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June 5, 2006 9:26 AM   Subscribe

BusRadio has a simple dream: to improve the safety of school bus rides for all students. Or, wait, maybe the dream is to exploit our kids for profit. To be fair, they aren't the only ones who think this is a great idea. Thanks, Massachusetts!
via CommercialAlert, which we've talked about before.
posted by gurple (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
They get bonus points for the tacky use of .com, .org and .net domains
posted by gurple at 9:26 AM on June 5, 2006


Whoops, I mean .com, .org and .net domains
posted by gurple at 9:28 AM on June 5, 2006


Your city transit bus is next.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:52 AM on June 5, 2006


Actually, my city transit bus is already covered in ads.
posted by gurple at 9:55 AM on June 5, 2006


Wouldn't have had any effect on my daily 7th grade ritual of blasting Zen Arcade into my eardrums. However, this kind of marketing always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
posted by NationalKato at 9:56 AM on June 5, 2006


A direct result of focusing on the newest education buzzwords while ignoring proven teaching methods like simple repetition.

While clamoring for ever more money.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2006


...proven teaching methods like simple repetition.

correction:
...proven advertising methods like simple repetition.

That's better.

Simple repetition is effective for "teaching" just about anything, whether it is factual or not. The problems with real Education are (1) it requires levels of individual attention that are impractical to the point of being virtually impossible and (2) the skill of Thinking for Yourself is not necessarily an asset in our society; besides, the teacher who teaches children to Challenge Authority is usually the first Authority they Challenge.
posted by wendell at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2006


...while ignoring proven teaching methods like simple repetition.

um, what? I can't really recall learning anything through simple repetition, short of the ability to simply repeat. And I would argue that if thinking for yourself is not an asset in our society, we should really be doing something to change that situation. (and probably busradio is not the solution.)
posted by jrb223 at 10:34 AM on June 5, 2006


Our local bus system is also plastered in ads. Many of them in Spanish only.

From one of the links, it looks like the ads are on the outside of the busses. The kids *in* the bus aren't even going to see them.
I think that TV advertising is far worse for children. When I was a kid, I barely noticed print ads/billboards/etc at all.
posted by drstein at 10:42 AM on June 5, 2006


I agree that print ads on the outside of buses are a lot less scary than the BusRadio thing (which is about blaring radio programming with commercials inside school buses). However, any advertising on school buses is an implicit endorsement of the advertiser by the school, in the kids' eyes, whether they're consciously making that association or not.

Having ridden a city bus covered in Wells Fargo ad a couple of times, it's a strange experience. I kind of feel dirty, like I'm an unwilling participant in an ad. More importantly, I feel like I can't see out the damn windows, because they grating that makes up the ad blocks a lot of light.
posted by gurple at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2006


I remember clearly being in middle school and waiting in the play yard to board my bus, which meant I was standing and looking at the outside of many busses, for quite some time. I can imagine there would be quite a bit of notice taken of the ads on the busses: "Ha ha, you ride the Oprah bus!" "Awesome! My bus is the xbox bus!" That's just how kids are.

That said...add this to my "reasons I'm glad to be homeschooling" file.
posted by Biblio at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2006


I plan to keep my children sealed in lexan boes (with airholes, obviously) so that they are not subjected to any advertising.

You all realize, of course, that the alternatives to ad-generated revenue are higher taxes (which gives Republicans fuel for campaigns, even if they never deliver) or to budget better, which isn't going to happen. So I guess my point is, who gives a shit? Your kids are either going to be consumerist idiots or they're not. It has a lot more to do with the modelling they get from you than ads for Fritos on the bus that they were going to hear anyway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:58 AM on June 5, 2006


they're trying to get this in my town (i'm in massachusetts) and it struck me as wrong the first i read about it. unfortunately i think i heard about it too late, but i think i'll be inquiring more about this proposal now. where do we draw the line on advertising and our kids? unreal.
posted by jmackin at 11:10 AM on June 5, 2006



I plan to keep my children sealed in lexan boxes (with airholes, obviously) so that they are not subjected to any advertising...


I prefer the preventative approach... Why buy a lexan box when birth control is so readily available? At least with the way things are going...

They're doomed.
posted by sunshinesky at 11:11 AM on June 5, 2006


jrb223, If you're my age (30), I bet you learned times tables and elementary reading and writing -- printing or cursive -- through rote methods. Rote learning does not replace the need to think for yourself, certainly. But rote learning is good for particular tasks like the three Rs. Abstract "thinking for yourself" works best when there's a well developed foundation for it, yes?
posted by boo_radley at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2006


The only great idea in all of this is the concept of giving lots of money to schools.

Everything else about it marches to the Imperial March.
posted by dopamine at 11:17 AM on June 5, 2006


Crap similar to Channel One's scheme to bribe school systems with AV equipment, getting to paste the captive-kid audiences with ads in return.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:19 AM on June 5, 2006


Your kids are either going to be consumerist idiots or they're not. It has a lot more to do with the modelling they get from you than ads for Fritos on the bus that they were going to hear anyway.

Mayor Curley
, I think you and I probably have a big point of agreement here, and also a big point of disagreement. When I have kids (and it seems like it's just around the corner) you can bet I'll be teaching them to deconstruct ads and be aware that corporations that advertise to them have their own motives. I expect that my kids, personally, will do pretty well at resisting pervasive advertising. I hope so, anyway.

But the fact of the matter is, not everyone's going to be as conscientious (or paranoid, take your pick) as me. Advertising to kids is especially effective, because kids just aren't as good at filtering out the crap as adults are. So while my kids personally may be ok, kids as a group eat more doritos, drink more coke, and generally get unhealthier because of this targeted advertising.

And then, no matter how conscientious I am personally as a parent, my kids and I pay for it, because our health care premiums go through the roof just like everybody else's.

So while it's tempting to say, "sure, get the schools more money any way you can, my kids will be ok because I'm a good parent", I think that argument loses something in the broader context.
posted by gurple at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2006


Boo_Radley -- We used rote memorization but I haven't retained the things I learned that way. I don't use cursive, and when I multiply I tend to use strategies I picked up on throughout. I used rote memorization in other contexts -- memorizing shakespeare, etc, or French verbs -- but again, little of that was retained in the long run. Ok, I'll give you this, I still remember a single line of Mandarin I learned in the one semester of Mandarin I took. It translated to "I have a friend named Wang, we all call him little Wang." Other than that, the point of my education was really to teach me how to teach myself things -- how to retrieve information I need quickly when I need it.
posted by jrb223 at 11:32 AM on June 5, 2006


When I rode a school bus, I had headphones on. And this was the pre-iPod era, so I was listening to actual tapes. I say go ahead and play ads on the buses, because I'll be suprised if any of the kids actually hear them.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:32 AM on June 5, 2006


commercial alert has an interesting quote from busradio.net:
"As BusRadio’s Web site (http://www.busradio.net/) explains: “Every morning and every afternoon on their way to and from school, kids across the country will be listening to the dynamic programming of BusRadio providing advertiser’s [sic] with a unique and effective way to reach the highly sought after teen and tween market.”

BusRadio, the Web site adds, “will take targeted student marketing to the next level.” Marketers can advertise and sponsor contests or provide a celebrity deejay (perhaps to promote that next CD or movie). They can also use BusRadio’s Web site to conduct surveys and test songs, CD covers, packaging and ads."

busradio.net seems to be down now. traffic? or spinning the message differently?
posted by jmackin at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2006


Wow! busradio.com, .org, and .net are all redirecting here now. This is probably not coincidence... I bet the ConsumerAlert article had an effect. Go ConsumerAlert!

Of course, that just means they'll build a stealthier website... but maybe some important people saw that hypocritical crap they were spewing in the meantime.
posted by gurple at 11:54 AM on June 5, 2006


Yeesh, I couldn't even remember CommercialAlert's name....
posted by gurple at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2006


When I rode a school bus, I had headphones on. And this was the pre-iPod era, so I was listening to actual tapes.

Many schools have banned iPods.
posted by Feral at 12:03 PM on June 5, 2006


NOW YOU TAKE ALL THAT NOISE ...AND RUN IT DOWN OFF OF ONE BUILDING ...
TO
ANOTHER BUILDING ... AND DOWN TO THE PAVEMENT WHERE YOU'RE WALKING.
AND
IT'S NO WONDER YOU'RE EXHAUSTED AFTER A DAY OF SHOPPING. NO WONDER
YOU FEEL
AS IF YOU CAN'T FINISH THE DAY ON THE JOB. YOU'RE TIRED. YOU'RE BEATEN
DOWN. YOU'RE IRRITABLE. YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH ... ARE
SUFFERING.
IS THERE ANY ESCAPE?
IS THERE ANY ESCAPE ... FROM NOISE?
IS THERE ANY ESCAPE FROM NOISE?
IS THERE ANY ESCAPE FROM NOISE?
IS THERE ANY ESCAPE FROM NOISE?

posted by gigawhat? at 12:11 PM on June 5, 2006


fwiw, busradio.net is back up and appears to be unchanged.
posted by jmackin at 12:37 PM on June 5, 2006


...any advertising on school buses is an implicit endorsement of the advertiser by the school
Agreed.
It is also an explicit proclamation that we don't give a shit enough to properly fund schools in the first place.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2006


Too true, Thorzdad. Schools are buying into this kind of tripe because there isn't enough money to go around, not because those fat cat teachers want to eat caviar six times a week instead of five. I support any local school levy that gets proposed, but our priorities at a national level are just not in the right place.
posted by gurple at 1:38 PM on June 5, 2006


My school let Fios run an advertising campaign in our building because they said they were going to install Fios, which they never did, so this sounds like a pretty raw deal for the kids.

Feral, that second article sounds like an unreasonable search and seizure.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:47 PM on June 5, 2006


what gurple sed.


One of my fondest Jr. High memories involved listening to bus driver DJ radio. Our bus driver was, essentially, Otto from the Simpsons, but very quiet (although his jacket smelled funny in a way I now know to have been marijuana).
Anyway, there was a dog running along side the bus sort of trying to get in front of it, so he’s driving at less than 2 MPH for blocks trying not to hit it. Meanwhile “Slow Ride” by Foghat is playing. For an adolescent, that’s comedy gold.

Now that slice of life would be set to what?
“targeted student marketing” taken to “the next level?”

Can’t we just kill these people?

It’s like the Joker escapes time after time after time to kill again and again, but he’s never executed. I’m vehemently anti-death penalty, but I see someone trying to poison the water supply to my city and I’m going to kill the MF’er.

This is the same thing except they’re poisoning the minds of our kids.

Yeah, a bit hyperbolic there, still...remember Easter Island.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:44 PM on June 5, 2006


The only great idea in all of this is the concept of giving lots of money to schools.

With the discovery that spending does not correlate with success, it is stupid to go on spending more on education and getting less.

I think gurple said it best that our priorities are not in the right place, and part of that problem is the idea that if you just keep giving schools money, they'll magically become good schools. The problem is, a lot of them don't know what to do with the money they have; give them more money and they still don't know what to do with it.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:50 PM on June 5, 2006


Hal, I can only hope that that link of yours is written by one author using the voice of two participants because the author couldn't find any other actual person who agreed with his or her paranoid, anti-public-school ideas.
posted by gurple at 4:04 PM on June 5, 2006


...give them more money and they still don't know what to do with it.
I rather doubt that. It's probably more like they have so much they need to do with the money that setting priorities becomes an overwhelming task in and of itself.
In any case, this nexus between public education and marketing cannot end well for anyone save for the marketing execs.
Anyone using the terms "targeted student marketing" and "next level"-anything should be kept at least 1500 feet from the nearest school. Kind of like you do with pedophiles.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:50 PM on June 5, 2006




This stuff scares me. When I was in school they already had "Channel One" in every classroom, which we were forced to watch every morning for half an hour. They give a free TV to every classroom under the pretense of keeping kids informed, when really it just made us sit through 10-15 minutes of ads for Clearisil and chewing gum.
posted by bukharin at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2006


Repetition is as good a way known to man to learn to read and do basic math. You sound it out, you add it up, you do a whole sheet of simple problems until you get it right or you read the story until you understand it. The teacher checks it and you get a grade for it.

You don't sit in a group and make a collage or words that start with 'T' or a flipbook of number-people.

Obviously upper level and highschool courses should be more involved and teach kids to think for themselves, but there is no reason to teach kids to think for themselves unless theyve already built a basic skill set. Like foundational skills in reading and math. Which are best built by repetition.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2006


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