Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday NASCAR Q&A: Open Forum


Thanks to everyone for the interesting questions. The forum is now closed and we will try again next Tuesday to answer some more of your NASCAR TV questions.

Once again this week, we invite you to follow-up and ask any TV-related NASCAR questions that you might have from the season-to-date.

This is an open forum where you type your question in the COMMENTS section and we respond as soon as possible. Simply check back to see if your answer is posted.

Just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions to post your question. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page.

We have some friends who are going to be helping us answer questions behind-the-scenes and hopefully help you with any NASCAR TV issues. So, ask away.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I would like to ask:

Where is the SPEED program NASCAR Confidential? It was supposed to be a six-episode series, and they have aired only two episodes, a month apart. One episode was in March. The last episode was probably a month ago.

I would also like to ask why the format of NASCAR Confidential changed from the first episode to the second episode. It changed from focusing on six people in different NASCAR roles at one racetrack, to a more general Beyond The Wheel look at highlights of the first several races of the season. I liked the first format better. Thank you!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:08AM,

There are currently no episodes scheduled for May or June. Since there are only four remaining, we will probably see them focus on events like the July Daytona race.

In terms of format, the Daytona 500 is unlike any other race on the schedule. A lot of the stories and things that happened in that episode simply do not exist for regular race weekends.

I hope we will see the program continue to focus on non-familiar faces and expose the personalities in the sport that fans do not get to see on a regular basis.

I have an email out to SPEED asking if they have scheduled the next show, and will pass that info along when I get it. Good questions.

JD

Geez said...

When will The Humpy Show begin to air. The pilot was great.
Thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

geez,

So far, the answer is not anytime soon. The pilot was the only episode and there has been no media release about any additional episodes.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD,

I asked this once before and never got a response. Why isn't SPEED ever nominated for any emmy awards? Seems like other cable networks get nominations, so the awards are not just for broadcast networks, right.?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:08,

The NASCAR product seen on SPEED is primarily produced by the NASCAR Media Group. That company has been nominated, and won many Emmy Awards.

They won another in this last go-round for the program that was fomerly on SPEED as "Beyond the Wheel." Now it is produced for a small new media company under another title.

While SPEED pays to have the SPEED Stage programs and the practice and qualifying produced, they really do not originate any big NASCAR specials other than the All-Star race.

If you Google 2008 Sports Emmy Awards, you can see the list of who walked away with the hardware this season.

JD

haus20 said...

JD, you had mentioned a few weeks ago that you were getting some type of HD update from Speed. Have they mentioned anything about TWIN in HD? They have quite a few shows in HD, but that isn't one of them...is it because the studio cameras haven't been changed?

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

OK, a TV tech question.
When the ground cam"digger" is installed how deep is it buried. And if you can share w/us. How much does that camera cost.

Daly Planet Editor said...

haus,

They are quiet as mice on the HD front. I think there is a long line of cable TV networks asking big cable companies to add a channel for them to simulcast in HD.

I was hoping to get some info, but there is absolutely nothing yet.

Lou,

Since Google does not allow pics to be posted in here, I will grab some and then post them in on the main page shortly.

JD

Anonymous said...

This is mostly rhetorical, JD:

Why hasn't the Humpy Show been picked up? It was very good. It's certinly at leat as good as some of the other NASCAR-related programming now on the air.

Daly Planet Editor said...

My only guess is that it took the drivers of today down roads they did not want to go.

The public reality is that nice guys and political correctness still rule in NASCAR land.

Only on call-in shows like Wind Tunnel do you really get drivers talking candidly about subjects that normally are shunned by their PR reps.

One thing to remember is that radio is killing TV right now in terms of getting the fans close to the drivers and letting them interact.

We have drivers who host their own shows, multiple shows on XM with Claire and Sirius with everybody who have drivers on all the time.

ESPN, SPEED, and the NASCAR Media Group are basically all staring at each other and don't know how to "extend this brand" they created.

NMG needs a network to air their product, ESPN has no room and SPEED is committed to lifestyle shows. Don't forget "WRECKED" starts in July. The guy from PINKS and PINKS-All Out is working on a show called "ARM DROP." I kid you not.

So, it seems like for right now the landscape is going to continue to be bare where conversational and freewheeling shows like the Humpy pilot are concerned.

From my standpoint, it is a huge loss for the sport at a critical time.

JD

haus20 said...

A follow up question JD, I guess I don't understand how adding a channel for an hd feed has anything to do with how Speed determines which shows are in HD and which ones are not.

They are already broadcasting several shows in HD including shows like Superbikes and the live weekend Nascar coverage. What is the hold up with TWIN?

Anonymous said...

Since TNT's coverage is fast approaching. Have they made a press release saying who will be on the coverage? I know there arent any changes but don't they usually send out a huge press release talking about their coverage before their half of the season begins?

SophiaZ123 said...

JD

Sad to read the Humpy show is not being followed through on..and indeed, the tacky 'lifestyle' (??)shows will continue to multiply on SPEED.

TRULY Speed is becoming useless during the week. I am not saying it has to be all NASCAR all the time but there are so many racing themes it could be about. Also with the merging of OW, that series deserves some shows of behind the scenes on it's drivers. Why SPEED or ESPN doesn't do those shows is beyond me...unless I miss such shows on ESPN (rarely watch that station)

Still, it's sad to see the "Stepford wiving" of most of today's NASCAR drivers.

The corporate input and slightly off topic, kinda-sorta, the problem with COT showing no side by side racing, is not endearing fans to the sport.

Anonymous said...

"I hope we will see the program continue to focus on non-familiar faces and expose the personalities in the sport that fans do not get to see on a regular basis."

I hope so, too. I saw the first NASCAR Confidential, I didn't know there was a second one, it must not have been promoted very well. Because I watched NASCAR Confidential, I recognized the first guy who walked up to Kasey Kahne's car in Victory Lane Saturday night. If I hadn't watched the show, I would have wondered who he was and why he was by the car, but now I know he's the guy who coordinates Victory Lane for NASCAR every week.

Anonymous 2:01: Your TNT question reminds me of a question: Will Lindsay Czarniak be back? I really liked her and had forgotten about her until just now.

JD: my original question was going to be if you or the TV partners have heard anything about the show George Gillett of Gillett Evernham said he was creating: a show about developmental drivers, like the Gong Show Roush used to have. Gillett talked about the show at the end of last year and said the drivers had already been chosen. Any word on this being bought by a NASCAR partner - or another season of "Driver X", the Roush Gong show aired on Discovery Channel? David Ragan and Erik Darnell (the winner) were on that season, it was a really good show because it showed all the aspects, not just driving, which go into signing a driver.

Daly Planet Editor said...

haus,

During this transition time there will be some HD and some non-HD shows on SPEED.

It is not a matter of changing cameras over to HD. For a studio program, the entire facility has to be completely changed.

As they said when they began this process, because of the live and topical shows like TWIN the process would be on-going.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

First of all, there has not been a peep out of TNT. That is why I mentioned in my recent column that the last update was November of 2007. Those guys are very strange.

Anon 2:16PM,

Between Max Siegel at DEI, the gang at JR Motorsports and the GEM guys, there will be more non-official NASCAR TV coming out soon than you can shake a stick at.

That is why I have been such an advocate for a NASCAR Channel. Not to be some kind of "official mouthpiece" for the sport, but to offer a designated cable TV pathway to the home for NASCAR fans.

Otherwise, we are going to continue to shuttle back and forth between six or seven channels that currently have NASCAR content.

JD

Geez said...

Wow! lots of good question's.
JD,
You are probably right about The Humpy Show. Kurt Busch was very candid about serveral things on the pilot.

I can imagine that some driver's would not want to go there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Daly

Is it true that Hunter Nikel is leaving SPEED to be president of the racing network?

haus20 said...

thanks for the insight jd.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:43PM,

Nickell has been a long-time employee of Fox, and has been the best thing that every happened to SPEED.

If such a project existed down the road, it would be something than any good TV executive would want to check out.

I think the multiple agendas of SPEED at the current time are exactly what Mr. Nickell enjoys.

JD

Dan said...

I hope a brief quote from another site is not a problem. Quoting from a Gene Wojciechowski column on ESPN.com:

"Hey, does anybody know if "The Closer" is on TNT? I mean, it's almost been a couple of seconds since the last Kyra Sedgwick pop-up promo. And I think I speak for everyone when I say Holly Hunter scares the [heck] out of me."

I presume that Mr. Wojciechowski is referring to promos during TNT's coverage of the NBA playoffs. It brings back bad memories of last summers Nascar coverage and appears to be an omen of things to come.

My question is: does Nascar have any say in the advertising content shown during its races? How about the brief promos displayed over the top of the races themselves? Or has Nascar made its bed (in terms of the TV contract) and now it has to lay in it regardless of how its "product" is presented?

Kenn Fong said...

Several questions, JD, hope I haven't overstepped my bounds.

1) Inside the booth. How many different people are communicating with Mike Joy either through his cans (headset) or video messaging? Are his channels separate from Larry Mac and DW (because, for example, they don't throw to the breaks)? Who are they and what different roles do they serve? Besides different video shots of the race, what other information is available to the fellows in the booth? For example, do they have lists of when each car took its last pit stop and what changes were made?

2) Regarding the production and tech team roles: are they allowed to step outside their assigned duties if they see anything unusual? For example if a camera operator notices a tire going down or some debris, does he alert the production team or is he instructed to just keep doing his assigned duties?

3) Friendly competition/"coopetition." Would someone from a competing network which wasn't covering the Cup races at the time be inclined to share something with a friend on the current racecast team? For example, if he gets a juicy tidbit of news or see something at the track or while watching at home, would he share -- on a completely unofficial and confidential basis?

4) In general, are there any major differences in preparation for coverage of a NASCAR oval race and and open-wheel oval race?

Kenny
Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have a dumb question. I know the story behind "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity." But can someone explain the meaning behind Larry's "Reach up there and pull them belts tight." It sounds cool, but I really don't have any idea what it means.

Daly Planet Editor said...

dan,

There are limits on ads, but as you can remember the in-program promos for other shows on TNT are endless.

There is a lot of tension in the Turner organization between the sports guys and the promo folks.

Everyone knows that the shameless and almost embarrassing level of promotion by TNT in the NASCAR races is the lingering memory of that TV package.

Good to know the NBA is having just as much fun.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:54PM,

That is actually a good question. Inside the race car, the tension of the seatbelts is regulated by an adjustment that is on each shoulder of the driver.

During the pace laps, the drivers know they have a long race ahead and sometimes do not have the belts tight.

As the final pace lap begins, the drivers actually "reach up and pull the belts tight" for the race.

This is something that crew chiefs sometimes remind their drivers to do before the green flag. That is basically what Larry Mac is saying to DW as his "driver."

Thanks, that was a good question.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kenn,

1 - The Play-by-Play announcer has a direct line from many people. They range from the Producer to the stage manager and stat guys.

The PXP headset hears a different mix than the color analysts because the job is different.

As Mike said in his off-season interview with us, each of the announcers has their own style of keeping their own stats. We all know Larry Mac is the king of the stopwatch.

In the booth, announcers see the "program" feed of the race. That is the finished version going out to the fans. They also see a "preview" monitor that is used to route replays and camera angles to the booth that are not meant to be seen at home. There is also a computer scoring monitor and some announcers have their own laptop open as you may remember from the ESPN booth pictures we ran a while back.

Daly Planet Editor said...

2 - Any crew person in or out of the Truck that notices something is traditionally encouraged to speak up. While this might be something obvious like debris, it could also be a producer in the truck noticing something on a replay that has not yet aired.

In the old ESPN days it was "if you see it, say it."

Daly Planet Editor said...

3 - Professional respect would not really cause this to happen. The TV truck and the announcers really do not miss much. This is the big time, and each team pretty much takes pride in creating their own broadcasts.

4 - Lots of difference. The number of cars is different, the racing is different and the acccess to the drivers is different.

Gymmie said...

That's a shame about NC. I saw it on my DVR schedule for Thursday so I was hoping it would be a new episode.

I also liked the Humpy show, I'm not a Kurt fan, but I still really enjoyed it.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Many thanks for taking questions.

How are the cars chosen for in-car cameras?

I understand that a sponsor has to pay to have a camera in its car - but I presume the network also wants to try to sprinkle the cameras throughout the field to try to cover action throughout the field. I presume a network would not want all the cameras to end up in the lead pack.

Does the broadcast (or cable) network have access to the cameras in the Direct TV cars?

Thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

rich,

A company called Broadcast Sports Inc. handles the in-car cameras. They have their own TV trucks, equipment and staff.

When they get a new website up and running, I will provide the link.

All of the in-cars are routed through their TV truck to the other users. They include the TV network, DirecTV and online.

The sponsors pay for the in-cars, and the process is coordinated by the NASCAR Media Group that handles the overall TV compound.

JD

Kenn Fong said...

JD,

Is there a reason why Speed goes head-to-head with ESPN's "NASCAR Now" for the second showing of "This Week In NASCAR" ?

Yes, I know pushing it back to 1 AM Eastern/10 PM Pacific is too late.

If the first play were at 7 PM instead of 9 PM, it would allow the NASCAR constituency to flow directly from the Monday "NASCAR Now." Then it could replay the show at 11 PM before the second "NASCAR Now" at Midnight so it wouldn't be too late for the East Coast people another chance to see it without ruining their circadian rhythym.

Kenny
Alameda, California

Kenn Fong said...

...Then it could replay the show at 11 PM before the second "NASCAR Now" at Midnight so it wouldn't be too late for the East Coast people to get another chance to see it without ruining their circadian rhythym.

Kenny
Alameda, California