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Advertising or Fundraising?

September 30th, 2009 2 comments

Thanks to a “helpful” group called the CCFC, it seems like I shouldn’t be allowed to pick my kids up from school.  If you listen to the radio with your kids in the car, you might be as guilty as I am.

 

BusRadio was a radio station in buses crossing 160 school districts in the country.  The programming included kid-friendly music, news, health and safety tips, contests, and – yes – even advertising.  That is, it did until the service was shut down on Monday, according to Media Life.

 

Fueled by the “Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood” (CCFC), the FCC has apparently cracked down, forcing the service to close.  While the reason for the abrupt end has not been confirmed by BusRadio, the CCFC has been fast to stand up and take responsibility for the company’s demise. 

 

Way to go, guys.  I’m sure no kids have rushed home this week to grab their remotes without hearing the “entreaties to spend their after-school hours watching TV and playing videogames” on their bus ride.  In fact, I’m sure that they’re sitting in silence, missing the censored version of their local Top-40’s station that is likely not only available in their parents’ cars, but right in their own bedroom via (>gasp<) a radio!  Certainly, they’re not talking to each other on the bus about the hot new video game or toy that they already have at home, fueling the evil word-of-mouth.

 

There’s a reason that I call myself a “media fundraiser”: we (in advertising-media) make it free, cheap and/or even possible.  Perhaps we could consider ourselves “community fundraisers” as well, if only people would let us do our jobs.

 

Media Life’s Toni Fitzgerald seems to agree, “…school districts are pinched for money and looking for nontraditional ways to account for budget shortfalls. Programs like BusRadio, which required no upfront fee from the school districts and cut them in on a portion of the ad revenue, fulfill that need.”

 

This is quite a conundrum that we find ourselves in.  I don’t think anyone would disagree that we have a need for quality education, which also requires funding beyond what’s obviously available.  There are other ways of getting money than relying on a check from our debt-ridden government, yet the voices of a few can captivate even parents enough to help prevent assistance.

 

As silly as it is to think that the FCC might say that I’m not allowed to play the radio in my car when I pick up my kids, so is it to think that four minutes of advertising in a loud, kid-filled bus is going to make a bit of difference in how many times they ask for that Barbie or cell phone.

 

Maybe the parents in this group should’ve said “no” a few more times to their own kids, or spent some time explaining what a commercial is when they were exposed.  Perhaps if they’d taken such responsibilities, they wouldn’t be blaming advertisers and media vendors for their children’s greed.

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