Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fox Sports Bud Shootout Pre-Race

Any NASCAR season that begins with the confused tones of Chris Myers can't bode well for Fox Sports. Myers continues to look and feel like maybe his medication needs to be adjusted slightly. He is just fundamentally not at ease in the NASCAR environment, and it shows time-and-time again.

For NASCAR fans returning to network television coverage of the sport for the first time since 2006, it seemed strange for Fox to rush through the NASCAR news in order to get to a country singer. With two country music channels on my cable system fulltime, perhaps viewers would have been better served with a pre-produced recap of the 2006 action, including how the Bud Shootout drivers got themselves into the event. Dierks Bentley can wait.

In a flashback of 2006, the Fox announcers began the process of slowly pounding their personal sponsors and interests into the viewers brains, which was the chief complaint heard nationwide last season. Its very clear that any other network would have excluded Darrell Waltrip from speaking in factual terms about Toyota, a company he endorses and is compensated very well to represent. This is a conflict of interest that should not be tolerated, but Fox seems to be unrepentent in their continual merging of truth and opinion.

The pre-race show provided a wobbling start to the 2007 season, it will be interesting if the ultimate professional Mike Joy can pull the race telecast up to an acceptable level. The only positive note is that this progam was a full thirty minutes without any on-camera presence from Toyota's Michael Waltrip.

1 comment:

The Hochster said...

John... it seems that Fox is following the lead of its' NFL coverage dictum: "If one voice is good 5, 6 or 7 voices are better." You are old enough to remember the NBC experiment of showing an NFL game on national TV without announcers. (It was a Dec. 20, 1980 game between the Jets and the Dolphins.) The only ones who objected were the announcers. I agree that all you need is Mike and Jeff with Krista and Matt in the pits.

Besides the slight of Alltel's #12 Ryan Newman, how about old Kenny Schrader in the #21 Woods Bros. Air Force car. While he is challenging for the lead the dynamic trio are talking about who knows what. Finally as he gets close they notice, briefly, that his has moved up to third. When he drops back there is no mention of what happened to his car. This is not only the fault of the trio but also of the producer. This is not Formula 1 where all they focus on is the lead cars. This is NASCAR and all of the teams have devoted fans. Why was Dave Marcis able to drive so many years? Fan support which leads to sponsor support. And if you don't give all the teams some airtime the sponsors won't see the value of their investment and will drop out. (Like that has never happened!)

Speaking of the truck, what was going on in there when the teams finally did pit and the quad split of the leading teams wasn't ready until after everyone had pitted? For a second I thought Don Ohlmeyer was directing, at least these guys got the cars crossing the finish line. Technology is great and having a zillion cameras and gadgets is fine if they are used to tell a story. K.I.S.S. has taken a hike when it comes to live TV these days. If the viewer ever loses track of what is happening even for a second you are not doing you job.

One final note deals with the trashing of our national anthem by Cowboy Crush. (Where did they come from or did I miss their American Idol audition and obvious rejection?) I can just imagine Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith rolling over in their graves as each member of this group quavered their own muscial version of our beloved national song (see Jose Feliciano.) As the refence work Wikipedia notes, the Star Spangled Banner: "With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being notoriously difficult to sing" especially when you don't get the words right (see Robert Goulet). Where is Kate Smith when you need her? (I know she sang "God Bless America", but you get the point.