Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NASCAR TV Scarce For Charlotte Media Tour


Update: Monday night just before 8PM, SPEED's Randy Pemberton announced that SPEED will be carrying the NASCAR press conference from the Charlotte Media Tour live. Unofficial information sets the telecast for Thursday at 1PM ET. We will confirm this ASAP.

NASCAR staggers into 2010 still bearing the scars from a rough ending to the previous year. During the off-season, the sport made wholesale changes in an effort to return the Sprint Cup Series to national prominence.

There are four TV networks that televise the practice, qualifying and race action during the year. Two of those networks, ESPN and SPEED, offer daily news programs about the sport. NASCAR Now is seen six days a week on ESPN2 and Race Hub is aired Monday through Thursday on SPEED.

NASCAR Now airs at 5PM ET, before ESPN2's primetime line-up gets clogged with live sports coverage. The network also tries to re-air the program after midnight for the West Coast audience. "Tries" is the operative word in that sentence.

SPEED added Race Hub into the mix late last year, seemingly from nowhere. There was no build-up, no hype and little planning. Whatever happened at the network caused a ton of resources to immediately be allocated to what was a long forgotten cause, NASCAR news during the weekdays.

Having two daily NASCAR news programs on TV is going to be great for the fans in 2010. NASCAR Now in the early timeslot will focus on using its own reporters to deliver updates on the sport and mix interviews with pre-produced features.

Race Hub is designed to host NASCAR personalities live in the Charlotte, NC studios of SPEED. The mix between the buttoned-up style of ESPN and the casual style of SPEED should be fun to watch.

This week, writers and reporters from across the nation make the annual trip to the Concord, NC area. The Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts a media tour that provides coordinated visits to team shops and NASCAR locations during a four day media blitz that begins on Monday.

This is the time when the teams offer new information and answer questions. Drivers, crew chiefs and owners have media conversations that set the tone for the season. NASCAR itself hosts the media at the Research and Development Center and usually announces updates and changes during this function.

There is also a stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to update the progress of that immense facility scheduled to open later this year. A visit to the SPEED studios was not on any published agenda that I received. That is not a good thing.

Unlike past seasons where the power of the NASCAR media was firmly rooted in print publications and their online websites, the tide has changed with the recent demise of NASCAR Scene. Many veteran reporters were fired in a one day event that changed the face of the NASCAR media.

In a rather de facto manner, television is about to become the leader in putting the NASCAR headlines front and center for the fans. Then, fans can go and search for those same topics online. With hundreds of various NASCAR websites around and the number growing, the two NASCAR TV news programs are going to be a guiding light for fans.

Monday, there will be no NASCAR Now on ESPN2. The series is not scheduled to begin until February 1 this year. The information from the media tour will try to push its way onto ESPNEWS and perhaps SportsCenter. Amid the NFL playoffs, NASCAR is not even a blip on the ESPN radar. Best of luck.

That leaves SPEED to carry the NASCAR banner and it will start the week strong with Race Hub on Monday at 7:30PM. Hosts Adam Alexander and Randy Pemberton will welcome NASCAR President Mike Helton. What a great way to kick-off four days of live media tour coverage. Unfortunately, that is not going to be the case.

The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday editions of Race Hub are being preempted by the Barrett-Jackson auto auction from Arizona. After only being back on the air for one week, Race Hub is done after the Monday show. The next live news program on the network is The SPEED Report on Sunday evening.

The auction coverage begins at 7PM each night, so SPEED made a choice not to move Race Hub up by one hour and air it at 6:30PM on those three mid-week days. Airing in the 6 to 7PM timeslot are re-airs of "lifestyle programs." Race Hub returns on Monday, January 25.

Ironically, after all the chaos in the NASCAR media during the off-season, getting the pre-season message out during this big week will once again come down to the remaining members of the NASCAR press corps. Unfortunately, both of NASCAR's national TV news shows are off the air for very different reasons.

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37 comments:

Richard in N.C. said...

Since SPEED puts its 2nd best show (Wind Tunnel) into hibernation for 10 weeks or so, I have come to expect dumb decisions from it. If it makes sense to have Cup races at more standard times, it would seem to be equally smart to not stop and start its one daily show about NASCAR in order to build viewer habits. Hopefully we might get some bits of news from Bob V and Mike Joy during the auction coverage.

Sally said...

How interesting that, with Nascar finally making some substantial changes for the upcoming season, Speed and ESPN choose to virtually ignore the pre season happenings. I'm sure that will help the sagging ratings and sparse attendance that have been plagueing Nascar and the networks.

JoeS said...

I really don't feel like I'm missing that much in coverage. I'm comfortable typing in say "NASCAR Spoiler" and reading tons of stories on the topic vs a quick 1 minute story read to me.

GinaV24 said...

Seems strange to me to take the one NASCAR news show that was on the air in January OFF during the media tour. Of course, Speed also pretended that they were showing the fan fest stuff live when it was taped.

And NASCAR wonders why its fans are no longer "believers".

I won't be bothering to try and tune in to any of the ESPN to try and find NASCAR news. That's too much like trying to find a needle in a haystack and I don't have that much time to waste.

Hope the internet will allow me to keep up with things.

Anonymous said...

When you say "The next live news program on the network is The SPEED Report" you infer Race Hub is live - which it obviously is not since they update the graphics with the guests answer topic before the guest even starts to answer the question.

Of course, I expect SPEED to make me think taped things are live now

Anonymous said...

Very disappointed you chose not to "tear SPEED a new one" on their decision not air Race Hub this week.

Waiting for The SPEED Report next Sunday is inexcusable for SPEED to air this week's Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour events.

Next Sunday night they will be up against the Vikings vs. Saints NFC Championship game.

If it had been ESPN, you would have "ripped them a new one" for going dark this week after coming back on the air last week.

It seems your bias against ESPN is showing again and I'm disappointed in that.

This is the biggest week of 2010 so far for actual NASCAR news instead of off-season rumors.

Anonymous said...

Since I havent seen any posts about the Fan Fest shows over the weekend I guess nobody saw Speed ask virtually every driver that came to the stage about the rule changes coming this week, or ones already announced or for that matter Jeff Gordon having some fun at Joey Logano's expense when caught off guard by a fans slip up question of Joey asking "in his wildest wet dreams could he have expected a season like last"? This site has begged for fan involvement and Im guessing nobody saw it. So in theory Speed has covered some of the hot topics that will come up during the Media Tour before it even begins...hmmmm.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:06,

What a crock! ESPN made a huge change after last season directly as a result of fan feedback.

The bottom line is that SPEED's bad decision with these three days of Race Hub is exposed for all to see in my column.

This year, ESPN comes out of the gate with the announce team, infield studio and NASCAR Now show correctly staffed and ready to go.

The only test will be to see if the poor choices made inside the TV production truck will continue to turn the actual races into television disasters.

SPEED is pretty ripped at me right now over my exposure of the cancellation of TWIN without a word and the lack of a February program schedule.

When it comes to bad decisions in TV land, there is always plenty to talk about.

JD

Anonymous said...

I was curious about the lack of Fan Fest mentions on TDP. I watched and saw fans able to ask questions to drivers and get direct answers. I don't care if it was live or not, it was good to see drivers let their guard down a bit and have some fun. It looked like a good time I'm gonna try my best to go next year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We had it listed on our schedule. Same as last year, few fans and drivers helping the speedway with pre-race exposure. What were you surprised about?

Zieke said...

Guess I don't understand why Speed would be ripped on hearing the facts from you. Do they think you're in bed with them or etc? Also don't get the lack of Race Hub not being aired because of the auction. With all of their garbage shows you would think they could just change the time for this week.

Daly Planet Editor said...

None of these TV partners talk to each other. Each is a little island of self-absorbtion.

The idea that I am drawn to one or the other is hilarious.

NASCAR Now is not coming on until Feb 1. That has been known for months.

You would think SPEED would want to use the three weeks of having Race Hub on the air alone to build an audience.

Apparently, that is less important than endless hours of the auto auction. They made that decision.

How this ultimately goes over with fans will be seen and heard on Tuesday when more discover that Race Hub is gone for the week.

I think it's a horrible decision for NASCAR...period.

JD

Anonymous said...

no one really cares as the "sport" is in a death spiral now and there's nothing you can do except to let it bottom out.

GinaV24 said...

I remember reading that Speed would be broadcasting FanFest, but at least for me, I no longer automatically watch the Speed channel since they made the business decision to show less racing and so often I FORGET to tune in since it's no longer a regular channel check for me.

Plus, I didn't want to watch the entire fan fest stuff, so I didn't setup the DVR either.

If Speed wants to get the audience back, they need to be smarter in their programming than they are and having Race Hub on as the ONLY game in town until ESPN comes on in Feb would be one way to do it. But they aren't that smart as evidenced by a LOT of their "regular" programming.

Daly Planet Editor said...

This is how bad it is with SPEED. Feb 15th would be the first TWIN show and the network will not publish its progam schedule online.

Stops at the 14th with a full day of shows. How juvenile is that?

JD

Anonymous said...

With David Hill's new job responsibilities it will be interesting to see what speed does. While fans don't like him on the Fox side I can assure you there will be a new push on speed for nascar content. New shows, new timeslots.....most likely trying to be a nascar channel. Have a feeling they're trying to gain some leverage for rights as well as some worry if and when the media group starts their own nascar channel like all the other sports have.

allisong said...

I think SPEED made the right decision in airing Barrett-Jackson this week. This is a hugely popular event, and I think the ratings numbers would probably surprise a lot of people. I know a lot of race fans who look forward to this week just for the auction.

SPEED gave us 4 hours of fan fest coverage, with numerous drivers fielding questions from S. Byrnes/J. Roberts as well as from fans. The media tour going on this week will be more of the same, and unless Thursday's stop at NASCAR results in something beyond what has been already been extensively reported on (such as perhaps the Chase going away..please) then I think I can wait for Sunday to hear a report from SPEED.

Buschseries61 said...

Speed and ESPN clearly do not care, which is quite sad but not unexpected. Speed has the perfect opportunity to steal the spotlight and continue the momentum while NASCAR Now is dark. But Speed still has their head in the sand and thinks lifestyle tv is more important than racing...which is the purpose of the channel.

Sidenote:
Speed might have some last minute work to do if rumors are true. If Michael Waltrip runs a partial or full time schedule in the trucks, and Johnny Benson gets $ to race, who is in the booth with Rick and Phil?

JohnP said...

That's sad that Speed is canceling Race Hub for this Tuesday through Thursday for an auction. Who can afford those cars anyway? Seen it before, very ritzy. Plus it's usually just a re-play from months ago. Maybe it's live this time? We had just gotten into Race Hub last week, then they pull it during the first week Nascar starts to kick up and get active for the season. Makes no sence. There are so many changes, drivers, mergers, it seems there is not much on tv about it. Glad to hear ESPN changed their crew up some - but, it won't help if the suits just tell them what to do. I still real from the horrific coverage during the Chase in 09. Hopefully the suits will let the people who know entertainment do there jobs!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
With David Hill's new job responsibilities it will be interesting to see what speed does. While fans don't like him on the Fox side I can assure you there will be a new push on speed for nascar content.




Or a push to make SPEED cartoon central. A Digger & Friends animated series and bringing back NASCAR Racers and Speed Racer is my guess looking at his track record. Broadening SPEED's scope to have Scooter, Cletus and digitally re-mastered Mighty Ducks movies with glo-puck added in too. David Hill and quality sports programming for intelligent adult sports fans are like oil and water - they don't mix.

Vicky D said...

I guess I was in the minority but I didn't particularly care for Fan Fest. It seemed like the fans were dragged up to the microphone to ask a questions. I couldn't take watching the whole time and changed the channel. Hopefully, Daytona week will be better.

Chris from NY said...

Agreed w/ anon @3:08.

There is a 75% expectation that David Hill is going to wreck Speed Channel. I have long been sworn against him, even if he does take that reality rubbish off Speed.

The networks are scrambling to cover NASCAR better, and I have to thank them for making a complete fool of the sport in general. This is why the TV contract needs to be cancelled and renegotiated. Either that, or other networks need to make like FOX did, and make some management changes, although I don't agree with FOX's changes.

If Hill brings Digger over to Speed, and not even an F1 car can run him over, I guess we have no options left but to blow Digger out of a jet engine at 34000 feet.

The best thing NASCAR Media Group can do is do what the NBA, NFL, and NHL did: do-it-yourself broadcasting (their own network).

Ann_Ominous said...

I don't think it matters. With ABC moving all of the Sunday races to ESPN with the pre race show on ESPN2, that's going to kill NASCAR, or at least leave it bleeding badly. NASCAR wanted the races on broadcast TV so bad that they went with ABC over TNT. Now they aren't getting broadcast tv, but cable anyway. Furthermore, it's cable where football is going to run into and over the start time. At least that wouldn't happen on TNT. Not to mention how much better the race coverage would be. In light of all this, the daily shows aren't going to make a difference. Maybe Danica can save NASCAR. Or maybe not!

And PS - if there has been any announcement on this, sorry I missed it. Is there going to be any kind of HotPass on DirecTV this year?

Darcie said...

With the announcement that many of the race tracks are lowering seating capacity, that Daytona's ticket sales are down so far that they're cutting 22,000 seats, it would be welcome to have a show that's on the air with regularity. Dumping Race Hub to cover the Barrett Jackson Auction is beyond me, especially when you realize that Speed keeps repeating that program for an entire year. Who gives a rat's pootie about old guys paying insane amounts of money for cars? Is there that much of an audience? If that's the case, Nascar needs to be even more worried than they let on. If car auction programs has more fans than Nascar, everyone is in big trouble.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Update: Randy Pemberton said on Monday's Race Hub show that SPEED has decided to show the NASCAR press conference from the Charlotte Media Tour live!

Unofficial info says Thurdsday at 1PM ET on SPEED. We will follow that up and make it official ASAP.

JD

Anonymous said...

I really believe that there is simply no pleasing the readers of this blog. Television has other concerns, apparently. It is easy, therefore for most readers to forget that the best coverage of NASCAR news on a daily basis comes from radio.

For instance, Sirius is doing remotes from many of the media tour events, and had plans to broadcast the R&D center briefing LONG before Speed TV said anything about it.

I know most of you are addicted to TV, but one fact is clear. Radio was there covering events more than four decades ago, when TV couldn't be bothered with that "redneck" sport.

Radio has depended on the same reliable, credible crews to cover the sport for the past 20 years, while there have been at least five times as many TV "partners" in the same time period.

The more thing change, the more they stay the same. If you're hacked off at TV, it's time to come back home to the folks who have always treated this sport with respect . . . and you'll see it better on the radio.

Anonymous said...

Stinks they got rid of TWIN for NHub. Bad set, rotating hosts.Steve, Chad & Mikey will be sorely missed.
But if so many miss it, why so few posting about it on SPEEDTV.com.

agree the sport is in downward spiral. make one good change and make 5 more bad moves.

Anonymous said...

wow. just saw Hooter girls on NHub. More than a mouthful Monday? R u kidding me? Is this SPEEDS way of competing with Godaddy. most disappointing & embarrassing.

Is this the work of David Hill???? another sharkjump for NASCAR on SPEED.

Anonymous said...

SPEED used to be the NASCAR channel 2009 and before, ESPN was the NASCAR channel late 90's early 2000's and now NASCAR needs it's own channel 2010! Nuff said!Get all these NASCAR broadcasters in one place on one channel so we can really see the ins and outs of NASCAR...too bad Sirius has taken the lead in NASCAR coverage..and its radio!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Will those of you dreaming about a NASCAR channel please stop dreaming! Sure, NASCAR can start a channel, but which cable provider will carry it? And if they do, it will be part of the expensive sports package (and from seeing your gripes about Showtime, I know you all won't want to buy it).

By the way - did you see MLB Network's coverage of Mark Mcgwire? No way NASCAR allows something like that to happen on its air - so they won't have any credibility - and the channel will be garbage anyway.

Be careful what you wish for.

Donna in FL said...

I respectfully disagree. The time has almost come for NASCAR to seriously gear up for it's own channel. I believe all the money spent on the HoF and Media complex was done so with that aim in mind as one of the major reasons. It is already generating revenue. Not this year and maybe not next, but with the move to put much of the schedule on pay TV, 2012 I think we could be seeing the start of NMG content on its own, perhaps a SPEED partnership (ie Fox). I'm not going to speculate on their channel's pricing tier but that idea would suggest a SPEED bundle.

I thought SPEED did ok with the 2-day Daytona Fan coverage, some of the questions got a bit inane and some drivers squirmy, but it was worth the look. Fan Qs were obviously screened beforehand, a bit redundant, but that's ok. I got what I wanted to know.

Ya know, I almost cried when I saw Hooters on Race Hub last night- hopefully the beginning of the return of major NASCAR sponsorship!! AlanK was one of my fave drivers. Ruby Tuesdays listed for Penske's 22 yesterday was also great news. Consumer sponsors like those used to be NASCAR's core money, and needs to be again. Quite simply, it's where their fan base is. Now, if only I can convince Hooters to sponsor Johnny Benson's Truck...

GinaV24 said...

I want to WATCH racing, too, not just listen to it on the radio. I have a sirius radio and use that quite often for the PXP, but I like being able to see the drivers, the cars and the action on the track. I don't think in the visual age that it is asking too much for the TV folks to be able to bring NASCAR to the fans. Other sports do it, even niche sports.

I don't mind watching the B-J auction, but I usually catch it in re-runs since all of those cars are just overpriced pipe dreams for me.

And radio has problems of its own. Sirius refuses to stream channel 128 online, so if I'm not able to access my receiver, I can't listen AND since channel 128's folks are paid by nascar-related $, they tend to not be objective. I'm looking for professional and objective in my media, not homers, cheerleaders or PC.

Ken said...

If NA$CAR had their own network, we would lose much of the information we have available now. A NA$CAR network would not be objective and would not telecast things negative about themselves. Shows on other channels would fall off and we would be left with NA$CAR propaganda.

Chris from NY said...

I don't mind Barrett-Jackson either, in fact, I was actually looking forward to it this year. I always look forward to it. Always bridges the gap between Preseason Thunder (or lack thereof this year) and the Rolex 24 (2 weeks from now, look out for the NASCAR drivers in that race, though I find Le Mans cars to be infinitely better than DPs).

Didn't watch Race Hub on Monday, but from what's posted here it looks like David Hill already sent the wrecking crew over to Speed, fresh off Digger's Hollywood cameo that made him liked by some and wanted dead by others.

Anonymous said...

TWIN's Michael Waltrip act had gotten down right silly....

Chris from NY said...

B-J will be O-K so long as David "I Don't Care What You Think" Hill doesn't turn the Chassis Cam into another hated Digger Cam.

Anonymous said...

hi
could you get comments from allen beswick, kenny schrader, michael waldrip and kenny wallace...
their favorite moments in TWIN?
i love to see their comments
i loved the old show with them
so funny and entertaining.. and intersting ..