U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean CitiesCoordinator Toolbox

Site Navigation ↓

MotorWeek Behind the Scenes Video (Text Version)

This is a text version of the MotorWeek Behind the Scenes video.

CAMERAMAN: Hold there. Ready, John?

JOHN DAVIS: Ready, Ray.

CAMERAMAN: Here we go.

JOHN DAVIS: Hello. I'm John Davis, host of MotorWeek. By now I'm sure most of you are aware of MotorWeek's long-running collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and the national Clean Cities program. Now, this partnership has allowed MotorWeek to bring local energy conservation and alternative fuel stories to a national audience in a way that was never before possible.

Our half-hour weekly television series has always focused on helping consumers to choose the best cars to suit their needs and to maintain them properly through our weekly road test and Goss' Garage segments. Our long-term test fleet relates our real-world experiences with select vehicles over a year's use, while our motor news and feature segments round out our viewers' knowledge of auto-related topics and rev up their enthusiasm for all things automotive.

But 11 years ago, prompted by a visit to the Clean Cities conference in Philadelphia, we decided to include alternative fuels and clean energy topics into our show on a regular basis.

By designing a series of feature-length segments, we've been able to educate the driving public about the need to reduce our dependence on petroleum while encouraging them to embrace clean energy. Along the way, we've added annual carbon footprint and petroleum consumption figures to our new vehicle road test, and most recently have created a series of Clean Cities success stories, now fully integrating the drive green message into the fabric of the show.

We've visited dozens of cities all over the country, showcasing the local towns, small businesses, parks, and school districts that are taking the lead in environmental stewardship and setting examples for all of us to follow.

SANDRA LOI: I'm trying to just basically, at this point, aim at the states and parts of the country that we haven't gone to yet.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: We'll touch base next week then.

SANDRA LOI: Okay.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Bye, Sandra.

JOHN DAVIS: So we thought it would be fun to give you a peek behind the scenes at what goes into producing these segments and the team that gets involved. Our success story of the week takes us to Wisconsin.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: So right now I'm actually working on a Clean Cities success story, and this is one that took place in Wisconsin.

JOHN DAVIS: Where the city of Oconomowoc is a pioneer in using plug-in hybrid school buses. The process usually begins when local Clean Cities coordinators suggest topics to us and offer their assistance.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Sandra was just mentioning and she sent me an email, I think it was a possible other Clean Cities in Alabama, but I had to coordinate with the guy there, Mark, to find out what the details were.

JOHN DAVIS: Executive producer Brian Roberts and myself work closely with Sandra Loi of NREL, Bo Salisbury of Oak Ridge, and Dennis Smith at DOE headquarters to decide on a list of final topics and cities to visit and then determine whether the storyline works best as a feature segment, motor news headline, or short success story. Then senior producer Dave Schrivener and reporters Yolanda Vazquez and Steven Chupnick get into the game, contacting the local coordinators, doing research, and setting up the actual shoots.

Once on the scene, the typical success story shoot takes about a day to complete. Full-length features can take longer and sometimes include visits to multiple cities. We conduct on-camera interviews with local officials, fleet managers, and others involved in each project. But it's equally important to see alternative fueled vehicles in action in their communities and to show clean, well-established fueling stations, especially if they are open to the public.

All of these details are considered during the planning phase for each shoot, and this is where the local knowledge of each Clean Cities coordinator really comes into play. We rely on them to help us contact key stakeholders in advance, fact-check critical information, set up appointments, get us to the right place at the right time, and generally become the MotorWeek coordinator while we're in town.

Back at our studios, a script is written, shots get logged and labeled, the voice track is recorded, and the segments begin to take shape with editor Taylor Baxter and graphics director Jose Rodriguez handling the visuals.

It takes a lot of effort from our entire team to get even a one-minute success story on the air, but we feel it's worth it and the results have been nothing short of amazing. Each Clean Cities story may represent just a small piece of our country's long-term energy solution, but as we tell more and more of these stories, we're reaching the point now that our viewers can really see the puzzle coming together.

CHILDREN: We're riding on sunshine.

JOHN DAVIS: By continuing to trumpet these victories on a national scale, MotorWeek and Clean Cities are reaching millions of drivers each week, showing them that every little bit counts when it comes to reducing petroleum use and eliminating harmful emissions.

MAN: All aboard.

MAN: All righty.

JOHN DAVIS: Our goal at MotorWeek is to convince our viewers that everyone plays a vital part in securing a cleaner and smarter driving future. And thanks to your help, we know that it's working.

MAN: Okay. That's a wrap.

Back to Top | View Full Site
Clean Cities Home | EERE Home
Webmaster | Search
Content Last Updated: 06/11/2013