There has been nothing ordinary about this journey, ladies and gentlemen. About the only thing I can muster sometimes is a big WOW. The journey I am referring to is the USCCA-sponsored radio program, Armed American Radio. The story of its inception is a good one, and more importantly it is a testament to this fine organization to which each of us belong. Allow me to explain.

 Back in January of 2009, Tim Schmidt and I were having a few … we were eating at … let’s just say … OK, OK, so we were knocking a few back at the Bahama Breeze on International Drive in Orlando during the SHOT show week, when the subject of some fun ideas for the USCCA came up. After Tim kind of blew right past my suggestions that we needed a USCCA Orange County Chopper, or that a USCCA Boeing 717 jet or a helicopter would be a really cool idea, the subject of a radio program came up. Wouldn’t it be kind of neat to expand the USCCA into the next level of media? “Wow, that’s a pretty cool idea,” we thought and then just looked at each other kind of funny, having no idea how to proceed from there. Two seconds later, the waitress came back and set down another round of chilly ones, and the subject turned to some funny conversation about stuff we had done together the last time I was in Wisconsin. Don’t ask! We did not talk about the radio program again during that trip. A couple of weeks went by and then one day my cell phone rang. It was my good friend in Ohio, Mr. Jim Irvine of Buckeye Firearms forum, who informed me they were doing a radio program up in Cleveland on 1420 WHK. Jim asked me if I would like to co-host the broadcast with him that Sunday night. What the heck were the odds of that? I did, and it was a great time and a lot of fun.

 A few months later, I received a call from the folks at WGKA in Atlanta who had heard of the broadcast up in Cleveland at their sister station. They were interested in doing something similar here in Georgia. They loved the idea and wanted a program in the Southern market. To make a long story short, in less than six weeks, Armed American Radio was born and the web site was up. The local Atlanta market loved it–as did the management at WGKA.

 It became apparent that the show was going to be successful due in large part to the membership base of the USCCA being spread across the country. But we had no idea just how strong the reaction would be. Within days of the first program on April 26, 2009, we were receiving email from folks telling us they absolutely loved the show and thanking us for giving gun owners and the concealed carry movement a “home” that didn’t really exist anywhere else. What was interesting was where these letters were coming from:

•     “Mark, I love the program. Where can I hear it here in Columbia, SC?” said one.

•     “I have been waiting for something like this to come down the pike,” said another from New Mexico.

•     “I’m an active-duty law enforcement officer here in Sacramento, CA,” said yet another.

 Email after email was pouring in from all over the United States.

 It was instantly obvious that the program had legs, and after several more weeks of smoothing it out and improving each week, it became obvious that there was a need and a desire to grow this thing into a monster. Guest after guest wanted to come back on the program. Nationally recognized trainers, authors, politicians, and more were interested in letting the public hear their opinions about firearms, concealed carry, and the Second Amendment. We were more than happy to oblige!

 Since its inception on April 26, 2009, Armed American Radio has–in less than four months–grown from a tiny trial balloon in the greater Atlanta market to a full-blown syndicated broadcast being handled by Salem Radio Network and airing on radio stations across the country. This doesn’t happen in broadcasting, folks, not this fast. But it is.

 Guests have included former congressman Bob Barr; George “the Mad Ogre” Hill; the nationally televised hosts of the Outdoor Channel’s Best Defense, Rob Pincus and Mike Janich; the godfather of the modern concealed carry movement and author of In The Gravest Extreme, Massad Ayoob; Phil Van Cleave of Virginia Citizens Defense League; and my friend Dick Heller of Heller v. DC fame. We have invited Sarah Palin, whose schedule has been very hectic, and Ted Nugent, whom we hope to have on in the near future, as well as other nationally recognized names such as researcher John Lott. We have spoken to noted Second Amendment attorneys and local grassroots folks from Georgia, and we regularly visit with plain old ordinary folks who make a difference every day in the fight for our freedoms.

 Armed American Radio has become a very powerful force for freedom. It is being talked about inside and outside of broadcasting circles and its reach is now spreading across the web. Forum upon forum are mentioning it, places I have never heard of are talking about it, and links to the site are coming from people and places across the country. America’s heroes are listening in Iraq and Afghanistan; I know this because I have received the emails and read them on the air. Canadians are listening, and we have been heard in England.

 For me, this is incredibly humbling, yet at the same time it’s a natural outgrowth and extension of what we do here at the USCCA. Armed American Radio is just another tool in the toolbox of freedom. It’s another absolutely necessary means of spreading freedom across a country so desperate to reign in government growth under the current administration and its intervention into virtually every aspect of our lives. The fight for our guns is heating up and, trust me on this one, is only going to get worse as this current administration in Washington gets more desperate. By continuing to educate and talk to the American people, gun owner or not, Armed American Radio can make, will make, and is making a difference.

 Make no mistake, this program is fun and the momentum we are getting is intoxicating. The time it takes to bring it to you is worth it beyond description, and as the program continues its unstoppable march across America’s airwaves you have my commitment to bring you the most informative and entertaining radio broadcast we can put together. To those who have sent your emails and comments, thank you! To those of you who have contacted your local talk stations nationwide asking for Armed American Radio to be broadcast in your area, thank you! To those who listen and enjoy the broadcast each and every week, thank you!

 Ladies and gentlemen, never before in our country’s history has it been more important to stand up to the enemies of freedom. The very fact that a radio program named Armed American Radio is on the air is a statement to those enemies in and of itself. The fact that we can educate and entertain while vocally pronouncing our God-given right to self defense and our Second Amendment rights on the nation’s airwaves is testament to our will and the will of the USCCA to put itself out there. Believe me, I’m out there, really out there … if there is some government list, I’m on it … and I’m out there for a reason: Never before has this fight been more important to each and every one of us. Freedom in the United States is at stake–literally–and Armed American Radio is there as the voice of all of us.

 As of this writing, Armed American Radio is now in nine states and cities across the country, with more committed to joining the broadcast weekly. By the time you read this, we will have grown even larger. Please keep checking for up to the minute information about where you can hear the program in your area as we explode across the country. Remember, keep calling those program directors at your local news/talk stations and ask them to carry Armed American Radio. It works!

 See you on the radio!