Sunday, January 4, 2009

No "SPEED Report" This Sunday Is Bad News

Things have been going very well for SPEED as the network moves from rented studio and production facilities to a new High Definition broadcast facility just north of Charlotte, NC. Click here for a link to David Poole's story about the move.

Many TDP readers have also been checking-in with the good news that SPEED-HD has been recently added to their cable systems. SPEED's goal is to get all the 2009 NASCAR programming in HD and continue to grow the HD availability of the network.

The move to a permanent facility is great, but unfortunately it comes at a price.

SPEED is not ready to go on the air from the facility and will not be able to produce the first live SPEED Report this Sunday at 7PM. This program (click here) is still listed on the website. Hopefully, the network will be ready one week later and start the racing news coverage on January 11th.

NASCAR fans know that the off-season has been packed with news and SPEED has been left out in the cold where TV coverage of the sport is concerned. This Sunday would have been a perfect day to catch fans up on the Elliott Sadler lawsuit and explore other topics like Ray Evernham's strange silence on the issue and Richard Petty's thoughts on the end of Petty Enterprises.

While NASCAR may be the focus of this blog, it is Grand-Am fans that are also not very happy with SPEED. This weekend is the only test session before the Rolex 24 race in Daytona. An on-site reporter would have been able to update SPEED Report viewers about the wide variety of drivers participating in the big race this season. Now, there will be no TV coverage of the test at all.

Compounding the issue is the fact that SPEED is the official TV network of Grand-Am racing and will carry all the key races live this season. No matter how you slice it, missing out on a report from the test session will put a dent in the Grand-Am Series season opener.

Since SPEED committed to revamping The SPEED Report the series has taken-off in terms of viewership and credibility. The days of Ken and Barbie are long gone as the network now rotates SPEED's own on-air talent through the co-anchor positions each week during the season.

Viewers have seen Krista Voda, Bob Varsha, Leigh Diffey, Ralph Sheheen and others present a fast-paced and exciting hour of news and highlights from all over the motorsports world. 2009 should bring an even more sophisticated program from the new SPEED studios.

Regardless of the reason, the homepage (click here) for The SPEED Report explains none of these facts to readers and instead promotes Jimmy Johnson in NYC and the upcoming 2008 Sprint Cup Series banquet. How is it that this website continues to be such a mess?

Hopefully, it will be just over a week when SPEED returns to live motorsports news programming on Sunday, January 11th with the first edition of The SPEED Report. There is little doubt that this first program will move quickly, as the network has a whole lot of catching-up to do.

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