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Thread: NASCAR and auto racing on the radio: what's the point?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    NASCAR and auto racing on the radio: what's the point?

    The times I've heard US-style oval track auto racing on the radio, it was ... well, oan order of magnitude duller than watching grass grow. Basically, what I heard was motors whining with the accompanying Doppler shifts up and down from a fixed microphone, with commentary every three to five minutes or so, with someone reading the drivers in the lead. After that, back to the motors whining.

    I know fast-paced sports like hockey and basketball can be hard to follow on the radio, but what about auto racing? I have fairly good hearing, but to my ears all the motors sound exactly alike. What am I supposed to be listening for when I hear nothing but engines? I would imagine the equivalent would be a broadcast of a basketball game, where all one heard was squeaking sneakers and dribbling on the floor, and the occasional whoosh of a ball descending into a basket, with someone reading the score every so often.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Think of baseball on the radio - baseball and AM radio is one of the best 'heaven-made' media matches EVER. A good announcer will make what is by its very nature a dull, slooooow moving game into something interesting, even compelling, to listen to. Ditto auto racing (not just NASCAR, but the Indianapolis 500 - an annual fixture on radio for as best as I can tell as long as there has been live remote radio).

    Mike

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I'm with mgk920 here. Of course, I was growing up when television was still in it's black & white snowy infancy so we spent a lot of time following sports on the radio. Football, baseball, boxing, and especially the Indy 500 were staples on the radio dial and just as vivid in our imagination as the announcers could make them. And those announcers were good! Maybe even better than the events that they were broadcasting. That's why the Ernie Harwell's, Jack Brickhouse's, etc.are legendary.

    But there's no going back.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    I'm with mgk920 those announcers were good! Maybe even better than the events that they were broadcasting. That's why the Ernie Harwell's, Jack Brickhouse's, etc.are legendary.

    But there's no going back.
    I agree. And I don't think this sentiment is fueled only by nostalgia, either. I've listened to a LOT of old radio broadcasts (it's a hobby of mine) and I'm convinced there is a measurable qualitative difference between the announcers (sports, news, or any kind of radio personality, for that matter) of today as compared to those from the Golden Age of Radio and the differing levels of talent between the two as evidenced in their diction, timing, creativity, and intonation is painfully evident.

    When radio was the premier communictions media the industry simply attracted the premier talent. Now that radio is a secondary media source, the talent is for the most part, well, second tier.

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I can imagine personal interests in the various sports also contributes to whether or not you'd find it interesting on the radio.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    There isn't a sport I can think of that is interesting on radio. When I was a kid, my dad took me to Brewers games and he's bring an AM radio to listen to the commentary while we watched the game. It was really rediculous. I still see old people doing that. Is it first generation radio people, or what.

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