Saturday, March 31, 2012
Rain at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday morning has pushed back the TV schedule. At 12:30PM, there was an oil-down on the track and NASCAR was still trying to qualify the Sprint Cup Series cars.
The start of the truck series race is going to be delayed until at least 2PM. SPEED will try a short pre-race show before the trucks start.
We will be on Twitter with the live race stream. Twitter.com/thedalyplanet is our location. Just type #TDP1 into the search box to see the live stream, add #TDP1 to the end of your tweets to join the conversation.
Hope to see you on Twitter today.
Friday, March 30, 2012
SPEED is the only game in town on Friday from the Martinsville Speedway. Since there is no Nationwide Series race, there is no ESPN event presence. FOX and SPEED get the spotlight.
John Roberts hosts the first NASCAR Live program to kick off the day at noon. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds are calling the Cup practice sessions. Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren are the reporters. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip will handle the trucks. Hermie Sadler and Ray Dunlap are the reporters.
The "new look" Trackside will give it another go at 5PM with host Krista Voda. Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood are the panelists and Marianela Pereyra is the reporter. Regan Smith and Ty Dillon are the guests.
This show gets crazier every week as it veers away from hardcore NASCAR info and heads into the entertainment world. For those asking, the puppet on the show dressed in Dale Jr. fan attire is called Hammerdropper88. Seriously, it has its own Twitter account (@Hammerdropper88) and those on the show and in SPEED PR world send it tweets. Well, it all certainly is interesting to watch.
The nightcap is Danielle Trotta hosting NASCAR Performance and Adam Alexander hosting SpeedCenter. Trotta's show is recorded during the week at the SPEED studios while Alexander is live with all the motorsports news.
We are just going to open the blog for TV comments all day long. It's been a tough couple of weeks in the NASCAR TV world. Maybe Martinsville will be the ticket to turning things around with the fans. Happy to have your comments.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It was tough from the start and ended with a whimper. FOX came on the air after two hours of RaceDay on SPEED and one hour of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Even with a three hour lead-in, the reality of racing on this wide track was clear.
The Waltrip brothers started the day with another pre-race show where opinions were being expressed only from a driver's perspective. There is a reason that the TV networks normally have a former crew chief on the panel. The Waltrip brothers simply don't mesh in the infield like they did in the TV booth for SPEED last year. It should be interesting to see if something changes soon.
Mike Joy tried his best to make something from nothing, but the TV pictures did not help. On a wide track with little racing but high speeds, FOX did not use in-cars or focus on technology or even tell stories. They just made it miserable.
Lap after lap of nothing from the TV crew but boring pictures of strung-out cars. Little sense of the building rain drama, no crew chief interviews and nothing to pump-up the telecast for TV viewers.
The energy level of the overall TV crew was low from the start and that is not the way it has been in the past for FOX. This race used to be all about the promotion of movie and TV stars and the best opportunity for FOX to show-off its West Coast presence. None of that was in place on this telecast.
Fundamentals like passes for the lead, pitstops and even the red flag being displayed were missed. As the cars came around under the caution for rain, Tony Stewart's fake out move was thankfully caught by Mike Joy as it happened. Once again, FOX showed us the important moments of this race through replays.
Jeff Hammond was once again a square peg in a round hole. His roving reporter cut-ins are taking away from the pit reporters and in this race even covered a key pass for the lead. There is simply no way to insert him under green and not take away from the live telecast. The producers have not figured out how to make him fit.
There just isn't a lot to say about this race on TV. Perhaps you can help by giving us your opinion of this effort by the NASCAR on FOX team. In the end, Dick Berggren interviewed Tony Stewart and the day was done.
To add your opinion to this conversation, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
SPEED sent along a note last week saying that DeLana Harvick was going to be a guest on the Thursday edition of the Race Hub show. The note got me to thinking about what could have been.
It was January of 2009 when the TLC network announced it had reached an agreement for a new show that was going to be produced by the NASCAR Media Group (NMG). In a style called "docu-soap," four women deeply involved in NASCAR would be the subjects of a new series.
In addition to Harvick, the others in the show were to be Angie Skinner, Shana Mayfield and Kelley Earnhardt. Harvick was listed as one of the Executive Producers, meaning that she would actively participate in coordinating what type of content would be included. That is one of the TLC promotional pictures shown above.
Click here for a story from Sport Business Journal reporter Michael Smith. He details the controversial end of the NASCAR Wives project before an episode even aired and explains the reason behind the cancellation. Simply put, the network wanted to create fake conflict and storylines.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
"The network wanted situations created that were not true to how these women normally act," said NMG chief Jay Abraham. "They wanted conflict, and we just weren’t willing to go down that road.”
"We just had to go our separate ways,” Abraham said. “We were never able to agree on the creative approach for the project. We simply were not going to do anything to undermine the credibility and the relationships we have with our drivers. We were being asked to do things more in line with traditional reality programming and it wasn’t true to the nature and personality of our sport and the women involved."
Essentially, the TLC executives were not content to offer a realistic snapshot of the lives of these four very diverse women. Instead, the insane name calling and cat fighting that attracts viewers to the "Real Housewives Of Anywhere" franchise was requested.
This year, the NASCAR TV programming landscape is the bleakest it has been since 2007. There are no original programming series, no new "reality" shows of any kind and no behind-the-scenes shows that have won NMG award after award. In fact, the Executive Producer at NMG was fired last year and has not been replaced.
Last week, Showtime put the Inside NASCAR TV series on hiatus until September. ESPN's NASCAR Now is drowning in a 3PM weekday timeslot with no re-air. SPEED's Race Hub was pushed from 7 to 6PM and is no match for TV news programming on the East Coast.
Amid this environment, just imagine where the NASCAR Wives franchise could be right now if TLC had just taken the original idea presented by Abraham back in 2009 and run with it. The real lives of these four women have taken incredible turns without one moment of fake drama.
The sudden closing of Kevin Harvick Inc. was surprising, but perhaps less surprising then having Harvick subsequently announce DeLana's pregnancy during the pre-season NASCAR Media Tour. You want drama, the Harvick family can flat-out deliver it. Their world is about to change forever.
Skinner moved to a high-profile NASCAR radio job while her husband continues to slowly wind-down a long driving career. Partnered with Dave Moody and heard nationally five days a week, Angie's star is on the rise while Mike seeks to define his life after racing.
Earnhardt's partnership with Go Daddy and Danica Patrick breathed life into JR Motorsports even as Kelley's personal life continued to change with a new husband. A new husband who is also a racer. The Danica factor can never be discounted where TV is concerned, but the Kelly Earnhardt story is a good one.
Finally, the saga of the Mayfields could have led to a spin-off series that few would have believed. From a single failed drug test through direct confrontation with NASCAR and now to multiple arrests for possessing stolen property, this one has it all. At the center is Shana, now a Twitter star, standing behind her man and rallying her troops against what she perceives is a personal vendetta by NASCAR's own chairman.
Somewhere at TLC there has to be an executive kicking him or herself for letting this one slip away. As Abraham said, NASCAR Wives would not need fake drama or invented storylines to keep things interesting. As most NASCAR fans know, the ladies behind the drivers can do that quite well on their own.
"Still No Greenlights For NASCAR" was a TDP article from October of 2011 talking about the current NASCAR TV season and in what kind of shows networks chose to invest. Click on the title to read the article.
We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Nationwide Series travels to the Auto Club Speedway in California today for an afternoon race. Coverage begins on ESPN at 5PM with NASCAR Countdown.
We will have a live stream on Twitter. Type #TDP1 into the search box to see our stream and add #TDP1 to your comments to be included.
Hope to see you there!
Friday, March 23, 2012
With all the digital issues and TV topics going on this week, it was nice of the folks at SIRIUSXM to ask me to be on the weekly Press Pass show this Saturday at 12:30PM ET.
Jim Noble is the host and Lee Spencer from FOX Sports will also be featured on the program that begins at 11AM ET.
If you have SIRIUSXM, I invite you to listen. For the past several years, we have been advocates of getting the NASCAR radio signals of all kinds available online. Over the past couple of weeks, both MRN and PRN have done just that for free.
Now, SiriusXM has made the NASCAR channel available, but not without some hoops through which listeners must jump. That will certainly be part of the discussion.
We welcome your comments before, during and after the program. I will follow-up in the comments section with a recap of what we discussed for those (like me) without SIRIUSXM service. Thanks as always.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
That is the scene this AM outside the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC. Thanks to Bill Ferguson Jr. and Claire B. Lang for the pictures via Twitter. It is final appeal day for the #48 team from Hendrick Motorsports.
Update: Slightly before 4PM ET, the media was informed that the suspensions and points penalties give to the #48 team had been overturned in the appeal. The fines would stand, but this is a huge breaking story. Race Hub on SPEED is at 6PM ET.
Update 2:45PM - Rick Hendrick just left the R&D Center for a little fresh air and told the media a decision should be coming shortly. He did go back inside.
Update 2PM:Reporter Dustin Long passed along information that nothing has happened. No one has left the building and nothing has been announced in terms of a decision.
Update 12:15PM: ESPN just advised that the "NASCAR Now" show scheduled for 3PM on ESPN2 is being moved to the ESPNEWS network to make way for extended NFL programming focusing on Peyton Manning's move to the Broncos.
ESPN has NASCAR Now Lead Reporter Marty Smith on-site. The NASCAR Now show is scheduled for 3PM ET. SPEED has reporter Danielle Trotta on-scene. That network has Race Hub scheduled for 6PM.
ESPN has a live truck there, but there is no information about doing cut-ins to SportsCenter if a decision comes down earlier than expected. SPEED has said no cut-ins, but they will use a sports ticker to pass along any information.
We will keep this blog post updated on news, information and happenings at the scene via social media. Happy to have your comments on this topic.
Rain stayed away and the Sprint Cup Series race on FOX started as scheduled. That was the good news.
Chris Myers started the show with Darrell and Michael Waltrip in the Hollywood Hotel. Driver intro's at Bristol were ignored until some replays were added late in the show. This has always been the case as the music being used for driver intro's would require FOX to pay royalty fees if used on TV.
The Waltrips clearly do not have the same chemistry in the infield that they displayed when calling several races last season on SPEED. The perspective of a crew chief like Jeff Hammond is fundamentally missed as instead two drivers from different eras express basically the same opinions.
Myers has finally dropped the "goofball" act and is directing on-air traffic like the TV pro he actually is in real life. He has his hands full with the freestyle ramblings of Darrell and the breathless excitement of Michael. So far, Myers has kept things in check.
When Darrell moves to the TV booth, he used to be able to free himself from Hammond and become the show. Now, he competes with Hammond in his roving reporter role and also has to deal with the spontaneous comments from Michael in the infield. It has proven to be a challenge.
Hammond takes time away from the pit reporters and his updates add content, but are not as focused and topical as what the pit reporters could offer. In the end, less information about the actual drivers in the race as it is happening is passed along to fans.
The big topic of our online live discussion during the race was FOX choosing to use "hyper-tight" coverage to only show one or two cars at a time in the segments. The network would focus on a battle or two, update the information and go to commercial. Several times, the caution flag waved and FOX chose to stay in commercial break.
Replays are the lifeblood of the FOX coverage. The tight shots mean that most of the issues and incidents that happen during the races are missed. It's just the nature of the coverage. That was again the case as replays updated almost everything since the live pictures were focused on a chosen car or battle.
Aerial shots of BMS and the wideshots from the tower that show the entire track were never used under green. FOX is locked into the philosophy of covering NASCAR just as tightly as they do with baseball and football. It is a choice.
Ratings were down for the last race, but nothing within this coverage changed. Even on a tiny track like Bristol replays under green were run full-screen and FOX often casually stepped aside from racing coverage for a wide variety of sponsored and special features. This even happened late in the race.
A double video box was used with 50 laps to go that framed two different battles. On this tiny track, it made no sense. Simply by zooming a camera out, both battles and the other racing could be shown with no technical gizmo's involved. The older style of opening up and letting fans see it all is long gone.
The network rolled-out the side-by-side commercial coverage at 3:45PM. Using this format for the entire race would have made for an entirely different fan experience. The irony is that FOX continued to cut cameras tight within the tiny video box in the side-by-side screen.
Mike Joy tried hard to generate excitement late in the race, but instead of racing action it was fuel mileage that was the issue. While the track and the racing has changed, it is the duty of the TV network to work hard to adapt to those changes and use the cars at speed to sell the race to viewers.
Ultimately, FOX had a nice little flurry of activity in the final 20 laps. The network used the standard finish line shot to show viewers the lead lap cars crossing the line and it was over.
Note: Thanks to Brad Keselowski's cell phone camera and Twitter account for the picture of Krista Voda calling him out of the car for his winner TV interview.
This post is for your post-race comments on the TV coverage. Please leave the track reconfiguration for other blogs. We are looking for your opinion on the TV coverage from start to finish. Thank you as always for taking the time to pass along your comments.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The full NASCAR TV schedule is on the left side of the TDP main page. If you are viewing this on a smart phone, use the "view web version" link at the bottom of the page to see the schedule.
ESPN2 offers NASCAR Now at 9AM and SPEED offers RaceDay at 10:30AM. Both NASCAR TV partners are in year six of the current contract and yet these two shows could not be more different.
NASCAR Now is a typically scripted ESPN program featuring men and women following the ESPN dress code to the letter and speaking in a professional manner on topics discussed well in advance. The information gets out, but this TV formula is getting old.
RaceDay is a wonderful mess. The host wears the 2012 mandatory Men's Wearhouse blue blazer while the other three panelists are a mix of sponsor logos and no-iron twill. One reporter is a college graduate in television with a racing family background and a spotless track record. The other is a former pit crew trainer fired after a Kevin Harvick tirade who has a background as a small college baseball coach.
Once these shows are done, FOX begins its own version of the pre-race dance with Chris Myers and the Waltrip brothers. This on-air dynamic features Myers trying to keep Darrell on topic and also control the breathless excitement that Michael seems to have about every topic he gets to address. It certainly is interesting to watch.
Mike Joy gets the assignment of trying to explain progressive banking once again and how the racing is actually better than the Bristol of old. Good luck selling that to a fan base that seems to have largely walked away once the single groove gladiator track was turned into a mini-Michigan. Gas mileage and tire strategy anyone? At least Mr. Vickers returns at a track notorious for paybacks.
We will be on Twitter for a live stream all day long beginning at 10AM. Please join us as most of our friends have for a very interactive and entertaining time.
TDP is twitter.com/thedalyplanet and you can see our live stream by typing #TDP1 into the search box. It's easy, simple and is light years better than any Internet chat or live blog.
There will be a race review blog posted immediately as FOX signs-off for your long-form comments on the race coverage. Stop back by and let it fly when things are done. Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Update: The race is over, Elliott Sadler is the winner and Danica was lapped before halfway. Typical ESPN race with tight camera shots, in-car cameras live and full-screen replays under green. Most of the actual racing was missed on TV. Marty Smith appeared pre-race in the Infield Pit Studio and shook up both Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty by disagreeing with them on almost everything. That was priceless. Happy to have your post-race comments on this post.
She was 26th on the SPEED chart, no one picks her to win the race and the 19 year-old girl in the field has more than twice her short-track experience, but Danica Patrick is once again going to be the TV focus on Saturday.
SPEED has Patrick in the Nationwide Series qualifying show at 10:30AM. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Jeff Hammond will have plenty of time to talk about Patrick's well-funded team challenging the Bristol high banks with lots of crew but very little driver experience. Qualifying at this track is a moment that can humble any driver at any time. It should be interesting as it is only hours before the race.
ESPN then has an entire hour of NASCAR Countdown at 1PM to explore Patrick's attempt to last in a field of hungry Nationwide Series regulars and five Sprint Cup Series cross-over drivers. After her recent run of avoiding the media, it should be fun to hear Patrick's pre-race comments.
Analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty have been a little testy with each other this year down in the Infield Pit Studio. It may well be that the producers have asked them to spice things up a little bit. Having Patrick racing at a track like Bristol may give these two ESPN personalities a little more fuel for their personal fire.
The Go Daddy media hype machine has also been in high gear this week announcing that Patrick will head to Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway for his Prelude to the Dream charity race. The media release explains that Patrick's previous experience racing on dirt was in a go-kart at the age of 14. Keep an eye on whether this topic makes it into the pre-race show.
Allen Bestwick has kept a level head, but Dale Jarrett has been squarely on the Danica bandwagon for some time now. Andy Petree joins those two as the live race coverage starts on ESPN at 2PM. While the pit reporters are limited in their contributions at a noisy track like BMS, ESPN will have all four of the regulars on hand and ready to cover the action. It could make for some interesting post-accident interviews.
As usual, we will be hosting a live stream of conversation on Twitter starting with the pre-race show. To locate our stream, just type #TDP1 into the search box on the Twitter page and it will appear. To have your comments in the stream, just add #TDP1 to the end of your tweets.
If you have not already come over, stop talking yourself out of it. We now have almost every driver, TV personality, team, track and NASCAR reporter actively involved in social media. The live stream is easy, free and if I can figure it out you can too.
My Twitter account is twitter.com/thedalyplanet. Click on who I follow to start building your own list of NASCAR personalities, tracks and teams. If you have a question about starting on Twitter, post it here and we will answer it.
Thanks again for helping the NASCAR community grow the social media presence on Twitter. Fans are a huge force in change and your voice and comments are heard loud and clear.
If you have any Danica Patrick comments on the TV coverage, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The evolution of NASCAR media coverage continued on Tuesday. The appeal of the penalties against the Hendrick Motorsports #48 team was being held at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina.
This facility is right down the street from SiriusXM/MRN Radio, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the SPEED studios and many NASCAR race shops.
Last year, a small group of media casually interacted with a small group of fans on the social media service Twitter as the reporters waited in the same spot for results of an appeal hearing by Richard Childress racing.
As we have documented repeatedly, this year the NASCAR social media scene has exploded. There was no better example of this than fans, teams and drivers interacting with the media group assembled throughout the day on Twitter.
SPEED took the new step of providing live cut-ins throughout the day. Danielle Trotta anchored from the studio and Wendy Venturini was the reporter on-scene. ESPN also had a satellite truck at the R&D Center and reporter Marty Smith was joined by analyst Tim Brewer for a liveshot in the 3PM NASCAR Now program.
The erosion of the wall between the NASCAR media and fans is basically complete. Imagine several years ago having media members sending pictures of each other sitting in the R&D Center parking lot out to fans. Ultimately, there was a daylong informal media question and answer period about the #48 situation.
With social media it's not really about who tweets, but who watches. When something like this appeal is in progress, Twitter is watched by all kinds of folks connected with NASCAR. Since Brad Keselowski's Daytona Twitter adventure, it's also clear that the sport is surrounded by a very active group of Internet-savvy fans. You have to wonder just how many of them kept an eye on this situation during the day.
Even though the media stakeout was fundamentally boring, it allowed Twitter users who are NASCAR fans a behind the scenes look at a unique part of the sport. Media members on-scene were kind enough to continually update everything from weather conditions to the lunch menu.
When the afternoon bell rang that a decision was in, it was Twitter and those very same reporters who passed along the information long before it made it to TV or radio. Social media once again confirmed that it has a fundamental value in terms of speed when used correctly.
The ability of any fan to interact with a NASCAR reporter, driver or team is still rather amazing. Twitter and Facebook have become the home to an incredible amount of NASCAR content that is changing the way younger fans view the sport.
These social media platforms have also given the remaining full time NASCAR media members a new lease on life. Instead of being cornered into an existing corporate website, the freedom to publish directly on Twitter and Facebook has changed everything.
Aside from the story links and pictures provided, it is the ability of the fans to interact with the wide variety of NASCAR media personalities that continues to evolve. That was on display again Tuesday as conversation ranged over a wide variety of NASCAR and racing related topics as the day went on.
NASCAR now has 2.7 million Facebook "likes" and over 500 thousand Twitter followers. While it might be high-profile moments like Keselowski tweeting at Daytona that draw the mainstream news coverage, it's the informal and spontaneous happenings like a media stakeout in the R&D Center parking lot that continue to shape just how social media continues to change the sport on almost a daily basis.
We welcome your comments on this topic. Below is posted the official statment from NASCAR on the appeal. This is what NASCAR sent to media members when things were complete. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.
On March 13, 2012, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard and considered the appeal of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.
The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing;” Section 12-4(J): “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;” and Section 20-2.1(E): “If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications.”
This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
The original penalties assessed prior to the deferral were:
Car Owner (Jeffrey M. Gordon) – Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points;
Car Driver (Jimmie K. Johnson) – Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points;
Crew Chief (Chad A. Knaus) - $100,000.00 fine. Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
Car Chief (Ron P. Malec) - Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.
The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.
Ed Bennett - Appellate Administrator and non-voting member
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's Tuesday so it must be time for some NASCAR penalties. Today, the appeal over the penalties levied against the Hendrick Motorsports #48 team is being heard by a panel of three at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC.
There is absolutely nothing for the reporters assembled there waiting for news to do other than get on the Internet and send some pictures. Here are some of them, starring your favorite NASCAR media folks.
Happy to have your comments or questions!
Breaking news from NASCAR on Monday. Here is the release:
NASCAR announced today that Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group, is leaving the company on May 4, 2012, to focus on a variety of personal and outside business interests. Brooks, who has been with NASCAR for 19 years, will continue as a senior advisor to the company in key areas, including broadcasting, media strategy and innovation.
“Paul’s accomplishments at NASCAR are beyond measure and have contributed significantly to the success of our entire industry over the last two decades and prepared us in many areas for future growth,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. “We are grateful for his years of dedicated service, support his decision to pursue other interests and wish the very best to Paul and his family. He will be greatly missed.”
“I have big ideas and interests that I’ve always wanted to explore and my decision to make this transition now has been well planned,” said Brooks. “It has been a true blessing to learn and grow my career working so closely with one of the most successful families in American business and professional sports. I have a deep respect for NASCAR, the France family and NASCAR President Mike Helton, and I believe the industry is positioned for future growth.”
Among his most important contributions at NASCAR, Brooks was on the initial team that developed NASCAR’s long-term consolidated television and new media agreements with FOX, FX, NBC, Turner and NASCAR TV on SPEED, and later, agreements with ABC/ESPN. Brooks also is credited with leading NASCAR’s efforts to become the first professional sports league to launch a 24-hour satellite radio channel with NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite and later transitioning to Sirius Satellite Radio. In one of the largest sponsor partnerships in sports, Brooks was a key member of the negotiating team that brought Sprint-Nextel into the sport as title sponsor to what was then the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
As SVP for NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group, Brooks assumed day-to-day responsibilities for NASCAR’s Charlotte, N.C., offices in Sept. 2007, with all broadcasting, new media, licensing and consumer products, publishing, automotive aftermarket, and international business departments reporting to him. Since that time, NASCAR Plaza, NASCAR Media Group, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust all were developed and launched.
As VP of broadcasting for NASCAR and VP of NASCAR Digital Entertainment, Brooks established NASCAR’s Los Angeles office in 2000, while overseeing all broadcasting, entertainment and new media ventures. He served as executive producer of NASCAR: Drivers 360 on FX and executive producer for the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR IN CAR on iN DEMAND, television’s first enhanced multi-channel digital sports package. Under his management, the Los Angeles office quickly became a focal point for NASCAR’s marketing, licensing, sales and communications functions on the West Coast. One of his first projects in Los Angeles was to create “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” that debuted in March 2004 and became one of the most successful film documentaries in IMAX history.
After joining NASCAR in 1993, Brooks held several key positions with the sanctioning body including VP, Office of the President, reporting directly to Bill France, Jr., then chairman and CEO of NASCAR. In this capacity, Brooks was responsible for leading long-term and operational planning for NASCAR, directing special projects and publishing, developing and launching NASCAR Online, and leading international business initiatives, including NASCAR exhibition events in Japan. Prior to joining NASCAR, his experience in the sport began in 1989 and included key positions with NASCAR drivers, teams and media outlets.
Brooks was a three-time honoree in the Sports Business Journal “Forty Under 40” and entered the Sports Business Journal “Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame” in 2005.
“Paul’s influence on NASCAR has been tremendous and will be felt for years to come,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “He led some of the company’s most important initiatives that have driven growth and prepared us to better serve the fans and the industry. Along the way, he earned respect and confidence throughout NASCAR and, in particular, from Bill France, Jr. and Brian France in their capacity as CEOs of the company. I have great respect for Paul and look forward to continuing our professional relationship, but more importantly, our friendship.”
Brooks departing opens the door for a new key executive to step-in at a time when the sport is undergoing a huge digital transition. NASCAR bought back its own Internet/digital rights from Turner Sports this year and will be in charge in 2013.
Brooks is tough to replace. He is a confidant of Brian France and a man well-versed in the inner-working of NASCAR, a sport full of tangled webs of agreements and interests. The new NASCAR TV contract will be negotiated this season and begins in 2015.
We will update this post as reaction continues and details emerge about his future plans. In the meantime, we welcome your comments on this story.
Monday, March 12, 2012
The stage was set once the cars began to string-out on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track. This race has been all about clear air, gas mileage and pit strategy for years.
The NASCAR on FOX pre-race team continued indoors this season. Chris Myers and the Waltrip brothers now have a format set that is very different from the Jeff Hammond days.
Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds discussed a lot of topics during the race. Two of them not discussed were passing under green and incidents due to racing on the track. This race looked a lot like practice on TV and there were certainly reasons why.
FOX has a philosophy of showing one or two cars at a time on the screen. They have done this for years. Only the big pack at Daytona pushed the cameras wider. At Las Vegas, the in-car cameras were frequently used on restarts which were the only laps that could have provided actual side-by-side racing on-screen.
Hammond was out and about, but his reports were inserted under green and often distracted from the racing. He was used frequently and sometimes seemed to be working to get into the coverage rather than offering some information that was on target for the situation in the race itself. This roving reporter is a new concept for the FOX coverage.
The network has the best corps of pit reporters on TV. After early use, these four professionals faded away as the voices in the booth dominated the telecast. FOX put the emphasis on Darrell Waltrip several years ago. Joy's role is to facilitate, not excite and that continued.
FOX inserted side-by-side commercials well after 5PM, which marked the final hour of scheduled coverage. This concept has been embraced and promoted by ESPN, but seems to be hit or miss with FOX.
There was a flurry of excitement in the closing laps, but it did not feature the kind of racing fans enjoy. The wideshot at the finish allowed the top ten cars to be seen crossing the line. FOX stayed past the scheduled off-time to conduct post-race interviews.
Every NASCAR TV network has the perfect right to present the sport as they choose. The FOX presentation is similar to last season. Tight shots mixed with extensive Waltrip commentary from the booth and a heavy commercial load.
This post is your opportunity to offer your opinion on the TV coverage. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. Thank you once again for stopping by The Daly Planet.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
It's an awkward day for everyone as the time change lost folks one hour of sleep. The Sprint Cup Series is at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and goes on-air at 2:30PM. The green flag is 3:15PM and there is also live radio streaming at goprn.com today.
SPEED handles the pre-pre-race programming with RaceDay starting at 12:30PM ET. John Roberts has Larry McReynolds, Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace on the expert panel. Wendy Venturini, Matt Clark and Rutledge Wood are the reporters.
FOX has Chris Myers, Michael and Darrell Waltrip on the pre-race show. Keep an eye on whether or not the trio moves outside like FOX did last year. Between Daytona weather and the small track at Phoenix, we have not seen the FOX pre-race team outdoors yet.
Mike Joy will call the race with the senior Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. On pit road are Matt Yocum, Krista Voda, Steve Byrnes and Dick Berggren. Jeff Hammond will once again be a roving reporter.
We will be taking your comments on Twitter during the race on the TV coverage. Immediately after the race, there will be a post up here for your long-form comments.
If you are not yet signed-up, go to Twitter.com and follow the easy instructions. We are located at twitter.com/thedalyplanet and you can click on who I follow to help build your timeline of NASCAR and sports media personalities.
To see our livestream, type the #TDP1 hashtag into the search box. To participate in our conversation, just add #TDP1 to your comments. Thank you and we hope to see you on Twitter today.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The NASCAR TV on Saturday is being provided by SPEED, except for one telecast jammed in between two college basketball championship games. Once again, NASCAR is the odd man out on ESPN2. Shades of college football season.
At 5PM the Nationwide Series is scheduled. There is a 3PM championship hoop game, so it's going to be touch and go for an on-time NASCAR TV coverage start. Allen Bestwick is calling the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Jamie Little, Vince Welch, Dave Burns and Dr. Jerry Punch are on pit road. I am told Tim Brewer is in the Tech Center, but that is a long way to drive for a few minutes of air time.
As usual, we will be live blogging this race on Twitter. My account is twitter.com/thedalyplanet. We are using the #TDP1 hashtag for our live stream.
If you do not have Twitter, come on over. It's easy, fun and EVERYONE from NASCAR is there. Just go to Twitter.com and sign-up. Type #TDP1 in the search box to see our conversations. You can go to TheDalyPlanet to see who I follow and then explore from there. If you type NASCAR without the # into the search box, you will get a great list of all kinds of NASCAR personalities on Twitter you can follow.
We will post a new column after the race for your long-form comments. Thanks!
Friday, March 9, 2012
The Friday NASCAR TV day starts at 1PM and runs through 9PM ET on SPEED. From NASCAR Live to Trackside with some practice and qualifying coverage thrown in, it should make for an interesting day.
This post is for your comments on the SPEED coverage as the day rolls by. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Here are some TV and media items crossing the desk this week:
It's been a little quiet as we wait for the final TV ratings from the Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix. The overnight numbers were a 5.0 rating with a 10 share. That is down from the previous season and is the lowest overnight rating in five years. We will have more on the ratings race when final PIR numbers are released on Wednesday. Click here to view the Jayski.com TV ratings chart.
ESPN is promoting a gain of a little over 10% in Nationwide Series ratings, reporting a 1.7 cable TV rating with an audience of 2.4 million homes. That is slightly above any of the spring Phoenix races the network has covered. One can only imagine how many new fans tuned-in to see Danica Patrick, only to have her fade quickly.
Speaking of ESPN, word is that Ryan McGee and Marty Smith will be hosting the Wednesday 3PM version of the NASCAR Now program. This show does not re-air and there is no show Thursday or Friday due to college basketball tournaments. This is truly DVR theater in any time zone.
This weekend in Las Vegas, ESPN will only be showing the Nationwide Series race. All the practice and qualifying coverage will once again be on SPEED. Allen Bestwick is working the Nationwide Series for ESPN this season with Marty Reid reassigned to IndyCar telecasts, a few Nationwide races and some hosting assignments for NASCAR Now.
SPEED is reportedly happy with the revamped Trackside program. The network passed along that the show got higher ratings in this format than it ever did in the old style with a large panel discussion. That means Krista Voda, Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and Marianela Pereyra will be around for a while.
The network also continues the push to get the SPEED2.com broadband channel cleared in more subscriber homes. The target is for 30 million homes by summer. You can type in the web address and follow the links to see if your provider has the service. It is like ESPN3.com, a place for programming that cannot find a slot on the TV channel.
For those cable TV viewers expecting an episode of Inside NASCAR on Wednesday night, things have changed. "Showtime Suspends NASCAR TV Show" was a recent post that documented the fact that the post-Daytona show was it until September. Neither Showtime or the NASCAR Media Group will explain, but money appears to be the issue. Click on the column title to read it in full.
Despite having the cash, Showtime was a foolish location to put such a large amount of fresh NASCAR TV content every week. The audience was tiny and the fact remains that only ESPN2 and SPEED have weekday NASCAR TV review or preview shows. It would have been nice to have TNT or another basic cable network host a weekly NASCAR show.
Over on the new NBC Sports Network, the struggle continues to get a place for NASCAR in the daily 6PM hour of sports news and interviews called NBC SportsTalk. Marty Snider appeared after Daytona for a wrap-up, but has not been seen since. NBC either needs to jump in the pool or get out.
As NBC continues to struggle with the reality of appealing to cable TV viewers, ignoring a major professional sport is perhaps not the way to go. There are plenty of reporters and journalists available to update NASCAR after a racing weekend.
We will add any breaking news to this post, in the meantime please feel free to comment on any of these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Good weather was a blessing as the NASCAR on FOX team covered the Sprint Cup Series race from the Phoenix International Raceway.
Chris Myers returned to lead the Waltrip brothers through the pre-race show. There was no outdoor stage, but the guys in the TV booth began their portion of the telecast with a liveshot from the roof of the PIR tower.
While the Daytona 500 is always an exception, PIR is the beginning of the long TV grind. FOX returned almost immediately to the formula the production team has used for years. Tight shots mixed with in-car cameras and replays used for incidents.
The coverage took several hits as the caution flag came out repeatedly while the network was in commercial. This actually became funny as time went by, FOX just could not buy a break.
PIR offers some of the most scenic camera views from high above. Once the racing settled in, FOX chose to focus on the formula of showing designated cars rather than the best racing on the track. This has been an ongoing fan debate for years and is the way the network feels they should present this product.
Mike Joy still directs traffic in the booth, but Darrell Waltrip is the show. Once again, there were times when the brothers Waltrip were talking back and forth during race action. It made Larry McReynolds seem a bit out of place.
Michael Waltrip is enthusiastic, but his role as a multi-car team owner in this series makes interpreting his comments tough. No matter how pure the intention, his words have to be filtered through the reality of Sprint Cup ownership.
After the halfway point of the race, the FOX director fully committed to showing the race in what we call "hyper-tight" style. Despite Joy in the booth trying to point out the racing on the track, the pictures viewers saw at home were of small clumps of cars without any larger perspective.
Since 2007, replays have become a central part of the FOX coverage. The downside of mixing tight shots with in-car cameras is that the vast majority of things happen outside of the two or three cars chosen to be on-camera at any given moment. This was the case again in Phoenix.
FOX went side by side with commercial breaks at approximately 5:30PM ET. The telecast was scheduled until 6PM and we were originally told the side by side commercials would be for the last hour of scheduled coverage. In addition, FOX executives said the network would try to expand this format during the season.
Down the stretch, the FOX team focused on the chase for the lead and continued to update the situation on fuel. The tight shots continued until the final lap, when a nice wideshot famed the finish line as the top five cars were shown finishing.
It's been a "hyper-tight" world for FOX and this style of production continued. The post-race was 12 minutes long as the network was beyond the scheduled coverage. Three of the top four finishers and the current series champion were interviewed before the network signed-off.
We invite your opinions on the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Phoenix. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
The NASCAR on FOX gang returns after the mess of Daytona to nice weather and smooth sailing in Phoenix, AZ.
Chris Myers returns to TV after dealing with the tragic passing of his teenage son in a traffic accident. Michael and Darrell Waltrip will be with Myers on the pre-race show.
Mike Joy will call the race that features Mark Martin starting from the pole. Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will be alongside in the TV booth. Steve Byrnes, Matty Yocum, Krista Voda and Dick Berggren are the pit road reporters.
This week features Jeff Hammond rolling out his roving reporter role at a short track. Not exactly the location for unique stories, keep an eye on how often Hammond is seen in the telecast and what topics he chooses to address.
The pre-race show starts at 2:30PM and the green flag is at 3:15PM. MRN carries the radio coverage and will once again be streaming coverage for free at motorracingnetwork.com on both the website and mobile version as well.
We will be hosting our live chat on Twitter. Use the #TDP1 hashtag to see our conversation and add #TDP1 to your comments to join the conversation. You can see my account at twitter.com/thedalyplanet to start if you are new.
There will be a full post up immediately after the race for your long-form TV comments on the NASCAR on FOX telecast from PIP. Thanks everyone!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Once again, SPEED does the heavy lifting before ESPN2 steps in and telecasts the Nationwide Series race from PIR.
The day begins at 1PM with Nationwide Series qualifying. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Jeff Hammond will handle the action. Steve Byrnes and Dick Berggren are the reporters.
Then the big boys come out as the Sprint Cup Series qualifies at 2:30PM. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynold are working that coverage. Matt Yocum and Krista Voda reporting.
4PM starts the NASCAR Countdown show on ESPN2. Nicole Briscoe hosts with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. It should be interesting to see how much Danica comes into play. She is not having a very experience at PIR so far this weekend.
Thirty minutes later, Allen Bestwick leads ESPN2's Nationwide Series live telecast on the air. Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will be in the TV booth. Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Dr. Jerry Punch will work pit road. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage.
We will be maintaining a live stream on Twitter using the #TDP1 hashtag. You can view my account on twitter at twitter.com/thedalyplanet. Twitter is free, easy to use and you can sign-up in a snap. We will live blog the Nationwide Series race on Twitter today. Hope you can join us.
Friday, March 2, 2012
After no NASCAR Now program on ESPN2 Wednesday, a stellar show aired on Thursday. Addressing the move by Penske to Ford and all the dynamics associated with that topic was the theme. In addition, the penalties to the #48 team were discussed since there was no program produced on Wednesday.
Once again, the Thursday program aired at 3PM ET and did not re-air. Lost in TV space were Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Ryan McGee. This trio covered a lot of ground and brought a wealth of experience to the key NASCAR topics they addressed on the Thursday show.
For a wide variety of reasons, ESPN has decided this year to continue to bury NASCAR Now at 3PM ET and pretend nothing is wrong. Well, something certainly is. Either ESPN is in or out where NASCAR is concerned. Despite the spin, the Afternoon Special is alive and well and living on ESPN2.
The column excerpt below (with original reader comments) is a repost from September of 2011 when ESPN suddenly decided to make a very drastic change to a series that involves ESPN core programming and a sport called NASCAR.
The ABC After School Special aired in one form or another from 1972 to 1996. That is a picture of the original TV title card for the series. The ABC programmers used a unique approach to get teens to watch shows about inspirational topics. They made the late afternoon timeslot special. It was an hour just for kids. In twenty-five years, the ABC After School Special won 51 Daytime Emmy Awards.
This week there will be some significant changes to the ESPN2 line-up. The programmers have decided to expand on the success of the afternoon Sports Nation show. Beginning Monday, 3:30 to 6PM ET weekdays on ESPN2 will feature nothing but talk shows. It's ESPN's version of the after school special.
You may remember Charissa Thompson as the co-host of Michael Waltrip's ill-fated amateur talent show on SPEED. Thompson has now moved to ESPN and will co-host the new 3:30PM program called Numbers Never Lie. ESPN's description of the show is "a lively roundtable debate pitting the wisdom of former professional athletes against the pragmatism of statisticians."
At 4PM will be another new show called Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable. The Miami-based Le Batard is well known to ESPN viewers. This 30 minute show will present Le Batard's views on sports topics of the day. Included in the program will be frequent appearances by his 72 year-old Cuban-American father, Gonzalo.
Next at 4:30PM will be TV veteran Jim Rome with his Rome is Burning show. Hard-edged and feisty, Rome is the bad cop to Le Batard's good cop. Rome's better days might be behind him, but he still is the king of sports smack-talk and seems to enjoy pushing the buttons of professional athletes.
The reason for all these changes is the Sports Nation show. Moved into the 5PM timeslot because of its ratings demo with teens and young adults, Sports Nation is an hour of classic MTV-style chaos. A pretty girl talks sports just like a boy while she shows lots of funny videos. The show also features Colin Cowherd.
This change has moved the daily shows that featured actual sports themes to different ESPN networks and timeslots. One of those programs is NASCAR Now. Since 2007, the show has been airing at 5PM Eastern with a West Coast re-air for Pacific time zone viewers. Those days have now ended.
The legacy of NASCAR Now is that starting Monday it gets stuck at the beginning of the new ESPN2 after school programming bundle. Also eliminated is any type of regular re-airing of the show at a later time for West Coast viewers.
According to the Nielsen company, the country has right around 100 million homes that have cable TV or home satellite service. Less than half of those homes have a digital video recorder (DVR). Moving NASCAR Now to 3PM Eastern with no additional airing is going to eliminate a significant number of households from viewing the series.
In the heart of the season and with the Chase storylines just starting to develop, NASCAR has taken a major blow in exposure from its largest TV partner. NASCAR Now will also not get a later airing on ESPNEWS and cannot be made available online. Now firmly stuck as the lead-in for an after school block of shows, the NASCAR series we watched ESPN work so hard to develop is headed for no man's land.
Over the years, the 3PM timeslot on ESPN2 has been occupied by a wide variety of TV series. The question is, can you remember the name of even one? Neither can I.
Farewell NASCAR Now, it was nice to know you.
Update: In 2012, the network also elminated the Monday one-hour Rountable show featuring Allen Bestwick. It is now 30 minutes in length with a regular news format.
We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
It was January of 2010 during the Charlotte Media tour when Michael Waltrip ramped-up the drama a bit before confirming that he was going to join Showtime's new sports TV series called Inside NASCAR.
Waltrip's previous run on a NASCAR talk-show had been pretty impressive. The Monday night show on SPEED had various titles, but always presented an hour of original content and discussion about the sport that had been missing from TV on weekdays. After more than a decade on the air, the network had cancelled the latest version in 2009.
Despite only having about 17 million total pay subscribers, Showtime jumped into NASCAR with both feet. Major cable sports TV networks have over 80 million subscribers, but Showtime wanted to get into the NASCAR business. The sport's own NASCAR Media Group would provide the studio and production for the Charlotte-based show, but there was going to be an even bigger twist.
After years of struggling with Internet, cell phone and Video on Demand issues, Inside NASCAR was going to kick open the door to shared NASCAR TV programming.
This from Sports Business Journal reporter Michael Smith in late January of 2010 updating the original announcement:
"Showtime's new weekly Inside NASCAR show will be available via the Internet and mobile phone, which required clearance from NASCAR's rights holders in that space," reported Smith.
"The NASCAR Media Group, which manages those multimedia rights, had to clear the broadcast of Inside NASCAR with its TV, web and mobile partners before giving final approval for the new show."
Finally, a NASCAR TV series that could skip across all kinds of online and mobile platforms and get directly to the fans. In addition, Showtime said the series would be made available on the Showtime Video On Demand (VOD) channels on cable systems. Any way you sliced it, this was groundbreaking television.
It made sense, showing this program first to Showtime subscribers on Wednesday nights, then making it available to NASCAR fans via non-traditional platforms for distribution. What a great way to introduce Showtime to potentially new subscribers.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for something to smell a little fishy. On January 26 of 2010, Showtime answered some questions about the new series. Their answers sounded very different from the original press release put out by NASCAR.
"Showtime Throws NASCAR A Curveball" was the TDP column that followed. Click on the title to read the column.
Via email, a Showtime rep commented on three key topics. First, the series would not be made available via mobile phones. Second, the reason for that was none of the content on Showtime was available by mobile phone. Finally, the only content posted on the Internet would be "teases" of the show. In reality, the only way to see Inside NASCAR was to subscribe to Showtime.
Despite these puzzling developments, the first season of Inside NASCAR went into production. The Wednesday night shows were played to the small number of Showtime subscribers nationwide who cared to watch sports.
After only one season of producing a high-end weekly hour of NASCAR TV, the network sliced the program to thirty minutes in 2011. It was clear that the return on the significant financial investment needed to produce this caliber of show was not working.
Last night, Showtime aired a one hour special Inside NASCAR focusing on the Daytona 500. This was the kick-off episode of season three. Showtime's PR release talked about the wonderful Daytona 500 and promoted exclusive scanner audio of Juan Montoya right before his fiery accident. But there were also some other words in the release.
"Regular weekly episodes will return in early September, the week before the final Race to the Chase event at Richmond International Speedway."
After only two full seasons, Showtime has suspended the Inside NASCAR show with a promise to return in six months. This is the same company that promised mobile phone distribution, Internet streaming and VOD availability of the very same product.
If Showtime decides to opt out completely after this season, the possibility exists that the NASCAR Media Group could shop this series to a national cable sports network. Currently, the NBC Cable Sports Network (the former VERSUS), the new CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports Net) and Discovery's Velocity network are actively seeking sports programming.
In the meantime, NASCAR fans who took the original advice of Showtime and subscribed to the service to see Inside NASCAR on Wednesdays in racing season are left in a lurch. This year, Showtime is one and done with NASCAR and has posted a "We will return in September" sign on the door.
Unfortunately, the network's track record of fulfilling promises where NASCAR fans are concerned is a little bit short of satisfactory.
We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.