Monday, July 12, 2010

I Think He Finally Gets It!

I have been going back and forth with SBNation's Jeff Gluck (pictured on the left) over TV issues for several years now. Like many writers who travel to the track, Gluck's view of TV coverage is skewed by his ability to see the race and then interview the participants. TV viewers have no such luck. What they see is what they get.

Last weekend, Gluck did not travel to the race and instead simply watched on TV. The results were priceless. From the drop of the green flag, Gluck's frustration began to build. The same topics debated on TDP for four seasons eventually drove him over the edge.

This is the result. Click here for a link to his most recent SBNation column expressing for the first time what many of us have been repeating since 2007.

Here are some excerpts:

Many fans have yelled and screamed and jumped up and down, insisting you knew the answer all along: The TV broadcasts are unwatchable. I didn't believe you. I figured, "OK, there might be a lot of commercials and you might not like what some of the broadcasters say, but c'mon. It can't be that bad." It is. Saturday night's broadcast was that bad.

If you're a fan, you may be reading this and smacking your forehead while saying, "DUH!" Apparently from the comments I see every week, it's like this all the time.

Well, I apologize. I didn't get it before. Now I do.

Unless you're truly hardcore about NASCAR, you can't just sit there and watch the race from start to finish. Casual or even semi-interested fans would be turned off by the broadcasts.

But as I sat there on Saturday night, I thought, "If I didn't have to watch this, I'd turn it off."

Well, thanks to Gluck for sending a strong message in a timely fashion. This Sprint Cup Series off-week will mean lots of folks will read his column and this one. Maybe there can be some help brought to the table for the remainder of this season or the next.

As Gluck says, it just might be a good idea to get some top NASCAR officials, owners and drivers and make them watch in real time the final TV product that was delivered to the NASCAR fans at Chicagoland.

Who says some things never change? We welcome your opinion on this topic. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.


West Coast Diane said...


Will see if it makes a difference, though.

Broadcast teams, reporting media & Nascar PTB need to be lock in a room and made to watch!

Rita Jean said...

I read all of Jeff Gluck's commentary as well.

Do I assume that I am the only one Jeff describe's as the "die-hard Nascar fan" who really DOES watch a race from beginning to end? C'mon, I think alot of people do, albeit begrudgingly apparently. Not to say I don't get up to get a sandwich, get a brew, or take a phone call. I guess I am not as vocal or negative about it. Wait, I take that back, I really, really, really do not like Speed's Raceday. There.

I believe Nascar will figure it all out eventually as these years continue to change and go by. They already have Track Pass and those other options available to us fans. I think the consensus is that those options are well received, right?

In the meantime, this die-hard Nascar fan is at home watching racing. Woot!

bevo said...

Can you imagine how bad his reaction would have been if he had watched one of the FOX efforts earlier this season?

Sadly most of the media charged with covering NASCAR will not state this fact because of the fear of facing the wrath of the France family.

My suggested reading for this week - The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.

Skip said...

And the funny thing is that as far as things go, this was a relatively high-quality broadcast. The TNT broadcasts started out pretty rough the first few years, but they've gotten a lot better.

Now we move on to the ESPN portion of the schedule, where the production decision seems to be 'should I use the in-car camera, one zoomed in on the leader so as to show no other cars, or should I have the camera in the pits on the CC, owner, or driver's wife?', depending on whatever the script says, where 'should I use a nice, wide-angle shot of somewhere there's racing going on so folks can see the action' isn't even usually in the top 10 choices.

There's a reason that during this stretch of the season I 'watch' the races on Raceview, listen to MRN, and keep the TV handy for replays.

GinaV24 said...

Finally! Its nice that Gluck finally got it. IMO the only way to get real change done would be to strap the entire management of NASCAR, David Hill, any producer/directors and the booth personalities into chairs and force them to watch the TV broadcasts until they scream for mercy like the rest of us fans at home.

I have news for Mr. Gluck -- even die-hard fans can't stomach the crap that we see on TV most weeks.

If I didn't multi-task and have access to my computer, I would NOT watch the race via TV only.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Like Bevo said, imagine if Gluck had tried to watch the Coke 600 on FOX.

That is the race that was soo bad we actually closed the live chat and we all left!

Anonymous said...

Someone tell Gluck he is right on, I did watched the other races, because of that I decided NOT to give up a Saturday night for the crap that is shown to us, in other words, I am one of the ones who found something else to do while they raced at Chicago.

Sophia said...

I'm with Bevo. How about JG watched FOX or ESPN with the PLETHORA of disjointed IN CAR Cams -before one lap!-& plethora of bumper cams?????

TNT at LEAST had NICE CAMERA WORK which imo is KEY to a nice view of the race from home. That said the commercial load was nuts & follow up was lacking.

STILL I would take TNT ANYDAY of the week over the other broadcasts. Gluck should tape & watch FOX/ESPN if he wants a "TRUE TASTE" of a disjointed, rotten broadcast. FULL of GF cover ups with minutia.

For me it's about the pictures flying thru the air. :)

Hmm..did not know this place closed DOWN during the 600? But again, I have not multi tasked for races due to eye issues,until TNT last broadcast :( and on that day watched INDY 500 which I enjoyed (& taking deer photos in the yard before and after that race)

Anyway, GLUCK claims MANY LOVE FOX's broadcast and he doesnt' get the gripes on BSPN either, apparently. He will now. I shall NOT be watching anymore races this year live or even on the DVR except maybe last 20 laps. Aggravation

Just in time for bogus, orchestrated cautions or the nauseating THREE GWCs!!

51 yr. fan said...

There is plenty of room on the
bandwagon Jeff. The demise of the
sport lays totally in the hands of
Brian France and Mike Helton. Until
someone shows them what the real world looks like there will be no
change. Keep beating those drums
JD and Jeff!

Anonymous said...

@sophia--yup JD gave up on it I thought he was kidding when I saw his tweet but came here and sho' nuff he shut off the thread to further comments. The 600 was an absolute hot mess!

I'd hope your friend Pete read it as proof that we're not crazy here on our "planet" but he doesn't like Gluck so that wouldn't help and he'd say that Gluck got into some of our Kool-aid.

Sad part is that even without RaceBuddy TNT is usually the best broadcast but Sunday was a hot mess! As I stated in the "after race" comments it felt like we were going to commercial every 5 laps! Seems like something was getting started and another commercial break!

Anonymous said...

I don't spend a lot of time bitch'n bout the broadcasters and what network is better than the other but the bottom line is Show the Dang Race!!

Right now only a Die-Hard fan would sit and watch these events. Which is where I think the advertising change leverage will come from. How can NASCAR hope to grow this sport with new and casual fans when this is their offering?

Also, how much of these "tight" shots are we getting because NASCAR has told tv producers not to show the empty grandstands. The camera men are actually getting very good at it.

Spectricide (Damn Google!)

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bevo said...

Sirius is in full "TV coverage is great" mode already. Rick Benjamin calls them "friends" and Chocolate Myers says the commercial breaks are "only 2 minutes".

Then much like the memory capacity of a goldfish 5 minutes later they both can't figure out why ratings are down even though the racing is fantastic.

Amazing how far a human can stick their head in hole.

JohnP said...

I don't know who Jeff Gluck is, but obviously if he's at the track every week and missed one race (boohoo) he's an insider. No offense intended go Gluk on that - Just call it as I see it.

Gluk said "If you're a fan, you may be reading this and smacking your forehead while saying, "DUH!"

Let me add a "no" and a few "hhh's to that"..

"No Duhhhhh"

Anonymous said...

Many NASCAR fans out there don't want Twitter, RaceBuddies, and the like. Some would just like to watch the race and not have 5 minutes of commercials every 10-12 laps. It just gets old to come back from commercial only to see on replay what we would've liked to have seen live.

Vince said...

All I can add is that it's about damn time!!

The Nascar media don't get it, the drivers and owners, don't get it and Nascar itself sure as hell doesn't get it.

The drivers, owners and Nascar brass all jet to the races and get treated like rock stars. They've got their own million dollar motor coachs to stay in and get treated like prima donas at the track. They all have NO CLUE what the average fan has to go though to just watch a race or to go to a race.

Like they say, it's all in perception. And the fans perception of the race broadcast is a lot different than the drivers, owners, media and Nascar. They seriously need to sit down on this off weekend and watch a race from start to finish. Commercials, promos and all. Then they will know what the fans are bitching about.

And if they really want some abuse, watch the Fox broadcast of the 600, not TNT's broadcasts. And watch the Fox prerace show. With the Three Stooges in the Hollywood Hotel.

I, because of economic issues, have had to cancel my cable tv after TNT's second race broadcast. So all I've had the last few weeks is RaceBuddy and MRN. And you know what? I haven't missed the tv broadcast at all! I guess once ESPN takes over I will be just listening on MRN/PRN. Seeing as they are not going to put the races on ABC tv anymore. And that's ok too. Football is coming and I can actually watch that and not get treated like an idiot by the guys in the booth.

Seriously all of you who are Nascar media. Sit down during this off week and watch a race from start to finish and let us know how you liked the broadcast. Please.

Adam Wood said...

The world cup just wrapped up and during every game I watched, there was NEVER a commercial break during the match itself. There were only breaks during pre-game, halftime, between regulation and extra time, and after the game. I wonder if it was in the contract with FIFA?

Ziggy said...

One good thing about this race: We had someone different that won. Although I could have done without the constant commercial breaks imagine how much uglier this telecast could have been if the usual suspects were always running in the top 5. Thank You Mr Reutimann.

David said...

To think, Gluck didn't even see the FOX portion. If he thought TNT was bad he has NO idea what we dealt with the first half!!!!

TNT had a very strong 6 races I felt. Last year was probably their high point, AA didn't bring as much to the table as I felt he could have or at least someone else could have. But I didn't feel TNT was overly bad until the final race.

Only once did they look beyond 15th and that was after Jimmie Johnson got back in traffic. That part was pathetic. Not only that, they pretty much missed the boat on the JPM/Mark Martin thing until the post race! How is that even excusable?

Commercials...I think we all saw that coming though after Wide Open.

Glad Gluck has some clue what is going on, maybe he realizes we aren't a bunch of obsessive compulsive impossible to please people! We just want a quality effort and quality product, not a bunch of make up slapped on a pig then call it beauty

Anonymous said...
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TexasRaceLady said...

A media insider who finally sees what we've been complaining about!

Has Hell frozen over? I must be in an alternate universe or something.

Thank you, Jeff Gluck for coming over to the home viewer's side.

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Ken said...

Like many football teams, the broadcast team should be required to watch the entire broadcast they presented the next work day and analyze their work. I think there would be a drastic change after they were exposed to their final product for a few weeks.

Sally said...

Am I wrong, or did Lee Spencer have a similar opinion after watching a race on TV earlier this season? I must sy, it's nice to have someone in the media acknowledge that the fans aren't just whining for nothing,and have a right to expect something coherent from the TV coverage. I wonder how much more horrified he'd be if he know that TNT is the pick of the litter this year so far? If he thought that was bad, he should have to sit thru DW babbling and the overuse of in-car and bumper cams that Fox pretends is race coverage.

Anonymous said...

Laughing as I read all these comments. Totally agree, the TV coverage is abyssmal at best. Although, I agree with those saying TNT has the best of the worst coverage. They at least have tried the in-picture of the race during commercials. TNT also offers RaceBuddies on Althought that could use some improvements too, in my opinion.

Most of the time the TV is running as background to Raceview, including the scanner of my favorite driver and crew. I found out long ago, if I wanted to really know what is going on in the race, TV is not the route to take.

In my opinion, this is the primary reason, NASCAR is not attracting any new fans. As a new fan, why would they waste their time watching the coverage on TV? Anyone casually checking out the sport would quickly lose interest, changing the channel during commercials to another venue.

Is there any way possible to make this point to NASCAR Execs and the Broadcasters? It's important in making the point to them, they should not watch the TV coverage after the race. Let them watch the race on TV as their only source of information about the race. No Raceview, RaceBuddies, scanner, radio, etc. Nothing but the live TV coverage. If they don't get the point then, they never will.

Sophia said...


I agree about more fun to listen on radio. if I got free over the air radio locally in house, would listen. Lost a semi strong FM station we could get in some rooms of the house this year. In the car might be able to find CUP race on distant station but usually only ONLINE.

Rarely find NW online & of course, never trucks.

NASCAR is ssoooooooooooooo out of touch with what is really happening with the sport/broadcast, they deserve to have the ratings continue to fall into the toilet.

Also agree on Gluck. If he finally "Got it" from watching TNT he did not "fully get it."

The tnt camera flow was fabulous aside from comm interruption,

Hell just LISTENING to TV on Fox or BSPN stinks from camera disjointed to SOUND DISJOINTED. what good is SURROUND SOUND for bounce around from track to in car, to bumper cam to another in car cam engine noise. It stinks I tell ya.

Need to find bookmarks again for races online but don't think Brickyard is possible as they have their OWN Radio station, correct? If somebody knows of a link to listen to Byard, please let me know.

Richard in N.C. said...

As more and more so-called reporters do their job by watching the race(s) on TV rather than attending the race in person, I find it curious that no one seems to watch the N-wide races on L'EESPN and find fault with them. For the Cup race at Pocono, Jeff G., Jenna Fryar, Dustin Long, and Monte Dutton, among others, all observed the race on TV rather than being at the track - and I feel it showed in their reporting, especially about Tom Logano's actual actions.

It seems more than clear to me that most of the media shows far more favoritism to L'EESPN than to NASCAR.

TerryG said...

I'm glad to see this, but doubt anything will change. But we can hope.

Lloyd said...

I can watch from start to finish if I watch it in golf mode. You know, basically napping the whole time but if someone changes the channel I say, "Turn it back" without opening my eyes.

glenc1 said...

Richard, not really sure what you're responding to, but as you probably know I doubt the reporters are doing that by choice (watching on TV.) The economy has forced this upon them; particularly for the further north/west races. Perhaps they didn't have a lot of issues with ESPN's coverage, or other things were more important to them at the time. To be honest, I don't think it's their primary job to be all over the poor coverage, they are trying to cover the actual race. I'm just not seeing what favoritism they have shown to ESPN by *not* complaining. N'wide doesn't get as much exposure, and Cup races have not yet started there (this year.) In a few weeks it'll be more clear.

GinaV24 said...

Bevo -- I don't think its a hole that Sirius and NASCAR have their head stuck in -- I'm thinking it is another area where the sun don't shine.

I have totally given up on Sirius radio except when the race is on. I know they get paid by a nascar entity but it has gone beyond the limits I can stand for being politically correct and shifted into the unreal world populated by Brainless France and his friends.

Richard in N.C. said...

glen1, I really have 2 issues. As more and more reporters "cover" races by watching them on TV, I feel they have an obligation to make it clear to their readers that they are commenting on what was on TV rather than reporting from the track. I do find it curious how many big name reporters failed to go to Pocono. Could it be that going to Pocono is inconvenient and there is an anti-Pocono bias in the media as a result?

2nd, from what I see, the mainstream media virtually never criticizes L'EESPN, but frequently criticizes NASCAR - and almost everything that NASCAR does. I see far more of an anti-NASCAR bias in the media than a pro-NASCAR bias. Curiously a couple of years ago when ABC-EESPN shifted the end of the Phoenix race from ABC to EESPN2, the southern based NASCAR media blamed NASCAR (not ABC-EESPN) for the shift.