Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SiriusXM Stand-Off With Turner Sports Continues

Since the two NASCAR news TV shows went dark, fans have been asking questions about SiriusXM Satellite radio. It usually happens this way every year.

Let's talk about SiriusXM and NASCAR content. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) is owned by NASCAR and has been around for a very long time. MRN supplies the content for SiriusXM during the weekdays from a studio based near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. SiriusXM and MRN just re-upped for several years on this contract.

Satellite radio has limitations. Originally intended for motor vehicles, it can also be heard using a portable SiriusXM receiver if there is the ability to get a signal. Recently, SiriusXM has been moving toward addressing distribution issues by paying for online access.

Click here to view the SiriusXM page that discusses the options for getting a signal using laptops, tablets and smart phones. As you can see from the many choices, when it comes to getting a SiriusXM signal on your portable devices, there certainly is an app for that.

While all that is well and good, NASCAR brings with it some issues. "Off-Season Priority: Online Streaming of SiriusXM NASCAR" was a TDP column from December of 2009. Click here to read it.

In a nutshell, here is the scoop. NASCAR sold the online rights to the sport, including the audio content, to Turner Sports as part of the deal allowing Turner to operate the website. If SiriusXM wants to stream the NASCAR channel it distributes online, it has to pay Turner.

It seems ironic that Turner and SiriusXM cannot simply agree to revenue share and see if they can grow the business by adding the NASCAR channel online. Turner does not offer anything that conflicts and certainly SiriusXM could use the exposure. In the end, SiriusXM says Turner wants too much and Turner says pay up.

As is so often the case, the loser in all of this is the fans. If SiriusXM was available online the sport would be better off. I know the issues with "shills" and company men, but that is something any sports radio channel has to deal with. Everyone has a perspective and sometimes it is paycheck related.

SiriusXM features guests of all kinds on the weekday shows, often adding them on the fly as news is breaking or events happening in the sport. The real news source for NASCAR is Twitter and SiriusXM. Twitter provides instant information and links to website pages. Sirius allows those involved in the stories to speak their peace.

While ESPN and SPEED shifted their NASCAR TV news programs into terrible timeslots in the heart of the 2011 season, SiriusXM just kept on chugging day after day with news, interviews and opinions. Love it or hate it, SiriusXM's NASCAR coverage was consistent, live and on target.

We have two months or so before things crank back up on the racing side. It certainly would be nice to hear that the parties involved in this conflict have resolved their differences and put the sport and the fans first this time.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. We do not allow hateful speech, derogatory comments or links to other websites. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I (and most of the people I work with) get most of our information from twitter while at work (the company blocks in my car I listen to sirius. I don't remember the last time I went to for anything. Having said that, it would be nice if I could have the app on my phone so I could listen.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why NASCAR sold the online rights in the first place?

Anonymous said...

How long is the contract for the online rights?

DaveM4210 said...

There is also daily NASCAR programming on MRN, IF you live in an area where the affiliate carries all of the MRN programming. I do not have a local station that carries any MRN programming, so I can not speak for the quality or content. 3 of the MRN programs are rebroadcast on SiriusXM at 10pm EST on week nights.

Most of the SiriusXM NASCAR programs are typical call-in talk shows. They usually have a guest each hour, including drivers, crew chiefs, owners, track representatives, etc. Being radio, the guests generally get more time than TV allows for interviews, so you get more details about whatever the discussion topic is.

I spent the big bucks to have SiriusXM NASCAR in the house, both in the living room and bedroom. Since I am an XM subscriber, I have to pay $2.99 extra for the NASCAR channel, but I am not complaining. Existing subscribers pay $2.99 for internet or mobile app access. It is very much worth the $8.97 a month extra that I pay to have the NASCAR channel on all three of my radios. And it is saving my money on the electric bill. Since I got SiriusXM NASCAR in the house, I am listening to it a lot of the time that I used to have the TV on, so I am using less electricity.

NASCAR needs to do something to get Turner to lighted up with the online stuff so that it is available to anyone that want is.

Ken said...

I was waiting for this post to come. Thanks John! I have to tell you, this is the one MAJOR issue I have with NASCAR. This is the ONLY channel on SiriusXM that I think isn't streamed. Even the NFL and MLB are streaming on Sirius. Howard Stern is streaming. If those entities can do it, NASCAR can to.

One of the conversations was lack of a NASCAR channel on TV. NASCAR needs to step in and negotiate with both SirusXM and Turner to get this on their mobile app.

Since my job role changed I am rarely in the car where I have SiriusXM so my listening has shifted to other channels using SiriusXM Internet Radio.

I am going to buy a Sonos whole home audio system and Sirius is supported. Such a shame I can't use this with that channel.

And no, I am not going to mount an external satellite antenna on my home for just one channel.

SnowdogBob said...

I only go to when i follow a story link from Jayski, until a couple chases races where i went to check the online racebuddy content. Whatever Turner is paying for the rights I'm not thinking it's been a very good deal. Right around the time Marty Smith went to ESPN I stopped finding stories worth reading on Now, I get my NASCAR information from Sirius, DalyPlanet, and Jayski (pretty much in that order) i only go to Jayski for the story links he posts, not for actual news, it's been a while since i read something there I hadn't already heard. I've set myself up to listen to Sirius most places I happen to be, but having it available online would make some of that easier.

I'm actually quite surprised there's not "Sirius" rebroadcasts similar to the TV rebroadcasters. Streaming the sirius audio broadcast unofficially would take trivial bandwidth compared to the TV signal for races. If I was living outside the US I'd give anything to be able to stream Sirius (well Sirius NASCAR).

DaveM4210 said...

One thing SiriusXM NASCAR can do that TV can not is let callers talk directly to guests in a more informal way. Junior Johnson was a guest tonite on Late Shift with Buddy Baker and Jim Noble. Junior took several calls and talked with the callers and answered questions. The only chance of that happening on TV is Wind Tunnel on Speed with Dave Despain, but with limitations that you don't have on radio. Callers on Wind Tunnel are expected to keep their questions on topic regarding the topic of discussion on Wind Tunnel. ON Late Shift, Junior got 4 or 5 questions that varied in topic from DC to Daylight. Thanks, Junior Johnson! (FYI, I was listening to the late-night replay, or I would have called in!!!)

@Ken 10:43pm
The list of channels available on the mobile apps is only 120 channels, and definitely not including a couple of the so-called premium channels, or which NASCAR and Howard Stern are two. I am not sure what else is not included, but when I last looked at the list, the one channel I wanted for internet or mobile listening was not available. They definitely do not include "everything".

Addendum to my previous 10:43 post: Due to the difference in technology, XM subscribers have to pay extra for certain Sirius channels. Before the merger that brought Sirius Radio and XM Radio under one roof, they used totally different technology. They still use that different technology after the merger, but plans are under way to eventually eliminate one of the 2 different systems. XM Radio uses a series of IIRC 3 synchronous high orbit satellite that are always in the same location with respect to the Earth;s rotation. Sirius uses a series of IIRC 12 low earth orbit satellite in which each satellite does not provide continuous non-stop coverage, depending on it's orbit location. Eventually, this issue will be resolved. As best as I can remember (several years since I read the details), Sirius satellite technology will be switched over to the XM technology which is less expensive to operate and maintain, and which results in less expensive radios,.This change will be slowly phased in as the Sirius satellites reach their end-of-life and require replacement. Again, this is due to the mergers of Sirius and XM.

For those considering adding a satellite radio to their electronics collection, you should go with EX and pay the $2.99 premium for the SiriusXM NASCAR channel.If you buy a Sirius racio, eventually you will have to replace it because at some point in time it will not longer be compatible with the satellite system in use. That "drop-dead", if I correctly understand, may be several years away in the future, but I am certainly not an expert in that field. For potential buyers, my recommendation is to by XM hardware and pay the premium for SiriusXM NASCAR.

But by ALL means, Go for it! $50-$75 will get you and XM radio with the optional "House Kit: That, and a set of inexpensive computer speakers or a cable to connect to you stereo systeeem is all you need. I have a standard (original) XM Roady in the car, a XM Roady XT in the bedroom (it includes clock-radio style Sleep and Wake UP functions), and an Antenna/Tuner for my "XM Ready" pioneer stereo. The "XM Ready Devices" are only an antenna and tuner (no display capability to listen to it direct without other hardware.

The "XM or Sirius Ready" antenna tuners are designed to work only with certain stereo receiver models which are sole by Pioneer, Yamaha and a couple other manufactures. You connect the device to the appropriate socket on the back of your stereo, and then use the standard tuning wheel on the from of the receiver. This works better with some receivers than others. I just happen to have a Pioneer receiver that is not 1100% compatible. Some functions do not work. When I go to bed, I set the Roady XT to turn on at a specified time. Once I get out of bed, I turn it off and turn on the stereo with the dedicated antenna-turner. I normally listen to SiriusXN NASCAR until 7pm.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear from an impartial person how much Turner is asking and how much SiriusXM is wanting to pay, and what is reasonable. Also, should we be saying Time Warner is calling the shots as opposed to Turner? We know, without a doubt, that ever since bf took over it is all about the money. I have seen nothing from bf/nascar that says anything will be different in the future so I am not looking for any meaningful changes. But, I do agree with everything JD states in this article.

OSBORNK said...

I guess I'm the one with a different opinion. I got a new car a couple of months ago with Sirius in it. I immediately went to NASCAR in anticipation of current and accurate information. All I heard hour after hour was a rosy picture painted of NASCAR. Even 100% of the callers allowed on the radio only said "good" things such as "best racing in the history of NASCAR", "the chase is the best thing ever", "everything is great", etc. It was quickly clear that it is simply a PR vehicle and not a source for accurate information.

After about a dozen attempts to get accurate news from NASCAR on Sirius, I gave up and tuned into music stations such as 50s on 5, 60s on 6, etc.

GinaV24 said...

If I could stream the nascar channel online, I'd be willing to pay for it.

I wasn't willing to pay for something that I could only listen to in my car or that required me to buy MORE equipment and hang an antenna out my window at home.

Plus, JD, as you said, the problem with "shills and company men" became an overwhelming issue when coupled with the inconvenience of use. I'm not a big fan of "talk radio" anyway - probably why I don't like ESPN's SC and other related programming since for me it comes across the same way.

And they cut down so much of the NASCAR coverage - no practice or qualifying coverage, so I felt like I was getting less and less bang for my buck.

Roland said...

Id love to be able to fire up the Sirius app and listen to the races on there instead of week after week endlessly hunting station on my tunein app. They are really missing the boat. Not surprising. Turner kinda screws up everything when it comes to NASCAR online content.

bevo said...

@OSBORNK - That is my exact problem with SXM NASCAR RADIO. Since the passing of David Poole there hasn't been a critical voice on the channel. Our own host here at The Daly Planet was a semi-regular guest on the afternoon show. I still remember how excited I was when he made his first appearances. He was straightforward in his comments about the tv coverage but never vicious or personal. In no way could it be interpreted as "hater". It's as obvious as the nose on my face that the producer and host got pressure from the tv partners and NASCAR to stop having him as a guest.

That is a glaring example of a business that doesn't get it in a new media environment. I can watch all HBO content on my phone,laptop and iPod but can't get a race.

Shayne Flaherty said...

I have SiriusXM satellite service. My truck has a factory installed XM radio. I also have the SiriusXM app on my desktop PC, BlackBerry smartphone, and BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

The NASCAR channel (Channel 90) is only available in my vehicle.

Not allowing mobile device subscribers access to Channel 90 makes no sense at all.

I don't have satellite TV. I would gladly pay for an online subscription to watch races from my mobile devices and home PC.

It's almost 2012. Come on NASCAR, some of us are trying to put money in your pockets. Put your races online.

OSBORNK said...

Bevo-I guess I didn't get Sirius and the Nascar channel until it had been cleansed of objective commentators. I was really disappointed to finally get the channel and find that it had been converted into a propaganda vehicle.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't a forum for XM tech but......for those of you who are fans but are unwilling to place an antenna outside your house, here is a possible less unsightly solution. Buy a Terk XM home signal repeater. Place the antenna on any window sill which faces south. Hook the terk repeater receiver antenna to any stereo in your house. (I have two Terk signal receivers: one on basement home theater stereo and one in my living room). Presto. My situation works out perfectly because the repeater's antenna is behind a curtain and the repeater box is hidden in a closed cabinet.

Anonymous said...


You have spoken before about "ala carte" cable packages as a way of reducing the monthly bills, although it doesn't yet exist.

I have no desire to pay for Howard Stern or Chris Russo or any of the other stuff, but I'd like to find out how much it would cost to get all the out-of-town radio coverage of baseball and football games and NASCAR.

I'd like to find out if I could get that programming in a receiver I could carry with me on my commute and to the gym for a price that won't make me wince, especially because I'd have to buy the receiver too.


AncientRacer said...

All the posts point out my problem though are not as blunt as I will be: It is all too complicated for my pea brain to figure out without expending more effort than I am willing to expend, spending more money than I am willing to spend, and taking more time than I am willing to take.

Even were I to do all the work, I imagine about the time I got it figured out stuff would change and I would be back on "Go" minus my $200.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:58PM,

Back then NASCAR treated the online rights just like the TV or radio rights. It was something to make money on by selling some NASCAR content. They never dreamed that social media, Internet video and other new apps would change the world. Basically, they are just riding a bad contract out until it's over.

Anon 7:28AM,

Turner and Sirius will not disclose a figure. Turner says it makes sense and is fair. Sirius says it is impossible to pay and overpriced. Imagine that.


If the Sirius NASCAR universe went from a couple million to a 50 or 80 million you would find that things on the air would change rather quickly. All it takes to make things better is a little success and a bigger audience.


Zetona said...

This is very much off topic, but I think noteworthy: the NFL's new TV deal is worth some 50% more than its previous one, so that NBC, CBS and FOX pay some $3 billion a year combined, ESPN pays $1.9 billion and DirectTV pays $1 billion per year. Given we commenters' continued allegations that NASCAR's TV deal is all about the money and not about the coverage, it'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

Anonymous said...

Turner is cutting its own throat. When its contract is up NASCAR will move to take control of the online rights back -- not because of SiriusXM but because NASCAR is not happy with having the online site that bears its name often publishing critical articles about the sport. If Turner gets a new contract, it will only be after NASCAR gains much more editorial control.

Anonymous said...

Agree with snowdog, is very difficult to read and is days late with result, points, race detail. Jayski does a MUCH better job of fan info.MRN only carried on race days here and then on weak signal stations. Hard to understand why NASCAR sold online rights unless they did it Back when that newfangled internets thing was thought to be a passing fad.

TEX said...

Turner knows as much about racing as I do Hockey and soccer combined.

Who in their right mind watches TBS or CNN or TNT? That old broke down re-run programming is terrible. If you sleep under a rock for 5 years you can wake up today and catch an old re-run and never miss a beat.

Whats even more astounding is NASCAR selling off anything...Website controll and online content.

Im sure ol Ted Turner wrote ISC a check and ISC said...have at it boys!

Kill us fans with endless TNT self advertising of The Closer for crying out loud.

Hire the likes of Bill Weber and let him tell us "you dont have to look it up cause we already did".


Thank the lord for Twitter,FB
DP and Jayski..ITS THE ONLY WAY TO GET NEWS right now.

Ken said...


I am curious if you know anything about the NFL deals with media outlets. Perhaps you could do a comparison article between NASCAR and the NFL? It would be interesting to see how the two stack up. I know there are differences between the sports, but the NFL seems to have been very successful in media efforts.



Anonymous said...

I go to only to access Trackpass. Otherwise for news I go to Jayski. Both and their media site (yes, I'm in the media) are clunky and cluttered and difficult to navigate. The NASCAR channel was nice when I was paying for it but overall XM/Sirius is poorly programmed and it led to constant button pushing in the car. And Claire B. Lang drives me nuts. She has to tell you the entire content of a voice bit three or four times before she finally plays it. But worse, she leads the drivers into saying what she wants them to say when she interviews them. But they love her because she plays by their rules and never challenges them becuase she's afraid if she does they'll cut off her access.

Anonymous said...

FACT CHECK - Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio does not contract with MRN to produce any of its content. The channel has its own producers that work independantly of MRN - although three MRN voices do hold down regular airshifts on Sirius/XM NASCAR radio. MRN does provide the use of studios to the channel, but the shows are directed out of the Sirius headquarters in Washington D.C.

Also, MRN is not owned by NASCAR. MRN is owned by International Speedway Corporation - a publicly held company. The confusion is rooted in the fact that much of the ISC board is made up of members of the France family, who also sit on the NASCAR board. But the companies are separate.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:21PM,

Talk about splitting hairs!

The MRN personalities go to the MRN studios (or NASCAR Hall of Fame) for weekday SiriusXM NASCAR radio shows.

Sirius management in DC is along for the ride in the same way that SPEED's Master Control is located in Los Angeles.

MRN is owned by Lesa and her ISC company so it has a shred of credibility in terms of not being directly owned by the sanctioning body on which it "reports."

Every NASCAR fan knows that MRN is run directly by the NASCAR executives in Charlotte, not the ISC ticket-sellers in Daytona.

I understand your point and I hope you can see mine. The bigger picture is the stand-off between these two parties and the inability of grown men to solve this single issue.


TEX said...

Big News out of NASCAR today as they have made big changes to the radiators and going to bigger plates and softer springs.

Wouldnt it be nice to have that covered on SPEED.

Testing is right around the corner.

Wish RACE HUB was still around.