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Perry Simon's
10 Questions With...

Tom Gresham
NAME:Tom Gresham
TITLE: Host/producer/owner/sales manager/gopher
PROGRAM: "Gun Talk," syndicated by Talk America
MARKET: National
COMPANY: Gun Talk Radio Show
BORN: Phoenix
RAISED: Louisiana
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS: Editor of several national outdoor magazines. Writer and photographer. Co-host of series on ESPN. Book author (4 titles). Currently Editor-At-Large of Guns & Ammo magazine. Creator and host of Gun Talk Radio and Gun Talk TV.

1. How did you decide to move into in radio?

Brain fade. At a trade show cocktail party a friend suggested it. I had no radio experience, so naturally, six weeks later I was hosting a national talk show every Sunday afternoon. It must have been a good idea. With 100+ affiliates now and the show has been sold out for seven years, so far, so good. I make sure the affiliates make money with Gun Talk, I build audiences, and I have fun doing it. It was an easy move. Who knew that radio was this much fun?

2. What are you passionate about (besides the obvious)?

Having fun on the radio. Everyone thinks a show called "Gun Talk" will be dark and serious, and they are surprised to hear everyone having fun. It's about a hobby that happens to have a political angle, too. If I can't have fun doing it, I'll go fly my airplane.

3. A lot of radio people advise hosts NOT to talk about guns and gun control because of the danger of what Rush Limbaugh calls "seminar callers"- organized waves of callers on one side of an issue. Do you agree with that as far as general-interest talkers are concerned? How do you keep the talk on your show from becoming too dry or repetitive?

Think "Car Talk" and you'll have a better idea of what Gun Talk is about. Technical questions, what gun to buy, how to store them safely, where to get training, and only then do we get into politics. It's fast and fun. Callers who want to talk about black helicopters or conspiracy theories are directed elsewhere. Many of the callers are women who either shoot or would like to. Remember, half the homes in the U.S. have a gun in them. Half the radio listeners own guns, and that applies in all markets. The advice to not talk about gun control is probably sound for most, because they run out of knowledge in about 30 seconds and start repeating platitudes. With 30 years of writing and broadcasting on the subject, I'm not going to repeat or run dry. But for fun, try this one: Fact: In the last 10 years, many more students died playing high school football than died in school shootings.

4. Where do we stand on gun rights in America today- do you sense the pendulum swinging in favor of more or less control, and where do you see it going in the near future?

Most people understand that you can't make bad people behave by passing gun laws. The Supreme Court has ruled that a felon can not be required to register his gun, because he's prohibited from owning a gun, therefore, registration would be self-incrimination. Therefore, gun registration is only for the law abiding. The general media is 10 years behind the courts and the law journals, which are solidly recognizing the Second Amendment as an individual right, much the same as the First Amendment. A recent Starch-Roper survey showed that 80 percent of the men and half the women said that they would like to go shooting, if only someone would invite them. On "Gun Talk," we invite them to come out and have fun with us. Gun control? It's never reduced crime -- anywhere.

5. Of what are you most proud?

Being a reasonable voice for responsible gun ownership. Helping people find out where they can get training, how to store guns safely, showing people how much fun this sport is, and reminding gun owners that they have an individual responsibility for everything they do with their firearms. Plus, I'm proud when someone calls and says they didn't know what to expect from a show called "Gun Talk," but that they enjoy listening, even if they don't own guns.

6. Who are your influences?

My father, Grits Gresham, who was a field host on the ABC TV series "The American Sportsman," a book author, magazine writer, and mentor. We still work together and co-host a TV show on the OLN cable channel.

7. What's your very favorite firearm- the one you'd take if you could only keep one?

That's one of my favorite questions on the show! A 25-year old Italian over-and-under shotgun, because I could use it for trap, skeet and other target games, hunting, and home protection. Fortunately, I don't have to cut back to one -- or a dozen!

8. What do you do for fun?

Fly my Beechcraft Bonanza around the country. I learned to fly when I was editor of Alaska magazine, and I rarely fly commercial. On "my airline", I do the security checks, and there is no controversy about arming the pilot.

9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________.

email and the web. It's a mixed blessing, but it's a great resource.

10. What's the best advice you ever got? The worst?

Best: Quit reading the opening (after the second show) and just be yourself and have fun.

Worst: This show will never make it (from a big-time radio consultant).

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