Sunday, March 18, 2012

C-SPAN Founder to Step Down as Chief Executive

Brian Lamb, who created the revolutionary nonprofit cable television network C-SPAN in the late 1970s and has been its public face ever since, is handing it over to two lieutenants, Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain.

Effective April 1, they will become the co-chief executives of C-SPAN and Mr. Lamb will become the executive chairman, formalizing a management change that has been years in the making. Mr. Lamb will continue to host “Q&A,” his Sunday night interview program, and will pursue other interests, like teaching.

Brian Lamb
The announcement will come on Monday, 33 years to the day that C-SPAN — short for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network — came onto cable television, predating CNN and ESPN.

C-SPAN’s commitment to carry every minute of the proceedings of the United States House of Representatives without commercials is taken for granted now, but it was an extraordinary act at the time, since most Americans then saw of Congress only what was reported on the nightly news and in newspapers.

C-SPAN, and later C-SPAN2 for the United States Senate and C-SPAN3 for other hearings and events, foreshadowed an era of media when primary source material like testimonies before Congress would be widely available on TV and on the Internet.

Mr. Lamb, 70, said in an interview that Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Swain would “continue the mission” of televising the nation’s affairs. They have worked at C-SPAN since the 1980s and have been the presidents and co-chief operating officers since 2006. “They’re ready,” Mr. Lamb said.

Read the full story

A little trivia: Congressman Al Gore (yes, that Al Gore) was the first congressman to speak when C-SPAN debuted.

Wired: March 19, 1979: House Proceedings Air Live on C-SPAN

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