Erika Engle

Friday, April 18, 2003

Spring showers have
television automotive
shows blooming

When it rains it pours -- automotive shows, in this case. From having no locally produced automotive shows on television, Hawaii will have two starting this weekend.

"Island Driver TV" premiers at 4 p.m. tomorrow on Oceanic-Time Warner Cable of Hawaii channel 16, commonly referred to as OC 16. Replays will air at 1 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Thursday.

Ohana Road, the first locally produced automotive show, debuted its first 13-week season in mid-March. It airs Saturday evenings on KITV.

The new show is named after the automotive section in each Friday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The newspaper is the show's title sponsor and Island Driver writer Ed Kemper is the show's main host.

Each show will feature four cars, automotive related events in the community and a repair and maintenance segment, which Lex Brodie's Tire Co. has agreed to sponsor for a year.

On the seven-minute demo disc, a Lex Brodie mechanic is shown answering a theoretical viewer's letter about a brake problem. He then demonstrates how the shop would go about diagnosing and fixing the brakes using a cutaway main cylinder as a visual aid.

Kemper's co-hosts will vary, according to co-producer Brett Pruitt, president of Grass Shack Productions Hawaii Ltd.

The other co-producer is Ron Darby, president of video production company Hawaiian Image. The two companies are neighbors on Iwilei Road.

Darby suggested six months ago that he and Pruitt team up on a TV project.

"I said well, cars and houses are the only things with built-in ad budgets in these times," Pruitt said.

Having little interest in houses, the decision was easy for self-proclaimed car-nut Pruitt. He's the president of the British Car Club, belongs to the Sports Car Club of America and is part of the Pacific Carting Club, which races go-carts.

"It was a good fit," Pruitt said.

Darby also produces "Hawaii TV Mall," which airs each day on KFVE-TV and stars veteran broadcaster George "Granny Goose" Groves.

The cost of the production is underwritten by its sponsors, according to Star-Bulletin automotive sales manager Ken White.

"It's a nifty arrangement" that gets the Island Driver brand name out there.

"We're really excited about being able to bring our Island Driver automotive section alive to viewers as well as our readers," White said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached


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