Sunday, April 10, 2011


Here's a case study for PR people who think relationship-building with national media consists of sending an E-mail: Sunday morning, I guested on Rick Benjamin's Sirius XM radio show right after the Malaysian Grand Prix. (Yes, I'm one of those who usually stays up to watch Formula One, even in the middle of the night.) My live conversation with Benjamin was at 3 a.m. PDT. I did it not only because Rick is a long-time friend, but because he and his producer cared enough to pick up the phone and ask. One-on-one relationship building is how PRers can get media to work with them. It's a voice, a handshake, a look in the eye -- the human touch. An occasional, lazy, E-mail is NOT relationship building.

It was a VERY exciting final round, but money once again triumphed over journalism in last week's ESPN and CBS coverage of The Masters golf tournament. It's not that seldom is heard a discouraging word -- like IndyCar on Versus (now we're told restart/crash, restart/crash, restart/crash action is "good" for the series) -- but NEVER is uttered anything not gushy and wonderful and politically correct -- "spectators" are "patrons" and the "rough" is the "second cut" -- it's broadcast as a near-religious experience. Yes, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend The Masters final round quite a few years ago by a golf (and racing) sponsor, and it's a beautiful place and a classic sports event. The Augusta National Golf Club knows how it wants the world to see it and keeps TV on a short rope via one-year contracts. The Augusta National media committee has intimidated most of the written golf media into compliance as well, because, otherwise, they might not get accepted for credentials the next year or might not be in the lottery that chooses journalists to play the course. I bet the management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway must shake its collective head because I know from long-time first-hand experience the same level of arrogance ("The Most Important Race in History") exists over at 16th and Georgetown. IMS does, of course, enjoy local media cheerleading, but has poor (or no) relationships with a lot of the national media. (Why? See above for one reason.)

Why was longtime NASCAR West Coast operative Ken Clapp added to the NHRA Board of Directors? Read about it in my April "Drags, Dollars & Sense" column on

[ more next Monday . . . ]