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The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) broadcasts proceedings of the U.S. Congress, as well as other public events and programs, on Cable Television. It is funded entirely by the U.S. cable television industry and receives no government support.

C-SPAN was established by Brian P. Lamb as a nonprofit venture in 1977. On March 19, 1979, C-SPAN began live and unedited television broadcasts of proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives. On June 2, 1986, C-SPAN II broadcast, for the first time, proceedings on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

C-SPAN also broadcasts congressional hearings; call-in programs with elected officials, policy makers, and journalists; coverage of Democratic and Republican conventions and presidential campaigns; programs reviewing the activities of the U.S. Supreme Court and developments in the law; coverage of such events as the annual meetings of the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors; speeches at the National Press Club; proceedings of foreign legislatures such as Canada's House of Commons and the United Kingdom's House of Commons; and many other public-affairs programs.

As part of its mission, C-SPAN seeks to provide direct access to proceedings of government in the United States, free of the editing, commentary, and analysis that are typical in most other media. In 1989, ten years after C-SPAN's first broadcast, the network was available in 40 million homes. On this tenth anniversary, Congress issued a resolution honoring the cable television industry for funding the public affairs channel and for 'the invaluable contribution it has made and continues to make toward informing and educating the citizenry of this Nation and thereby enhancing the quality of its government of, by and for the people" (S. Con. Res. 22, 101st Cong., 1st Sess., 135 Cong. Rec. S2732-02 [1989]).

C-SPAN has expanded its programming since the mid-1990s. Like many other cable television networks, it has added such sister stations as C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3, both of which are available to millions of cable subscribers. C-SPAN has also expanded to radio and has added content developed for Internet users with broadband access. Regular programming on the C-SPAN stations includes American Writers, American Presidents, and Book TV. According to a survey conducted by the network in December 2000, about 28.5 million people watch C-SPAN's programming each week. More than 90 percent of those who watch the network are registered voters. More than half are in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. About 48 percent of the viewers are women.

C-SPAN is increasingly used in school classrooms as a teaching tool. The network offers a program called C-SPAN in the Classroom, which included free membership and resources to educators who use the network's resources in the classroom. For classrooms that do not have cable access, C-SPAN offers videotapes and web access so students can view the content. The network also offers a Teacher Fellowship Program through the C-SPAN Education Foundation to honor educators who have demonstrated creative use of the programming in the classroom.

Further readings

Frantzich, Stephen E., and John Sullivan. 1996. The C-SPAN Revolution. Norman, Okla.: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.



References in periodicals archive ?
The justices especially don't want C-SPAN to broadcast the beginning of each session, when the clerk cries out "Oye, oye, oye, all persons having business before the Supreme Court are ordered to draw nigh.
Those subjects include such contemporary topics as the inside-baseball workings of government that C-SPAN serves its viewers as part of its daily fare.
In fact, C-SPAN admits, "Yes, the audio of the House and Senate is obtained from the House and Senate.
Our network, C-SPAN, has sent two cameras, a satellite uplink, two producers, an interviewer, and six technicians whose task it is to beam the event live to 80 million C-SPAN homes across the country; to listeners on WCSP, the FM station C-SPAN operates in Washington, and to Web users, who favor the network's nonstop video stream of political events at C-SPAN.
In this article, I use Simonton's model as a framework, extending it to the C-SPAN surveys, and ask whether his framework helps us understand how informed citizens, such as the C-SPAN respondents, assess presidents.
C-SPAN may not make "cloture" a household word, but its growth refutes Minow's worst fears about market failure in the area of public interest programming.
Teachers can access free materials from C-SPAN for history, civics, and other subjects.
Knowing how much C-SPAN covers each and every day, right before hanging up with the producer, I asked about something I thought I already knew: "Now this is going to be taped, right?
This C-SPAN in the Classroom series offers sets of materials designed to foster critical thinking about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
com, and The Associated Press all have signed on to host the political video search engine, which allows users to search C-SPAN videos of the different candidates by keyword.
Via a simple search engine-style interface, Virage's technology allows users to type in any topic or keyword to quickly locate items of interest from hours of unfiltered C-SPAN coverage of the presidential candidates.
For instance, the FCC suppressed cable TV for many years - call this a federally mandated "silence of the Lamb," in deference to Brian Lamb, creator of C-SPAN, the network that has done more to open the democratic process to daylight than a thousand "sunshine" laws.