Tuesday, June 23, 2009
No Sirius NASCAR Channel On iPhones
NASCAR fans with iPhones are discovering the problem that many of us with personal computers already know. NASCAR content from Sirius Channel 128 is not available online.
Sure, tons of other Sirius content is available to iPhone users, but the convoluted world of NASCAR media contracts has slammed the door on fans once again. Here is a statement from the Apple folks:
“Some select programming, including SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, will not be available on the iPhone and iPod touch. Listeners will continue to be able to access that programming through the platforms on which they are currently offered.”
TDP has already discussed the log jam that is in place between Sirius and the Turner Interactive Group that owns the NASCAR.com website. In simple terms, the current NASCAR deal with Turner allows Turner to control all online NASCAR content. That includes audio and video applications.
Among other things, this means that Sirius Channel 128's audio content cannot be streamed to desktops and laptops. Click here to view the online channel list. Sirius does not go out of their way to make this clear before sign-up.
In speaking with a customer service rep at Sirius, she told me that new users cancelling their online accounts because of the NASCAR restriction was commonplace. I asked her why this was happening and she told me to call NASCAR. She did not have a number and did not even know where that "company" was located.
Now, the spread of audio technology to wonderful gadgets like the iPhone has again revealed this problem in the NASCAR radio world. For many folks, the ability to carry a Sirius Satellite Radio receiver around is simply not available. Often, for a wide variety of reasons, it cannot be done in the workplace.
But, the one thing that most of us carry at all times is a cell phone. New models like the iPhone have a wide variety of wonderful applications available for all kinds of audio content.
ChannelWeb.com calls the new Sirius iPhone application a "choke job" because of the programming, including NASCAR, that is not included. Click here for the full story.
Ultimately, the folks who pay the price for all of this are the NASCAR fans. Sirius has come a long way in making their receivers smaller and much more portable, but there has to be a fix for this technology gap.
Wouldn't it be interesting to try and figure out just how many folks would listen to a NASCAR show or race on Sirius regularly if the signal was available online?
I wonder just how many NASCAR fans would use their laptops, desktops or iPhones to catch some NASCAR updates every single day? Count me among them.
This is a tough year for the sport. Opening a dialogue among the powers-that-be on this topic can hopefully result in some additional distribution of NASCAR's only 24 hour audio feed of news, interviews and racing.
Two years ago, this might have come down to a battle over money. Right now, it just might be the right thing to do.
Update: For those of you not familiar with Sirius it is a subscription service that provides multiple channels of news, music and entertainment. The signal is delivered directly by satellite to a receiver that can either be installed in a vehicle or carried by the user. The new Sirius iPhone application also requires users to pay a fee to access the available audio content. Should NASCAR be added to that package, fans would have to pay a monthly fee for the service.
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