This afternoon after lunch, I read this tweet from Will Power:
How cool is that? But Will’s tweet isn’t the only place you can hear about his appearance.
When you click on the link above, you end up at the Backspin (Ch. 46) homepage, and not only does their “Top Picks” section advertise “djwillyp’s” appearance, it is also listed in the “Highlights” section, as seen in the screen snip below:
It may not seem like much, but I’ve often lamented how little IndyCar does with its own SiriusXM channel. Click here to see what you find on its homepage and breathe a huge sigh with me when I tell you that is a vast improvement over what was up there as recently as a month ago.
I’ve been a longtime XM subscriber, back when many people had no idea what XM was. I remember a time when teams would do regular reports on IndyCar Radio. It wasn’t anything major, just a half-hour show once a week where the drivers would chat with each other and talk about what was going on with the team. Now on that page you aren’t even told qualifying is broadcast live. All you know from looking at that page today is that the next programming won’t happen until 31 days from now.
Now the channel sits unused all the time, unless qualifying or a race is going on. And they didn’t add qualifying until the middle of last season. Before that it was races or nothing. Being the optimist I am, every so often I flip over to the channel (which occupies a slot on the first page of the presets in my car) and hope to hear something more than the standard commercial telling me what is on other XM sports channels. Of course, nothing else is ever on between one race and the next race’s qualifying session.
Now, I have no idea if what I’m about to say is possible. I’m just a big fan who dearly wants to see the sport I love rise to the top again. Call me naive or silly, but I have spent all my life cheering for IndyCars and I wish there was a way to introduce more people to the sport. And I believe IndyCar is missing out on a golden opportunity by failing to make use of its XM channel.
Here are my questions and thoughts. Why isn’t practice aired on the XM channel? It’s already streamed to the Verizon INDYCAR13 app, so it couldn’t really be that difficult to simulcast it on XM, could it? What about Trackside? I realize there may be issues there but isn’t it possible a deal could be worked out that would allow the show to be available on the XM channel?
And I have to believe teams like Barracuda Racing or Andretti Autosport, and drivers like James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann would be willing to provide some content for the channel. I know they’re all busy, but would it be that difficult to provide 30 minutes’ worth of content a week? I’ve seen the teams and drivers interact with fans at races and many of them really seem to enjoy it.
Why isn’t the series tapping into any of that to try to bring something more than what they currently make available on the XM channel?
To be honest, this rant is a big reason I started this blog. I have been wanting to write a post about the underuse of that channel for months now but every time I sat down to do it, I couldn’t get my thoughts down into words. I’m not saying there should (or even could) be live programming on the channel 24/7, but if they had one thing per night that fans could count on, with maybe a replay or two later in the day to accommodate the west coast, and maybe another replay on the weekends, think how much attention that could bring to IndyCar. I know I end up flipping around my radio dial very often. What if someone stumbled on Hinch telling a great story, and they wanted to know more about him? Boom, right there you have a potential new fan.
Like I said, I don’t know if any of this is possible. But I know if even one of these things happened, I’d be there listening every chance I got. I hear commercials for IndyCar Radio all over XM, using clips of previous broadcasts (“There is racing ALL OVER this track!”), and they make the races sound just as exciting as they are. But upon hearing one of those commercials, if someone flips to channel 211, all they hear is that darn commercial, and the screen reads “Programming Returns Later,” unless it’s close enough to race day for them to list the location and time of the next race that will air on the channel.
Maybe I am just naive and silly, but I have to believe there is an opportunity on that XM channel, and I wish IndyCar would take advantage of that opportunity.
And thanks for bearing with my rant.