Thursday, September 16, 2010

Online Radio Stalemate Continues

Wednesday the line-up of personalities on SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 128 was amazing. Chase drivers mixed with TV personalities, crew chiefs, owners and a host of other great guests.

As the sport heads into the Chase, this week is the big media push to get the word out about the first race in Loudon, NH. Here is just a partial list of some folks who appeared on SiriusXM Wednesday:

Steve Addington, Brad Daugherty, Gil Martin, Bob Osborne, Darrell Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Greg Erwin, Tony Stewart, Todd Berrier, Jeff Gordon, Dave Rogers, Shane Wilson, Denny Hamlin, Rusty Wallace, Jack Roush, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards. The list goes on and on.

For those fortunate enough to have SiriusXM in their vehicles, the day was memorable. For those fortunate enough to be able to access the SiriusXM satellite signal at home or in the workplace, it was just as memorable. The problem is that millions of NASCAR fans are not on that fortunate list.

The picture above is of the SiriusXM online app for cell phones. There is also a program for streaming the SiriusXM signal online for desktops, laptops, iPads and other devices. What all of this wonderful technology has in common is that none of it can deliver Channel 128. NASCAR audio cannot be streamed online.

Turner Sports Interactive holds the total online rights to NASCAR in a contract that has years to run. Turner wants payment from SiriusXM before any signal, including Channel 128, is used online. Needless to say, SiriusXM just avoided bankruptcy recently with a bail-out from a top media executive. Cash is the last thing Sirius has lying around.

Once again this year, as the NASCAR season gets ready to head into the playoffs, there will be no solution to this problem. Nothing has changed.

Off Season Priority: Online Streaming Of SiriusXM Channel 128 was a TDP column in December of 2009. Click here to read the post which has references and some good reader comments. Here is the opening paragraph.

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.

This season ESPN has proven the issues affecting the 2009 coverage are continuing despite some new faces in new places. The current ESPN production philosophy of focusing on a handful of stars for the short segments of racing between commercials just does not work in Sprint Cup Series coverage.

While Sprint has a phone app called NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, the program features scanner chatter on races and some online text links to SPEED and the website. Sirius is the only outlet that provides fulltime weekday radio support for the sport.

Sirius, Turner and NASCAR are all representing their own interests as business folks do, but there has to come a time when those parties realize that the ship may be taking on water. Between the NFL, the economy and the wide variety of other TV and online sports options, NASCAR is just not the same product it was five years ago.

Distributing this viable and important Sirius signal through modern technology to as many fans as possible simply has to be a priority at this time. Let's hope someone with character does the right thing and breaks-up this stalemate soon.

We welcome 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.


Anonymous said...

"Once again this year, as the NASCAR season gets ready to head into the playoffs, there will be no solution to this problem. Nothing has changed." There is a solution. Nascar should sit down with all parties and do what needs to be done for the sport, even if that means giving up some money. But that would take a leader with vision. Sad. MC

GinaV24 said...

I have a sirius setup, including a docking station that I can use at home, but unless they make Channel 128 available online, I can't access it from work.

IMO this would be a good value added thing for NASCAR, but if it doesn't put $$ in their own pocket, I'm not expecting them to do anything for the fans. It would be nice if all the parties would get together and work out details on the coverage, including online stuff, that best serves the fans, but I know I'm crazy to even think that will ever happen.

I sure don't plan to change my cell phone plan to Sprint to get the lame stuff they give on that package.

Anonymous said...

Sirius needs to get serious and pay Turner for the rights to stream online. Nothing in life is for free, and anything can be bought, for the right price. Turner would be doing their stockholders a disservice by not protecting their assets, as the rights ultimately belong to the stockholders themselves as a public company.

NASCAR can try to facilitate a deal. They should take on that responsibility as they are the ones who sold the rights away in this very restrictive deal.

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all interested in pay radio. Overwhelmingly it's just more buttons to push to find decent music because it's so badly programmed. I'm not paying for radio just to get the NASCAR channel. Forget the cellphone option: most Sprint phones that can handle that audio have horrible battery life. Audio, GPS, web, etc. sucks the battery dry in no time at all. There are many free radio options NASCAR could pursue, but they're seemingly clueless or uninterested as to how to go about it.

Mike in Pittsburgh said...

I have complained about this in the past and I doubt it will ever get fixed. Since the merger it there isn't much incentive for them to really do anything with content. I think we will lose Stern, a bunch more nascar, and probably other sports as the current contracts run out or they will be scaled way back.

I have a lifetime subscriptions so I still get the online for free but when they came out with the Android app they want paid again for that and the web version won't work even though I do have flash on the phone so I missed everything yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I can see how this benefits the fans, but you haven't really laid out a case for why this benefits the companies.

Also, you say that Sirius doesn't have a lot of cash lying around, but their balance sheets are public information, and anyone who wants to go to Google Finance can quickly see that Sirius actually has hundreds of millions in cash. Their stock may be in the dumper, and their market cap is a fraction of what is was a few years ago, but they are not cash-strapped.

The simple fact that breaks down this deal is that Sirius would have to pay to put out this content... but it is exactly this type of exclusive content that attracts paying subscribers. By watering it down, via increasing accessibility, they would be hurting their overall market appeal. After all, their business model is based on selling the hardware, as well as generating monthly subscription fees.

Anonymous said...

What is the motivation for Sirius to distribute the Channel 128 signal over phones? I can think of plenty of reasons fans would want this. I can even think of a bunch of reasons the phone-makers would want to be able to boast this feature.

But I can't for the life of me think of a single reason why Sirius would want to make this deal. Doing so doesn't appear to benefit them at all (aside from good will, and good will and $3 will buy you a Starbucks coffee).

James said...

NASCAR has chosen to shaft the fans with their position on SIRUS. How can they be that stupid to not want the core fan to have access to the Show broadcast from the Hall and staffed by NASCARS devout. Like TV's Race Hub, being scheduled against NASCAR NOW? What idiot is in charge of this? Why go through the trouble of controlling every news outlet and then not allow access, maybe the "real NASCAR Fan" never leaves their car?

David said...

A compelling issue, but I think the interesting point in all of this (and perhaps a great topic for tomorrow?) is simple.

While it's a bummer that 99% of NASCAR fans missed out on hearing their favorite driver on Satellite radio, the real question is:


I tried to follow Harvick around yesterday - he was on the last 5 minutes of Mike and Mike yesterday and the majority of that was talking about his golf game. Then a brief stint on First Take, with no other NASCAR talk in the program, and the majority of NASCAR Now was answering stupid Twitter questions.

I mean c'mon, the networking AIRING THE CHASE isn't even giving the sport its props in the week leading up to the playoffs.

And we're supposed to believe moving the first Chase race to Chicago is going to make everything better? Please!

Vicky D said...

The only time I had satellite radio was when I had a rental car in Atlanta a couple of years ago it was ok I guess. So I don't see putting it in my personal car I use my IPOD to play music since so many stations here in Houston are so terrible to listen to.

Darcie said...

Sirius/XM has steadily gone down the crapper since the merger. I have Sirius in both my cars, as it came with it and Mercedes gives a year free. But I can tell you, the programming has really regressed in the past months. Instead of all music all the time, they now have DJ's who flap their gums instead of just the solid music they used to have. As for Nascar on Sirius, I stopped listening when they "dumped" John Kernan and Tony Stewart's show. Now, 128 is nothing but shills for Nascar, and anyone who dares call in to criticize Nascar is treated with such total disrespect that I no longer listen to 128. Perhaps if Sirius hired gabbers who were not in the pocket of Nascar, or who aren't afraid of losing their hard cards, we might have a good show. But with the likes of Moody,, who only rah-rah for Nascar, why bother listening? I don't care if it's streamed directly into my brain, Channel 128 is useless, unless it's for race broadcasts only.

Tom said...

Darcie is absolutely correct. Aside from the actual race broadcast, 128 has no value to a thinking race fan. At least Moody admits (fairly regularly) that he is a shill, the so called hosts in the morning try to split hairs and claim that they do not work for NASCAR (technically true, they work for ISC). NASCAR (or ISC) own the content of all the you expect anything but 24/7 koolaide drinking??

Inverness, FL

earl06 said...

I've had Sirius for years and used to be a huge fan of NASCAR 128. Lately, I haven't been listening much, tho'.

The talk-radio format kind of kills it. Once in a while someone calls with an interesting point, but basically it's a bunch of bored truckers calling in.

The interviews are all pretty stock PR jargon, which I'm sure was the case Wednesday for all the chase garbage from New York. Seriously, how often can one hear, "We're really looking forward to _______ so that we can get some momentum going into blah blah blah," and not want to switch the station?

NASCAR and it's media partners have made a mistake by trying to present quantity as quality in the programming presented to the public.

SPEED has 8 or 10 hours of glop every weekend that could be boiled down to about an hour or two of informative and interesting shows.

Sirius has 15 hours a day that might result in an hour of relevant information.

Race broadcasts are about half commercials and promos, a quarter nonsense, and a quarter decent reporting.

If Sirius 128 wants to be important enough to be streamed on the internet, it needs an upgrade on the content. There's no way anyone will pay much to listen to half-baked call-in shows all day.

No need for Reed said...

Just when you thought " we dont
need Reed " couldnt be more annoying - the saga continues.
Now he is raising and lowering his
voice - just like being a real
good student in Announcing School.
And those cute snide little
laughs and comments. Dont get me
**There is no NEED for marty reed

Haus14 said...

as someone who has Sirius in my car, I do love listening to channel 128. Unfortunately, I am not in my vehicle all of the time. I have an i-phone and would add the radio app in a instant...if 128 was offered.

I sure hope that Sirius has done a profitablilty analysis on Turner's request for payment to allow NASCAR radio to be broadcast. Since Nascar fans are so loyal, it seems to me that even if Sirius had to pay for the online broadcast rights, it would still be a profitable venture.

Bryan said...

I had Sirius for 3 years, mainly because of Howard Stern, but NASCAR radio was a huge bonus. I absolutely loved listening to 128, and it's a shame to hear this content still isn't streamed online. Besides hearing my man Smoke weekly, every day I would listen to Dave Moody (who I could listen to while he describes how paint dries), David Poole (RIP) ,Chocolate Myers, and occasionally Buddy Baker on some programs. I believe Mike Bagley hosted/co-hosted a show as well. I tell ya, that was some of the best content I've ever heard and how it isn't accessible online yet with the strides in techonology is a travesty. From what I recall, they only had 20 or so stations that culd be streamed anyway. Not sure if more have been added, but it wouldn't surprise me. It always seemed like Sirius didn't take it's online audience very seriously. Still a great service though, and for those who have not tried it out, do it!