Sometimes when you are the passenger in a car, bus, or taxi you don’t have much choice about what the driver tunes into on the radio. I’ve been on airport shuttles and have heard an array of sounds, from obnoxious morning show banter to classy jazz music. School children who rode Bus Radio-enabled buses were treated to pop music and commercials until parents raised concerns. So, what if the driver opts to play something controversial, like a potty-mouthed shock jock or a right-wing radio show host? According to an article in the Toledo Blade, a student complaint about a bus driver’s religious radio selection has prompted University of Toledo to create stricter guidelines surrounding radio in campus buses. The article states:
“After receiving a student complaint about a driver playing ‘at high volume, a far-right Christian political channel,’ university officials have ordered that radios be locked into one station, with one volume setting. ‘Bus drivers will have only on/off option,’ Steven John Wise, UT’s manager of transit services, said in an email memo to superiors that described his recommended solution, which later was approved. ‘105.5 [radio station WWWM-FM] … may be [the] best station — nonoffensive, work place type music, helpful weather info.’
…’As a state university, there is an expectation that we will be free from religious and political views being forced upon us, especially when those views might be discriminatory or offensive,’ the complainant wrote. The matter ‘began with simple Christian music, which seemed inappropriate, but was not terribly overt,’ because one had to make an effort to listen to the lyrics, the complainant’s email said. What crossed the line, it continued, was when the bus became ‘a mobile proselytizing unit.’
‘Where the music may have been simply inappropriate, the content of these broadcasts is blatantly offensive, derogatory, and abusive to anyone not in line with the very extreme views of those speaking,’ the complainant wrote…”
Although the radio station was not mentioned, there are no fewer than 11 religious radio stations to choose from on the terrestrial dial in Toledo. It’s too bad that the school couldn’t find a non-offensive, non-commercial alternative for bus drivers to play. There are several college radio stations in the area, including WXUT 88.3 FM at University of Toledo itself. I wonder if they were in the running as the official bus radio station?