I nonetheless view myself as a gearhead journalist, however the actuality is that I am a TV man. I’ve lately discovered myself rapt with nostalgia for the early-’90s days of being a HOT ROD journal staffer below the wing of Grey Baskerville, mingling with the pioneers of the trade, hanging out on the Avenue Machine Nationals in Du Quoin, Illinois, and being part of the founding days of the Quickest Avenue Automotive Shootout. My video and TV followers are a youthful crowd oblivious to such issues. I meet glazed eyes after I talk about my editorial historical past at HOT ROD, HOT ROD Deluxe, Rod & Customized, Automotive Craft, and 4-Wheel & Off-Highway magazines.
Inversely, I am curious in case you readers perceive what I am as much as. Many do not understand I am now not concerned in HOT ROD editorial, aside from this column. That ended three and a half editors in the past as I phased out of my journal editor-in-chief position and into the video portion of the enterprise that is in the end turn out to be a intently associated however separate firm referred to as MotorTrend Group, a division of Discovery, as in Discovery cable TV.
Circa 2011, I used to be modifying each HOT ROD and HOT ROD Deluxe and doubtless overseeing Automotive Craft as properly when the corporate needed extra video on HOTROD.com. I started making car-related journey movies with HOT ROD staffer Mike Finnegan, then YouTube struck a cope with the publishing firm to fund the MotorTrend channel, which turned the most important auto outlet on YouTube. The Freiburger-and-Finnegan present was named Roadkill on the MotorTrend channel, and it turned YouTube’s most considered car-related present. Finally, the YouTube financing ended, however the large viewers of MotorTrend reveals attracted Discovery right into a three way partnership that led to all the unique YouTube reveals, plus dozens of different cable-TV automotive reveals, being positioned onto the MotorTrend App. The app—accessible in your laptop or cellular gadgets or recreation consoles—enables you to subscribe to see reveals everytime you need. Additionally, the Discovery-owned, automotive-centric cable TV channel that was referred to as Velocity is now generally known as MotorTrend, and my reveals generally seem there as properly.
I ought to level out that these enterprise strikes should not of my doing. There’s persistent perception among the many viewers that I am calling the photographs and making the offers. Not so. I am only a producer and host of various reveals. The primary one is Roadkill, with no premise aside from “we play with vehicles and also you level and snort.” Finnegan and I nonetheless co-host, 110+ episodes later.
I also host Roadkill Garage with my good friend Steve Dulcich (who can also be an occasional visitor on Roadkill), a present the place we present you “learn how to do the incorrect factor the proper manner” as we construct quick beaters on Dulcich’s farm.
Engine Masters is my present with hardcore before-and-after testing and evaluation of velocity elements and efficiency concept on the engine dyno. This one is co-hosted by Steve Brule of Westech Efficiency Group in California, and in addition by Dulcich, and we now have plenty of enjoyable with it.
One other Roadkill spinoff is Roadkill Extra, a short vlog that is posted each weekday to the MotorTrend App. It has outtakes, tech ideas, Q&A classes, project-car updates, and extra.
Lastly, I co-host $3K Hooptie Problem with Brian Lohnes, who you might acknowledge because the lead announcer for NHRA on Fox. This present is about dirt-cheap drag vehicles, and it is hilarious. As for aspect gigs, you may spot me right here and there on Roadkill’s Junkyard Gold hosted by former HOT ROD staffer Steve Magnante, or on the brand new Shift Talkers panel dialogue present, or within the pandemic-driven Working From Home present (I’ve two episodes speaking sizzling rod historical past as I reveal treasures of my storage). Oh! And the unique Scorching Rod TV—the primary sizzling rodding television present that the journal launched within the ’90s—can also be there.
I’ve deserted the lifetime of 36-hour days writing my brains out for magazines and jumped right into a nonstop schedule of wrenching, constructing low-buck venture vehicles, road-tripping, and testing engines. We’re extraordinarily lucky that we nonetheless haven’t any scripts or pretend drama, because the hosts are principally accountable for the content material for the reveals. We determine if it is enjoyable for us, it is enjoyable for the viewers. Essentially the most irritating half is when tight schedules forestall us from ending vehicles or assembly objectives in the way in which that I need. Again in my journal days, if a narrative plan flopped, I might simply keep awake 24 hours and write one thing to interchange it. In video, we now have to air all our errors. However that is additionally what many viewers like about it. We do not pretend it.
It is hectic, nevertheless it’s additionally the car-guy dream job. Nonetheless, I nonetheless miss the romance of HOT ROD editorial, and I am grateful to have the ability to hand on this column every month.