Thursday, January 29, 2009
Fox's David Hill Talks NASCAR
Veteran reporter Dustin Long has been doing a great job of interviewing several NASCAR TV executives in advance of the 2009 Sprint Cup season. This time, he spoke with the very colorful head of Fox Sports, David Hill.
This Aussie has been having fun in America with sports on TV for a very long time. His team of Mike Joy, Darrrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond were a great shot-in-the-arm for NASCAR at a time when the sport really needed it.
Here are some excerpts from Long's interview with Hill:
Long: There are a lot of people, particularly on the East Coast, who do not like the later starting times, do those later starting times still work for you and Fox?
Hill: I would like to see the races later in the day. That’s just simply because the later you go, the greater HUT (houses using televisions) levels you have. The greater HUT levels, the greater ratings you’re going to get. It stands to reason that at one o’clock on the afternoon that a lot of people are out and about and then as the day gets later and later, obviously more people go in. I would like to see late afternoon starts with the checkered around a quarter till eight (to lead into prime-time programming). I have communicated this on any given number of times to NASCAR, which was fallen on deaf ears.
Long: How do you make the broadcasts economically viable for your network when you’re paying so many millions in broadcast rights fees?.
Hill: It is tough for us. We are a free-to-air broadcast network. Anyone with this new little digital box can get our signal for free and he can sit and watch it. Our revenue comes from one thing and that’s advertisements. So, the deal is and this is the deal America and television have had for 50 years, we’ll give you an hour of entertainment but we’re going to take back 15 to 20-odd minutes so that we can pay the bills. We are dependent on supply and demand. In the good years, there is a huge amount for a limited supply. In the bad years, there is very limited demand for what is obviously a huge supply. So far this year we are in much better shape than I thought we would be. How it’s going to go, I have no idea but it is something that I have definitely got my fingers crossed on. I can’t say. I’d like to remain totally optimistic and thus far that optimism is warranted.’’
Long: What about your announcing team?
Hill: “As important as Darrell Waltrip was to the sport when he was a driver, he’s 10 times more important to the sport right now. Darrell’s ability to communicate is very, very rare. He’s a natural teacher, and he’s a natural enthusiast and he’s naturally passionate about it and he feels sympathy for the drivers. There are a lot of announcers, especially when they quit who feel jealous of the guys who are still doing it, but Darrell doesn’t do that. When we put the team together, we had no idea they were going to be as potent and as strong as they were.
These are some good comments from Hill on several topics that we have discussed over the past two seasons. Please feel free to add your opinion on these topics. Click here to read Long's column in full. Thanks for stopping by.