Lecturers at the Jefferson Educational Society

Brian Lamb
Founder, C-SPAN

Brian Lamb helped found C-SPAN—the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network—and has served as the company’s chief executive officer since its beginning in 1979. Today, more than 86 million households can tune in C-SPAN’s flagship television network.

The concept of a public affairs network that provides in-depth coverage of national and international issues was a natural for Mr. Lamb, who has been both a journalist and a political press secretary. Interested in broadcasting from childhood, he worked at Indiana radio and TV stations while attending high school and college, spinning records, selling ads, and eventually hosting the locally popular "Dance Date" television program.

After graduation from Purdue University, Mr. Lamb joined the Navy; his tour included White House duty in the Johnson administration and a stint in the Pentagon public affairs office during the Vietnam War. In 1967, he went home to Lafayette, Indiana. Washington beckoned, however, and he soon returned to the nation’s capital. There, he worked as a freelance reporter for UPI Audio, a Senate press secretary and a White House telecommunications policy staffer.

In 1974, Brian Lamb began publishing a biweekly newsletter called The Media Report. He also covered communications issues as Washington bureau chief for Cablevision Magazine. It was from this vantage point that the idea of a public affairs network delivered by satellite began to take shape.

By 1977, Mr. Lamb had won the support of key cable industry executives for a channel that could deliver gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. Congress. Organizing C-SPAN as a not-for-profit company, the group built one of D.C.’s first satellite uplinks—just in time to deliver the first televised session of the U.S. House of Representatives to 3.5 million cable households on March 19, 1979.