October 23rd, 2007

Bus Radio needs parental oversight, school driver says

By Erika Gonzalez
Rocky Mountain News

A bus driver for Littleton Public Schools wants parents to have more say over a new radio service featuring songs that he says encourage immoral behavior.

“Nobody can hear it but the driver and the kids,” said Dan Kenny about Bus Radio, which was installed on some Littleton buses about six weeks ago. “They played Stronger by Kanye West, and I was thinking this is not an appropriate song for kindergartners or fifth-graders.”

Although Bus Radio carried a “clean” version of Stronger, Kenny said it was still easy to determine which profane words were being disguised. He also objected to Timbaland’s The Way I Are, which refers to stripping.

The two artists have since been removed, but other songs with objectionable content have since popped up, Kenny said.

Bus Radio officials did not return calls Monday.

On its Web site, Bus Radio promotes itself as a more “age-appropriate” alternative to typical radio stations. The company’s playlists are segmented by age group, and include such kid-friendly performers as Hannah Montana and The Cheetah Girls as well as more adult-oriented acts such as Nickelback and Fergie.

Kenny’s concerns led Littleton Public Schools officials to form a committee to review the content.

“Bus Radio has agreed to remove artists that we don’t feel are appropriate, and they’re not playing anything that requires editing,” said district spokeswoman Diane Leiker, who noted that the district’s drivers are not required to play Bus Radio.

According to Kenny, drivers were required to play Bus Radio until this month, when he went to a local news radio station and voiced his complaints.

School districts that sign up for Bus Radio receive radios that include a global positioning satellite system, public announcement equipment and an emergency notification switch.

But critics say the company is less concerned about safety than it is in delivering a much-sought after market to advertisers. 

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