Out of Office; Out of Contact

USGP 2012 Tickets

Even the parking hangtags have holograms and fancy foil insets. Now it’s starting to feel real. See you in Turn 12.

For the first time in over 13 years, I’m taking two full weeks off work. Birthday shifts into Austin race weekend and settles into a long Thanksgiving break.

It felt strange typing “Out of Office; Out of Contact” in our shared calendar. Words I’ve never used before.

Turn and face the strange (ch-ch-ch-changes)

I’m currently sitting in an undisclosed location, pondering the events of the past week. For those of you living in a cave, SPEED lost the rights to broadcast F1 in the United States as of the end of the 2012 season. While this was something I knew was a possibility, when the word came down it was still a shock.

As some of you are aware, I have been fortunate to provide some of the incredible people who bring us Formula 1 on SPEED with insight on how to make their Twitter feed “not lame.” For the record, I am not paid – but I have visited SPEED World Headquarters and watched an entire race weekend unfold (amazing, as you would imagine, and an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life). I was able to participate in several components of the race broadcast, and it was an experience I won’t soon forget. I’m not trying to make it seem like I’ve had some major part in making the coverage as awesome as it has been or the past several years. I just annoy Frank and tell him when I think they’re doing something lame…and when they’re doing things right. I just feel I need to share, in the interest of full disclosure, my involvement with the Formula 1 on SPEED team.

It’s just how I roll.

Over the past several days, I’ve seen a lot of rumors about the coverage, whether the team will be at Austin, what lies ahead for out beloved Formula 1 on SPEED crew. I do not profess to know everything – far from it, in fact. However, as several people can attest, I thoroughly enjoy ferreting out sources and consolidating data into useful information. I thought it would be useful to start collecting what we know (as fans) in one place, so we can work on 1) quashing rumors and 2) ensuring our broadcast team and associated crew are with us from 2013 onward.

If you have information you’d like me to add, please post in a comment and I will do my best to incorporate. I am trying to keep this as news-outlet and verified as possible – but if you’ve a juicy rumor or bit of news that may not be validated yet, I’ll consider posting (with a huge UNVERIFIED).

Everything started with a Tweet from the Associated Press’ sports feed:

The Beginning of the End

When the news hit, I was oblivious…getting my hair cut in preparation for this trip. It’s a good thing no one was around to see me cry, for it was an ugly cry. (You know what I’m talking about.) I came out of the salon to a million messages.

I cried. I dried my face. I got angry. I started researching.

NBC, according to this article, intends to provide live streaming content of all 20 races. (Sidebar: is this officially 19 with NJ reportedly off the calendar for 2013?) Additionally, NBC is stating they will provide all practices and qualifying sessions on NBC Sports Network.

This article delves into a little more detail on the four races broadcast by NBC, and it appears these races (at least three of the four) will lend themselves to live mid-day broadcast.

This article, from the official-official Formula 1 site, discusses the races and reiterates the points from the second linked article.

There’s something about Formula 1 fans in the United States. As followers of a racing series that gets virtually zero mainstream coverage, we tend to stick together. We also tend to try to spread information as it is received – since you can’t rely on mainstream coverage, you do what you need to do. I’ve seen a new Twitter feed pop up (I have nothing to do with it, I swear) that’s working to organize a protest. I think it’s wonderful to see this kind of fan support! I hope the NBC Sports Network and NBC in general see this kind of fan support, and take good notes.

I’m incredibly disappointed to hear SPEED has decided to pull the team from Austin, as I think it demonstrates either a lack of commitment to finish the broadcast on a high note or a petty response to the shift in coverage. Either way, I’m devastated I can’t meet up again with Frank, Justin, Steve, David, and Bob…and can’t believe SPEED would be this short-sighted. (FOR THE RECORD: MY OPINION.) I wanted to finally meet Leigh! I still need to thank Will for dancing for my birthday last year!

A CALL TO ACTION

Jon Miller, president of programming, has a Twitter account. I’ve verified, as closely as I can, this is the correct Jon Miller (I know there was some confusion before – there are two Jon/John Millers on the NBC executive board). We need to show him we have a voice, and we want to keep the broadcast team as whole as possible.

YOUR TASK

  • Post a message to Jon Miller (@JDM1114) via Twitter. BE NICE. Remember Wheaton’s Law? Follow it. We need NBC Sports to hear our voice, not dismiss us as a bunch of boorish freaks.
  • Follow Mr. Miller. No promises he’ll respond to any of us, but it’s always nice to throw a follow.
  • Spread the word. Let’s see what we can do to get Mr Miller to hear our voices.

Thank you, all of you. Our voices should be heard – let’s make this happen.

My First Idler Column

About a month ago, Gavin Craig put out a call for new Idler writers via Twitter. I’ve followed Gavin and The Idler for a while now, and I loved their content. Witty, intelligent, unapologetic: what’s not to like? I thought about it, surrounded by unfinished projects and mountains of work. I thought better of it. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.

DAMN YOU, MIND.

Gavin agreed to review a sample piece, and agreed the “Formula-1-from-a-fan’s-perspective” angle would be a nice addition to their site.

I wrote a sample piece, sending it to a trusted friend for review. My friend worked with me for over three hours that afternoon, reviewing and rehashing every sentence. Using these suggestions, I crafted this. Enjoy.

See? HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE.

Grace in Small Things #3

  1. Hockenheim is an old-school track. I like them better than the sterile Tilke tracks.
  2. Nothing exploded at work today.
  3. Today was the first day in 28 days where the temperature was lower than 90 degrees. I’ll take it.
  4. I have awesome friends. Not many, mind you, but the ones I have are absolutely incredible.
  5. I may actually have a little time to knit this weekend.