My Issue With "Gun Talk"


September 30, 2004, 08:22 PM
First let me say this, I love the show and listen to it every Sunday morning. It's a real breath of fresh air. Tom Gresham is really up to date on the political issues and current products. But having said that, there does seem to be a bit too much coverage of the industry itself. For quite some time, the focus seems to be on interviewing industry insiders and, for lack of a better term, salesmen from various gun companies. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but frankly I'm afraid "Gun Talk" is going to become nothing more than a advertising vehicle for introducing the latest new products.

I'd really like to see more attention paid to shooters, and to the grass roots. More coverage of C&R topics would be appreciated. And interviews with non-partisan experts who can discuss and critique various firearms. What we get now just sounds too much like a sale's pitch at times.

For example, why not do a segment talking about surplus rifle bargains and pitfalls? There are about four very active online forums dedicated to everything from Swiss rifles to Turkish Mausers, but I'll bet many listeners know little about them or the deals to be had.

Or heck, why just open lines for firearm complaints and gripes? Open lines for hunting stories? More variety, a little less "here I am at such-and-such conference and gosh we're having a great time here talking with the marketing reps from Marlin and Smith & Wesson." I love the guys, but give them a mic and they'll take over the whole show :D It's their job, bless 'em.

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Baba Louie
September 30, 2004, 10:14 PM
What is it that pays the bills?
Where do radio shows get that $?
From companies that have $ and want to spend it to get the word out about them and their products.
So they can make more $ and keep us in new toys instead of old used toys.

It's an old sad story.
Gun Talk is a great show and I'm glad Tom is doing it.
But ya gotta pay them bills.

September 30, 2004, 10:35 PM
I definately agree. I feel the same way about "American Shooter". Here's the format as I see it:
1) introduction
2) showcase some shooter's talent
5)Until next time...

October 1, 2004, 11:04 AM

It's a challenge to hit the right balance.

Some folks want nothing but gun rights and politics.

Some want the latest on new products.

Others want to talk self defense tactics and tools.

Hunting is popular with a large segment.

Of course, I try to have open lines as much as possible, to allow listeners the opportunity to "program" the show.

Last week, I was at the Gun Rights Policy Conference, and we had Massad Ayoob on for a couple of hours. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Korwin, of, Joe Waldron, of the Citiizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and Dave Workman, Senior Editor of Gun Week. Pretty good lineup for a discussion of gun rights, and Ayoob was there to talk about concealed carry, carry guns, laws, etc.

The week prior to that I was at the DU Great Outdoors Festival, and I did, indeed, have a lineup of folks from various companies, talking about what's new.

The week before I had Chuck Cunningham, of the NRA, talking about the AWB and the DC gun ban issue, and the election. Gary Mehalik, of the NSSF was on, too.

Some weeks I'll have no guests, and leave it up to the callers to tell me what they want to talk about. What do they select? Most often it's new products, gun rights, gun repairs, and what gun is best for self protection.

No apologies made for having gun company folks on. A lot of listeners want to know what's new, and there is always that pesky issue of paying the bills.

Out-of-pocket costs are over five grand a month to keep it on the air. That's MY pocket, to be precise.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has not offered me a grant.

George Soros doesn't take my calls.

What's a wayward gun writer to do?

October 1, 2004, 11:12 AM
What's a wayward gun writer to do?

Exactly what you're already doing.

No apologies made for having gun company folks on.

Nor should you apologize. Gotta pay the bills.

Gun Talk is a great show. Not only that, its extremely unique.
My only complaint is that, as far as I know, its not replayed during the week on my local AM only shot at getting it is on Sunday, on my way home from work, and thats usually good for the last 1/2 hour of it.

October 1, 2004, 11:20 AM
Well, you can download past shows from the web site, and play them back at your convenience.

Unfortunately, we are running late on getting them posted these days, due to Sirius satellite system pre-empting the show for NFL games. Now, we must ship CDs across the country to get them converted and uploaded.

Still, it's a delay of less than a week.

And, of course, it doesn't matter, because the show is timeless.

Yeah. Right. <grin>

October 1, 2004, 11:34 AM
Awesome, thanks!

October 1, 2004, 12:56 PM
Sometimes Tom has *me* on, until he can't stand it anymore and smacks me with the ruler!

Seriously, I think he does a heck of a job, and he says the absolute truth--it is a delicate balanciing act. The firearms industry has at times had a teeny-bit-too-cosy relationship with the firearms media, so when Tom--or I--say that our editorial is separate from our advertising, it's not necessarily met with unconditional whoops and hollers of joy.

I will say one thing, will NEVER hear Tom tell you that a P-O-S gun is the best thing since buttered sliced bread! He don't do that. I don't either.

Next time I'm on GUNTALK, call and ask me some stupid question (SUGGESTION: "Mr. Bane, which is better, a revolver or a semiauto?" OR: "Mr. Bane, I have a Star in 9mm Largo and I want to shoot really hot 9 X 23 rounds in it. They fit in the this okay?" OR: "Is the .32 H&R Magnum a good deer cartridge if I load it up to around 3000 feet per second?" OR THE EVER-POPULAR: "Mr. Bane, boxers or briefs?"). This ought to keep the show perky.

Michael B

joe sixpack
October 1, 2004, 12:57 PM
Wonderful! Keep up the good work.

cheers, js

October 1, 2004, 02:31 PM
Gun Talk is a unique opportunity for a pro-gun voice to have access to the popular mass media, and I think Tom does a superb job with the show, putting a human face on gun owners and giving accurate information about a subject that plenty of listeners have only heard the other - misinformed - side of. If the NRA were smarter, they would sponsor it completely, b/c Tom has the formula down.

Sometimes I also get tired of some aspect of the show, but that really depends more on what sort of interest I may have that week than in the actual content. I have never heard any awful guest on the show (some of the callers, however...) I may be interested in something C&R the week when Dwight van Brunt is on, but if he starts talking about the new Kimber Warrior, my ears perk up.

Face it, the worst Gun Talk is better than no gun talking at all. :) Keep up the good work Tom.

October 1, 2004, 02:39 PM
Some good points here. It may be a matter of too many folks trying to navigate in one small boat. We've all got different parts of the ocean we want to go to.

Just get Tuco or Parallax Bill on for a segment to make me happy.

October 1, 2004, 02:39 PM
I don't mean to sound defensive.

Seriously. What subjects/guests would you like to hear?

This coming March will complete the 10th year of Gun Talk being on the air. When I started it, I said I'd try it for a few weeks.

October 1, 2004, 02:49 PM
And I'm not trying to dis anybody. I really appreciate the hard work and treasure that you folks have put into the show.

Personally, I'd like to hear more from the C&R community, especially since it's a booming part of the firearms market right now. I mentioned Tuco or Bill because they run some of the more active C&R forums and are very well informed. Tuco got to meet Simo Hayha shortly before the great sniper's death. That would be a good tale to relate.

To me, centerfire firearms aren't just about the latest and greatest variation. They are about 150 years of fascinating history. It still boggles my mind that you can buy a fully functional, perfectly safe rifle that saw duty in the Winter War or on the Eastern Front in WWII. And pay less that $200 or even $100 for it.

Linux&Gun Guy
October 1, 2004, 06:47 PM
This is why I love the High Road! We have a radio star right here!

What time does guntalk come on the air and what station?

October 2, 2004, 08:15 AM
Air time for Gun Talk is Sunday at 2:06pm Eastern time. It's on for three hours.

Linux&GunGuy, we don't have a station in Richmond carrying the show. Closest one is in Roanoke. WFIR.

Three options for you. Listen live on the net. Start at and you can find one of the stations that streams the show.

Get a Sirius satellite radio receiver. Unfortunately, all the talk channels on Sirius are being pre-empted for football during the NFL season.

Or, download the shows from the web site, at

Also, anyone with XM satellite radio can/should let XM know you would like to have Gun Talk. I called on them last week in Washington, DC. I think this is a good possibility.

Highland Ranger
October 2, 2004, 09:10 AM
Tom, I have XM - see if you can get it on there.

(I listen via download, great show)

October 2, 2004, 09:16 AM
Highland. I'm working on XM. You may want to visit their web site. I suspect they have a way to send input.

If they hear from subscribers that they want Gun Talk . . . well, it can't hurt.

October 2, 2004, 09:19 AM
"What's a wayward gun writer to do?"

Ans: The best he can. Which you what Tom does. Even though I don't get to hear him much any more I am glad he is there doing his best for the shooting sports and our rights.

Thanks Tom.

October 2, 2004, 11:54 PM
The person to contact at XM Radio with programming suggestions is Lee Abrams; his email is

XM has DEDICATED talk channels and DEDICATED sports channels, unlike Sirius. Sirius' preemption of Gun Talk for football is just wrong.

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