Sportsman Channel -- looking to recognize and honor the U.S. servicemen and women who have committed to working to protect the citizens of America and the world -- has created a programming initiative that will showcase a host of military-related fare on Veterans Day.
Endeavoring to celebrate American servicemen and women and raise awareness of issues and opportunities facing veterans, "Sportsman Channel’s Salute to Service" initiative cuts across the network’s linear lineup from series programming and documentaries to social media and editorial. Sportsman Channel has signed actor and veterans’ advocate Gary Sinise as the official spokesman for the network’s Salute to Service initiative.
Salute to Service will manifest on and around Sportsman on every major holiday that commemorates the U.S. military’s sacrifices and successes, notably Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans Day
Hosted by Larry Vickers, who has spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Army, and most recently in Delta Force, “Sportsman Channel’s Veterans Day Salute” on Nov. 11 will pay tribute to all veterans, as well as those who died for freedom throughout this nation’s history, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ET/PT) with the military-themed offerings.
Sponsored by Bravo Company, the select shows will feature field adventures with veteran or current active military personnel, while NRANEWS Cam & Co., the outdoor category's only live weekday talk show, will air live from the NRA Shooting Range in Fairfax, Va. at 5 p.m. (ET) and feature special guest Lt. Colonel Oliver North. The lineup also includes ex-Marine Craig Boddington traveling to the Yucatan Jungle on Boddington Experience to Gordon Whittington sharing a touching story of a sargeant’s recovery on North American Whitetail,
Additionally on Veterans Day, the network will air “soldier salutes” – courtesy of the Department of Defense – from active military serving throughout the world. The network is encouraging Twitter conversation @SPORTSMANchnl via #SCVETSALUTE.
“As a network, we want to honor American servicemen and women and their families,” said Sportsman Channel CEO Gavin Harvey in an interview. “We will celebrate their bravery and service across all of our resources.”
Harvey said there is a strong affinity between Sportsman Channel and veterans, who over-index as viewers of the network, which is owned by Leo Hindery’s InterMedia Partners and counts some 32 million subscribers.
“Lots of veterans work for us and lots of veterans watch us. There is a big connection between the military life and the outdoors. It gives veterans solitude, a respite for the soul, and a chance to recover and reconnect with the U.S.,” said Harvey, noting that over 54% who have served in the armed forces engage in hunting and fishing.”
Sportsman Channel’s Salute began on July 4 with multimedia programming that included a social media ticker and personal testimonials from America’s servicemen and women. Harvey said Salute had been “an internal name and strategy for us. It’s going to be a network tentpole franchise,” he said, adding the programming lineup over time will feature more events, specials and documentaries, in addition to militarized versions of show’s from its extant lineup.
He said the Sportsman’s commitment to military-oriented fare will also expand with a number of projects in development, as the first series from that slate are expected to reach the network’s air in the second quarter of 2014.
Moreover, Sportsman next year will air the world premiere of the documentary High Flight, produced by and starring Sinise. The film follows the actor -- who was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump and raises funds and awareness for veterans and their families through his Lt. Dan Band concerts and the Gary Sinise Foundation (www.garysinisefoundation.org) -- as he trained and flew to 70,000 feet in a U-2 Dragon Lady High-Altitude Reconnaissance spy plane at the USAF Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB.
The following is Sportsman Channel’s descriptions for its “Sportsman Channel’s Veterans Day Salute”
- 12 p.m. - Western Hunter TV: Western Hunter magazine publisher Chris Denham joins disabled U.S. military veterans in British Columbia on a spot-and-stalk black bear hunt.
- 12:30 p.m. – Long Range Pursuit: Gunwerks’ gunners Kregg Thomassen and Garrett Wall travel to the Peacemaker National Training Center in West Virginia to assist with a shooting competition for wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- 1 p.m. – Boddington Experience: Join ex-Marine Craig Boddington in Southern Mexico’s Yucatan Jungle for encounters with coati mundi, white-lipped peccary, and the elusive brocket deer.
- 1:30 p.m. – Big Deer TV: Mike Hanback returns to the hills of his historic home state of Virginia, where he hunts with old friends and a new friend, who is a true American hero.
- 2 p.m. – Huntin’ with Honor: Meet the ‘HWH’ team as they head into the turkey woods on Ft. Knox with a few heroes from the Army’s First Infantry Division.
- 2:30 p.m. – Brotherhood Outdoors: Leroy Shull, a retired IBEW electrical worker who founded “Fishing for Freedom” to give wounded heroes a chance to enjoy bass fishing, gets the chance of a lifetime as Brotherhood Outdoors honors his service with a trip to the Florida Keys to experience deep sea fishing for the first time.
- 3 p.m. – Trailing the Hunter’s Moon: Larry Weishuhn is joined by several true American heroes at Trinity Oak's 2013 Celebration of Heroes. Weishuhn and several “wounded warriors” hunt elusive nilgai antelope in Texas' famed Brush Country.
- 3:30 p.m. – Drake’s Migration Nation: J. Paul teams up with the Retrieving Freedom organization to hunt with a wounded veteran and his special hunting partner. They travel to the Arkansas prairie where the timing is perfect for early-season mallards.
- 4 p.m. – North American Whitetail: Gordon Whittington takes National Guard Sgt. Jon French to chase South Texas trophy bucks. French relates how the outdoors is part of his rehabilitation process after overcoming serious wounds from a firefight in Afghanistan.
- 4:30 p.m. – Smith and Wesson’s Outdoor Guide: U.S. Army veteran and Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe throws a pigeon shoot.
- 5 p.m. – NRANEWS Cam & Co: A special live one-hour program with host Cam Edwards sitting down with newsmakers, Sportsman Channel personalities and veterans in a very special Veterans Day program that will include special guest Lt. Colonel Oliver North.
- 6 p.m. – TAC-TV: Larry Vickers spends time with veterans of various service branches and eras and talks with them about their service and what it means to them today. They also will discuss the small arms they carried in combat and training during their service.
- 6:30 p.m. – Trijicon’s the Hunt: Come along as Scott Haugen and special guest, wounded veteran Orlando Gill, team up for a black bear hunt amid Idaho’s Joseph Plains.