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Fox’s Talladega broadcast left something to be desired

By admin | April 26, 2010

By Richard Allen

I know nothing about producing a live television broadcast of a NASCAR race, but I do know how to watch one. And unfortunately, even in the midst of such a great race as Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 in Talladega, the broadcast was frustrating to watch.

First and foremost, I know Fox’s ultimate goal as a corporation is to make money but while the drivers were setting records for lead changes the network seemed to be trying to set a record for most commercials shown in one race.

At one point late in the event, announcer Mike Joy proclaimed that the upcoming commercial break would be the last. There were at least three commercial breaks after that. I know there were caution flags, but still, the advertising seemed to reach a point of overkill.

Perhaps it could be that there were no more commercials than any other broadcast. It may be that in the hum-drum racing on ‘cookie cutter’ tracks the breaks are just not as noticeable as compared to a place where the action is essentially nonstop. Nonetheless, the commercials stood out.

Here’s one thing I am certain of. It was extremely poor planning to join back in halfway through the first round of pit stops when the yellow flag that brought those stops about was a planned caution. NASCAR had told everyone there would be a competition yellow and had told everyone when that caution would come. Yet, Fox almost missed the action on pit road.

And the best and worst of all in the broadcast came during the interviews of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Fox did a good job of getting to Gordon quickly after his race ending crash and letting him spew his venom toward teammate Johnson. However, pit reporter Dick Bergerren did a terrible, almost inexcusable, job of not pressing the issue in his interview with Johnson. Instead, Johnson was only asked about his spotter’s role in the crash that eventually ended his day.

I did read a number of comments from fans of other SEC schools regarding the periodic mentioning of Alabama football but I will let that go for now.

In numerous blogs I write I get numerous responses criticizing the television networks coverage of NASCAR. As I said earlier, I am in little position to offer much criticism myself other than to say as a viewer I do not feel as though I witnessed the best effort Fox could offer on Sunday.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Fox’s Talladega broadcast left something to be desired”

  1. Ty Says:
    April 26th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I remember when no races were on TV but taped delayed in the 70’s and beyond. Its a product of success. I hate so many commercials and at times want to just watch it later to fast forward through the commercials that are repetitive… Raceview would not be good tho… We are all spoiled now with instant access and numerous points of views with all media with Nascar and lets just enjoy the sport with its success?

  2. Gina Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I understand the need for commercials in the broadcast since Fox needs to pay the bills, but the timing of them is something that could be addressed for continuity. There were times during the broadcast where fox was in commercial for 4 to 5 minutes and then would come back and show 2 or 3 laps of racing, then go to commercial again. Based on some of the stats I’ve read about this broadcast, there were 66 minutes out of 167 minutes of race broadcast devoted to commercial. That’s 1/3 of the viewing time. If I want to watch an infomercial, there are channels for that, but I tuned in to see the race. If the only thing fans ever see is racing on TV and its done this poorly, why would they spend the $ to go to the track?

    I no longer bother with any of the prerace - there’s no information worth watching that drivel. And whoever thought up this idiotic bracket stuff obviously has NO idea about racing at all. This isn’t basketball or other stick and ball sports that pit one team against another — its 43 drivers individually competing — there is no head to head match up. What junk.

  3. Prof pi (Jeff Thompson) Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    One must remember that Larry McReynolds is from the Birmingham area of Alabama, and he’s proud of the connection.
    It is interesting to read blogs of people who were at the race compared to those who watched the race, often it seems were saw two entirely different events. In many cases with Fox it is difficult to imagine we’re both talking about the same event.


  4. Winston Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Same as always, the first half of the the broadcast is nothing more than a MWR promotional and the last half is mostly commercials.

    I cant believe that Fox’s David Hill allows DW to pitch MWR so as to either secure sponsorship or attempt to lure sponsorship. Its been like that for years.

    Do they believe that the average fan is totally stupid?
    Speaking of Stupid, they should look at their mess!
    Same on SPEED, thats why I dropped that channel!

  5. EE Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve given up watching the races live. I DVR then and then use the 30 second skip feature to blast through the commercials. I get to spend the day with the kids, still watch the entire race and save an hour of my life by not watching the commercials.

  6. Eric Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I agree there seemed to be a lot of commercials and at the wrong times. However, out of all the networks broadcasting the races, Fox seems to do the best job. I find myself looking for something to throw at the TV whenever NBC is doing the races. The commercials seem to be more often than Fox. ESPN needs to get rid of that guy in the booth. Dale and Andy do a good job, but are dragged down by that other guy. ESPN treats NASCAR as the red headed stepchild to their other sports. I am pretty sure college hockey or softball get more coverage. Just my $.02 worth.

  7. gopapa Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    That digger thing really bugs the crap out of me. It has no place in racing coverage. It ’s as foolish as that silly @ss robot Fox uses during football coverage.

    And what’s the record for the first Commercial Break after the Green Flag for Fox? I think it’s about Lap 5 if I’m not mistaken…

  8. George Says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Fox does have to many commercials,but I find that the other two networks have even more.TNT & ESPN,just saturate their coverage with ads.