Saturday, April 21, 2007
Tradin' Paint On SPEED: Welcome Back Randy Pemberton
Several weeks ago, I had quite a problem with the Tradin' Paint program airing on SPEED Channel. There were lots of issues with the program, the topics, and NASCAR's role in deciding what made it to the table for discussion. Fortunately, the folks as SPEED were quick to respond.
They made it clear that this program is a stand-alone production by the network, and is not influenced by NASCAR itself. Further, they stated that Michael Waltrip would be leaving the show by choice, and Kyle Petty would be taking the seat on the panel designated for a NASCAR driver. Other than John Roberts, who will continue to host the show, the other seat for the "journalist" spot would continue to rotate.
Unfortunately, most print journalists have a very hard time translating their words to the tiny screen, and it shows. This has lead to a string of very intelligent, but extremely boring reporters sitting on the panel, and slowing the show's pace to a crawl. They talk the same way they type on their laptop, slowly. Fortunately, SPEED Channel recently took a giant leap-of-faith, and it has paid-off in spades.
The Pemberton name is a familiar one to NASCAR fans. It is also a familiar one to me, having worked at the old Sunbelt Video in Charlotte, NC. During that time, Inside Winston Cup Racing was the flagship show, and Randy Pemberton was the reporter. He was a hard-working and hard-living man in the tradition of NASCAR "guys" at that time. His family was deep into racing, but Randy was deep into television. And his future was bright.
Ultimately, life deals everyone different hands, and the cards that were dealt to Randy did not allow him to return to the national TV stage until now. Taking his place as the "reporter" on Tradin' Paint has allowed the country to again hear his clear voice and passionate feelings about the sport. He also brings with it a life of experience with NASCAR that goes back into the 1970's.
In watching this weekend's edition, it was clear that Petty, Pemberton, and Roberts were a great team. With Roberts directing traffic, and then getting out of the way, both Kyle and Randy were able to speak directly to a very diverse group of NASCAR issues with authority and experience. These are two elements that have become extremely scarce in recent years.
Their views could only have been complimented by perhaps adding some additional graphics or videotape, called B-roll, to the program. Otherwise, SPEED seems to have finally found a combination of personalities that can cover a sport that is now so big, its even hard to describe. This could be the start of another distinctive and exclusive NASCAR franchise for SPEED Channel.
Best wishes to Randy on his return to TV, and his continued success with his "other" job on the DirecTV Hot Pass package as an announcer. It was nice to see him on national TV once again, and even nicer to hear informed opinions from people who know NASCAR.