  

Parents' Protests Pay Off!
The Song Is Over for BusRadio
September 28, 2009 - After a three-year campaign by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, BusRadio - the highly controversial company that planned to "take targeted student marketing to the next level" - has ceased operations. BusRadio had hoped to play its highly commercialized broadcasts for students on buses around the country, but CCFC and its network of parent activists opposed the company's plans at every turn. Read the Press Release > |


"Bus Radio couldn't agree they wouldn't play songs from albums that had parental advisory warnings on them, and that was pretty much a deal-breaker."


- Amy Lockhart, parent and member of Seminole County committee on BusRadio.

"I think it's absurd, a low-grade form of child abuse, that forces a captive audience to listen to commercial messages. I don't think parents want it either."


- U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)

"The parents had no idea what was being played and who the artists were and some of these artists are rather objectionable."


-Dan Kenny, Bus Driver, Littleton

"PTA opposes the exploitation of students through commercial operations that require students to view advertising or to study specific instructional programs as a condition of the school's receiving a donation of money or loan of equipment,"


-David Wolf, president of Jefferson County's PTA

"I hate it, they play weird music. I get bugged out -- you walk down the bus and there's music playing. I'm not used to it. There's no need for it." 


- 8th-grader Donald Dezenzo, Milford, MA


BusRadio Resources

List of BusRadio School Districts

CCFC's letter to Montgomery County urging them to discontinue BusRadio. A great sample letter to use in your own school district.

CCFC's sign-on letter submitted to the FCC on 6/29/09.

CCFC's reply comments submitted to the FCC on 6/29/09.

CCFC's comments submitted to the FCC on 6/15/09.

Obligation, Inc. has regular articles about the content and problems with BusRadio.


Coalition Letter opposing BusRadio from 50 organizations including the PTA. 

The Vulgar Artists Featured on BusRadio - from Obligation Inc. 

BusRadio News

>Congress Investigates Radio Programming on School Busses
(US News & World Report, 7/13/09)


>Advertising Broadcasts on School Busses Run Into Static
(The Denver Post, 07/03/09)

>School Districts Should Pull Plug on BusRadio
(The Denver Post, 03/08/09)


>School BusRadio Gets Mixed Signals
(The Denver Post, 03/05/09)


>Montgomery County Discontinues BusRadio Service (The Washington Post, 12/11/08)

>School Bus Service No Music to Some Parents' Ears (The Washington Post, 12/11/08)

>Bus Radio should be silenced (Nashua Telegraph, 9/16/08)

>Show could be over for Bus Radio on Seminole County school buses (Orlando Sentinel, 5/8/08)

>Parents concerned over advertising on BusRadio (News 13, Central Florida, 12/3/07)


>Hey, New Prairie parents: Do you know what your kids are listening to? (Herald-Argus, 11/29/07)


>BusRadio opens to kids' mixed reviews (Orlando Sentinel, 11/23/07)


>Seminole may make U-turn for BusRadio (Orlando Sun-Sentinel, 10/12/07)


>Louisville school board drops proposal for bus radios (Louisville Courier-Journal, 5/22/07)


>How did board allow BusRadio onboard? (Union Tribune, 10/11/07)


>School buses in 11 states tune in to radio programming aimed at kids (USA Today, 9/17/06)


>Listen up: No radio (Boston Globe, 6/10/06)


>Mansfield pulls plug on Bus Radio (Sun Chronicle, 6/5/06)


>The Next Niche: School Bus Ads (Washington Post, 6/4/06)


Turn off BusRadio

What is BusRadio?


BusRadio is a new Massachusetts-based company created to force children to listen to commercial radio broadcasts on school buses around the country.


BusRadio boasts that it will "take targeted student marketing to the next level" and provide companies with a "captive audience" who, unlike listeners to commercial radio, are unable to change the station during ads.  


BusRadio undermines parental authority.  Parents who wish to shield their children from commercial messages will be unable to do so if their school district signs up for BusRadio.


BusRadio undermines educationProducts advertised on a school bus carry the school's implicit endorsement;  the products advertised may run counter to lessons a school school want to teach.

What you can do:


1. Stop BusRadio from coming to your town.  Print CCFC's letter to Massachusetts superintendents and share it with your superintendent, school board, and PTA and other parents' groups.  You can download the letter here.


2.Tell Sigma Parters to stop funding the commercial exploitation of children.  Venture capital firm Sigma  Partners has invested four million dollars in BusRadio.    Tell Sigma Partners to stop funding BusRadio - or any other in-school marketing programs.  Email Sigma managing partner Bob Davoli at


3. Spread the word.  Write a letter to your local newspaper voicing your concerns and urging your school district not to sign up Click here for a sample letter.

4. Submit a Comment to the FCC. 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.  Click here to submit your comment to the FCC.

Frequently Asked Questions:


1) How much advertising will there be on BusRadio?

2) Who are BusRadio's advertisers?

3) What's wrong with marketing on a school bus?

4) Isn't it better for students to listen to age-appropriate content than regular commercial radio? 

5) Will BusRadio improve behavior on the bus? 



1) How much advertising will there be on BusRadio?


BusRadio broadcasts will feature eight minutes of advertisements and two minutes of sponsored contests per hour.  In addition, BusRadio is offering advertisers the option to sponsor entire blocks of programming or provide a celebrity disc jockey (who can then promote a brand, movie, or music).  Because it is not monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, BusRadio can feature music that they are paid to play.  Broadcasts will promote BusRadio's website which will feature even more advertising, allow students to download music, and purchase items from the BusRadio on-line store. 


2) Who are BusRadio's advertisers?


BusRadio refuses to disclose who its advertisers are, a disturbing stance for a company that wishes to conduct business on public school buses.  We have be able to find out that the following advertisements have appeared on BusRadio's elementary school broadcasts:

  • BusRadio has been promoting Bratz DVDs during its elementary school broadcasts.  The Bratz dolls were recently singled out by the American Psychological Association for contributing to the sexualization of young girls.  Many parents we have spoken do not allow Bratz in their homes and were very upset to find out the dolls were being promoted through a school venue.

  • Another elementary school advertiser,, 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 has run advertisements for Cingular cell phones on its elementary school broadcasts.  The ads mock a girl's mother because she is concerned about her daughter's cell phone bills.  Parents immersed in the "cell phone battle" may not want their children hearing Cingular ads as a part of the school day.

  • On its website  for advertisers, BusRadio noted that it "gave The WB Network the flexibility to run commercials for their shows the day they were to air. To take full advantage of the BusRadio network, The WB ran more ads during student's ride home after school so they could reinforce the message to watch that night."   Should the last message in a school day be one that encourages students to watch TV? 

3) What's wrong with marketing on a school bus?


Marketing is a factor in myriad problems facing children today--trom childhood obesity, eating disorders and youth violence, to precociously irresponsible sexuality, family stress and the acquisition of materialistic values.  School-based marketing carries extra weight with students who know-whether they like school or not-that anything associated with  school is supposed to be good for them.  


4) Isn't it better for students to listen to age-appropriate content than regular commercial radio? 


It is true that children may hear inappropriate content on regular radio on school buses.  But installing BusRadio only substitutes one problem for another by replacing inappropriate content with advertising targeted directly to children.  A simpler and more effective solution is to just turn the radio off.


In addition, it's not really clear that BusRadio is more "age appropriate" than other radio stations.  While BusRadio refuses to make its broadcasts public, the websites that they maintain for children promotes many musical artists (such as Gwen Stefani, Nickelback, and Fergie) whose albums come with parental advisories for explicit lyrics.  This suggests that BusRadio's conception of "age-appropriate" differs from that of many parents.


5) Will BusRadio improve behavior on the bus? 


BusRadio cites a survey of bus drivers to claim that it improves student behavior.  But they only interviewed ten drivers and it was conducted before BusRadio included advertising.    Regardless, forcing children to listen to commercial radio broadcasts is not an appropriate school behavioral management system.



Website Designed & Maintained By: AfterFive by Design, Inc.
CCFC Logo And Fact Sheets By:

Copyright 2004 Commercial Free Childhood. All rights reserved