On the Sportsman Channel, based in Wisconsin, family-friendly television includes programs in which mom, dad and the kids—grade school children, at that—go hunting. The network, now in about 17 million homes, also has outreach programs to encourage parents to go outdoors with their kids.
“You may not think of hunting and fishing as family oriented, but for all of our producers it's a lifestyle and passion passed down from generation to generation,” says Michael Cooley, CEO and founder of TSC. “It is family oriented. It's conservation oriented. We have five shows that focus specifically on this.”
Among these is Family Traditions With Haley Heath, a wife and mother, who goes hunting for bears, birds and other creatures with her kids. On the Water, In the Woods is hosted by kids age 12-18. Each host gets a $10,000 scholarship for participating.
TSC is planning a Saturday morning block for kids that will likely include these and similar programs. The kids' block is expected to debut early next year.
TSC is also involved in outreach programs to get kids to strap on rifles and pick up fishing poles. For the second year, it's sponsoring National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sept. 27). The network is creating a PSA about hunting and fishing, teaching kids and their parents about going into the great outdoors without hurting yourself or others. It will promote the day on its network and it's holding an event at its headquarters in Wisconsin.
“It's about introducing kids to the outdoors,” says Michelle Scheuermann, director of communications for TSC. “It's about getting PlayStations out of kids' hands and getting them outdoors. We're trying to get them excited about the outdoors.”—Kevin Downey