Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Live Open Forum: Ask Your NASCAR TV Question And Get An Answer


The forum is now closed, but please feel free to read the Q&A in the comments section. Thank you to all who participated, we will do it again next Tuesday.

Due to popular demand, we are going to bring back the mid-week live question and answer forum.

Just ask your NASCAR TV question in the comments section, and we will try to get you the answer as quickly as possible. We have some friends helping out today, and should be able to respond pretty quickly.

We will keep this thread going all day long, so just check back to see if we got your question answered. TDP has not done this is a while, so with the regular season taking a break for the All-Star race, it seemed like a good time to open the floor for questions.

To ask your NASCAR TV-related question, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to stop by today and participate.

41 comments:

jfs-va said...

Hi JD. We've discussed this ad nauseum but has anyone at SPEED actually explained why they choose to go with the next race preview first on TWIN? Clearly that's not going to change and I'm just curious why they do it that way.

Daly Planet Editor said...

jfs,

When you revamp a TV series, you try to change some of the elements.

One issue is that the highights have been seen zillions of times all over the media and the Internet by Monday at 8PM.

The one thing that is "fresh" is a preview of the next event delivered with exclusive video and sound that only the NASCAR Media Group can produce.

From one angle, what they are doing is going with the "fresh" content first and then returning to the older stuff for a review.

Many of us have the old INC show in our minds, so it might take a while for us to get sold on the new "flip" of the old format.

JD

Anonymous said...

Not to beat a dead horse (because it isn't dead yet), but I'd like to know why SPEED doesn't understand that their graphic must be visible to ALL their viewers, even those without 16:9 TV's. People who don't own HDTVs are not going to go buy one because their staff acts as if we asll have them.

The idea of designing graphics so they can be read by viewers with 4:3 TV's is not that hard to comprehend.

Why does SPEED not get this?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:01AM,

I think the TWIN show being taped meant that they did not have time to create two versions.

SPEED has a non-HD and an HD feed, sometimes programs only come one way and that is the problem you are talking about. It is common on networks during this transition time.

This week we will be getting an HD update from SPEED, but I am afraid they are in a long line of cable TV networks that want an HD feed added to the line-up.

JD

Anonymous said...

What is with these networks making a driver sit in their car after a win. I find it rude drivers must sit in their car until it is a convienent time for the network to through to down to the reporter. IF you watch the race you will sometimes see the reporter give a signal to show the driver they can climb from the car and celebrate.

What happend to the days when they would through it down to the reporter and we would watch the car enter victory lane and see the celebrations as they pull in? I miss that!

Amy/HarpAmy in FL said...

John,

Can you get an answer from SPEED as to why they don't let the panelists just get a topic and run with it in discussion on TWIN? I would like to see them maybe cut down some of the pre-taped video packages and let the panelists talk and discuss more. Can you get an answer on that one?

Also, I was watching TWIN on a HD tv last night on a SD channel as my cable company does not have SPEED HD yet and the graphics were bad on that tv also. I watched the replay on my tube tv and the graphics were even worse. Just thought that I would let you know.

Also, is there any way to get a video of the pre-race ceremonies and the green flag from Darlington? My cable company had trouble with their regular digital cable boxes and I lost my local FOX feed at 7:10 and it did not come back until 9. If you disconnected your box, you could get the coverage. I ended up going to my Mom's and watching in HD which was nice but it would have been nice to watch it comfortably in my own home.

Thanks for this Q & A forum.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:14AM,

In the old days, it was Bill Broderick (the hat man) who was in charge of Victory Lane. That was the big guy with the wild hair and the beard.

There were no burnouts in those days, and no celebrating except for Victory Lane. That meant the TV network could go to commercial while the winner was slowing down on the backstretch and still come back to get them driving into Victory Lane and hopping out.

Now, after the burnout the driver goes directly to Victory Lane and that is not enough time for the commercial. Sometimes, the network bites the bullet and goes to break during the burnout. Mostly, they watch the burnout or the flip (Edwards) or bow (Kyle Busch) or the flag toss (Stewart) and then go quickly to break.

The result is that the pit reporter assigned to Victory Lane holds the driver in the car until the network returns from the two minute break.

The problem is that the Director often goes to Victory Lane too soon, so that fans at home see the driver being held in the car and often actually hear the pit reporter say "OK, get out."

The smooth Directors use a wideshot and then go down to Victory Lane right as the driver is climbing out. Take a look at that over the next several races to see which network does it best.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

amy,

TWIN is still new, and the production team is trying to build something new while keeping part of the past. Nothing in TV is harder than that.

Right now, the leash is very tight on the panelists both in the studio and on this most recent show. They are not allowed to "talk," but only to "answer."

As you have noticed, there is a big difference in those two words.

Please refer to the answer above on the HD issue, there was only one version of TWIN available this week and it was in HD.

Before we try to bother the NASCAR Media Group for pre-race footage, I would suggest that you spend some time over on YouTube.com seeing what is there.

That site continues to be the best for NASCAR video on the Internet. It has both the actual Fox footage of the broadcast and many fans post their own handicam footage as well. Let me know how it works out.

JD

Ritchie said...

Mr. Daly,

My question is in regards to controlling NASCAR announcers and analysts.

With the amount of time that on-air personalities are on TV these days, their opinions and view-points seem to come at us constantly, which leads to two different ends.

When the announcers portray a driver or event in a positive manner, to a viewer it seems like they are going over the top with their admiration, to the point of being obnoxious. On the other end, they can be a bit sanctimonious when scolding a bad move or decision. A lot of this problem derives from so many announcers jumping into the conversation, and basically reinforcing the original statement. It is like they are "piling on".

My question is whether or not someone like a producer is attempting to control this? Can it even be controlled? Or am I the only race fan who cares?

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

ritchie,

All of those analysts and commentators were hired to voice their opinion. In the new TV contract that began in 2007, there were more NASCAR programs than ever before.

ESPN brought a new dimension to the sport, because they have a daily program that is supported by ESPN.com and Jayski's site.

When you add-in the Internet-only writers, many of whom have limited NASCAR experience but high levels of exposure, things just seem to never end.

Almost all of the TV analysts have Internet columns or blogs, so what they say on-the-air is going to be discussed later on the 'Net.

This is a brand new problem for the teams and drivers, most of whom now have PR Managers that handle everything for them. Some have even moved away from Mooresville to escape the media hassles.

Your point is well-taken, and it should be interesting to see if things change when Dale Jarrett takes over the Sprint Cup package later this summer. He is not about the hype and he is not an Internet guy. His influence should be a classy change to the hype and sales-oriented comments we have been hearing from some folks.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:07PM,

The TV music themes associated with NASCAR have long been a problem for the NASCAR TV partners.

If Country music is used, folks say it is trying to paint the fans as rednecks. ESPN tried to use everything from Aerosmith to Rhianna last season, and fell flat on their face. Do you remember the regrettable "Shut-up and Drive" race?

Now, Fox has broken out a new tune as a part of their marketing campaign that features Darrell Waltrip. No comment on that one.

SPEED uses all kinds of music, and both NASCAR Now and the NASCAR Media Group seem to favor hard rock for their highlight pieces.

It certainly is interesting that no one has really gotten a handle on how to integrate music effectively into these broadcasts.

I am a big fan of "natural sound" because the sport has such good sounds from the cars to the fans to the scanners.

If you knew what ESPN spent to purchase the rights to "Back in the Saddle Again" and make the video for last season...you would pass out.

JD

SophiaZ123 said...

Thanks for the explanations on VL and the driver...I had read that's a control thing for tv purposes.

Also I agree on the music nonsense...how about going to break and letting us HEAR THE NATURAL RACE TRACK SOUNDS@!!
minus the screaming fans that drownout Trackside and Race Day. :-)

Photojosh said...

JD,

Hope this question fits into today's Q&A. It may be classified as "off topic" or even "stupid question".

I had XM a while back when they still had the NASCAR races. But didn't follow to Sirius since I stoped having to commute for work. But after listening to part of the Talladega race on the radio, I remembered how much I loved listening to PRN/MRN. Everything just sounded so much more exciting and there was so much more info passed along.

I'd like to be able to watch the TV broadcast and listen to the PRN/MRN radio broadcast. However, I hardly ever get to watch the race live and typically have to use the Tivo/DVR.

Do you know if any of the NASCAR media partners offer any sort of archive or "Radio Tivo"?

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Hello JD,
My question is who pays for the incar cam? The team or a sponsor. It seems some drivers like them and others hate them. And as we all know they can be very telling as to what happened.
thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

josh,

Racingone.com is the website that is run by MRN and perhaps you can look in the forum section for an answer to that question.

One obvious problem is that MRN and PRN are the Hatfields and the McCoys. MRN is the France family and PRN is Bruton Smith.

My other suggestion is to zip over to Siriusbackstage.com, go into the NASCAR section and ask that question. You may get some surprising answers.

Lou, each car has a camera mount and each in-car camera has multiple angles. My understanding is that The NASCAR Media Group coordinates the in-car placement because so many different media outlets use the same cameras.

I will double-check for you, but it is the sponsors that pay the bills in this sport.

JD

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Thanks JD

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

Thanks for brining back the Q&A. I was wondering if you have any information on how Cup practice sessions and qualifying sessions will be handled this year once TNT and ESPN take over.

Last year I believe every practice/qualifying session during the TNT races was covered live by Speed. But once ESPN rolled into town, other than a few weekends where Speed did everything but the race, we had to suffer through TV blackouts of Cup practices and Happy Hour tape-delays.

I'm just wondering if this issue has been resolved and if we can expect Speed's tremendous Friday and Saturday coverage to continue once the other networks start covering the Cup Series, since it seems that the networks are finally cooperating this year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

I was told the schedule is set and once again will not feature the early rounds of Cup practice even during the Chase.

This past week at Darlington was the subject of a recent column detailing the lack of practice coverage.

With the COT this season and a possible tight race coming down the stretch, I hope the possibility exists to increase the coverage even if it involves using another form of content delivery like NASCAR.com or ESPN Classic.

The TV cameras are set-up to record the practice sessions, and even a small broadcast with limited production and announcing would be helpful when things get serious down the stretch.

What I have learned is that just because a TV network has the rights to a Nationwide or Cup race, it does not mean they have the rights or even the potential access to the qualifying or practice sessions.

ESPN is basically saying, stop yelling at them and start yelling at NASCAR. I think our message is starting to become a little clearer, and after the mayhem and events at Darlington that were not televised, we finally have a good example of why practice is just not "practice" in this sport.

JD

Kenn Fong said...

JD,

As this is my first season with you, I am glad to see you do this.

I notice what seems to be a plethora of NASCAR promotionals. ("This is my home...) I know that at least some of them are for as place-keepers for local affilate "clearances" (commercials) in case the slot isn't filled at the other end. And I would guess some of them are also for the satellite and cable providers to drop in their own clearances, either paid spots or their own promotionals.

(Approximately) How many clearances are there for local affiliates and cable or satellite providers? And am I correct in thinking that bumpers also serve as a cushion in case some low-paid local TD might have dropped in a spot late? (To avoid running into the telecast.)

Cheers, Kenny
Alameda, California

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

Thanks for the info, even though it certainly wasn't the news I wanted to receive.

Would you mind if I asked for a little clarification on the last part of ESPN saying to stop yelling at them because its not their fault? If it's not ESPN's fault, then what exactly does that mean?

Does it mean that NASCAR didn't give anyone (ESPN or Speed) access to the TV rights to the late-season practice sessions?

Does it mean that ESPN only had interest in qualifying and Happy Hour all along and Speed could have had the morning sessions if they wanted them but chose not to take them, and as a result they are equally at fault for the blackouts?

Or does it mean that NASCAR force-fed ESPN exclusive rights to all those practice sessions knowing all along ESPN had no interest in covering all of them, and that's the reason Speed can't air the morning sessions?

I am obviously very frustrated by being able to see most morning practice sessions for races 1-18 and then almost none from races 19-36 and will be expressing that fact here on a weekly basis once July rolls around.

I would however like to be able to accurately direct my anger in the proper direction, whether that be at ESPN, Speed, NASCAR, or a combination of the three. So if you are able to gather any more concrete information on this subject I would appreciate it. When frustrated fans don't know "the why" we are left to guess and as a result will often be angry at the wrong people. A thorough explanation of the facts would end all the guess-work and the unjustified finger-pointing that ESPN seems to think they are having to deal with.

Thanks as always for the great work and giving us this TV information we can't find anywhere else.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kenn,

They are designated promotional time for NASCAR built-into the TV contract.

It is the same as other pro sports like the NFL and PGA Tours. It also holds true for college sports, I know you have seen the "institutionals" for each school and conference promos in the games.

NASCAR does not control the local break access for cable broadcasts and they do not control the regional/local station time on the over-the-air races.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

What it means is that both ESPN and ESPN2 were robust cable TV networks before NASCAR came along.

Many of the programs already in the timeslots for practice and qualifying have been on those two networks for years now.

If you remember back in Feb. of 2007 when this began, the biggest question for ESPN was where are they going to put the Nationwide and Cup practices, qualifying and races when both ESPN networks were full?

The answer was to put the Chase on ABC Sports, move the Nationwide Series anywhere possible to get the races on live, and then cherry-pick the available qualifying to see what worked for the schedule.

Ultimately, it is NASCAR that is responsible for recognizing the need to air the currently non-televised product of cars at-speed on the track.

Unlike TNN or FX, the ESPN networks have a full plate of live events and studio shows that already existed prior to NASCAR arriving.

Isn't TV fun?

JD

Gymmie said...

Hi JD,

I don't know if you saw my post from the other day (race thread) but I was curious.

You've stated that the SPEED folks won't run VL after races due to them wanting to keep the Sunday block "as is".

I'm curious as to why they can run VL on Saturday after The Winston but not the other Saturday night races? My DVR is set to record at 11 pm, Sunday-4 am, 8 pm and Monday-4 am and 8 am. And if I've missed an explanation you can point me to the right post

Daly Planet Editor said...

gymmie,

That one is easy. The All-Star race is on SPEED.

The other Cup races are not, and SPEED does not want to have a rain delay or a red flag and wind-up trying to air a Victory Lane show at 1 or 2AM Eastern Time.

I tried to give it my best, but they said VL would remain on Sunday night as part of the three hour block for the regular season Saturday night races.

JD

Cypress said...

I have a TV-related question: A lot of times when you are watching a race, the announcers will be talking about a car on the screen and at the perfect moment, the driver's radio comes through and you hear the audio of the driver talking to his crew chief.

My question is: is this audio delayed? Is there someone monitoring the audio and if a nice clip comes up, they isolate it and throw it up to the booth? Or do they just open up the channel and wait to see if they say anything relevant/interesting?

TexasRaceLady said...

Hope I'm not too late ---

Concerning the show Trackside -- what's with the advertising on some of the SPEED shirts? For example, Toyota on DW's.

I see it as a conflict of interest, personally

Daly Planet Editor said...

cypress,

They are recording all the driver channels at the same time. They can open up the live radio anytime. They can also playback instantly a team communication.

It is up to the Producer and Director to decide if they want to open a live radio or take the suggestion and use a recorded conversation.

Lots of times, the production crew will "pitch" to the Producer a good radio moment and out of commercial the Producer will set-it up with the announcers and then play it back.

If you hack around a bit, there are several good stories about the technology used to record all of the driver radios at the same time in the TV compound.

I hope that answers your question.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

trl,

Since the drivers get to bring a sponsor on the show with a logo, the three announcers are also able to bring one logo on the program.

The logo must be a certain size and not conflict with an existing show sponsor.

Rumors are that the season rate for this is $250,000 but I find that hard to believe. It is just another example of the continuing struggle with conflicts of interest that has been dominating the TV topic list since Daytona.

JD

Gymmie said...

TY JD! That makes sense :). Yes I remember the mess of the Pepsi 400 a few years ago when it didn't end until like 1 or 2 am eastern.

SonicAD said...

Would that shirt money go to the commentator, or to SPEED?

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

sonic,

It is a private deal, so it goes to the announcer. Bear in mind, it might be a sponsor they are already involved with in other racing activities.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD, what is this on SPEED? you didnt tell us a LIVE WindTunnel would be on right now!!

Anonymous said...

JD, I hear ESPN will get local part time hires when they cover races. Mostly for very small TV jobs like assistant or microwave antenna controller. What can you tell me about that? I am an experienced TV student that would like to get in with something like that.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:01PM,

My post that was up all night and today talked about this special edition of Wind Tunnel featuring the Jarretts. Sorry that you missed it. It was also on Jayski.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:05PM,

I have placed a lot of folks on jobs like these. Just drop me an email at the address on the main page with your resume.

Even if you are a student, just do a basic resume with all your information and what type of things you are working on in school.

ESPN hires thousands of freelance employees on all kinds of live and taped events. If you want something fulltime, you can follow the CAREERS link on the bottom of the ESPN.com page.

Otherwise, just drop me an email and tell me what you want to do and we will hook you up.

JD

Kyle said...

JD Just caught this post now, hope its not too late.

Do you think FOX ignoring the beer can (and cooler) thrown by the fans at Bush last week was the correct way to go? Considering that it was played over and over again when it happened to Jeff Gordon when he won PHX last season.

I can't remember for sure, but I think that they played the Gordon incident on Victory Lane and then ignored the ones at Bush. So its all of FOX "networks" ignoring it. If not for Wind Tunnel most people wouldnt even have known.

Tracy said...

I know I'm late with this question, but it continues to bug me that it's often impossible to hear the reporter during a session at the track. For example, Marty Smith's discussion of his interview of Dale Jr. for ESPN Magazine was hopeless. Cars in the background ruined the whole thing, and I really wanted to hear it. The same issue has arisen quite a bit this year. Why can't they fix the microphone or do the interview when the cars aren't on the track?

Daly Planet Editor said...

kyle,

I do think it is the way to go. The NFL prohibits TV networks from showing fans running on the field. MLB prohibits TV networks from showing fights in the stands, even if they cause the game to be stopped momentarily.

With the large size adult crowds and alcohol present, you just invite copycats if you give any of these folks TV time. Unfortunately, the Talladega beer fest at Gordon was unavoidable.

By the way, many experts in marketing and TV believe that the footage of those objects being thrown at Gordon set the sport back in terms of TV and general media appeal several years.

NASCAR left that footage sprinkled all over the Internet. You will NEVER see that from the NFL or the MLB.

Things happen with big crowds, better to avoid the small number of folks who act out than to give them a reason to do it the next time.

Good question.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

tracy,

That is a great question. Right after that show was over, the NASCAR Now guys emailed me to say that Marty could not move his location.

Depending on the track, the "drop" for the ESPN reporter in the infield may be in several places. Marty had just finished with Dale Junior and did not know the car noise would drown him out.

I suggested to them that all the "drops" have an emergency headset that the talent can wear with a microphone that will not pick-up all that sound.

I think we can say that even the big boys are learning as they go along. This is NASCAR Now's first year of making this commitment to the tracks.

Last season, the show used "pool reporters" like David Amber, Bob Holtzman and Wendy Nix. This year, they are doing liveshots with the NASCAR Now gang, including Marty.

Just a note, as you watch the multiple live reports from the track, see if ESPN "re-frames" the picture by moving the camera between the liveshots or simply uses the exact same background every single time. That is the difference between a lazy cameraman and a good one.

JD