Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There are several major NASCAR media stories in progress. We will update the TDP main page continually on Wednesday to see which ones break and are fair to report.
Here are a couple of the topics we can mention:
Still wondering if there is a link between no announcement of This Week in NASCAR being renewed on SPEED and the new weekly Inside NASCAR TV series on Showtime?
Both series have the same exact format, the same production company and the same content. You don't think the TWIN gang is going to Showtime? Can't be...right?
The Fox vs. Time Warner Cable feud is still boiling with only days left until Fox goes dark in many major TV markets including Charlotte, NC. The financial brawl affects over-the-air stations, cable nets like SPEED and also the Fox Sports regional cable networks. Only Time Warner Cable subscribers (15 million) will be affected.
Update 2PM: Looks like Federal arbitration may be the only solution. Click here to read the Hollywood Reporter story on the lastest offer to settle.
Aside from the recent ESPN announcement about on-air changes, December 31st also brings TV and radio personality contracts to an end. We should know who is out, who is in and who may be changing jobs shortly. It's that time of year.
Finally, the new 1PM start times should radically alter the look of the many pre-race TV shows for 2010. As you may remember, SPEED moved RaceDay one hour earlier to avoid the pre-race shows of the NASCAR TV partners. That puts RaceDay at 10AM ET should the show remain two hours long.
What this shift may do to shows like NASCAR Now, NASCAR Performance, NASCAR in a Hurry and even the dreaded NASCAR Smarts should be interesting to discover. We should get a peek at TV schedules shortly
Update 11AM: Travis Kvapil just announced on Twitter his return to the Sprint Cup Series fulltime in 2010. Details to follow.
Check back with us on Wednesday morning when we will open this post for comments and add the news updates as they come in to TDP. Thanks!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Here is the information released last week from ESPN about the 2010 TV line-up:
Marty Reid, whose 28-year career with ESPN has touched all forms of motorsports the network has covered, will expand his role and join analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2010. Reid will call the action for all 17 of ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as many of the network’s NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts. He was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage and selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009.
Returning to a role he helped define for ESPN for more than 20 years, Dr. Jerry Punch will join ESPN’s team of pit reporters for 2010, working both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. Punch was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s Sprint Cup coverage the past three years.
“This group gives us the most versatile and comprehensive team in motorsports, and strengthens us in the booth,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and event production.
“We play to the strengths of our announcers, and Marty’s strength is calling the tactical aspects of the race while deferring to the analysts.
“And from the early days of our NASCAR coverage, Jerry helped evolve the significant role that reporting from the pits plays,” Williamson said. “He will bolster our already-strong stable of pit reporters.”
All other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team will return in 2010, including analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Countdown host Allen Bestwick and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. Specific assignments and schedules will be announced later.
In addition to his expanded role with NASCAR, Reid will continue as the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s five-race IndyCar Series schedule, including the Indianapolis 500.
ESPN’s 2010 NASCAR season begins with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race on ESPN’s schedule is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 25.
Not really a surprise, as the chemistry of Punch in the booth just did not click. On pit road, he can again use his reporter skills to update stories and uncover interesting tidbits from his relationships with those in the sport.
The one name not mentioned is Randy LaJoie. He had a knack for working quite well with Reid on the Nationwide Series races and offered a good perspective and lots more fun than Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.
We are taking your comments on these changes right now and updating the story as things continue to progress. Just click the comments button below. Thanks!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
After a rough couple of seasons, NASCAR is ready to begin 2010 with some major changes in place. Historically, NASCAR has been one of the least interactive sanctioning bodies. Fans trying to contact the organization were actually given a post office box address in Daytona Beach, FL. Click here to see the page.
Thanks to the efforts of several key staff members, that dynamic has changed rather drastically over the last two years. Now, NASCAR has every series on Twitter along with most of the tracks, teams and sponsors. Information now flows much easier to the media and fans are better connected to the sport.
One hot topic has been the NASCAR Fan Council. Originally a pretty low-key group, they were pushed into the spotlight when France pointed out that the 2010 changes were largely due to their feedback.
Surveys are emailed regularly to the twelve thousand fans chosen to participate and the responses are then sorted by a marketing organization for content. Topics have ranged from Digger to doublefile restarts "shootout style." The questions have been remarkably frank and honest in addressing topics that NASCAR would never have confronted or even admitted in the past.
Fan Council members got an end of season letter from France recently, here is a portion:
Today I want to discuss two exciting improvements you might be aware of that will positively impact the entire 2010 season. Importantly, feedback from fans like you helped make these improvements possible!
First, we recently announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races will adhere to more consistent and earlier start times beginning next season. Being able to anticipate when races begin will help both fans in attendance and those watching at home better plan their weekends without missing a minute of racing.
We will be returning to our roots by beginning many races earlier in the day. Next season, twenty races will be moved to 1 pm ET, including the Daytona 500, and most Saturday night races will now begin at 7:30 pm ET. For daytime events taking place on the West coast, a standard start time of 3 pm ET will be established. In addition to being more convenient for the fans viewing at home, I believe these earlier start times will greatly help fans attending the races to get on the way home sooner in the evening. Earlier start times will also eliminate the need for an extra day of travel for many of our fans.
Secondly, Double-File Restarts will be in effect throughout the entire 2010 season in all three national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series). This improvement was introduced at the Pocono Raceway event in June of 2009, placing the leaders in the front of the field, double-file, with lapped cars placed at the rear.
These improvements were all made after consulting with NASCAR Fan Council members like you. We look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and opinions in the future, so that we can work together to make NASCAR the best it can be. As we head into 2010, NASCAR will continue to focus on what's most important - delivering the best possible racing to the fans.
That is a remarkable step forward for an organization that has been less than democratic for a very long time. Perhaps, the 2007 start time changes made for the TV partners taught NASCAR a valuable lesson about what group really needs to be the priority in future decision making.
Hopefully, the information gathered from the NASCAR Fan Council members during the 2010 season will be shared in a more timely and public fashion. A frequent reminder than fans are actively involved in helping to shape future policy can only bring positive results.
TDP welcomes your opinion on this topic. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Getting email from NASCAR fans who got new gadgets for Christmas. You can follow us at twitter.com/TheDalyPlanet. First, go to twitter.com and sign-up. It's free and your email information is guarded. Twitter is a tremendous source of NASCAR information directly from teams, drivers, series officials and media members.
Please drop me a tweet and say hello. Feel free to send me any questions at email@example.com anytime. Welcome aboard!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
What an interesting season of following the NASCAR TV and media trail. The only way TDP works is with an interactive group of fans, media and public relations professionals who contribute time, effort and information.
Thank you to the TV networks, NASCAR and the wide circle of media members nationwide who represent the new media environment in which we now live. Ramsey Poston and his group at NASCAR have consistently helped us with information and challenged us to get the fans talking about a wide variety of topics.
The public relations professionals at ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT and SPEED have been wonderful in supplying timely information and updates. Sometimes, we have not exactly seen eye to eye on NASCAR topics. However, the bottom line is that information from the NASCAR TV partners reached the fans more directly than ever before.
We will begin looking back after this Christmas break at the TV network coverage, studio shows and weekend programs from 2009. Then, it's on to the new TV season in mid-January.
Finally, we have to thank the absolutely wonderful NASCAR fans. The fundamental truth about NASCAR is that the vast amount of knowledge about the sport comes from the fans. Across the nation, the depth of experience and the passion for racing continues to amaze us on a regular basis. We need only to toss up a topic and stand back.
Officials, media personalities and those directly involved in the sport tell us time and time again about your amazing comments on various NASCAR topics. Now, with Twitter added to the media mix the upcoming season should be the most interactive in the history of the sport.
Thanks to everyone who contributed this season. I hope the holidays allow us all to take a deep breath and gain some perspective. We appreciate your help and support for the past three seasons.
Please feel free to post your holiday comments below. Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This is the end of the third season of coverage with the current NASCAR TV partners. The two weekday NASCAR news programs, Race Hub on SPEED and NASCAR Now on ESPN2, also ended their season weeks ago.
ESPN has advised that NASCAR Now will return on February 1st. SPEED is starting the new season of Race Hub on January 11th.
Monday morning, the Associated Press announced the results of its annual Male Athlete of the Year voting. This award is destined for athletes in mainstream sports who garner the recognition of news editors nationwide.
This year, for the first time in the 78-year history of the award it was given to a NASCAR driver. His name is Jimmie Johnson. Like so many other NASCAR news items that have happened in the last several weeks, this story came right out of the blue.
ESPN Senior Reporter Marty Smith phoned in to ESPNEWS with the story and his reaction. In the following hour, Jimmie Johnson also phoned in and talked with the TV anchor. It was a nice gesture, but few NASCAR fans were listening.
The scope of NASCAR has proven that a weekday TV show during the off-season is sorely needed. In addition to the Johnson news, NASCAR has added Road America as a Nationwide Series race after Milwaukee was removed from the schedule. IRL driver Danica Patrick announced her intentions to race in NASCAR and tested in Daytona.
From Kyle Busch starting his own Camping World Truck Series team to the sudden health struggles of a top NASCAR executive, the news in the sport did not take a break. Unfortunately, the TV networks did.
NASCAR's online presence is fractured at best. The official NASCAR.com website fights every day with Jayski's homegrown effort over NASCAR news. A wide variety of media websites represent TV networks, online newspapers and specialty magazines. From scenedaily to FoxSports, the NASCAR Internet information sources all have their own agendas.
In terms of off-season TV, it seems that SPEED would be in the best position to handle this challenge. ESPN is jammed with other sports during this time of the year and the beginning of February is a good time for that network to return simply from a logistical standpoint.
This was the first season of Race Hub and SPEED took a big chance on starting a show late in the season that required a lot of time and effort. The program normally runs Monday through Thursday, but that might be a bit much during the off-season. On the other hand, it could be gangbusters.
There are lots of NASCAR personalities around the area that would certainly like to get a shot at national TV exposure during this time for a wide variety of reasons. SPEED broke into regular programming for both the Patrick and Busch press conferences and carried them live. Busch actually used SPEED as the location for his event.
Perhaps, SPEED will re-think this darkening of the studio for next season. With news coming in from all three national series and many other sources, there is little doubt that NASCAR has joined golf and tennis as year-round sports. Until the time that there is a NASCAR TV network, fans are looking to the existing TV partners to fill in the gaps.
TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
It will be February 13th when ESPN begins its fourth season of covering the Nationwide Series. The upcoming Saturday afternoon race is shaping up to be just like last year. High-profile Sprint Cup Series drivers cross-over and dominate. Even the ray of Nationwide sunshine named Brad Keselowski is now a full-time Cup driver.
The Nationwide Series is the only NASCAR series that ESPN televises from start to finish. While the network handles the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races, that coverage does not start until July. When the current TV contract was announced, ESPN President George Bodenheimer called the Nationwide Series "a diamond in the rough."
Over the last three seasons, instead of polishing that diamond, ESPN has thrown it on the floor and stomped on it. Instead of televising the Nationwide Series as a feature presentation, the TV production team has instead singled-out the Sprint Cup Series drivers in each race and made them the entire story.
"ABC Busch Series Pre-Race Show Never Mentions The Race" was the TDP column from April of 2007. Click the title to read it. Infield studio host Brent Musburger led an hour long pre-race show that spent the entire time discussing the Sprint Cup Series race the next day while fawning over the big name drivers. It was embarrassing.
Only months later, ESPN did it again. This time it was Dover with Suzy Kolber hosting. Click here to read the column. Dale Earnhardt Jr. signing Jeremy McGrath to a development contract in a regional series dominated the program. The stories of the series about to race could wait.
After throwing the Nationwide Series on the floor, ESPN begins to stomp on it at the exact same time every year. On the first Saturday of the college football season, the Nationwide Series becomes an afterthought. Gone is the pre-race show because of football games scheduled to run right up until the start of the races. This past season was particularly brutal.
In the blink of an eye a NASCAR series that has been televised since February becomes nothing more than a dirty rock on the floor bearing the shoe prints of the ESPN programmers. The vast majority of the Nationwide Series practice and qualifying coverage during this part of the season is done by SPEED.
On many weekends, the NASCAR on ESPN team simply shows up to do the race and then the networks returns to endless college football once again. Nationwide Series highlights do not make it to SportsCenter unless there is a spectacular wreck. ESPNEWS will never cover NASCAR on a Saturday in football season. That is sacrilege.
The only person who can change ESPN's brutal approach to the Nationwide Series is Danica Patrick. Fresh off a three day stock car test in Daytona, Patrick is now deciding whether or not to enter the Nationwide Series race in Daytona or wait until the following week in California.
Patrick is exactly the kind of sports personality that ESPN understands. She attends the ESPY Awards, runs in ABC's IndyCar races and graces the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She comes with the hype of a high-profile sponsor and is a face recognized by fans outside the sport.
The story of her potential presence at the Daytona race will instantly change the TV coverage from endless interviews with Sprint Cup Series drivers wearing their "Saturday firesuit." ESPN will be forced to follow the storyline of a driver who is not going to compete even once in the Sprint Cup Series this season. Instead, she will once again be trying to win the Indy 500 on ABC.
Daytona is the perfect place for Patrick to make her first start with the goal of getting seat time and earning respect from the veterans. The build-up to the race would be beneficial for all parties concerned. Patrick gets sponsor exposure, NASCAR gets the national media attention and ESPN gets a story it can hype across all the networks and websites in the ESPN family.
Once the Fontana weekend rolls around, the only thing being discussed by the media is who won the Daytona 500. The Fontana Nationwide Series race is not the place to make a debut under the shadow of that major story, especially if it was compelling.
We should know shortly about Patrick's plans for the 2010 season. There is no doubt that ESPN, NASCAR and many fans are waiting to know exactly where this story will begin.
TDP welcomes your opinion on this topic. Just click the comments button below to add your thought on this topic. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
NASCAR fans only had a small slice of Kyle Petty this season as he worked on the TNT portion of the Sprint Cup Series races. Petty also appeared on SPEED, but unfortunately that was on the NASCAR Smarts trivia show with Rutledge Wood.
While the six races in the TNT package drew positive reviews, Petty stood-out for his plain-spoken opinions and his high level of interactivity with the fans. Petty was one of the first Twitter-friendly NASCAR personalities. That fit right in with the overall high-tech approach of TNT to NASCAR on TV.
Sunday, the Turner family of networks gives Petty an opportunity to extend his personal brand. CNN Headline News has been renamed Headline News (HLN) and the host of the morning show is named Robin Meade.
As the end of the year approaches, Meade is set to host a one-hour special featuring Petty and several other Turner network announcers. Charles Barkley is a TNT favorite on the NBA coverage and is well-known for his outspoken style and interesting life story. Dennis Eckersley is the MLB veteran known for his colorful playing days and controversial comments as an analyst.
This is an interesting project. Meade will let the panelists talk about various topics in the news during 2010, including Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff and President Obama. During the Tiger Woods discussion, guest Spike Lee joins the panel.
Petty made himself known to a new group of NASCAR fans when he took over for Michael Waltrip on the SPEED program series Tradin' Paint. This hour long show matched Petty up with a NASCAR journalist or media personality for a discussion of topics in the news. Petty had monumental meltdowns with the likes of Bob Pockrass, Jenna Fryer and Randy Pemberton.
Unfortunately, SPEED cancelled that show and replaced it with NASCAR Smarts. This season, instead of talking about NASCAR topics, Petty was now guessing at trivia questions while Rutledge Wood made faces at the TV cameras.
Perhaps, this Sunday night TNT program titled With All Due Respect, might show executives at SPEED that Petty is worth involving in additional NASCAR programming for 2010. Petty made a guest appearance as a panelist on RaceDay, but did not participate in programs like Race Hub and This Week in NASCAR .
SPEED has not yet advised us as to whether or not the Monday night franchise will be back for next season. Michael Waltrip is now a full-time multi-car team owner and Jimmy Spencer never clicked as the third panelist. Petty might be an interesting anchor to a new line-up should TWIN return.
It should be interesting to see Petty working on topics outside the sport on TV. Meade is a veteran host and Petty's personality would seem to fit right in with both the group assembled and the program's format.
With All Due Respect airs at 10PM ET on Sunday, with a re-air on Christmas day at 6PM. Viewers can also catch it at 7 and 10PM on December 26th and 27th.
If you have some comments about Kyle Petty and his TV presence, feel free to offer them by clicking the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
The ARCA Series has been nice enough to provide a live feed of the scanner chatter and the updated lap information as the teams practice in Daytona.
Danica Patrick has been featured during the morning session. Tony Eury Jr, Danica and their spotter have been busy making eight to ten lap solo runs. She is new to stock car racing, so she calls the Daytona tri-oval the "dogleg" and the Superstretch is the "back straight."
Patrick has been flat-out and searching for more speed and better handling. There are a ton of teams at Daytona and this afternoon ARCA will allow limited drafting practice. This will put Patrick in new situations and should provide a glimpse into her talent and patience.
Click here for the direct link to the ARCA website. Make sure you have the computer speakers turned up. The audio will come automatically when ARCA chooses to put a scanner online. There are no announcers, this is just raw team audio.
If you follow us at twitter.com/TheDalyPlanet, we will be on in the afternoon chatting and updating the information from this test session. If you are not yet on Twitter, please consider it.
As the afternoon session begins at 1PM, we will open up this post to comments. Thanks.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday at the Daytona International Speedway is going to bring some interesting weather. Scattered thunderstorms are going to be underway in the morning, followed by a likely tornado watch with a 100% chance of heavy thunderstorms. That from the Weather Underground website. Into this scenario walks Danica Patrick and SPEED reporter Robin Miller.
SPEED will carry at least ten ARCA races this season and that lets them get a piece of Danica. So, Friday the idea was to feature updates and information as the first day of ARCA open testing got underway.
Miller is going to do a live interview with Danica at 1PM, probably during the lunch break from testing. That would have given him an angle of being first to ask about her "at speed" laps at Daytona among the ARCA horde. Now, it appears that Danica will have lots of downtime long before the interview.
Let's take a moment and recap Danica and her recent media courtship.
First, we saw Danica make the rounds of the morning talk shows in NYC and unveil her new green IRL Go Daddy car. Even with the new sponsorship, IRL team owner Michael Andretti did not look very happy on camera. Now we know the reason why.
Danica next appeared with Mr. Bob "Go Daddy" Parsons at a hastily called Phoenix, AZ press conference to unveil a new green stock car and confirm her plans to race part-time in both ARCA and the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports. Andretti was suddenly going to have his star sharing time with the stock car set.
Thursday morning, SPEED went live with Patrick as she was the focus of yet another press conference, this time in the Concord, NC area. Patrick was joined by Dale Earnhardt Jr. who spoke about her future in the sport with his team. Kelley Earnhardt spoke about the business decisions and sponsorship that Patrick's name would bring. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. talked about Patrick's solid learning skills in a recent Orlando area test.
While JR Motorsports driver Kelly Bires was polite with his words, it was the old crafty veteran Tony Eury Sr. who threw down some choice phrases about her potential. Eury said she ran laps in Orlando just as fast as other teams testing there. He said the goal was to go down and have Patrick win the ARCA race in Daytona and then try to win her other races. He was up front with his contention that she is not just a show.
After all of this, Robin Miller steps in for the Friday live interview. There will probably be little or no track time. The afternoon looks like a washout. Patrick was just quizzed on Thursday by the NASCAR media on a variety of topics. So, what's left?
How about helping us out and suggesting some questions that Miller can ask Patrick during his live 1PM Friday interview. Whether or not Miller even looks at this website is unknown, but what is clearly known is that we have some of the most creative and knowledgeable fans out there in racing land.
What would you like to see Miller ask Patrick? To add your question and maybe a good reason or two why he should ask it, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
We are watching a live press conference Thursday morning on SPEED. Originating from the JR Motorsports shops in the Concord, NC area, SPEED's Bob Dillner will host the festivities.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister Kelley, Tony Eury Jr., Kelly Bires and Tony Eury Sr. are going to be present. Also featured will be a new driver for JRM named Danica Patrick.
The only thing fans have not been told is what races Patrick will be running in 2010. Her stock car package includes ARCA and the Nationwide Series. Speculation is that Patrick will run the Daytona ARCA race, but the jury is still out on whether or not she will join the Nationwide action.
This media event will also be streamed online at speedtv.com and godaddy.com/danica simultaneously.
This post will serve to host your comments on this press conference. To add your TV-related comments, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Thank you as always for stopping by The Daly Planet.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
It started with a hastily called press conference that caught almost all of the NASCAR press corps flat-footed. Most of them had just returned to Charlotte from Las Vegas and the Sprint Cup Series banquet.
It was only then that they learned of a high-profile press conference being held in Phoenix, AZ near the Go Daddy corporate headquarters. In typical Go Daddy style, CEO Bob Parsons put out this message on Twitter:
"I've got a hot date with DanicaPatrick tomorrow. She asked me to check out her new GoDaddy.com car."
Well, while Parsons attended the press conference almost all of the NASCAR media did not. One veteran motorsports writer who actually lives in the Phoenix area is named Michael Knight. Click here to take a moment and read his feelings on just how well organized the Go Daddy press conference really was behind the scenes.
Knight had some choice words for the Go Daddy PR effort and its coordination:
Unknowing. Unresourceful. Uninterested. Unprofessional. Arrogant. Clueless. Lazy. Scared.
Knight suggested that perhaps few invites were offered because that would have required Patrick to answer actual questions from the racing media on relevant topics. SPEED advised that they were not in the loop on this media event and would provide no coverage. ESPN also had no reporter present.
Once things got underway, the actual press conference was streamed online at GoDaddy.com and had no live television of any kind. After the brief and very polite media presentation that featured Patrick, Parsons and Kelly Earnhardt there was a media conference call.
Patrick advised on the phone with reporters that she did not know the actual schedule of races she would run in ARCA and the Nationwide Series. She remembered being briefly in a stock car eight or nine years prior. She noted that she is a competitive person looking for a new challenge. Patrick successfully held off any release of information or a peek into her actual motivation or personality.
Meanwhile, Parsons said that the thought of Patrick working her way up the NASCAR ladder and eventually taking over the #5 Go Daddy Sprint Cup Series car currently being driven by Mark Martin made his eyes twinkle. Earnhardt added that Patrick's Nationwide series ride would come with points and allow her to be locked-in to make the field at the start of the season.
This was the opening act in the Patrick transition to stock cars. Last Sunday, Mike Davis from the JRM PR staff advised on Twitter that Danica and team had gone to Orlando and tested at the one mile Disney Speedway circuit.
As if on cue, a media release then arrived Monday from SPEED with the following information.
SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to bring viewers live coverage of the JR Motorsports press conference scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m., from the JR Motorsports shop in Mooresville, NC.
Participants will include: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (owner), Danica Patrick (No. 7 GoDaddy.com driver), Kelley Earnhardt (co-owner & general manager), Tony Eury Jr. (co-owner, No. 7 GoDaddy.com crew chief), Kelly Bires (No. 88 Hellmann’s driver), Tony Eury Sr. (competition director). Bob Dillner will host the SPEED coverage.
This time, it is the NASCAR media directly that is being led by the nose down the Danica trail. It is assumed that Patrick is getting live national TV coverage to simply announce which select ARCA and Nationwide Series races she will run. The team management, the car color and the sponsor are already known.
The presence of Patrick has already twisted the NASCAR media dynamic with the words "Jimmie Johnson" seemingly not being heard at all on the Internet or TV anymore. Suddenly, a part-time Nationwide Series driver has live national TV coverage to announce her limited schedule.
Since ESPN carries all the Nationwide Series races, do not be surprised to see ESPNEWS add live or slightly delayed coverage to the existing SPEED package. Reporters on-site will be tweeting live and then filing online stories shortly after the event is over. No doubt Sirius Satellite Radio will also be represented.
This will be the first time Patrick will be face-to-face with the majority of the NASCAR press corps who have plenty of time on their hands and plenty of questions to ask. This time, Patrick will be treated as a rookie NASCAR driver with zero experience in stock cars and a whole lot to learn.
It should be interesting to see if Patrick rises to the occasion and embraces the NASCAR media and fan base or continues to be aloof and disconnected from the sport that she desires to be perhaps her next full time racing destination.
TDP will live blog the event on Thursday. In the meantime, where are you coming down on the Danica issue after these last two weeks of announcements? Are you tuning-in on Thursday to see her NASCAR and ARCA schedules revealed? Is there a curiosity factor growing or are you waiting until she turns a wheel at Daytona?
To add your opinion on this media topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Monday, December 14, 2009
After the television disaster that was the 2009 Chase for the Championship, it's very clear that solutions for bringing fans back to the sport in 2010 have to include more options than just TV.
Click here to view a copy of the press release announcing the extension of exclusive online rights to NASCAR content. It was January of 2008 when Paul Brooks, the president of the NASCAR Media Group, chose to continue down this road.
All online NASCAR content was licensed to an outside group. That one decision has brought all kinds of interesting consequences where the sport's worldwide Internet exposure is concerned. While this rights deal also includes video distribution, our topic here today is an audio issue.
"Time to get Sirius NASCAR content online" was the title of a TDP column in early August. It was clear at that time that all three of the major NASCAR series had problems. One simple change would have meant more exposure for the sponsors, drivers and the sport in general. Unfortunately, it never happened.
Currently, SiriusXM Satellite radio has a streaming option that is easily available. For a fee, users are allowed to stream content on desktops and laptops through a simple player. Due to the online contract referenced above, NASCAR content is not allowed.
"No Sirius NASCAR channel on iPhones" was a TDP column from June of this year. A new app for iPhones that streamed SiriusXM was rolled out but received bad reviews. It was not for the technology, but for the programming that was not included. NASCAR was right at the top of the list.
SiriusXM works best when installed in vehicles. The portable receivers work only when attached to a designated satellite antenna. The signal does not penetrate buildings and has proven to be impossible to monitor live even when walking through the rooms of a normal house. Like DirecTV, the SiriusXM signal is from a satellite. This technology is not going to change.
SiriusXM was recently saved from bankruptcy by a third-party investor who arrived at the last possible moment. The hazy subscriber numbers are possibly slightly less than the 19 million quoted by Yahoo! Finance. True subscriber numbers are impossible to obtain.
The weekday NASCAR programs on SiriusXM Channel 128 are produced in a studio right up the road from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Most of the on-air and production staff are affiliated with NASCAR's own MRN Radio Network, which gets paid to provide the programming.
That shows just how murky and interconnected the NASCAR media world really is behind the scenes. Basically, SiriusXM Channel 128 is not streamed online because NASCAR sold its own Internet rights for profit. Now, the company that holds those rights wants money to allow that to happen.
Click here for a November blog post from Bruce Simmons that references this topic. SiriusXM veteran Dave Moody has often had to recite this answer to angry callers.
The only person who can solve this problem is the man who created it, Paul Brooks. Regardless of how a solution occurs, not having the SiriusXM NASCAR channel available online in 2010 would be a strategic loss for the entire sport at a critical time. A very critical time.
The line-up of NASCAR and media personalities who flow through SiriusXM on the weekdays is unmatched by any TV series or website. Events that happen at the racetrack are discussed by fans, reporters and the personalities who were actually involved. It's not uncommon to have a NASCAR personality hear something on SiriusXM and call-in to address it directly.
Don't try to make the argument that fans should go and buy a SiriusXM receiver. NASCAR fans are interested in only one channel. Whether Channel 128 is streamed online at NASCAR.com or the Sirius.com website makes no difference. Races may not be included and that is understood. NASCAR.com has its own agenda on race day.
Let's focus on just one thing. Getting this done. Brooks has to lead a task force that will get everyone to the table with the single agenda of sorting this out. Revenue sharing from subscription fees, NASCAR lessening rights payments or making NASCAR.com the only source for the service are three topics that have already been suggested as the pathway to a solution.
If this does not happen before the Daytona Speedweeks, the sport will have missed out on a key opportunity to extend a valuable weekday service to what appears to be a rapidly shrinking fan base.
TDP welcomes your opinion on this topic. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Here we go with another special from SPEED. This time it is Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch who is making the announcements.
Busch will be live on SPEED and streamed on the SPEEDtv.com website at 2PM ET. He will be revealing the details of his new Camping World Truck Series team. The telecast will be hosted by SPEED's Rick Allen.
This is important to SPEED because the CWTS is the only major NASCAR series on SPEED. The network had solid success this season and actually experienced a slight rise in the TV ratings.
This post will serve to host your comments about the live press conference on both SPEED and the SPEEDtv.com website. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Over the past several years, we have all watched the amount of long-form NASCAR TV programming during the weekdays dwindle. While we have welcomed NASCAR Now and Race Hub, those TV series are primarily geared at news and daily events.
There was a time when NASCAR had a lot more diverse TV programming. Historical races, behind the scenes programs and shows that featured the kind of high-end glossy editing that has been the trademark of the NASCAR Media Group.
Tuesday, NASCAR.com offered the following press release:
Showtime Sports has signed a multi-year deal with NASCAR to produce and televise premium television's first weekly highlights and analysis show dedicated to auto racing. Inside NASCAR will premiere on at 10 p.m. ET Feb. 10, 2010, on Showtime immediately following the season finale of Inside The NFL, and will consist of 38 one-hour episodes corresponding with the Sprint Cup Series' 38-week season.
Produced in conjunction with the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Media Group, Inside NASCAR will be taped at the new, state-of-the-art production facility at NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The host and analysts for Inside NASCAR are to be announced in the coming weeks.
You can click here to read the entire article directly from the NASCAR.com website.
As the news of a major new TV series started to creep through the NASCAR fan base, the emails and Twitter messages began to have a familiar theme. While the idea of a new mid-week series was welcomed, the network location was not.
Showtime is owned by the CBS Corporation and also operates the FLIX and Movie Channel franchises. There are about ten different versions of the Showtime brand, including HD and family channels. The total subscriber base is about 13 million homes. Compare that to 75 million for SPEED or 98 million for ESPN2.
Getting Showtime for cable television users means buying an extended package that is usually centered around what used to be called movie channels. Now, the cable companies package them together but there is an additional monthly charge. Showtime is referred to as a premium network.
Last year, NASCAR also began a multi-year relationship with the Comcast-owned VERSUS cable network. Quest for the Cup was a September to November show that focused on the Chase for the Championship. VERSUS brings 64 million homes to the table, but that short series has come and gone. A big mid-week series like Inside NASCAR on VERSUS would have been a huge boost to the sport.
Currently, fans are waiting to see if SPEED renews This Week in NASCAR. This is the only weekday primetime NASCAR show on for the entire season. ESPN2's NASCAR Now Monday program airs at 5PM ET and then repeats after midnight.
Fundamentally, it kind of rubs me the wrong way that the first major series produced by The NASCAR Media Group from the new Hall of Fame studios is going to a premium movie channel. As with many of those who spoke up on this topic, I do not have any movie channels because my viewing centers around sports and news. Subscribing to Showtime for a one-hour weekly show would be an issue.
How do you feel about NASCAR putting all this time and effort into a major TV series only to have it appear only on Showtime? Are you going to subscribe to the service to see this program next season? Let us know how you feel.
To add your opinion on this topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to drop by The Daly Planet and express your opinion.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Now that the official things are over for the year, our attention turns to what will be changing for the 2010 NASCAR TV season. The answer is...a lot. The big players in the rumor mill are ESPN, TNT and SPEED. New NASCAR TV shows are also coming to HBO and Showtime.
Last summer, Bill Weber was released as the play-by-play announcer for TNT's NASCAR coverage right in the middle of that network's run. Into the position stepped TV veteran Ralph Sheheen, who finished the season. It should be interesting to see if TNT stays with Sheheen for the 2010 TV package.
Over at SPEED, the Race Hub experiment has paid off. Dropped seemingly from the sky on the week of the Hall of Fame selections, Race Hub is a Monday through Thursday studio-based program at 7:30PM each night.
SPEED is the same network that insisted NASCAR programming would not work in primetime during weekdays. For years, only This Week In NASCAR on Monday nights was offered for fans. There has been no additional programming to support SPEED's Camping World Truck Series or even the type of well-edited race review shows that are trademarks of The NASCAR Media Group.
The Race Hub experiment quickly established Krista Voda as the de facto host. It also allowed others like Jeff Hammond, Ray Dunlap and Randy Pemberton to get additional TV time outside of their traditional roles. In the final weeks, the show hit a home run with multiple drivers and announcers discussing topics within the sport. Issues for next season include adding a West Coast re-air and getting the studio set squared away.
The NASCAR Media Group announced this week that Inside NASCAR will be a new weekly TV series coming to the Showtime network for 2010. Wednesday nights at 10PM ET will be the time and February 10th will be the start date. Analysis and highlights with announcers to be named at a later date.
Another subscription cable net, HBO, will debut 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: The Race To Daytona on January 26th at 10PM ET. This reality/documentary project will offer three one-hour episodes before the Daytona 500 and the final episode on February 16th, two days after the race. Part of the award-winning HBO 24/7 series.
Silence has been the order of the day from ESPN where the 2010 season is concerned. The network shuffled line-ups and experimented with live race coverage this season but it was still a rough year.
NASCAR Now will be back on February 1st and there have been no issues with the line-up of Allen Bestwick, Nicole Manske and Mike Massaro as co-hosts. Up in the air are the play-by-play assignments for the entire Nationwide Series season and the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races. We will see how that all shakes out.
Finally, no word yet on whether This Week in NASCAR will be back for 2010 on SPEED.
There will be a weekly media/TV notes post during the off-season just trying to keep up with all the changes in programming and personnel. Feel free to voice your opinion on any of the topics above. Just click on the comments button below.
This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Now that she has graciously allowed the Sprint Cup Series to have its banquet in relative peace, Danica Patrick is ready once again to take the spotlight.
The Sporting News is confirming that Patrick will announce on Tuesday afternoon at 1PM ET that she will drive for JR Motorsports next season in both the NASCAR Nationwide and the ARCA Series. Click here for the story link.
From a TV perspective, this is a big help to both ESPN and SPEED. ARCA will have ten races on SPEED while ESPN carries the entire Nationwide season. Potentially having Patrick in both the ARCA and Nationwide Series races at Daytona in February will be a great way to kick-off the year for those organizations.
Over at scenedaily.com, Bob Pockrass is confirming that Patrick will be at the Daytona ARCA testing session on the December 18th weekend. Click here for that story.
Dustin Long at HamtonRoads.com has a list of the possible races that Patrick can enter considering her IRL schedule. Click here for that link.
The most interesting part of this is that GoDaddy.com will be streaming the press conference live online at 1PM ET. This is quite different from the technically challenged NASCAR teams who struggle with awkward TV press conferences on SPEED. Kyle Busch will have one this Friday afternoon as he announces his Camping World Truck Series team plans for next season.
We will use this post to cover the live press conference as well as take your comments on Danica coming to ESPN and SPEED next season. This will be a whole new world of media issues and interaction that she is certainly not used to on the IRL side. That alone should be fun to see.
To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, comments may be moderated before posting. Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
There were a whole lot of changes being announced as the date for the first Sprint Cup Series banquet held in Las Vegas, NV approached.
Out was ESPN Classic and in was SPEED. Out was Jerry Punch and in were Mike Joy and Krista Voda. Along came Frank Caliendo to host and at the very last minute, Brooks and Dunn to entertain.
NASCAR switched the TV coverage of this event so that it could be live on SPEED. It was promoted just that way in the national media. Click here to read SPEED's own press release.
It was December 6th when TDP posted a column about the 2008 banquet. "Sprint Cup Series Banquet Not Exactly Live On ESPN Classic" was the title. We pointed out that much of the banquet was actually played back to TV viewers after being recorded. Click the title to read the post and viewer comments.
Luckily, NASCAR fans love to multi-task. Last year, fans listening on Sirius Satellite radio were hearing the banquet live. Unfortunately for ESPN, almost all of them were also watching the TV coverage. Needless to say it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that when the radio and TV coverage did not match something was wrong. The TV coverage was over an hour behind what had happened live.
It was the fact that ESPN Classic kept a graphic on the screen that said "Live" that really drove some fans right over the brink. What a way to end the season.
Well, that was last year and now another Sprint Cup Series banquet has come and gone. Want to take a guess at what this column is about? That's right. This time SPEED and NASCAR tried to pull the same trick and it backfired again.
The problem is that trying to disguise something as live when it is not rarely works these days. The reason is the myriad of Internet-based communications systems that have changed the world as we know it. In this case, the culprit was Twitter.
All over the Sprint Cup Series banquet at the Wynn Hotel fingers were busy on keyboards. NASCAR reporters from TV networks and online news sites were tweeting away. Team PR reps, NASCAR spokesmen and even SPEED's Rutledge Wood were describing the music, comedy and opening speeches. There was only one problem.
TV viewers that tuned-in at 9PM to see the banquet live were being entertained by SPEED's Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond. After an exciting opening sequence of action footage, this duo began to introduce various clips and highlights. Lots of clips and highlights.
Meanwhile, Twitter users were being treated to descriptions of Frank Caliendo's opening remarks and then the live music of Brooks and Dunn. Once again, things were out of whack. It quickly became apparent just how out of whack they could get.
As Byrnes and Hammond continued to introduce clips, fans spotted a countdown clock over their shoulder. It looked like it was counting down to the start of the banquet. It also looked like there was a long way to go. What started with momentum quickly lost speed as it was apparent fans were once again watching pre-recorded content instead of a live show.
Instead of 9PM, it was 10PM before Frank Caliendo appeared on TV for NASCAR fans. The opening portion of the Sprint Cup Series banquet had again been delayed on TV by one hour.
Meanwhile, NASCAR's own Twitter news service was still typing away and offering detailed descriptions to the fans of what was actually happening live. Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing.
While Caliendo was just starting out on TV the actual attendees at the banquet were enjoying dinner. Pictures of menus and entrees were being sent via Twitter even as Caliendo welcomed everyone and the first musical number got underway on the delayed SPEED broadcast.
Eventually, after the hour of highlights from Byrnes and the recorded portion of the opening festivities, things got slightly more in sync. However, the time delay was still significant and nothing from the entire evening was ever live on SPEED.
Unfortunately, the two recorded portions combined had taken such a long time it quickly became apparent that the top three drivers would be speaking well after midnight Eastern Time. In fact, Jimmie Johnson did not appear until after 1AM Saturday morning.
Fans who worked a full day on Friday started to sign-off before midnight with email and Twitter messages that were not particularly positive in nature. Some said they would record the remainder of the broadcast. Others were so put off by the format they did not care. One thing is for sure, this has to change for next season.
Allowing the TV viewers to see the opening portion of the banquet live and then inserting Byrnes and Hammond during the dinner service would have made much more sense. After recapping the season, SPEED could then return live for the final part of the evening that included speeches from the top ten drivers.
On a positive note, Voda and Joy were perfect in their roles. Byrnes and Hammond had fun and it was a welcoming vibe from the telecast. Edited footage this year included the reality of racing accidents, tight tempers and even team radio chatter that required lots of bleeping. However, the faked footage of Ryan Newman made to look as if he was upside down after a crash was not such a good idea.
Caliendo was a last minute host and he did what he could do. That meant lots of John Madden, President Bush, Charles Barkley and Dr. Phil impressions. What real role a celebrity host has when the bottom line issues are length of show and NASCAR content is debatable. Voda and Joy may just need a shot at going it alone to find out.
Brooks and Dunn hit a home run but musicians David Gray and the group Escala did not. Even comedian John Pinette entertained without any NASCAR references at all. What was the point? Perhaps, building next year's program for TV and then letting the drivers, teams and sponsors have fun after the televised portion is over might make more sense.
SPEED's TV team was brought in at the last minute this season. The network promises that if they are allowed to carry the event next year there will be some significant changes in format. Nothing could make a lot of weary fans happier.
Please share with us your opinions on this telecast and suggestions for the future. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for stopping by The Daly Planet.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Update: Thanks to Vicki for a fun interview, you can check out the archives by clicking the link.
The final event of the season is over. After the banquet, I am going to be talking with one of my favorite radio hosts, Vicki Johnson. Click here for the link to Sporting News Radio and the Inside Track program.
Vicki and I are going to talk about NASCAR TV, the banquet and other fun media topics. Her show can be heard directly from the web page either live or anytime later in the day.
Thanks for a fun season, new columns start Saturday afternoon and run all week long. Come on back and let us hear from you in the off-season. Thanks!
Friday, December 4, 2009
This should be a fun night. SPEED has a NASCAR banquet doubleheader that is actually the post-season festivities for all three of NASCAR's top series.
First up is the combined Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series banquet beginning at 7PM ET. This show was recorded live during the banquet in Miami several weeks ago and post-produced for airing.
The second show is the feature at 9PM. SPEED got its hands on the Sprint Cup Series banquet just several weeks ago. Frank Caliendo will host the event. Krista Voda and Mike Joy will handle the awards presentations on the stage. Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond will host the event on air for SPEED.
Brooks and Dunn will open the show with a special musical number. David Gray and the string quartet Escala will also perform. John Pinette will be the comedian.
This final live blog of 2009 is ready for your comments on the two banquets on SPEED. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when posting.
Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and help us with your opinion!
After an amazing chain of events that saw the Sprint Cup Series banquet switch TV networks at the last minute, Friday night will bring a NASCAR banquet doubleheader to SPEED.
NASCAR consolidated the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series banquets into one evening. The festivities were recorded by SPEED and will be shown in an edited version at 7PM ET Friday night. This is the first part of the doubleheader.
In the past, these edited programs featured short chats in an informal setting on the stage with SPEED personalities Krista Voda and Rick Allen. The drivers have a couple of minutes to plug their sponsors, relay their thanks and maybe have a laugh. It should be interesting to see how SPEED chooses to present this newly combined banquet in a two-hour TV program.
NASCAR moved the Sprint Cup Series banquet from New York City to Las Vegas, NV this season. Amid the reasons was a desire to make this entire multi-day event more fan friendly. Certainly, one part of the problem was that ESPN offered only the small ESPN Classic network on which to carry the banquet live Friday night in primetime.
Just weeks ago, NASCAR suddenly announced that live coverage of the banquet ceremony was moving to SPEED. This satisfied three issues. One, it put the live banquet in front of a larger audience than ESPN Classic. Two, it got ESPN out from under the problem of showing the final seventeen races and then seeming to neglect the post-season official crowning of the champ. Finally, it kept the NASCAR TV product on a network that was familiar to the fans.
Needless to say, SPEED called all hands on deck and sent a good-sized contingent to Las Vegas. Steve Byrnes will act as the TV host handling all the SPEED on-air duties. He will be joined by Jeff Hammond. This gives SPEED a duo who can keep things smooth on the air and take the fulltime focus away from the awards stage.
Krista Voda and Mike Joy are going to handle the racing-related awards and presentations on the stage during the telecast. These two are wonderful picks to deal with all the live moments and negotiate this telecast through the myriad of awards and sponsor mentions.
Veteran comedian Frank Caliendo is going to be the celebrity host. In the past, this position has been rough to handle. NASCAR fans just plainly do not take to Hollywood types who make bad racing jokes and mispronounce names. Caliendo seems to be the type who can roll with the punches and his previous appearances on Fox Sports have been fun to watch. This has potential.
John Pinette has been very funny in the past as the comedian at several NASCAR series banquets. He will also appear on Friday night. Pinette seems to work very hard on preparing his background material, so hopefully his comedy presence will be a positive one for the sport at a time when laughs are sometimes hard to come by.
NASCAR announced on Thursday that Brooks and Dunn will be opening the show with their song "Only in America" as a tribute to NASCAR fans. Musician David Gray and the string quartet Escala will also perform during the evening.
The Brooks and Dunn appearance will be a part of a larger fan tribute that will also include the voice of TV legend Ken Squier. He will anchor a video titled "The Spirit of the Fans" that will hopefully work to show those who stuck with the sport during this rough patch that NASCAR has not forgotten them. Starting the show in this manner may go a long way toward patching things up.
TDP will offer a live blog post for both of the TV shows on SPEED beginning at 7PM. Please join us to offer your comments as the evening goes on. We will also be live with comments on Twitter at twitter.com/TheDalyPlanet from 7PM to 1AM ET.
In the meantime, perhaps you can share your comments on the topics above including the move of the banquet from ESPN to SPEED and the personalities selected to participate. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated before posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Well now! Just when the fan backlash over the ESPN coverage of the Chase was dying down, the good old NASCAR Fan Council comes along with another double top secret survey. This one pulled no punches.
Here are some of the topics and questions:
Rank the TV networks, Fox, TNT and ESPN/ABC in order of preference for the Sprint Cup Series races only.
How many of the 17 ESPN/ABC races did you watch?
Rate ESPN/ABC's Sprint Cup Series broadcasts: Just right, make no changes...good, but need minor changes...poor, major changes needed to keep my interest.
Open comments on what fans liked or disliked about the ESPN/ABC Cup race broadcasts.
Rate the following using: Strongly agree, moderately agree, neutral, moderately disagree, strongly disagree.
ESPN/ABC booth and pit reporters:
Announcers are NASCAR experts
They make the race more exciting
Cover all the drivers
Excellent job explaining strategies
Makes me feel more knowledgeable
Makes the broadcast fun
Are passionate commentators/announcers
Makes me more interested in NASCAR
Does a better job than other TV networks
Too structured and uptight
Always on top of the action
Does the best job covering the race
Never misses important on-track action
Doing an excellent job
Too many on-screen gimmicks
Thrilling camera angles
Captures the sounds of the sport
Covers Victory Lane and post-race in an appropriate manner
Rate these elements with: It's OK, I can take it or leave it or I really dislike it.
Triple pit camera
Over the wall camera
Wall camera angles
Overhead camera angles
Team radio communication
In-car camera angles
ESPN pit studio
Pit crew reporter
Sports ticker at the bottom of the screen
Full Throttle feature
Mike Rowe narration at the beginning
Rate the Chase coverage on ABC (final ten races) on a scale of 1 to 10. With 1 being disagree strongly to 10 being agree strongly.
Covered those drivers not in the Chase
Covered the Chase like a playoff
Made the races feel special
Covered the drivers in the Chase appropriately
Made it feel like more was at stake
Rate the pre-race on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not very important through 10 being very important.
The location of the pre-race show at the track
Commentary and discussion
Lifestyle (fans tailgating, etc..)
Review of the previous week
Review of the last race run at the same track
Rate the actual race coverage on a scale of 1 to 10, using the same parameters as above.
Covering the leader
Covering the side-by-side racing
Covering the cars outside the top ten
Covering the big name racers no matter where they run
Interviews with owners
Current point standings throughout the race
Covering pit stops
Interviews with drivers out of the race
Covering the passing for position in the race
Interviews with crew chiefs and other team members
TDP has been covering the TV side of NASCAR since 2007. Over that time, we have seen lots of changes in style and personnel. Our discussion about the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races covered by ESPN/ABC appears to directly mirror the issues addressed in this fan survey.
The NASCAR Fan Council is a group of twelve thousand fans who are not paid, but help NASCAR to gauge a wide variety of topics, including the media. Click here for the column about the NFC asking fans about Digger at the height of the Fox backlash over the animated rodent.
It was amazing earlier this season when NASCAR executive Ramsey Poston blogged about the sanctioning body being upset with ESPN and how the network covered the Talladega race. Click here to read the full post.
Now, we see questions directly addressing issues like the Tech Garage with Tim Brewer, the pre-race show with Allen Bestwick and the event coverage anchored by Jerry Punch. The survey also steps behind the cameras to ask about the mechanical parts of the coverage from pit stops to in-car cameras.
What is your reaction to NASCAR as its online consumer marketing arm brings up topics directly related to the ESPN/ABC Sprint Cup Series coverage?
To add your comments on this topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for stopping by and leaving us your opinion.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Update: Due to the very interesting comments below we are leaving this post up as the lead for one more day. Lots of people reading this one! Leave us your opinion.
Silly season is in full swing for NASCAR TV shows and announcers. No news is expected for a while on potential changes at ESPN or the naming of a play-by-play announcer for TNT's summer package.
There is, however, one issue on the table that has been discussed several times before at TDP. This year, the conversation has taken on a very different tone. The topic is This Week in NASCAR and the question is whether or not it will return for 2010.
"We'll see," said veteran panelist Michael Waltrip when asked by host Steve Byrnes if he would be returning for 2010. Waltrip has been a fixture on this program through several series name changes and different hosts.
Originally created by then SpeedVision Executive Producer Bob Scanlon, Inside Winston Cup Racing borrowed the name from a series formerly produced by Sunbelt Video in Charlotte, NC for The Nashville Network. Sunbelt is now called the NASCAR Media Group and still produces the Monday night hour program for SPEED.
Back in 2007, the series was in trouble. "The Sad State of Inside NEXTEL Cup on SPEED" was a TDP column from May of that year. Click on the title to read the entire article and the reader comments.
SPEED decided that 2008 was time for a change and created the current program. The show dropped from three panelists to two. This year, Chad Knaus and Greg Biffle alternated in one chair while Waltrip continued on a full-time basis.
In 2008, TDP readers battled hard with the SPEED executives over the original format of the series. Instead of leading with the Sunday highlights, Byrnes and company were forced to offer a thirty minute preview of the upcoming race that was six days away. Eventually, SPEED flipped the format and the show found a rhythm.
After a 2009 regular season of ups and downs, TWIN got a new addition for the Chase. Mr. Excitement, Jimmy Spencer, was added to the panel. This restored the program to a discussion rather than a continuing difference of opinion. As TV programs from the Sports Reporters to the Monday edition of NASCAR Now prove, three voices are better than two in this format.
Spencer's addition brought out even more clearly the value of Knaus to the program. When he was present, Knaus brought the latest technical knowledge and a developing TV sense to the show. When he was not, Biffle struggled to fill the gap.
Knaus and Waltrip had developed a great on-air relationship, but still needed an effective third panelist. Unfortunately, Spencer did not fit the bill. He often made pointed and biting statements directly to the TV viewers, bypassing his fellow panelists. His RaceDay antics just did not work in this format.
It was Kenny Schrader who used to call this program Mikey's show. Names like Bestwick, Benson, Vickers, Schrader and Despain all came and went but Waltrip has remained. Now, an older Waltrip is stepping away from driving and concentrating on his multi-car ownership role on a full-time basis.
On one hand, Waltrip has been on this Monday night TV show from before his DEI glory days. His role as an owner is just another step in his personal NASCAR history. On the other hand, few would expect to tune-in to TWIN and see Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress or Jack Roush critiquing other teams and drivers. An owner is an owner.
SPEED also introduced a new TV series late in the season called Race Hub. This put TWIN in a tough position. On Sunday nights, SPEED already offered NASCAR highlights on The SPEED Report, Victory Lane and Wind Tunnel.
Now, in the half hour before TWIN the weekend races were being reviewed once again on Race Hub. SPEED has already made a commitment to Race Hub for 2010 with new Monday through Thursday shows beginning in mid-January. Whether that is the death knell for TWIN or just a signal that SPEED is beefing up NASCAR programming is not yet known.
After fourteen years on the air, where do you come down on bringing back TWIN for next year? Is this still a viable NASCAR TV series or a program that needs another major overhaul in order to continue? Please include your TV-related opinion on the panelists and host.
Non-TV related comments will not be posted. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for adding your input on this NASCAR TV topic.