Four big TV speed racing series put NeWave on fast track to best year yet

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When Steve Grein hosts a big party next month, he’ll have more than his NeWave Video Productions’ tenth anniversary to celebrate. Mainly an unprecedented flood of business “that more than makes up for the last 18 slow months,” he said.

Grein started NeWave in Palos Hills May 10, 1994, specializing in the two seemingly unrelated fields of speed racing and high-end corporate. Grein can even point to Feb. 23 when the floodgates opened. “On that date, we had more work contracted for the year to make it look like it’ll be our best year ever,” he said, predicting 2004 gross sales as around $2 million.

The bulk of the business comes from four motor- racing series. Starting on Memorial Day, NeWave crews will be out shooting (on betaSP) an event every weekend until Nov. 20. “All-in-all, we’ll have 54 shows on the air 2004,” said Grein.

The biggest and most complex show is the 26- week, half-hour series of “off the wall” motor racing events all over the world. “Lucas Oil ? on the Edge!” is sponsored by the California-based maker of racing vehicle motor oil. It airs from the first week in November through June, 2005 on the Fox-owned Speed Channel.

Each week the crew shoots a race limited only by a promoter’s imagination. There’s wheel standing competition, snowmobile drag racing on grass, rock crawling (trucks climbing mountains), figure eight stock car racing, train racing, all-Harley motorcycle drag racing and an all-street car drag race.

“All kinds of mainstream racing shows are on TV, but very little of any other kind, so many people have never heard of these events,” Grein pointed out. “But they are very big throughout the country. We pitched the offbeat races to Speed Channel as an eight-part series and they liked it so much they kicked it up to 26 shows. The sponsor said okay, let’s do it.”

Three other shows are also scheduled. NeWave for the third consecutive year is shooting 13 IHBA (International Hot Boat Association) boat drag races (Top Fuel Hydro drag boats going 240 mph on the quarter mile on water), another Speed Channel entry.

For the ten monthly “Dirt Rider Adventure” for sponsor “Dirt Rider” magazine on the Outdoor Life Network, NeWave crews recently shot for 10 days in Australia and New Zealand and next month head for Hawaii. They’ve already shot in Alaska, Texas, Arizona, California, and Maine.

Then, starting in June, NeWave starts shooting tentatively titled “Hill Climbs” shows also for the Outdoor Life Network.

NeWave employs a full-time staff of 11. New partner is Ken Stout from Indianapolis, Speed Channel’s contracted talent and host of “Monster Jam” and many shows for Clear Channel out of Aurora.

New staffers are producer Jennifer Rolsky and David Buss, both previously with Digital Realm, and editor Michael Smith, from Hawthorne Direct, the national informercial agency. Michael Malin is in charge of sales.

Regular permalancers include Jeff Moffit, Ken Heinemann, Mark Zurawiec, Kris Kettner, John Dewey, Carl Hathcoat, Anthony Flores and Angelo Lazzara.

To accommodate the expansion, NeWave’s 4,000- sq. ft. office is being remodeled to accommodate a fourth edit suite and two new offices. Two recently purchased Avid Adrenalines was added to the company’s extensive equipment list.

NeWave Video Productions is at 9944 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills; phone, 708/598-6900; see www.newavetv.com.

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