Monthly Archives: March 2011

Time to Make Some Changes

I haven’t written many blogs lately. It seems Facebook and Twitter have replaced my need to blog. I do enter a synopsis of each week’s Outdoor Magazine Radio show rundown here, but other than that my blog has been pretty slow.

However, I do think blogging is a great venue to explore an issue or topic in-depth, and there’s been something on my mind lately I need to talk about.

I’ve been in the outdoor television business now for about twenty five years. I started doing outdoor reports back when I worked in the news department at WNEM TV5 in Saginaw, Michigan. Those segments were called “News5 Outdoors” and they were extremely popular with local viewers. Based on that response I started producing quarterly half hour “specials”, which eventually led to monthly shows and the opportunity to leave the tv station and start my own company to produce a weekly program. That program was called “Outdoor Magazine”.

At first, Outdoor Magazine aired on TV5 and several other Michigan broadcast stations. Eventually it was added to the schedule of a new network called the Outdoor Channel. Outdoor Magazine later moved to the now defunct MOR network and eventually ended up at the very popular Sportsman Channel. In addition to Sportsman, the show still airs on the Michigan broadcast stations, including WNEM where it all began more than two decades ago.

About seventeen or eighteen years ago I expanded the Outdoor Magazine franchise by starting a one hour radio show by the same name for a local AM station. After several years that show was picked up and syndicated by the “also now defunct” Michigan Talk Radio Network where it aired as a two hour program.

Eventually the show migrated over the more viable Michigan Radio Network and expanded to a three hour format. The Outdoor Magazine radio show continues to air on that network across nineteen AM and FM stations in Michigan, as well as a very popular podcast version of the program on Itunes, the Outdoor Magazine website, facebook page and several other websites.

By all accounts my career in outdoor media has been quite successful. I’ve received lots of positive feedback from viewers and listeners, won many awards over the years from a variety of organizations and the audience continues to grow. Even so, I believe it’s time to make some changes.

The world of outdoor television has changed a lot since I started, especially in the past few years. Producing an outdoor tv show used to be special…it was a challenge few people had the expertise or equipment to accomplish. That’s all changed. Today high quality video cameras and editing systems cost a fraction of what they used to. As a result, there are more outdoor tv producers and networks than ever.

Those factors have resulted in a glut of outdoor programming. Many of the shows on the air these days are outstanding. In fact, I’m confident there are more high quality outdoor programs than ever. Some of the other shows are lacking in quality production techniques. That’s to be expected, everybody has to learn a skill. Unfortunately in television that learning curve is more visible than most other businesses. I have noticed recently though that a growing number of viewers aren’t as concerned with quality as in the past. I think You Tube and the proliferation of “amateur” video available on the web has changed viewer standards.

The hunting and fishing industries are solid and healthy, but not exempt from the pressures of business today. Many companies have cut back on their advertising budgets, or at least shifted some of those funds into new areas and personalities. As a result there are a growing number of tv producers looking for funding from companies that are inundated with sponsorship proposals.

I’ve been lucky in that regard. I have a solid group of companies that I’ve partnered with for many years. They have been very loyal in their support of Outdoor Magazine and I am very loyal to them as well.

Still, I can’t get rid of the feeling that it’s time make some changes.

In my case it’s more than a feeling. I believe God is moving me in a new direction, and that path doesn’t include TV.

2011 is the last year I’ll produce the Outdoor Magazine television show. In fact, the transition has already started. For the first time in more than twenty years the show is not airing year round on a national network. Outdoor Magazine will be back on Sportsman Channel in the third and fourth quarters, and it continues to air weekly on my broadcast stations, but that will end with the new year.

Starting in 2012 my focus will be entirely on my radio show and podcast.

This was not an easy decision to make. Television has been part of my entire adult life and I’m sure some part of me will miss it. However, with the continued strong growth of the radio side of my business I’m confident this is a very good move.

The potential of Outdoor Magazine radio really started to hit home when I looked at the numbers. I can reach more people, with less expense and fewer hours worked on radio than tv. The best part is I really love radio.

I’m not going to sit back and coast during this last season of Outdoor Magazine tv though. I’ve got several good shows in the works, including a wolf hunt in northern Ontario where I battled temperatures as low as -40F to take this beautiful animal.

Ontario Wolf

I do plan to reach into the archives occasionally and use some of my old material from days gone by. I probably won’t find anything to rival the interview I did with the legendary Fred Bear back in the mid eighties though.

Many people consider me a veteran in the world of outdoor broadcasters and I guess that’s true. I’ve been able to survive because I’ve been willing to change and adapt. This latest move is just one more example of that.

I’m currently working on several projects to grow the Outdoor Magazine radio show and podcast. Don’t be surprised if my gray haired face shows up on some other outdoor tv shows too.

I’ll keep you informed about what I’m up to, but don’t look for that news here on the blog, I’ll probably announce it on facebook and twitter.

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Outdoor Magazine Radio (Weekend of 3/26-27)

A busy and fast paced show this weekend on the Outdoor Magazine radio show. First, I talk about my upcoming spring bear hunt in Quebec. I haven’t hunted that province before and I’m excited to give it a try…especially on a springtime hunt.

Than, Glenn Duncan of Duncan’s Outdoor Shop in Bay City Michigan joins me to talk about turkey guns. The master gunsmith and avid shooter has some great advice on what to look for in today’s shotguns.

The hour wraps up with Dawn Szcepanski of the Ieuter Insurace company in Midland, Michigan. Dawn talks about insuring our summertime equipment and the proper coverage for snowmachines and other cold weather gear being put into storage.

Hour number two features Chip Hunnicutt of Crosman Air Guns. Chip tells me about the new generation of air rifles designed for hunting. These high powered guns include the Benjamin Rogue which is designed to shoot a .357 bullet.

Tony Hansen of MUCC finishes the hour from the road as he travels to Nebraska for a spring turkey hunt. Tony brings me up to speed on the status of several key pieces of outdoor related legislation here in Michigan.

The final hour of this week’s show features one of today’s most outrageous outdoorsman. Ted Nugent joins me to talk about hunting related issues today. He also stresses the importance of getting involved in the political process. Nugent has taken some heat for his opinions, but I believe he’s dead on.

Chef Dixie Dave Minar wraps up the program. This time Dave has a hearty venison recipe.

The show moves fast and you don’t want to miss a minute of it.

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Outdoor Mag Radio -Last weekend of Winter

We say goodbye to winter this week on the Outdoor Magazine show.

First, I talk about some of the signs Mother Nature is giving us that spring is finally here (at least for most Michigan residents).

Ted Harpham of Darton Archery joins me to talk their new lineup of bows for 2011…including improvements on the hot 3800 compound and Serpent crossbow.

Next, Tom Campbell of Woods-n-Waternews wraps up the hour talking about turkey season prep and proclaiming Michigan to have “the best walleye fishing in the world”. By the way, I agree with that statement.

Hour two features an old friend of mind, Dan Donarski. Dan is known as “Mr. U.P.” because he’s extremely knowledgeable about outdoor issues in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Dan and I discuss possible changes in the opening day of firearm deer season, baiting for whitetails and lots more.

In the final hour of this weekend’s show we say goodbye to the ice fishing season with Dave Rose. Dave is an outdoor writer and fishing guide from northern Michigan. He has some great tips on how to be most productive during these last couple weeks of the ice season.

The program wraps up with Wild Game Chef Dixie Dave Minar. This week there’s no recipe, instead Dave talks about their fundraising dinner coming up next weekend in Birch Run.

As always, a fast paced and busy show….I hope you enjoy it.

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Pappy’s Deer Camp

Well, I’ll probably never get a bow or blind with my name on it, so here’s the next best thing…..a cartoon featuring Yours Truly.

Michigan cartoonist Rick Jenkins came up with this idea. His last creation featured Jeff Daniels, so I’m in good company.

You’ll notice Rick even managed to work in my bow of choice…Darton.

You can see more of his work at this website.

Thanks Rick.

Now, if I could just get somebody to name a product after me……

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Radio Show for 3/12-13

This weekend’s show kicks off with a review of my successful Ontario wolf hunt.

Ontario Wolf

Then, Tom Hugger of Showspan joins me to talk about the big Ultimate Sport Show in Grand Rapids next weekend. The show is in it’s 66th year and promises to be better than ever.

In the final segment I answer the question of “why hunt wolves if you’re not going to eat them?” I believe that’s a valid question and you can listen to my response by

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The second hour features Mike Orr of Five Orrs Charters. Mike is a captain on southern Lake Michigan who concentrates on early season trolling for stealhead and brown trout. While most anglers are still on the ice, mike is catching limits of fish trolling warm water discharges.

Tony Hansen of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs finishes out the hour. Tony has updates on several key pieces of pending legislation in Michigan.

The final hour kicks off with Derrick Poet of Jay’s Sporting Goods. Derrick is an expert turkey hunter and he has some great advice on choosing the right gear to get ready for the upcoming season.

The final guest of this week’s program is, as always, wild game chef Dixie Dave Minar. This time the chef has a very unusual recipe….it features wolf.

Another busy and informative show. I hope you enjoy it.

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