Truth, integrity and professionalism – these are the key components to the foundation of our Thunder Crew radio show. Originally geared at covering the ARCA Series, our team quickly found out that racing executives, no matter the level, weren’t too thrilled with three talking heads giving opinions, good or bad, about their sport at a national level. We were even summoned into a hauler or two for simply providing dissenting opinions. But in the end, the industry had room for us. Mixed in with the number of racing journalists and publications, we found a home, where like in NASCAR itself, welcomed owners with limited funds and resources on the track to compete.
Sadly, NASCAR no longer has room for the little guy. This includes underfunded teams and companies like ours within NASCAR media circles. I have to assume NASCAR has developed a model to go small. The viewership is down from several years ago, the number of teams that can compete on the track is down and even the way teams and drivers can sell merchandise has been completely altered causing limited employment within the industry.
Seats are being replaced with billboards or massive television monitors, the number of media members covering the sport is down and the number of independent radio shows or podcasts, like those found on our network at RaceTalkRadio.com have packed their bags and moved on. Online NASCAR stores have been priced out of business after NASCAR and their corporate partners consolidated.
The truth is the footprint on the business side of the sport is smaller. NASCAR and their insiders have made the sport very exclusive to only those who provide financial value or provide positive coverage. It’s business – and if you’ve spent any time within the sport of racing you know it can be very cut throat.
A few weeks ago we were preparing for our 10th season on the air. But during a conference call a simple question or remark was made about “fun” and “our value” – causing us to pause and think about the season ahead. We quickly steered the conversation to our listeners, those who have been with us for years. Those dedicated – who take time every week to listen. But again, we came right back to, “Are we having fun covering NASCAR anymore?” especially as we look at the product on the track…and are we being fair to our listeners by going on the air discussing something that no longer brings us joy and excitement? The answer was and is still at this moment a simple, no.
At the end of the discussion we made the decision to park the Thunder Crew radio show and contribute in a different fashion. You’ll still see Lori, Dennis and I on RaceTalkRadio.com and on our social media sites. @TheThunderCrew Twitter page will continue to live and dish out NASCAR opinions.
We owe our listeners a huge THANK YOU and we appreciate every sponsor who partnered with us over the years. I invite you to check back often because you never know what may happen – Carl Edwards may return…and so could we!
Follow SOZ and WIN NASCAR STUFF at @TheThunderCrew