Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week Three: Ask Your NASCAR TV Questions And Get An Answer


Thanks to all of you we have been getting a lot of new TV information out into the public. It would not happen if you did not take the time to ask good questions about the TV coverage of NASCAR and the issues that go along with it.

Tuesday night we are opening the question forum and we will begin answering your posts on Wednesday morning. The last two weeks were so successful that we hosted a special Sunday "one day" forum this past weekend.

If you have not read the previous forums, please take a minute to read them here and here. Then you can ask your question in this post by simply clicking on the COMMENTS button below. Please read the rules on the right side of the main page if this is your first time using The Daly Planet.

Please be respectful in your posts, as comments about networks and announcers in bad taste will not be tolerated. We will begin answering questions on Wednesday morning, and keep the forum going all day Wednesday. Keep checking back and following-up on your questions and our answers.

We have been getting some great help from several "TV types" with the answers during this forum. We appreciate their help, and look forward to having a fun and insightful Wednesday. Its always interesting when you get to ask the questions.

70 comments:

batchief said...

John, a couple of weeks ago you hinted at changes being made by Fox for next seasons broadcasts, have you heard anything pertaining to these changes yet?

haus20 said...

Isn't it true that part of the HotPass tv agreement is that the ratings for HotPass count towards the broadcast network ratings?

In other words, HotPass is not really competition to the primary broadcast network since the ratings still count towards the primary network.

Anonymous said...

Your last Q&A article said ESPN2 will show the Nextel Cup banquet on tape delay at midnight.

Is there any chance that SPEED could show it earlier in the evening, when it's actually occuring, and then it shows on ESPN2 later? What is going to happen to the SPEED coverage of Champions week? They always have a special program summarizing the Champion appearances in NYC and last year they also had the "yellow carpet" (yellow because of Nextel) an hour before the banquet telecast.

Wendy Venturini was so good on that show - even though she said on air she wasn't good at asking questions about the driver/wife formal outfits like Melissa Rivers (hired by SPEED for that show), she was actually better than Melissa. You could tell the drivers were comfortable with her. Wendy can do anything!

Anonymous said...

What can the average fan do to voice our concerns to NASCAR about the horrific coverage?

stricklinfan82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...

A few questions:

1.) How are the 5 drivers chosen for Hotpass each week determined?

- I've heard Robby Gordon for one complain about the huge advantage it gives the teams that can watch their cars on Hotpass from the pit box every week and how he wished there could be a fairer way to distribute which drivers are featured each week.

2.) I thought that last week I saw you post something along the lines of "If Rusty Wallace leaves the booth next year...". Am I just mistaken or does he not have a contract for next year or have you heard some rumblings that he might not be retained in the same role next year or might choose to leave the booth on his own?

- I don't mind Rusty at all but it seems like a lot of people are very unhappy with his work in the booth this year.

3.) People (myself included) have been blaming ESPN all year for being the reason that Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions have been untelevised by Speed Channel or any other network during the ESPN portion of the Cup schedule. Is it true that ESPN has bought the exclusive rights to these sessions and despite choosing not to air them themselves are downright refusing to let Speed Channel do the right thing for the fans and air them in ESPN's absence? Common sense says this must be the case or why else would Speed all of a sudden stop televising these sessions the very second ESPN started airing the Cup races?

slithybill said...

I've always thought SPEED could make a very entertaining show that highlights a driver's race by focusing strictly on his team communications. "Inside Nextel Cup" and some NASCAR Images programs put these communications to good use, and even ESPN on ABC has used them effectively during race broadcasts.

The more times I hear on-air talent talking about how entertaining it is to listen to Dale Jr. and Tony Jr. "bicker", the more I think a show like this would work. Actually, a whole show would probably only work if it revolved around those two.

Who owns the rights to the team communications that are aired during the broadcast? The driver, the car owner, NASCAR, or the broadcast network? And who owns the rights to team communications that are not aired on television?

Anonymous said...

JD, How do the on-car cameras wipe off oil, dirt and other things that can get on the lens? I hear its a technology called "clear view," but how does it work?

Anonymous said...

During a football game a "cable cam," that I believe is used during NASCAR on FOX, fell onto the field during a timeout. Has this caused any concern for FOX and NASCAR?

wkwinborn said...

John, first of all, we really appreciate this site. It's truly one of a kind.

I have a question about ESPN's usage of Allen Bestwick this year. I believe (and a lot of folks, I think, agree with me) that Bestwick is at the top of ESPN's list of available talent. Brewer is great in his role, but that role is somewhat limited. Petree brings a homespun, common sense, and (most importantly) no-nonsense view to the broadcasts, much like his Fox counterpart in Larry Mac. Dr. Punch's struggles have been well documented, while I personally believe that Rusty Wallace severely struggles with his biases.

All that being said, Bestwick is a natural who would be best at home in Dr. Punch's position. Those of us who have been following the sport for a long time remember well Bestwick's magic with MRN. More recently, we remember his great play by play work with NBC/TNT before the debacle that was the decision to swap Bestwick and Weber. However, we're yet again in that exact same situation...an inferior host with talents better served OUTSIDE the booth (be it pre-race, pre-shot segments, etc.) have taken the place of Bestwick, a man who's play-by-play abilities are matched only by Mike Joy in today's landscape.

Why is this? Why have TWO operations now relegated Bestwick to pit road duty (which, of course, he does as well as any others as he is a consummate professional)? Is ESPN just too stubborn to put someone in the booth who was established as a broadcaster before they came back to town?

Anonymous said...

With Bestwick: Speed, NBC-TNT ABC-ESPN have all removed him from the lead announncer or from hosting...to me it looks like the only common here is Bestwick. Does he asked for too much money, not play well with others? With all these networks making these choices with him, there must be more to the story.

Anonymous said...

Does ABC understand that, with so many affiliates apparently abandoning their NASCAR coverage, ratings cannot help but drop? It'sn self-fulfilling--ratings are down with fewer people watching, but stations are making it tougher for people to see the event in the first place.

If the ABC affiliate agreement actually allows stations to do this, someone needs to lose their job.

LuckyForward said...

Who can we write at NASCAR to discuss our displeasure with broadcasting? It appears that ABC/ESPN really do not care. Does NASCAR?

Daly Planet Editor said...

batchief - the changes will be probably be announced once the season is over. I will be bringing updated NASCAR TV news during the off-season, so look for things to start shaking in a couple of weeks. The changes will be multi-network.

haus - Nope, not that I could find. The only TV ratings are the core and single network telecasting the race over cable or broadcast TV network. I still find it strange that Hot Pass runs commercials.

Anon 10:45AM - The banquet is a nightmare. I have an email into SPEED about that week, and I will post a story about Champions Week coverage and the banquet. Thanks for reminding me.

Anon 11:36PM - That might be the question for the ages. My answer was to start this blog site. No one is more surprised by some of the things that went on this season in NASCAR than myself. When I decided to open this site to comments from fans, I discovered I was not alone. The meaningful and intelligent comments of NASCAR fans on this site have been read by both the TV network executives and the NASCAR top guns. Now, we will see what happens next.

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

1 - I am told that Chris Long, the former VP at SPEED and now the head honcho at DirecTV for Hot Pass makes those selections. Bear in mind, no one at DirecTV has ever responded to my emails this entire season.

2 - TV contracts are like driver contracts, sometimes when things are not going well the parties just decide as a group to make a change. Not saying anything about Rusty Wallace, just answering the question about TV contracts. Just like NASCAR, performance is always an issue.

3 - Its not that simple an issue. NASCAR scheduled all its TV exposure in the current TV contract, and networks cannot just "drop" things. Networks cannot also "swap" things. Just like NASCAR Images owns all the video after a while, NASCAR Digital Entertainment owns all the rights to all the series and agrees well in advance when any qualifying or practice session is not going to be on TV.

Daly Planet Editor said...

bill - NASCAR owns the rights to anything electronic that happens at the track. That is an easy way of remembering it. This includes the radio transmissions of the teams, the in-car camera footage not seen on TV, and anything else electronically transmitted during practices, qualifying, or the races. NASCAR Images is the company that handles the on-location electronics and also then licenses and produces TV, DVD, and any other video or audio based content.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:06 AM - Have you ever seen those motorcycle goggles that have a roll of clear plastic film that moves across the goggles so that the rider gets a "clear view?"

The cameras have a film across them that can be advanced by the operator anytime to clear the lens. Its pretty cool to watch when they do it. This has been around for a long time.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:13 AM - I know that a big scoreboard with a video screen fell down before a basketball game once, luckily no one was injured.

The sky cam or cable cam is lightweight and dependable. Fox loves it, but ESPN likes the swooping "jigs" that have long boom arms and extend all over the place. We see them on pit road, turn one infield, and even over the crowd at some places coming off turn four.

You can find pictures of all these toys by using your Google search engine. Have fun.

Anonymous said...

Jhn kind of a technical question to ask NASCAR. Last year I subscribed to trackpass and listened to the on-line scanner. Had to give it up because it was never synched to the TV broadcast and was ahead by a bit. I know TV delays the broadcast so they can bleep bad words but can they try tp synch it better.

Joe Weathery said...

JD,
I noticed today's article did not jet picked up by Jayski? is this ESPN's direct retaliation to all the Fans that have voiced their displeasrue with ESPN's poor coverage on your site the past few days?
To Answer Anonymous Question about Bestwick being the commen thread:
Alan, got hurt playing hockey while working for NBC which angered the Exect at NBC, Bill Weber filled in for Alan while he was recovering. The next week at Taladega race Dale JR said the "S" word on NBC's brodcast from Victory Lane, Nobody in America or NBC cared untill Bill Weber opend up his big mouth and started appologizing for Jr' comment? This caught the Bosses at NBC's eyes, Bill was then able to use this levearge against bestwick for his " liberal attidude" towards the Drivers. Weber was then able to pleade his case to the NBC managment that "He" should be the host becasue he had much more time in TV coverage of races than Alan. Alan's "in season" injury which angered NBC's managment and Webers crying is what leaded to the Bestwick/Weber switch.
Ask Wally next time you see him who he and Benny (God Rest His Soul) would had prefered in the both. Poor Bill would stand a chance.
As to Speed, Alan lost his ride with speed due to his signing on with ESPN. Speed also had a Managemnt change 2 years ago which shook up all Speed Personel, Speed's New Head ( He's gone now by the way)was the one who pulled Alan out from behind ISWC/ISNC desk. Becasue He thought the show was not "Serious Enough" and he put "Dis-pain" in Alan's place ( and that worked well hasn't it).
Alan conitued to work for Speed while he was with NBC untill this year. Remember ESPN does not play well with other Broadcast Venues and does not alowe it employees to work/be loaned to other networks, so that is why Alan is no longer on Speed.
It is our loss that Alan is not in the booth, He has the ablilty to call races and make them exciting, unlike Rusty and Mr.Punch.
To bad ESPn has yet to get it. There is always next year unless Brain and Family pull the plug on ESPN and Disney.
JW

Daly Planet Editor said...

wkwinborn - Everyone who is on-the-air in TV, especially in sports, drags around their past. Even career choices that seemed to be great at the time can come back and take a big bite out of an on-air "talent" as they are called.

Bestwick was moved-on from INC because a new TV executive was now in charge, and that is simply the thing they like to do. Its like when your local TV station gets a new News Director and all of a sudden your favorite news anchor is gone. Its just change for the sake of change.

In terms of ESPN and ABC, Allen has been the face of the NBC and TNT NASCAR packages for the last several years. When a new sheriff comes into town, like the ESPN/ABC package, there is no way they are going to use a "left over" anchor from the TV package they just bought to be the face of ESPN. Its just network politics.

What ESPN has done is give Bestwick an opportunity this season to be a pit reporter, to host their daily show NASCAR Now, to host their Busch Series NASCAR Countdown show, and finally to be the play-by-play announcer on their Busch Series telecasts. This bodes well for his future in the ESPN package now that the first season of ESPN's coverage is almost over.

We all believe ESPN burned Jerry Punch out this year, put Suzy Kolber in as a "temp" in the Infield Studio, and missed the boat with Erik Kuselias hosting NASCAR Now. Look for the ESPN execs to get together soon and make some strategic changes for next season across the board.

After his hard work this year, I would expect Bestwick to be a significant part of those changes. As tough as ESPN has been on him this year, the last place they would like to see him pop-up is on the Fox and SPEED broadcasts.

Anonymous said...

Jhn kind of a technical question to ask NASCAR. Last year I subscribed to trackpass and listened to the on-line scanner. Had to give it up because it was never synched to the TV broadcast and was ahead by a bit. I know TV delays the broadcast so they can bleep bad words but can they try tp synch it better.

This is not a TV delay problem.

It is an issue with the online scanner that happens between the time of the radio transmission and the time it takes to get to your computer vs. how long the TV signal takes to get to your home.

If you have a DVR, delay your tv signal by about 6 seconds and that'll sync it up.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:09 AM - I was shocked that the ABC affiliates can just do their own thing as the ABC network broadcasts a sporting event that ESPN paid hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire.

The fact that the LA market (KABC) covered the entire first thirty minutes of the telecast from Charlotte boggles my mind.

This is the first year that ESPN has been offering these races using the ABC broadcast TV distribution system. You better belive that after The Daly Planet reported this issue, there were some serious meetings. Can you imagine the impact on Advertising Sales and TV ratings when the number two market in the US "decided" to pre-empt live NASCAR? Look for this issue to be followed-up here over the next several weeks.

luckyforward - save your breath, save your emails, save your stamps, they do not care. The best thing to do is voice your feelings on a site like this. Unfortunately, ESPN deletes "negative" messages on their board, and NASCAR.com is just the Turner Interactive guys in Atlanta. This is going to be eight years of very interesting TV.

Bobb said...

Has any advertisers dropped their ads from ESPN/ABC that had previously advertised on the other NASCAR TV outlets?

Perhaps we, as NASCAR fans, should write some of the advertisers that are on ESPN/ABC broadcasts to voice our displeasure with the broadcasts.

To the question, I know some have but cannot name them. Talking big advertisers that have been with NASCAR since TV contract of 2001.

Lisa Hogan said...

I’ll admit that this is a silly question; but, it’s been on my mind.
The over-usage of the term “Cinderella team” by ESPN, as a whole, has me wondering if this is their weird “Disney tie-in”?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:22 AM - That is the biggest issue in the multi-media distribution of NASCAR. Watching one source alone is not a problem, but watching multiple sources is tough. Signals from radio, TV, and Internet do not travel in the same transmission time for live events, and that is the reason for the delay. Some folks have been running the video of the race through their TiVo or DVR and using their pause button to make it synch up with the other devices in their home. Give it a try. A DVR is a must for a NASCAR fan.

Daly Planet Editor said...

joe - First of all, I am going to let your comment stand because it is not malicious. But, drop me an email before you post any answers in the future. (It makes me liable for the content.)

Jayski has been one of the single most supportive people since I began back in February. If not for his courage in linking my articles, we would never have achieved the distribution and exposure that we have this year. I email with him every day, and just like all businessmen, has has to work his way thought the world in which he lives and works.

As you can see from my earlier story about Jayski and NASCAR Now, I personally feel that he has been treated poorly by ESPN and that they should have jumped on his bandwagon and made him a star this year.

He is the editor of his site, and in that role can decide on what stories to run. He does this for all the publications and websites that submit content to him. It took me a while to break through, and even though we disagree on a couple of TV issues, over half of my readers come directly from the Jayski site.

I hope my story encourages ESPN to make better use of him, and include him next season. He is going to continue to link my stories, and sometimes when there is no story it is because I am doing a question forum or something else. Thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

bobb - most of them are deeply ingrained in the sport itself, and their TV ads are a part of a coordinated marketing package for a sponsor or season long campaign. The ad rates, however, are affected by the TV ratings. Ouch.

lisa - we have a term in TV land for people who are burnt out. We say that he is "toasted." Jerry Punch is not a "young man," one of his favorite terms (and a good drinking game btw) and he has been on the go since February. When he gets tired, the catch phrases like "Cinderella story," "sailing through the field," and "young man" just come out. This has been very evident late in races, when he has been talking for several hours. I hope he gets to sleep for several weeks after this season is over.

Anonymous said...

JD -

Is there any chance at all that ESPN will ever attempt to improve their poor coverage of pit strategy?

I've noticed many times that they completely ignore the fact that some drivers stay out during yellow flag pit sequences (even when they are important cars!). Other times, they'll ignore drivers that make unscheduled stops (unless they are chasers). They rarely ever make a serious attempt to detail just who took four tires, two tires, or gas only. They don't seem to understand the concept of resetting the field for us before restarts. Sometimes, they'll make a big deal out of a certain driver winning the race off pit road, and then never mention or explain why they aren't leading the field down to the restart!

Maybe it's just me, but this almost seems to be a conscious decision on their part to avoid covering this stuff, almost as if they're afraid that they'll be "cluttering up" their "perfect" broadcast!

Thanks

Anonymous said...

I was shocked that the ABC affiliates can just do their own thing as the ABC network broadcasts a sporting event that ESPN paid hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire.
No offense, JD, but have you talked with ABC Affiliate Relations about this?

You mentioned asking ESPN, but I just don't think they gave you the "real" answer--I can't believe locals can simply pre-empt network programming at will.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:14 AM - One of the things that has been toughest for them is the Pit Producer position. They set up their video effect (called a triple split) to show three key cars pitting, but that emphasis on the pitting and the race off pit road often results in the problem of neglecting which cars stayed out.

When the network finishes the stop, goes to break, and comes back with the race underway or just coming to the green, they are unable to reset the field for explain why cars they never mentioned are now leading. Expect that aspect of coverage to change next season as well.

Daly Planet Editor said...

No word back yet from the ABC affilate relations group, but I don't expect a big company like ABC would respond to a little old blogger like me. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, JD. I'm certainly hoping to see some (many!) changes for next year! It seems to me that while ESPN does a lot of things wrong, and has a lot of unqualified personnel in place, I think they could go a long way to solving the problems by simply making an honest attempt to COVER WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE RACE. It's really that simple! If I was actually getting relevant information on a consistent basis, I would be able to tolerate the clumsy, in-your-face attempts at diversity, the over-use of "toys", and the annoying personalities...

Anonymous said...

Does HotPass censor the scanners because of a broadcasting choice or because of a law. It's very annoying for them to silence the radio when there is cursing because that is usually the most important part.

Anybody who is listening to a scanner or a station with a "live" scanner with children around deserves to have their children hear colored language. They should leave everything in if it is legal.

On a similar note - sometimes some of the HotPass channels seem to have the scanner on a delay. I assume the delay is to catch vulgar language, but it's kind of worthless to have a scanner on delay since the timing of the "all clear", "outside", etc. aren't even close to the action on the race track.

Andrew S. said...

John, thanks for the this site and all the work you do. Here is a wacky thought from my little brain.

What are the chances next season of an ESPN/ABC booth of Allen Bestwick, Ken Schrader and Andy Petree?

Bestwick and Schrader worked together on INC, Petree and Schrader worked as owner/crew chief and driver. Ken does a great job on the ARCA and Truck races he has been in the booth. I'll tell you what he is way better than that cat, Rusty and better than umm...ahhh....Dale Jarrett.

I guess the drawbacks would be Schrader being tied to Speed Channel and whether or not he is ready to stop racing in NASCAR.

stricklinfan82 said...

Anonymous,

I don't have a direct answer for your question but I know this censorship is fairly new. Everything on Hotpass was uncensored for most of the year, as I've heard some very interesting radio transmissions from guys like Stewart and Harvick when things haven't gone right for them. I figured since it was pay-per-view satellite television they could pretty much air anything they wanted but obviously something has changed in recent weeks.

I'd also like to hear an answer as to why DirecTV has added censorship to Hotpass. The uncensored emotion from the driver is one of the appeals of Hotpass, and the addition of long awkward periods of silence to censor the drivers talking takes away a lot of the fun of eavesdropping on the drivers.

Daly Planet Editor said...

andrew s. - I think chances are much better of seeing DJ and Andy join either Bestwick or Punch on the season long Busch Series telecasts. On the seventeen race Sprint Cup package I think Rusty still has the lead, based on the fact this was the first season and he may be given another shot. If I hear anything about these moves, I will post it right away. Thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

The FCC does not have any jurisdiction where DirecTV content is the issue. DirecTV does, however, offer commercials in the Hot Pass package and often times advertisers demand a certain level of "standards and practices" in order to participate....and then pay up. That is the reason I was surprised that Hot Pass sold commercials, some of the profanity that you find in any sport is heard over the scanners, and always has been. The ironic twist is that the FCC does have jurisdiction over the radio transmissions. How funny is that?

Anonymous said...

JD -

That's an interesting point about the FCC having jurisdiction over the team's radio transmissions! I never really thought about it, but it's absolutely true! I have done work in the past that involved radio communications on "business" (as opposed to broadcast or public safety) frequencies, and we were always warned to watch our language because of the FCC. The same rules should apply to the teams' radio comms, which are essentially a "business" use of FCC issued frequencies. Not that I would actually want to see the rules enforced, of course!

Can you imagine a bunch of FCC busybodies running up and down pit road admonishing the teams? How about government cars chasing down the drivers on the track? That might actually be entertaining, kind of like the old days with the "revenuers" vs. the "bootleggers".

;-)

David said...

Fan House AOL Sports Blog is report that Rusty is done one ESPN NASCAR next year and Dale Jarrett is in. Have you heard anything about this??
It is just up today!!

Anonymous said...

HotPass sensorship....The team owners & drivers specifically ask that their language be sensored. Why? Sponsor relationships and that's the only reason. However, that delay as I've noticed has decreased in recent weeks to now when I watch it looks like it's just 1 second off. You use to really tell when they were being counted into the pits and the cc would say 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and he'd already be getting work done on his car. That was annoying. It's alot better now. Also, alot of the swearing still comes through because the people monitoring it don't catch it in time. I heard some stuff from the #20 this week after his incidents on pit road.

Daly Planet Editor said...

david,

As you can see from that story, they really don't have their ducks lined up yet. Rusty is on an ESPN Media Release today and listed as the announcer this weekend at Martinsville.

If he is finishing the season and then being replaced, that is a lot different than being fired. I am working on it right now and will upadte it soon.

Anonymous said...

If he is finishing the season and then being replaced, that is a lot different than being fired.

Not if he had a two-year contract, it isn't!

David said...

A year or two ago Keith Jackson did and interview that I read that was quite interesting. In part of the interview he said that it absoulutely drove him nuts having to plug the next show or new shows and such on the network. He said it completely removed the ability to tell stories about what brought the teams to this point. On the both Fox and ESPN they spend so much time trying to make a story instead of letting the stories tell themselves. ESPN especially does not let the race unfold it tries to set it up based on what they hope happens and begin doing this on NASCAR NOW. How much of this type of stuff is Sponsor driven?? Meaning they have the tech center showing the wrong engine part breaking just because they have that graphic and such. They have stuff that have been paid for and have to use and will make a story for it no matter what. Even years ago Track Facts where sponsored but they told us so much more than any of the techno junk they show us now..

Daly Planet Editor said...

david,

Back when I was doing NASCAR the features were sponsored by Red Man and Chatanooga Chewing tobacco.

ESPN will hopefully use the off-season to calm down and re-rganize the troops. This contract is going to be with ESPN for a long time, so it is important they get people who can stay long term.

Right now, there is so much pressure put on them that they jump on non-stories and then do not follow-up on the reality of the race.

The network is not used to having bad reviews, and things will be changing very soon.

darbar said...

John, in this giant world that is Nascar, is there any way to know if the powers that be in Nascar are as upset with the ABC/ESPN coverage as the fans seem to be, or will they just let this entire debacle continue for the next 7 years? When you realize that numbers are down, both in viewership and actual race attendance, one would think that Nascar would do everything possible to make certain that broadcasts are done as correctly and professionally as possible. That's certainly not the case this season. Do you think Nascar is content with how their product is being handled? Do they even have the right to go to the head of ABC Sports and demand solutions to the continuing problem of Nascar coverage? What about the sponsors? If they complain that they're not getting the best bang for their bucks, what happens? Do YOU think that we're going to be saddled with this poor coverage for the remainder of this contract?

Daly Planet Editor said...

darbar,

I think ESPN will make some off-season changes and will come back with some of the problems ironed out. The ESPN guys are good TV guys, they are just not NASCAR guys quite yet.

This coverage philosophy is different from Fox and SPEED. Its aimed at the casual fan, and features more added production elements and less in-depth information.

The daily show is just fluff, and keeps the obvious issues on the table and in the media. As to whether or not this changes, we will only see in February of 2008.

SophiaZ123 said...

Speaking of censoring, anybody DVR the 5.30 showing of CHASING GLORY and JG dropped the F bombing over radio transmission in the first segment?? Can't believe I heard correctly but maybe I didn't???

TRYING THIS AGAIN, the site crashed and gave an odd error message last time. Site must be getting popular today!

Jo said...

John, what's different between the staffing/arrangements for pit road coverage between the ESPN team and the NBC and FOX teams earlier in the season? It seems to me there may be one fewer pit reporter, and there doesn't seem to be that sense that one reporter is assigned to a certain 10 or 11 drivers on pit road no matter what. Maybe that's why they never seem to have a reporter near a pit after a stop--or do the DirecTV HotPass guys have a monopoly on pit road coverage these days? Can one of our experts weigh in here?

Anonymous said...

I asked a question on Sunday about Tony Stewart using his radio show as his postrace press conference and if that was the beginning of a trend.

We just sat down and turned on NASCAR Now, and the first story is about 30 seconds of audio from Tony's show last night where he says Paul Menard's dad bought his ride. So is this what ESPN is reduced to? Getting its top stories by recording Tony Stewart's radio show and seeing if he says something nasty?? They bought in Tim cowlishaw to comment and played a compilation video of Tony's past angry moments of the season.

Weird part: I guess to make it up to Tony, they then showed part of his Tony Stewart Racing press conference from today. Cowlishaw and Marty Smith were there - on the track in Tony Stewart logo firesuits with Tony giving them advice before they got into the cars. They were all smiling and laughing. The event was called "The Smoke Show." This is so bizarre.

This is a Ryan Burr hosted edition, by the way.

SophiaZ123 said...

ok..gonna have to catch the second showing of NN if it's showing lots of Stewart.

It sounds bizarre. guess TS was told by Gibbs to make nice with ESPN by my guess.

brett said...

Why does ESPN2 keep up their "Bottomline" during NASCAR telecasts? When the races are on ESPN and ABC they "Bottomline" ticker is removed. I read somewhere that ESPN2 never removed the bottomline, but whats the reason?

Newracefan said...

Sophia, I taped Chasing Glory but haven't watched yet. Many of the drivers drop the f bomb over their radios. Think Kyle Petty, have you ever read riding with JR on speed/fox they have to skip over words alot. I listen to JJ via trackpass and there is a standard message that is brodcasted before each race which basically says that foul language happens, I bet JG has the same broadcast. PS It's usually Chad with the mouth unless JJ is having a really bad day.

haus20 said...

Sophiaz... I would have thoght that as well, but ESPN also ran a favorable completely dedicated to Tony this past weekend on one of the shows. Also, Marty Smith had an article on the ".com" about the other side of Tony this past weekend...It may be that ESPN is reaching out to Tony.

haus20 said...

a favorable segment - my bad

SophiaZ123 said...

newracefan

I AM NOT OFFENDED by how drivers speak during a race.

My SURPRISE was the F ing word on a PRE TAPED show like CHASING GLORY. THAT was the surprised.

Yes, I heard Kyle drop the F bomb but that was idiotic as well...it was a replay and somebody was NOT LISTENING at ESPN..SURPRISE, huh?

Anyway, I think in the heat of the moment drivers may not talk like old fashioned school marms. :-)

My POINT was an edited, pretaped, slicked up show was shown with the "word".

AND i wondered if I heard correctly...that was all.

Jeff and the guys can talk any way they want. And if folks are offended, DON"T LISTEN to scanners is the way I see it.

Though if I had kids I would not want them listening if the vulgarities were constant and x rated.

Then again, I don't like many of the commercials during racing but I digress. . . .

;-0

Tabula Rasa said...

Why does ESPN2 keep up their "Bottomline" during NASCAR telecasts? When the races are on ESPN and ABC they "Bottomline" ticker is removed. I read somewhere that ESPN2 never removed the bottomline, but whats the reason?

Many markets don't get ESPN News, but do get ESPN2. Part of ESPN's policy is to keep the bottom line in so that fans of ALL sports can receive news at a glance regardless of the programming actually running on ESPN2.

Tabula Rasa said...

John, what's different between the staffing/arrangements for pit road coverage between the ESPN team and the NBC and FOX teams earlier in the season? It seems to me there may be one fewer pit reporter, and there doesn't seem to be that sense that one reporter is assigned to a certain 10 or 11 drivers on pit road no matter what. Maybe that's why they never seem to have a reporter near a pit after a stop--or do the DirecTV HotPass guys have a monopoly on pit road coverage these days? Can one of our experts weigh in here?

ESPN uses the same number of pit reporters as the other networks. Sometimes the comments of the "rookie" reporters aren't as neat, or tight as the veteran reporters, which may give you that feeling that it's not the same sort of pit report.

The Hotpass guys are lower on the food chain than the host broadcaster, whether that be ESPN, FOX, or TNT.

There's a pecking order in terms of who gets access to teams, obviously the host broadcaster gets first crack. I believe SPEED is next, followed by Hotpass.

Tabula Rasa said...

Thanks, JD. I'm certainly hoping to see some (many!) changes for next year! It seems to me that while ESPN does a lot of things wrong, and has a lot of unqualified personnel in place, I think they could go a long way to solving the problems by simply making an honest attempt to COVER WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE RACE. It's really that simple! If I was actually getting relevant information on a consistent basis, I would be able to tolerate the clumsy, in-your-face attempts at diversity, the over-use of "toys", and the annoying personalities...

Two things that I think often get lost in the discussion about covering NASCAR:

- You are always going to miss on track action. It doesn't matter how many cameras, spotters, or talent are available, or how good they are. There's simply a tremendous amount going on the track at any one time. That is why NASCAR is the hardest sport to broadcast (followed by golf). There's 43 stories on the track at any one time. That simply doesn't exist in stick and ball sports. The production crew makes more mistakes during the course of a single NASCAR broadcast than they do over the course of an entire football season. It's just the nature of the beast.

- In order to thrive, NASCAR needs to grow it's audience beyond the existing fan base. Let's face it, NASCAR used to be a regional sport. While that's no longer the case, NASCAR is at a crossroads where it needs to attract a wider audience without alienating it's core fanbase. That's a very tough line to walk. Many of you have been watching NASCAR for years, but sometimes the broadcaster has to appeal to the casual fan for the overall health of the sport. What may seem obvious, or even inane, to the experienced viewer is potentially the very thing that will get a new fan hooked or help them to understand the sport.

Tabula Rasa said...

The sky cam or cable cam is lightweight and dependable. Fox loves it, but ESPN likes the swooping "jigs" that have long boom arms and extend all over the place. We see them on pit road, turn one infield, and even over the crowd at some places coming off turn four.

It fell onto the track at the Brickyard, but not while the track was hot. Rumor has it that it clipped a hauler antenna in Bristol and hasn't been used since. Can anyone confirm if they've seen it used Fontana or beyond?

Anonymous said...

Tabula Rasa said...
The sky cam or cable cam is lightweight and dependable. Fox loves it, but ESPN likes the swooping "jigs" that have long boom arms and extend all over the place. We see them on pit road, turn one infield, and even over the crowd at some places coming off turn four.

It fell onto the track at the Brickyard, but not while the track was hot. Rumor has it that it clipped a hauler antenna in Bristol and hasn't been used since. Can anyone confirm if they've seen it used Fontana or beyond?

October 17, 2007 11:28 PM

Maybe the problems are with ESPN? I know that FOX had it at almost every race and I don't recall any issues.
I did not see the camera in fontana. Can you give more information about the incidents with this camera?

Anonymous said...

- You are always going to miss on track action. It doesn't matter how many cameras, spotters, or talent are available, or how good they are. There's simply a tremendous amount going on the track at any one time. That is why NASCAR is the hardest sport to broadcast (followed by golf). There's 43 stories on the track at any one time. That simply doesn't exist in stick and ball sports. The production crew makes more mistakes during the course of a single NASCAR broadcast than they do over the course of an entire football season. It's just the nature of the beast.


I completely understand that. I am not expecting ESPN to be perfect. The problem is that they are just way, way off the mark in covering the action.

Let's say that there is a scale of perfection that goes from 1-10, with 1 being the worst (missing almost everything) and 10 being the best (catching almost everything). FOX would be about a 7, which is pretty good considering that 8 is probably the highest practical level that could be achieved (accepting that some action will always be missed). Not counting Sonoma, I would give TNT about a 6 this year. Now, ESPN, on the other hand, rates about a 3 or 4 at best! And the sad thing is, they don't seem to be getting any better! I don't see them making any real attempt to improve things. In fact, there almost seems to be a conscious effort to avoid covering anything that doesn’t fit their pre-conceived “template” for that race. How ridiculous!

As a perfect example of ESPN missing/ignoring details of events, you need only look to last week's Cup race. After Tony Stewart had the incident on pit road with Menard & Kahne (which ESPN did cover), he had some other problem involving Bobby Labonte when he came back to pit road for repairs. (I only know this happened because people who attended the race reported it later on SPEED's message board.) This happened while ESPN was on commercial, but they never bothered to let us know what had occurred. In fact, they went a long time without even updating Stewart's situation at all! We didn't even know whether he had been back in for repairs or anything! This is how they cover someone who's 4th in the Chase? They can't use the excuse that they didn't have video of it either, because the footage showed up as filler on Wednesday night’s NASCAR Now while they were discussing Stewart.

That is only one example, and it involves one of the most important cars on the track (a CHASER). The coverage is exponentially worse for drivers outside the Chase. I just hope that JD is correct when he says to expect changes for next year…

Anonymous said...

- In order to thrive, NASCAR needs to grow it's audience beyond the existing fan base. Let's face it, NASCAR used to be a regional sport. While that's no longer the case, NASCAR is at a crossroads where it needs to attract a wider audience without alienating it's core fanbase. That's a very tough line to walk. Many of you have been watching NASCAR for years, but sometimes the broadcaster has to appeal to the casual fan for the overall health of the sport. What may seem obvious, or even inane, to the experienced viewer is potentially the very thing that will get a new fan hooked or help them to understand the sport.


Well, obviously this is a horse that's been beaten to death by many people in many forums over the years. I have a feeling that NASCAR's overt attempts to "attract a wider audience" will fail miserably, but that's probably an argument that will never end.

What I will say for sure is that ESPN's conspicuous, clumsy, and childish attempts to attract the "wider audience" have fallen completely flat. The forced diversity, marked inattention to details of on-track action, hip-hop bumper music, inane (and repetitive) tech-center explanations, and the useless Draft Tracker don't seem to be doing much to attract the casual viewers. Just look at the ratings! If they are attracting new viewers, then they must be driving off the hard-core fans in even bigger numbers!

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is at a crossroads where it needs to attract a wider audience without alienating it's core fanbase. That's a very tough line to walk.

..as evidenced by ABC's coverage. Oddly, FOX doesn't seem to have this problem.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon 8.38 and others.

NOBODY seems to UNDERSTAND our gripe is that ESPN is so much WORSE than the other stations.

ESPN and their apologist ACT like THIS is the first year NASCAR RACES have been shown LIVE! *sigh*

ALso, anybody notice RACEDAY is listed at 9.30AM this week for 1.30 race?? Are west coasters going to get up at 5.30??

This must be the 4 hr version JD mentioned a while back but I will NOT be wearing out my eyes for that many hours PRIOR to the race.

Too bad they can't broadcast on Radio...that is just too long to be watching.

Sorry RaceDay. Bigger ain't always better.

Anonymous said...

RaceDay is early Sunday 9:30-11:30 because the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil is airing live on Speed from 11:30-2. the championship will be determined at that race.

slithybill said...

SophiaZ123 said...
ALso, anybody notice RACEDAY is listed at 9.30AM this week for 1.30 race?? Are west coasters going to get up at 5.30??

This must be the 4 hr version JD mentioned a while back but I will NOT be wearing out my eyes for that many hours PRIOR to the race.


SPEED is showing the F1 season finale from Brazil live at 11:30am ET. NASCAR RaceDay will only be 2 hours. It'll be interesting to see the mood of the drivers that far ahead of the race.

SophiaZ123 said...

Boy! Do I feel stupid! I remembered the F1 was this weekend but was not sure of the time as my room mate watches or tapes all those races.

Thanks for straightening me out, guys.

:-o

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Everybody,

I would just like to thank you for all your great questions and opinions about the NASCAR TV partners.

As you may have noticed, we also have some TV folks who have been pitching-in with some answers. I really appreciate their help, and hope it will continue.

We have been blessed with some very kind friends this season who have been helping us. The question and answer forum will be on Monday only next week, as I have some actual real life things during the week...imagine that? (No, its not the dentist!)

SophiaZ123 said...

I just wanted to thank you again JD . . .

and the Tabula Rasa is the best nikname I have EVER seen!!!

LOVE IT!

:-)