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Formula 1 on Speed: A Love-story


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#1 Deluxx

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 19:43

Formula 1 on Speed: A Love-story.



As the now previous racing year for Formula 1 started, many hadn't the slightest clue as to what would happen before them. For the racing would be unpredictable; the result of that was a perfect concoction full of drama and suspense. Being from the United States, one doesn't have particularly many options to view live Formula 1 racing on their television sets. Sure, the overlays are provided by Formula One Management, but what a broadcast team brings to the table only enhances the entertainment, information, and harmony that pure racing fans enjoy. Without a broadcast team, would Formula 1 be the same?

Some swear by other broadcast companies... and sure there are ways for us out in the States to acquire these feeds; short of shelling out an arm and two legs, Speed TV remained the home for many F1 viewers for years. Sure they had their quirks and their problems...but most of that can be acquainted to the network. What we had over 16 years with F1 on Speed was a sense of community and family. Like any other broadcast's team, there was a balanced mix of announcer, with first hand expert F1 knowledge and professionalism. But what broke the sole United States broadcaster out from the rest of the group was an extra edge one sometimes feels lacking in present days. These guys actually had fun!!! How often do you feel valuable as a viewer, and enthralled in something as routine as a Friday practice session?

Not often enough, in my book. But with all good, evil is there to counter the aerodynamics of a broadcast. In my opinion, the network of Speed missed the mark a bit with their untimely commercial breaks. I understand that when it comes down to lets say, a 3 hour race, there has to be a percentage of commercial air space that needs to be sold to -break even- on a specific program, let alone make a profit. Unfortunately not everyone has an unlimited budget to spend, and there must be a compromise. That alone usually turns people away from Speed TV, and sometimes away from F1 as a whole...while other broadcasts show more of the race than commercials it seems at certain points... But business is business... Let this be known to the new USA's crew of broadcasters... try to find a happy medium of both business and pleasure... don't forget who your audience is. Us.

From nearly 300 races, to iconic moments like Ferrari winning their first championship in years, to Massa seemingly having to give up a position just to keep his job, 17 years of excitement has been brought to our doorsteps from colleges and friends that have grown with the sport just like us fans have. And that’s the most important part: the broadcast was for fans, by fans. As our favorite sport gets acutely jimmied over to a different production company, many of us are wary. And within reason. We here in the States have had some interesting relationships with F1... both on the track and on the air. Now out of our control... our destiny lay before us as unwritten as a clean slate. So what do we look forward to going in the future? Well, a lot. Following us fans to NBC are some of the old Speed crew. What everyone is most worried about is if the new broadcast will have that homey feeling. Chemistry is something that often just works. With the right ingredients and the correct ratios, something stronger than the sum of their parts is forged.

Will F1 in America see the perfectly organized molecules that comprise a broadcast team arise at our new home? It surely will be big shoes to fill. But let something be learned by those before you, new team. The recipe for a good broadcast is quite simple. A basic trio will suffice us fans fine. Quality, passion, and sport. To each broadcast it's the same. But the one that gets those dimensions juuuust right will always be the one F1 fans flock to.

Edited by Deluxx, 25 November 2012 - 20:20.


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#2 dau

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 21:00

Not a SPEED watcher here, but i will always remember them as the channel that gave me free (though unintended) streaming of the Free Practice sessions in 2011 and some great onboard streams for the USGP last weekend. But i think you should probably have used the [url="http://"http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=147433&st=240&start=240"]SPEED coverage thread[/url] for this.

Edited by dau, 25 November 2012 - 21:00.


#3 Deluxx

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 21:15

meh, it was more like a farewell. didn't want to start any arguments in that thread :p

if you guys wanna merge it thats cool

Edited by Deluxx, 25 November 2012 - 21:27.


#4 Mr. Salty

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:43

meh, it was more like a farewell. didn't want to start any arguments in that thread :p

if you guys wanna merge it thats cool



Huh, guess I'll just stick this in here, skimmed a couple of locked threads and apparently no one is allowed to start anything here that someone else thought about at some time EVER anymore.

One of my Atlas F1 buddies on Facebook posted something similar to what Deluxx posted here, albiet much more succinctly. She made me think of the great times I had watching Speedvision back in the day, and how it led me here (what used to be Atlas F1) and opened my eyes and my mind so much.

A few others also commented on her FB thread. It reminded me of some really fun times I used to have with so many people in this community, many, many many that still are active members. Regarding the Speed retro moments from the last seventeen years...

What I remembered from the retrospective was my tiny little kids (now teenagers) sitting on my lap, or chatting on AtlasF1 during an actual race, or joking and arguing with you guys on the BB. Those were such great times, and I've grown less interested in F1 as well...but damn it was fun for a while, and meant a lot to me because of the Atlas community and the fun we had together.

Great times for me, and many of you are having the same experience right now! Treasure these moments when watching races at odd hours and chatting with friends from all over the world mean so much to you!I grew away from this, and it's impossible to recapture that magic once you let it go. Please NBC, nurture the F1 community like Speed did, I doubt you can do it but at least try.

#5 Bean

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:36

I'm definitely going to miss the team of Bob/David/Steve. I've watched F1 on and off since 1990 (didn't have cable back then :well: ), but never missed a race since 2000. Nowadays, I have easy access to streams of BBC and SKY, yet I still choose to watch the race with the SPEED crew calling the shots. I love Steve's eagle eye for technical details/issues. I love David's humor, which was at it's peak during the Schumi domination years when some commentary 'spice' was needed during many a boring race. But Bob has always been my "official voice of f1". I remember very clearly to this day the desperation in his voice as he called the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix for ESPN. I remember how well he handled the 2005 US Grand Prix 'farce'. He's always been a level-headed, knowledgeable commentator who can properly fire the viewers up for a great race. Maybe familiarity breeds comfort, but I've become very comfortable with the SPEED team over the years. They have a great passion for the sport, and they make the races entertaining each time out.

I know that David/Steve are heading to NBC, and I can only hope they capture even a small bit of the chemistry that was there on the SPEED broadcasts.

#6 Deluxx

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:45

...and I can only hope they capture even a small bit of the chemistry that was there on the SPEED broadcasts.


i would settle for even the smallest smoldering ember of passion...

#7 Sakae

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:29

I'm definitely going to miss the team of Bob/David/Steve. I've watched F1 on and off since 1990 (didn't have cable back then :well: ), but never missed a race since 2000. Nowadays, I have easy access to streams of BBC and SKY, yet I still choose to watch the race with the SPEED crew calling the shots. I love Steve's eagle eye for technical details/issues. I love David's humor, which was at it's peak during the Schumi domination years when some commentary 'spice' was needed during many a boring race. But Bob has always been my "official voice of f1". I remember very clearly to this day the desperation in his voice as he called the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix for ESPN. I remember how well he handled the 2005 US Grand Prix 'farce'. He's always been a level-headed, knowledgeable commentator who can properly fire the viewers up for a great race. Maybe familiarity breeds comfort, but I've become very comfortable with the SPEED team over the years. They have a great passion for the sport, and they make the races entertaining each time out.

I know that David/Steve are heading to NBC, and I can only hope they capture even a small bit of the chemistry that was there on the SPEED broadcasts.

I am sadden by this change. Hobbs is an oldtimer, and maybe he is in this for too long, but what about Bob Varsha? Some viewers were critical of him, but in my case I had found his calm voice having soothing effect in heated moments, as he really made an effort to keep his personal views at the door, and in the front of camera present balance and neutrality that is so lacking elsewhere.

#8 Deluxx

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:32

He's staying with speed for their car shows, etc

#9 Dan333SP

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 14:32

Just wanted to give a shout out to Varsha for his emotional goodbye at the end of yesterday's broadcast. His voice defined F1 for me in a way that Murray Walker defined it for generations of British fans. Great recap of the many seasons on the network as well.

#10 MattPete

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 14:44

To me, Varsha has been the voice of F1, going back to the days of Varsha, Hobbes, and Bisigiano on ESPN.

#11 Dan333SP

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 16:31

Does anyone know if Buxton will be carried over to NBCSN, and/or who will replace Bob? I have grown to like Will, and he brings a touch of relative youth to balance the "old men" in the booth.

#12 Jejking

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 16:38

TLDR.

Thanks for the commentating, too bad it was too happy chappy to be ever taken serious.

#13 FSA

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 17:39

Just wanted to give a shout out to Varsha for his emotional goodbye at the end of yesterday's broadcast. His voice defined F1 for me in a way that Murray Walker defined it for generations of British fans. Great recap of the many seasons on the network as well.


It was surprisingly emotional to watch yesterday at the end of the show. I had known early on that Hobbs/Matchett/Diffey were going to NBC so it was reassuring that the Speed spirit would be carried over but it didn't really hit me till the end of the show how much it meant to Varsha to be ending his F1 career like this. He's always been too professional to express his inner feelings but you could see he was choked up.

It was a really nice touch for them to include Posey as well. He's another one with a very distinctive voice. It was a really heartfelt gesture to bring him in for the last broadcast. I liked it. I am sorry to see Speed go.

#14 4L3X

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:09

I'm not going to miss those guys on Speedtv. They're too much anti-Ferrari, pro-British biased. Mclaren spygate was "no big deal", "Everybody does that crap". And the Pro-Hamilton hysteria in Alonso/Massa/Kimi battles, oh. I was pissed more times than not.

They're all british fan boys and they're not ashamed of displaying their bias. Amazing really how long they were allowed to go.

Good riddance to all.

#15 jonpollak

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:20

Bless you Red17
Jp

#16 F1Johnny

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:26

It was surprisingly emotional to watch yesterday at the end of the show. I had known early on that Hobbs/Matchett/Diffey were going to NBC so it was reassuring that the Speed spirit would be carried over but it didn't really hit me till the end of the show how much it meant to Varsha to be ending his F1 career like this. He's always been too professional to express his inner feelings but you could see he was choked up.

It was a really nice touch for them to include Posey as well. He's another one with a very distinctive voice. It was a really heartfelt gesture to bring him in for the last broadcast. I liked it. I am sorry to see Speed go.


Agreed. Posey at the end was a great touch, especially since he hasn't been well. I enjoyed his lead ins for the races.

Varsha has been the voice of the majority of the F1 races I've watched. Sad to see him go/stay at Speed.

#17 Sakae

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:28

I'm not going to miss those guys on Speedtv. They're too much anti-Ferrari, pro-British biased. Mclaren spygate was "no big deal", "Everybody does that crap". And the Pro-Hamilton hysteria in Alonso/Massa/Kimi battles, oh. I was pissed more times than not.

They're all british fan boys and they're not ashamed of displaying their bias. Amazing really how long they were allowed to go.

Good riddance to all.

I could be wrong, but Bob I think is an American, and more importantly, he stayed most of times above such knee-jerk and judgemental discussions as far as I can remember. Hobbs and his buddy (both Brits) carried their own preferences on the sleeve for public to see.

#18 Dan333SP

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:36

I disagree about bias. I always felt that Varsha was a Ferrari fan at heart, and he balanced the slight bias towards British teams/drivers that you can sense in David and Steve's commentary. That said, Steve was generally pretty fair. This is coming from a huge Ferrari fan, so I was always listening for bias with a critical error and I've watched every F1 race on that network since 1998.

#19 CSquared

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 21:57

To me, Varsha has been the voice of F1, going back to the days of Varsha, Hobbes, and Bisigiano on ESPN.

To me, too. I'll miss you, Bob.

Agreed. Posey at the end was a great touch, especially since he hasn't been well. I enjoyed his lead ins for the races.

Varsha has been the voice of the majority of the F1 races I've watched. Sad to see him go/stay at Speed.

Those lead-ins, summaries, and other commentaries made me a real fan of Posey as a writer/journalist.

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#20 JacnGille

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:00

Just wanted to give a shout out to Varsha for his emotional goodbye at the end of yesterday's broadcast. His voice defined F1 for me in a way that Murray Walker defined it for generations of British fans. Great recap of the many seasons on the network as well.

+1

#21 Dan333SP

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:55

Here's a clip of the end of the broadcast. Very emotional for Bob! Can't say I feel too bad for him though, he's been paid for a couple decades to talk about my favorite sport ):


I also wonder if they will make a version of "Formula 1 Debrief" on NBCSN. I know I was probably in the minority, but I really enjoyed that show. We get all the team information and wrap ups a day after a race now online, but it's still fun to watch those 3 guys sit down and talk about the week's news and the previous race.

Edited by Dan333SP, 27 November 2012 - 01:57.


#22 Alfisti

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:53

I always kinda liked this crew, the massive amount of ads and being stuck on SD meant I lost touch with them versus TSN but Varsha always seemed a class act.

#23 discover23

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:50

Very nice OP and farewell thread for F1 on SpeedTv.
I am going to miss those guys .. The three of them were the perfect combo providing the right balance to make every race broadcast a joyful experience. Varsha is practically an F1 encyclopedia and Matchet a technical guru - I wonder if NBC will continue with his technical debriefs on current and past Formula 1 cars.

Edited by discover23, 27 November 2012 - 03:51.


#24 jondoe955

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:01

Excellent post, Deluxx. So many tears in yesterday's race wrap-up. Shummy, in an old clip (I couldn't believe how happy he was after the race, for Vettel - and racing), Massa on the podium, and Bob, about to lose it in the end. Bob was always a class act. The literal anchor of the show. I hope they continue with Sam, in some capacity. Yes, he can write, but his voice makes it all poetry! I'm shocked they are keeping David and Steve. And so glad! And there's something about Will's enthusiasm that drew me in, tho I generally skipped the grid walk. This is the best broadcast team I've ever heard, tho Jackie Stewart set the high mark.

I've been watching F1 since the early 60's, when it was nothing more than an occasional 10 + 15 minute segment on wide world of sports. Somewhere in the late 80's, I bought a TV and watched the crappy ESPN races, on stolen cable. We bought this house in 96. I'm not sure if SV was part of the cable package, at first. I don't remember Sam as a broadcaster. But I've missed few races on Speed. And this team has been my companions. My best friends, every other weekend. I prefer watching alone, with the 'boys'. When Senna died, my housemate had a visitor for the weekend. I was semi-annoyed with his questions and comments, but it was OK - until the crash! I wanted to hear what was being said, in the confusion of the moment. To be alone in my thoughts. It was NOT the time to be stuck with an interloper! (the wreck didn't seem that bad, yet the corner workers were not coming near the car, like they were frightened, superstitious villagers. WTF??? We couldn't see the damage done to the helmet...)


I will miss Bob's reasoned voice on the weekend. Oddly, if he was a less successful announcer, he'd still be on the broadcast team! I'm sure he will let the boys know whenever he has a weekend off, and can actually attend a race, of how much fun it is to actually BE there! I rarely watch the Barrett Jackson auctions. I love how they talk about the cars, and to see them (tho I tire of the muscle cars...). I hate the auctioneer and crew! Wish it was kept more low-key, like the Monterey auction.


#25 4L3X

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 21:11

I could be wrong, but Bob I think is an American, and more importantly, he stayed most of times above such knee-jerk and judgemental discussions as far as I can remember. Hobbs and his buddy (both Brits) carried their own preferences on the sleeve for public to see.



Varsha is too timid to tame them in their most fan boy moments, and he did his fair share of Ferrari - FIA jokes along the years. Also just because he's not British doesn`t mean he can't show a British bias.

Just this weekend Hobbs mentioned that in 2008 Hamilton- Massa battle was closed, but because Hamilton got stripped of a sure win in Spa, while failed to mention Renault's antics in Singapore and Massa's blown engine and zero points in Hungary. That year was typical, Hobbs couldn't accept Massa was the contender.

Their bias against Alonso in McLaren when Hamilton was surprising everyone was not what you expect from commentators. Hamilton is in their view a 'rain master' and great in Monaco, despite his dubious records.

But the spygate saga was the turning point when they lost all my appreciation as journalists, really. If they could, they would cover it up easily as no big deal.

I'm not saying they're bad persons. I'm just saying they're just annoying as watching a soccer match in a pub where everyone is cheering for the other team. Races were certainly less enjoyable for me because of that.

#26 917k

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 23:42

I was able to watch Speed vs. ITV vs. BBC over the years, so I have some context.

Although I like the Speed crew, they have a good chemistry, they were so frequently wrong and completely out-to-lunch when it came to what was actually happening during a race [compared to Brundle / Coulthard] it distracted from the broadcast. If they were my only choice, Speed would have been very unsatisfactory.

#27 Deluxx

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:44

Anyone have any news on the new broadcast team, etc?

#28 bourbon

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:52

As far as I know, those same old dudders are going to be at NBC also - along with Will Buxton. Varsha is staying at speed, so hopefully they find a better American voice - someone who will temper all the British bias we've had to put up with for years watching those guys.

#29 Watkins74

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:41

Anyone have any news on the new broadcast team, etc?

Leigh Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton.

#30 Deluxx

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:33

Yeah I'm kinda scared that the coverage is going to have mate at the end of every sentence when he was announced...

I saw some NBC commercial with Jenson Button in it. Odd that F1 and Indy are going to be on the same channel... I don't think they've released a press kit or anything about what channels or what practices they're covering or anything... Probably waiting till winter tests are well underway.

Not holding my breath for side-by side coverage. Hoping for the broadcast to be more than 1/2 commercials too, haha.

#31 Sakae

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:33

Varsha is too timid to tame them in their most fan boy moments, and he did his fair share of Ferrari - FIA jokes along the years. Also just because he's not British doesn`t mean he can't show a British bias.

Just this weekend Hobbs mentioned that in 2008 Hamilton- Massa battle was closed, but because Hamilton got stripped of a sure win in Spa, while failed to mention Renault's antics in Singapore and Massa's blown engine and zero points in Hungary. That year was typical, Hobbs couldn't accept Massa was the contender.

Their bias against Alonso in McLaren when Hamilton was surprising everyone was not what you expect from commentators. Hamilton is in their view a 'rain master' and great in Monaco, despite his dubious records.

But the spygate saga was the turning point when they lost all my appreciation as journalists, really. If they could, they would cover it up easily as no big deal.

I'm not saying they're bad persons. I'm just saying they're just annoying as watching a soccer match in a pub where everyone is cheering for the other team. Races were certainly less enjoyable for me because of that.

I didn't say Varsha was perfect, no one is, but maybe my comfort zone is different. I also liked J. Palmer's (go figure) performance in the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, that was won by Michael Schumacher's as his first Ferrari victory, all in the torrential rain. :)

Edited by Sakae, 08 January 2013 - 16:24.


#32 JacnGille

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 15:57

I don't think they've released a press kit or anything about what channels or what practices they're covering or anything... Probably waiting till winter tests are well underway.

http://www.racer.com....rticle/263645/
NBC subsequently confirmed that all races will be aired live, with live streaming also planned for the 20-race schedule, as well as practice sessions and qualifying. More than 100 hours of programming are expected.

The four NBC races for 2013 are the Canadian Grand Prix June 9, then the final three races of the season at Abu Dhabi, Austin and Brazil in November. The inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial is scheduled for June 16, the same date as the U.S. Open golf final round, also an NBC property.

#33 4L3X

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 18:50

As far as I know, those same old dudders are going to be at NBC also - along with Will Buxton. Varsha is staying at speed, so hopefully they find a better American voice - someone who will temper all the British bias we've had to put up with for years watching those guys.

I hope so.

#34 Deluxx

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:53

http://www.racer.com....rticle/263645/
NBC subsequently confirmed that all races will be aired live, with live streaming also planned for the 20-race schedule, as well as practice sessions and qualifying. More than 100 hours of programming are expected.

The four NBC races for 2013 are the Canadian Grand Prix June 9, then the final three races of the season at Abu Dhabi, Austin and Brazil in November. The inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial is scheduled for June 16, the same date as the U.S. Open golf final round, also an NBC property.



Cool, thanks. Link doesn't work, but I found it (here if anyone wants to read: http://www.racer.com...rticle/263645/)


This is pretty interesting... "Five F1 races – Malaysia, China, Germany, Belgium, Korea – will serve as lead-ins to IndyCar races – St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto, Sonoma and Houston. Those occur on March 24, April 14, July 14, Aug. 25 and Oct. 6, respectively. "

Wonder if any scheduling issues are going to clash between the two :/