Given that the Democratic and Republican frontrunners are from New York, perhaps it’s appropriate that the CNN Election Express bus pulled up to New York’s Columbus Circle this afternoon. But the real reason was because CNN’s Senior VP and Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman wanted to show off the bus to CNN staff at Time Warner Center.
Bohrman gave TVNewser a tour of the bus this afternoon. Calling it a “portable bureau for a newsroom of 15-20 people” the Election Express is nothing like the 2004 version, a beat-up touring bus once used by Hank Williams, Jr..
With fold-up tables and benches the bus can accommodate eight reporters or producers, with laptops, along one side. The other side includes a long leather couch which can also be used as a workspace, complete with tables which fold-up from under the couch. There are ports along the inside of the bus for internet access, but it’s also WiFi ready.
Bohrman explains, “the couch can also be used as an interview area for candidates.” The ceiling has unique attachments for “light LED lights” which can be mounted, with power supplied along a track system.
Election Express has four HD uplinks, four HD cameras, and four plasma screen monitors which can be used as part of a show’s outdoor set. Bohrman explains, “we could work in the middle of nowhere and still be in the middle of everything.”
Add a final cut editing system, a diner-style seating area, make-up area, a bathroom and a coffee machine and the Election Express is ready to roll. It’s “sort of remarkable,” says Bohrman.
CNN’s Senior EP of political programming Sam Feist says the bus will have its home in Washington, DC put will be “continuously on the road now through Super Tuesday.”
The bus has two full time staffers: driver Dale Fountain and Election Express producer Joshua Rubin. Feist adds the Express is a green machine, running on a Detroit diesel engine and (when available) bio-diesel fuel.
First stop: New Hampshire for Wednesday’s Democratic debate.