'Outdoor Beat' airs to tell our stories

At a time when we need all of the positive press we can muster to help support all of the different issues we are facing as we move forward, it’s important to tell the stories of the people behind the scenes – doing the important work in the trenches for the benefit of many. A day doesn’t go by that I encounter someone who goes above and beyond what is expected of them, be it for fisheries enhancement, habitat improvement, conservation causes, wildlife issues, Second Amendment defense or the advancement of our shooting sports. We need to tell the stories every chance we get so that the mainstream media can pick up on some of it. We need to reach out to sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike to help build a grassroots support – especially with this being an election year. We can’t afford not to.

When I was approached by our local community cable station to do a weekly live call-in show on the outdoors, I hesitated. I already have a full-time job and plenty of writing opportunities to keep me busy, let alone some outstanding family that I treasure spending time with. Having just come off emceeing the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs Annual Awards Banquet April 5, though, I realized that these awards were but a small token of our appreciation for all of the hard work that these outdoorsmen, women and children perform for the benefit of the greater good.

In 1997, I was extremely honored to be named the New York State Conservation Council’s Professional Conservationist of the Year. On the local front, I received the Pinky Robinson Memorial Award for fisheries work. It was humbling because I knew in my heart there were so many other people out there more deserving for these awards. That was when I stepped up to the plate to serve on the local Federation’s awards committee and to try and focus more on recognizing the unsung outdoor heroes who have paved the way for everyone else in one way or another.

It was that logic that allowed me to make my show decision with LCTV in Lockport. I couldn’t afford to NOT do the show if I really wanted to reach out to the general community – to tell the real stories about people who have done so much to further hunting, fishing and conservation. On April 23, the first show ran on LCTV, Channel 22 on Time Warner Cable in Niagara and Erie counties – and we even had a call! This was unheard of for a new show that wasn’t even listed in the TV Guide yet. My show guest was Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls and I could spend an entire month of blogs just on some of the things he’s accomplished for area anglers. Week number two was Ernie Calandrelli, the turkey calling legend and an area charter captain – the day before turkey season, no less. I also had a surprise visit from Buzz Ramsey of the Yakima Bait Company – a world renowned fisherman from the west coast who was in town filming a show with Fishing 411’s Mark Romanek of Michigan. Life is good.

Next up is Capt. Bob Cinelli of Newfane, followed by Dimitry Gorsky with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Great Lakes offices telling us about the World Fish Migration Day activities on May 24 and what’s going on with his sturgeon and lake trout research in Lake Ontario. As I jotted down names and ideas, in 15 minutes I came up with enough names to fill up the rest of 2014 without a problem – all stories that need to be told to everyone. The name of the show? The Outdoor Beat, of course.

While it does rerun several times the rest of the week on Time Warner in Niagara and Erie Counties, you can also pull up the show online and check out the On Demand listings. It is simulcast on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. for a real-time airing and there is even a local radio station you can listen to if you are driving in your car. Check it out and let me know what you think. And if you have any ideas for guests, please pass them along to me. Hopefully, it will pique your interest … and you won’t want to miss a “Beat.”

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