| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 20 When President Barack Obama
announced a raft of proposals in the biggest U.S. gun-control
push in decades, C am Edwards, ho st of Sportsman Channel's "Cam &
Company" talk show, wasted no time siding with the National
"Assault weapon is a made-up name for a gun I can ban," said
Edwards, an avowed Second Amendment advocate, who later in the
program read, word for word, the NRA's statement in response to
Edwards, whose show is produced by NRA News, is one of the
cable TV personalities the NRA hopes will promote the right of
Americans to bear arms. That effort might become more important
if public and political sentiments harden in favor of gun
control in the wake of the Newtown shootings that claimed 26
Another Program, Outdoor Channel's "Friends of the
NRA," is hosted by former baseball player Matt Duff a nd champion
shooter Jessie Harrison Duff and is an offshoot of the group
that raised more than $200 million for national and local
programs "that ensures the availability of quality training and
educational opportunities," the group says on its site.
In the show, the two hosts visit NRA banquets and
fundraisers as they tour the country.
The NRA produces or sponsors six cable TV shows that appear
on either the Outdoor or Sportsman channels, which are each
available in more than 30 million homes, including many gun
"They're consolidating their base," said Larry Gerbrandt, a
former cable TV executive who founded Valuation Partners, which
appraises media assets for acquisitions and other purposes.
"It's a lot easier to get your message across with video than it
was a printed pamphlet.
Edwards, whose show started and continues online and on
SirusXM's conservative Patriot channel, said on his TV show on
Jan. 16 that he "is not a spokesman for the NRA" and that NRA
News is separate from the lobbying group. The NRA did not return
calls and emails.
Other shows, which are mostly history or competition
programs, help the NRA promote the gun owning lifestyle and are
an important advertising platform for advertisers such as gun
makers Smith & Wesson Holding Corp or Remington Arms Co
It is also a potential profit center for the NRA, which
produces the shows and sells most of the advertising. Programs
on the Sportsman Channel can charge premium advertising rates,
said Graig Hale, the channel's programming vice-president,
because it is watched by men aged 25-54 years who are hard for
advertisers to reach.
"Sometimes the shows can be controversial," said Hale. "But
they are mostly about a range of topics that affect the
One of the Sportsman Channel's highest rated shows is "Guns
and Gold," a NRA-produced program in which two officials from
the National Firearms Museum tour the country to value heirlooms
and ancient guns.
The NRA also sponsors the shooting competition show "3-Gun
Nation" on the Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel's "American
Rifleman," which reviews products and airs stories about gun
owners from the NRA's "American Rifleman" magazine.
Edwards' one-hour show, airing nightly at 5pm Eastern, is
the only program that overtly supports the Second Amendment,
which is at the center of NRA's promotional efforts.
NRA members viewpoints can come through in other shows. In
one episode of "Friends of the NRA," the hosts visit a wild-game
chef and NRA member who tells them that, in the past, there was
never an issue of losing the right to bear arms and hunt.
"(Now) that's all you hear," he added.
During the episode, hosts Matt and Jessie Duff attend a wild
game cook-off that is followed by a message urging viewers to
"support Friends of the NRA and the NRA Foundation by attending
a banquet today."
Not surprisingly, the shows attract a large dose of hunting
and shooting ads. Nearly two dozen advertisers crammed into one
recent 30-minute episode of "American Rifleman," including
Crimson Trace laser sights, hunting gear discounter Cheaper Than
Dirt and gun makers Smith & Wesson and Remington.
Many of the same names also sponsor "Cam & Company," but the
heaviest advertiser in one recent episode was the NRA itself
with three ads that criticized Obama for sending his children to
a school that is protected by armed guards, while failing to
embrace the NRA plan to arm teachers and others in schools.