C-SPAN is a private, non-profit public service of the cable television industry that covers the political process. C-SPAN receives no funding from any government. C-SPAN’s operating revenues come from license fees paid by cable systems and satellite companies that offer the network to their customers.The cable television industry created C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) in 1979 to provide live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since those early days, C-SPAN has grown into a diverse information service that provides public affairs programming 24 hours a day in a variety of formats. Today the cable industry remains the primary distributor of the C-SPAN networks and continues that distribution as a service to the public.C-SPAN is a non-profit educational organization with a board of directors comprised of executives from large and small cable television operating companies. While the board establishes network policy and provides financial oversight, it is not involved in C-SPAN’s editorial decision-making.When the House turned on its cameras on March 19, 1979, C-SPAN and its staff of four were ready to carry the signal live, gavel-to-gavel, to 3.5 million cable homes. In 1980, C-SPAN covered its first presidential election and pioneered the nationwide viewer call-in program. By 1982, C-SPAN’s schedule expanded to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Today, C-SPAN has a staff of nearly 300; its round-the-clock programming is available to 100 million TV households via cable and satellite systems.In June 1986, the U.S. Senate began televising its proceedings, and the cable industry created C-SPAN2 to telecast Senate debates. Also, and exclusively, on C-SPAN2, viewers can find Book TV, 48 hours of weekend non-fiction book programming. C-SPAN3 was launched in January 2001 as a national digital cable network, offering additional live coverage of national events. It now features American History TV on the weekends. C-SPAN’s TV programming is streamed live online at www.c-span.org.
C-SPAN has 282 employees. The network averages 8,000 hours of original programming each year.C-SPAN Radio can be heard in the Washington-Baltimore region at 90.1 FM and nationwide via satellite on XM Satellite Radio channel 119 and via iPhone app. C-SPAN also provides searchable, clippable, and shareable digital video of its archived programming through the C-SPAN Video Library.
Throughout C-SPAN’s development, it has never veered from its original mission: to air unedited, balanced views of government and public policy forums, and to provide viewers with direct access to elected officials, decision-makers and journalists.
This information most recently updated on January 22, 2013
• To provide C-SPAN's audience access to the live gavel-to-gavel proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and to other forums where public policy is discussed, debated and decided--all without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view; • To provide elected and appointed officials and others who would influence public policy a direct conduit to the audience without filtering or otherwise distorting their points of view; • To provide the audience, through the call-in program, direct access to elected officials, other decision makers and journalists on a frequent and open basis; • To employ production values that accurately convey the business of government rather than distract from it; and • To conduct all other aspects of its operations consistent with these principles.
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