Alex Chadwick at the nuclear generation station in San Onofre, CA

Alex Chadwick at the nuclear generation station in San Onofre, CA

BURN‘s Alex Chadwick:
NPR veteran & master storyteller says energy will define our time.

View and download a PDF
of complete APM station info.





Title:  BURN: An Energy Journal


It is the fundamental issue of our time: energy — where we get it, how we use it, what happens then.

It powers our homes and our economy. It creates troubled alliances and disturbing divisions. It empowers and impoverishes. It enables almost all that we do and now threatens all that we have become.

The Peabody Award-winning SoundVision Productions presents BURN: An Energy Journal, a broadcast and digital project hosted by Alex Chadwick, one of public radio’s most trusted journalists and master storytellers. Alex will explore our energy future through the intimate stories of visionaries of research, maverick inventors, industry insiders, and concerned citizens.

These personal stories will help explain how and why we face an energy crisis, the dilemma of the continuing demand for energy, the realities and consequences of a mostly carbon-based industry and infrastructure, and some possible alternatives and personal/global solutions to what looks increasingly to be an ever more challenging energy and climate future in the coming decades. BURN will follow the quest for energy answers and the stirring public initiative required to transition to this new energy world.

BURN:  An Energy Journal  – The Switch

A July 4 Special, when energy use across the country is most in demand.

The nation’s electric grid now penetrates all aspects of our daily lives; yet we don’t give it a second thought until something goes awry — when we’re suddenly groping in the dark searching for flashlights, worrying about what might spoil in the fridge, especially in the heat of the summer.

 Consider this:  The average customer loses power for 214 minutes per year, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon that found the United States ranks toward the bottom among developed nations in terms of the reliability of its electricity service.

 Our aging electric power grid, the patchwork system that transmits and distributes electricity from plants to consumers, is aging and stretched to capacity.  The nation’s grid, built 50, 60 years ago, is taxed year-round but especially in the summer months with triple-digit temperatures, violent storms and outages when users are relying on their air conditioners.

 BURN will examine the state of America’s electric power grid and the science needed to modernize it.  Can 21st century electrical engineers use “smart grid” technology to prevent power outages? What are the challenges involved in linking new, unconventional sources of energy, such as wind and solar, to the grid? Our stories will include a profile of an electric power lineman.  These are the foot soldiers who work on top of all those poles that support the grid and are deployed to restore power when something goes wrong.  Alex Chadwick will also explore the challenges when there’s no grid at all — following the research of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, which aims to incorporate new technologies to solve critical problems on the battlefield, like energy.

Information on scheduling this program

This one-hour special is intended for broadcast around July 4th and during the summer months because of the focus on relevant summer energy issues.

BURN: An Energy Journal – The Switch is available to American Public Media affiliates. This is a one-hour special intended for broadcast during the summer because of relevant content. The program must be carried in its entirety and broadcast before September 30, 2013. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only or by special request. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this series. See terms and conditions described in the American Public Media

Program Feed Schedule — Summer 2013: available through Content Depot

BURN: An Energy Journal –  The Switch feed date:  Thursday, June 13, 2013, 9:00 a.m. Eastern

On-air Promo Copy

The nation’s electric grid is taxed year-round but especially in the summer months with triple-digit temperatures, violent storms and outages when users are relying on their air conditioners. In the next edition of BURN, an Energy Journal, we will examine the state of America’s electric power grid and the science needed to modernize it. Listen for “The Switch,” a new documentary from BURN, a production of SoundVision and American Public Media at (your station) and (time).

Promotional materials available:

Burn Bios

Alex Chadwick is an independent journalist and renowned public radio correspondent, host and program developer. His distinctive work made him one of NPR’s most recognized voices during his long career there.  Among other achievements, he was part of the creative team that developed and launched Morning Edition, the most successful program in NPR’s history.  As a feature reporter and host of Morning Edition, he helped create the partnership with National Geographic that led to the enormously popular Radio Expeditions series.  Called ‘the best writer at NPR,’ he has scripted award-winning documentaries for National Geographic Television, ABC and CBS.  His original online production, Interviews 50 Cents ( ‘must see’ video), was a long-running popular feature at  Awards:  Dupont-Columbia for Radio Expeditions, 2000; Society for Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporting, 2001; Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, 1988 and 1990; various others.

SoundVision Productions, established in 1995, is committed to explaining emerging issues and making them relevant for diverse audiences.  Executive Producer Bari Scott is the driving force behind SoundVision.  Joining her is a talented production team – reporters, producers, audio engineers, researchers, web developers and a management group of marketing and outreach specialists, accountants, legal consultants and office support. SoundVision’s radio features and documentaries (The DNA Files and The Really Big Questions) have been recognized for excellence with numerous honors, including two Peabody Awards, and have earned the trust of leaders in science, education and broadcasting. Since its inception, SoundVision has been dedicated to bringing compelling stories to public radio listeners.  As it moves into its second decade, SoundVision explores new ways to inform the public through interactive Web offerings, hands-on training workshops, community outreach programs, and partnerships with ethnic and alternative press.

Veteran producer and national program developer Mary Beth Kirchner is the Managing Producer for BURN.  Kirchner started her own production company in 1993 after serving as National Programming Director at WETA, Washington, DC.  Prior to that, she was Executive Producer at the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Telecommunications.  Working for more than two decades in public radio she has collaborated with National Public Radio, Public Radio International, American Public Media, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, the BBC, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Asia Society, NHK (Japan) and ABC News “Nightline,” among many others.  She is the recipient of more than fifty national awards for her documentaries, music series, radio dramas and feature stories including a 2011 Peabody medal.


View and download a PDF of complete APM station info.