April 21, 2017

C-SPAN’s “Road to the White House” Bus makes a stop at the Iowa caucuses in 2016. Credit: Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

Maybe you’re a dedicated fan. Maybe you think it’s an SNL segment. But, whether you know it or not, you’ve probably watched C-SPAN. Founder Brian Lamb explains how he started the network, and why, in the age of both the internet and President Trump, it’s even more relevant.

Three Takeaways:

  • Getting cameras into Congress wasn’t always a given. While the Senate was always open to it, the Speaker of the House wasn’t so sure. And that rankled some Representatives. “The House kept watching and resenting [the Senate]. It's kind of the story of openness in Washington. Every time one says we’re going to be open and the other says no, eventually the one who says ‘no’ has to open up.”
  • C-SPAN doesn’t have ratings and Lamb wants to keep it that way. For him, it’s not about the numbers, but about the content. “There are occasions where we’ll cover something and there might be only 5,000 people in the United States watching it,” Lamb explains. “But if it’s the right 5,000 it’ll matter.” 
  • Yes, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC might be crowding in on C-SPAN’s territory, but that doesn’t matter so much to Lamb. He’s most interested in covering what people overlook: “We are more important when no one is there.”

More Reading:

And finally…. What happens when you interview a famous interviewer? You get asked some questions, yourself. Check out our web extra of Brian Lamb interviewing Kara.

Business, Brian Lamb, C-SPAN, Kara Miller

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