Big T's

Big T's

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

NASCAR, Is It Losing Touch With Fans In South Georgia? The Rest Of The Country?

Over the last few years it has become more and more difficult to find a radio station which broadcasts a Sprint Cup race in the southern part of Georgia. With that in mind, you can imagine how difficult it is to find any stations which carry the Camping World Truck Series or the Xfinity Series. Support programs for all three series are practically nonexistent too. By support programs, I mean those shows which provide driver interviews and inside information about what is going on in the world of NASCAR.

This past weekend was just one more time I had to get in my vehicle and start a trip while a Sprint Cup race was going on. I had been watching the start of the race on television and I was hopeful that I could at least get an occasional update on the radio as I was leaving Georgetown heading back to Tifton. Alas, it was not to be. After repeated efforts in searching failed to provide even a semblance of a signal to coverage of the race, I resorted to attempting to use an application on my cell phone to listen to the race on the Motor Racing Network. The hills and hollers between Georgetown and Albany pretty much stymied that effort too. Cell phone coverage is not the very best in rural parts of our state just in case you haven't noticed.

I was frustrated and got to thinking that it didn't used to be this way. Several years ago, one could turn on the radio and get NASCAR coverage on several stations in that same geographic area pretty much throughout Georgia, north Florida, and eastern Alabama. I am here to tell you folks, it ain't that way anymore. It is almost impossible to listen to a complete race on a real radio station if you are traveling in those areas now.

Oh, you can still get coverage if you want to shell out money for satellite programming and, don't get me wrong, that is exceptional programming. The truth of the matter though is that many hard working folks who would like to be listening just can't afford it. I actually dropped my coverage at the end of the last racing season. For a retired person pretty much on a fixed income, I just couldn't justify paying out that money anymore especially when most of the money went to help supplement other stations I didn't even listen to. Heck, my dial was always stuck on the NASCAR Channel.

Not being a subscriber to satellite radio has allowed me to see even more the vacuum which has been created by the absence of NASCAR coverage in our area. My belief is that by not having coverage in this area, NASCAR is in danger of losing more of their fan base. I have always heard the expression "Out of sight, out of mind." and I think that applies in this case. Since I am not constantly exposed to any NASCAR media now, even my interest is beginning to wane. That is coming from a person who actually loves and covers stock car racing for Deep Dixie Racing on a regular basis.

Up front, I want you to know that I absolutely love the coverage that the Motor Racing Network provides to their audience. They are obviously the largest provider of NASCAR race event programming on the radio. Therefore, I went to their site to get information about stations providing coverage in our area. A very useful tool exists on that site to map out stations to listen to when one is taking a trip. You can click here to see that page. Below are the maps of routes I take frequently. It is obvious that there is a lack of NASCAR coverage along those routes.

For all my life, our part of the country has been known for having its fair share of NASCAR fans. Are those numbers of fans now diminishing and is this absence of radio coverage an indication of that fact? Also, if this is happening in our part of the country, is it happening in others too? If so, what can NASCAR do to fix it? Do they really want to? I am very concerned because I feel that something which has been very much a part of my life is in danger slipping away. Maybe others are concerned too.

Submitted by Dale Hall