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Posts Tagged ‘John Glenn’

Invaluable Resource, Sleep Aid. How C-SPAN Stands the Test of Time

If founder Brian Lamb had to do it over again, C-SPAN wouldn’t be called C-SPAN.

“It’s not the greatest name around,” says Lamb, 70, who steps down Sunday as CEO. “Three people know what it stands for. I don’t even know what it stands for. One of our board members asked me. We rarely ever spell it out.”

Drum roll, please.

Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network launched on March 19, 1979, with four employees (including Lamb) and a reach of 3.5 million homes. It now includes three networks, a staff of 280 and a universe of 100 million homes.

Most Americans assume the ‘C’ in C-SPAN stands for Congress, since covering Congress’ proceedings – live, unfiltered, gavel-to-gavel – is its raison d’etre. But in 1979, with cable in its infancy, Lamb felt it more important to brand C-SPAN as a non-broadcast enterprise.

“Otherwise, people wouldn’t have known what it was,” says Lamb, newly-named executive chairman. “At that point, we were only the sixth cable network.”

These days, C-SPAN suffers no such identity crisis, though Lamb does, often being mistaken for Sen. John McCain, Ed Harris or John Glenn. According to C-SPAN’s most recent survey, 75 percent of respondents recognize the non-profit network’s name, Lamb says. Since C-SPAN does not have ratings, however, he has no hard numbers on viewership.

ABC’s Cokie Roberts, who was, in her own words, “very involved in the birth” of C-SPAN, sees the network’s identity issue differently.

“I don’t think people are aware of the brand, but they’re very aware of the product,” Roberts, 68, says. As an NPR reporter in the late ‘70s, she and her colleagues in Congress’ Radio-TV gallery joined Lamb in lobbying the House of Representatives to allow TV cameras on the floor.

Despite C-SPAN’s noble mission, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and ‘Saturday Night Live,’ among others, parody the network’s frequently-static content as a perfect sleep aid.

In real life, C-SPAN fan Ed Rendell, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, swears by the network for his nightly zzzz’s.

“I have a hyperactive mind, so I watch TV in my living room and fall asleep for about 90

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Miles O’Brien To Leave CNN. Network Shutters Science, Space and Tech Unit

O'Brien_12.3.jpgBreaking: TVNewser has learned 16-year veteran CNN correspondent and anchor Miles O’Brien will soon be leaving CNN.

O’Brien’s departure comes as the network dismantles its science, space, environment and technology unit in Atlanta. That includes O’Brien as well as six producers. O’Brien has been CNN’s chief technology and environment correspondent since being replaced as anchor of American Morning in April 2007.

Before, during and after anchoring, O’Brien worked the NASA beat for CNN. He covered John Glenn‘s return to space in 1998. In 1999 he led CNN’s coverage of the failed Mars Orbiter and Polar Lander missions. And in February 2003, O’Brien led coverage of the shuttle Columbia tragedy.

CNN spokesperson Christa Robinson tells TVNewser the unit is being shuttered as the network integrates science, environment and technology reporting into the general editorial structure. “Now that the bulk of our environmental coverage is offered through the Planet in Peril franchise, which is part of the AC360 program, there is no need for a separate unit,” Robinson says.

O’Brien joined CNN in April 1992. His departure date is not yet set.

> More: Statements from Miles O’Brien and from CNN on O’Brien’s work, after the jump…

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