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Parents Applaud End of BusRadio Service

Marcus Moore

December 17, 2008

Some parents are celebrating a victory this week, as the school system recently agreed to end a trial run of a private radio service that provides programmed music and advertising on school buses.

Kay Romero, president of the County Council of PTAs, sent an e-mail Sunday congratulating parents for pressing the school board and school system to get rid of BusRadio. Parents locally and nationally have opposed the service for advertising to elementary, middle and high school students.

"This service makes listening to child-targeted ads compulsory for any student who rides the bus," Josh Golin, associate director for the national Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, wrote in a letter to county Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. "In my experience, parents who learn the facts about BusRadio do not want this service for their children."

BusRadio Inc. of Needham, Mass., has contracts with school systems in the top 40 markets and provides its radio services to more than 10,000 school buses in the nation, according to its Web site.

On Thursday, Weast confirmed the cancellation of the radio service.

"We allow people to experiment," Weast said of the decision to try BusRadio.

The service was seen as a way to provide students with appropriate music, but parents had a problem with the advertising, he said. BusRadio provided the service for free; the commercials paid for the radios, Weast added.

In the end, he said, "they didn't think the good outweighed the bad."

BRAC higher education awards announced

Thirteen colleges and universities have received a grant to help them prepare for the Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, according to the state's Higher Education Commission.

The BRAC Higher Education Investment Fund, which was included in Gov. Martin O'Malley's fiscal year 2009 budget, included $2 million for the commission to finance the grants.

The grants range from $25,000 to $164,500, and will help pay for programs ranging from basic literacy to graduate projects, according to the commission.

The schools include Baltimore City Community College; Bowie State University; Cecil College; the Community College of Baltimore County; Hagerstown Community College; Harford Community College; Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; Prince George's Community College; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Towson University; the University of Baltimore, and Washington College.

Montgomery College has named Brett Eaton its new director of communications.

Eaton, 33, replaces Steve Simon, who had been the college's communications director for nine years.

In an announcement, Montgomery College said Eaton would manage its Office of Communications, which includes media relations, marketing and creative services.

Eaton, who begins Jan. 5, will be paid a salary of $106,000.

Eaton comes to the college from Arlington, Va., where he worked as the deputy director of administration and program support for Washington Headquarters Services.

In that role, Eaton supervised national and international public relations for the Pentagon Renovation Program and was the primary spokesman for the $2 billion, 20-year project.

Prior to that, Eaton worked more than seven years with the Department of Defense.

He also worked at Westat Inc., a research firm in Rockville, where he served clients including the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Education Association.







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