If there were any lingering doubts that the NRA News program Cam&Co is for the quintessential gun owner, both the host and the town of Farmville, VA put those to rest for me this week. Filled with old brick buildings bursting with warmth and hospitality, this idyllic Southern town is Americana in both it’s personality and charm. It’s exactly what I’ve always pictured the south to be.
As the patriarch of the three-hour show featuring news and views of the Second Amendment and other freedom-related issues, Cam Edwards is as amiable in person as he is on air. Underneath the calm steady voice of the NRA since 2004 is a husband, father, friend and fellow gun owner, although his knowledge spans far beyond firearms. An avid history buff, Cam always has a bit of trivia to share on a wide variety of subjects – his favorite being American history.
Across from the Farmville Town Hall is the NRA News studio which houses the Cam&Co show. The modest two man office fits right in on the quaint main street in town. From the stately columns of the Prince Edward County Courthouse to the bright green exterior of Walker’s Diner, the remote studio is a quiet part of the downtown scenery.
Cam’s day starts early, getting into the studio shortly after 8:00 each morning to start his routine of reading up on the news and catching up on emails. The calm flow in the office may not be typical of most news programs, but is reminiscent of a simpler time when opinions were respected and journalists took their duty to inform the people seriously.
The daily stories shared in the segments Deal of the Day, Hero of the Day and The Good Guys are all found by Edwards himself. He spends his mornings at the studio perusing the news and calmly preparing for the show he’s been the face and voice of for twelve years now.
Prior to joining NRA News, Edwards worked in television in Arkansas and was an acclaimed reporter, producer and host at a radio station in Oklahoma. Right in line with his humility, among the tchotchkes adorning the studio, I found his Emmy certificate lying flat on one of the shelves. Edwards earned the prestigious award from the Heartland Regional Emmy Awards for his contribution to a two-year-long documentary project called “Stateline: Oklahoma Rising” which covered the building of a dome for the Oklahoma state capitol building.
Instead of a flashy gold Emmy, Cam Edwards has a dusky golden cup front and center next to the microphone on his desk. The little cup, aways filled with Coke Zero, is from South Dakota. Not just the home of our friend Benny Spies, but truly indicative of his modesty and love of all things Americana. NRA Hats, his book Heavy Lifting, Founding Fathers Pez dispensers and other quirky pieces he’s picked up along his travels that seem to speak to his character.
Greatly absent from the LA Times article Noah Bierman published last week was the backstory of how Edwards’ got into journalism and eventually became the voice of Second Amendment news. The article, Alarming News From the NRA — via a Calm, Steady Voice, didn’t land as as many punches as it may have been swinging for.
“I try to have a calm, steady voice. Look, I think we live in alarming times, quite frankly, and it’s good to have a calm steady voice.
When I first got interested in journalism, it was because of a… I really wanted to be an archeologist. That’s what I wanted to be, I wanted to be Indiana Jones, honestly. But then, when I was like 14, my mom gave me a biography of Edward R. Murrow and I thought ‘Holy cow, that’s amazing! You can do that, too?’. And then I was realizing that archeology involved a lot of dusting off things, sort of a lot of slow meticulous digging and I thought, ‘Hmm, I don’t know, journalism sounds pretty interesting’.
But Edward R. Murrow was that sort of that calm, steady voice during WWII, broadcasting from London, describing the blitz and the air raids, but he was that sort of voice of, I don’t want to say reassurance, but he was a calm, steady voice. He wasn’t freaking out about bombs dropping blocks from where he was.
So I guess to me, that’s always sort of been the ideal of who a journalist should be and I also don’t see it in cable television. I see shrieking, I see a lot of controversy for the sake of controversy, I don’t see a lot of actual reporting and I don’t want to do that. I just think that doesn’t serve the audience.”
I for one am thankful that Cam Edwards continues to serve his audience with his unique brand of approachable journalistic responsibility. His show, aired on both NRA News and Sirius Satellite Radio, draws thousands of viewers and listeners who tune in on a daily basis to hear not only the stories he shares, but also witness the love of freedom that is palpable throughout each and every segment.
Hats off to NRA for keeping gun owners informed via a calm, steady voice from Farmville, Virginia.