FAQs

C-SPAN

What does C-SPAN cover?
  • C-SPAN covers LIVE gavel-to-gavel floor proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • C-SPAN2 covers LIVE gavel-to-gavel floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate.
  • C-SPAN3 covers public affairs events, congressional hearings and history programming.
  • When the House and Senate are out of session, we carry LIVE or taped events on our networks ranging from Press Briefings to Congressional Hearings to Speeches and News Conferences related to public affairs.
How is C-SPAN funded?
C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) is a private non-profit company, created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a public service. C-SPAN receives no government funding; operations are funded by fees paid by cable and satellite affiliates who carry C-SPAN programming.
How will I know when an event will air on TV?
Outside of our LIVE coverage of Congress, we air events as time in our schedule permits. A program may air up to four times, and will air at different times of the day and night to reach the widest range of viewers. Because of the nature of LIVE events, it is difficult to schedule programs in advance. We recommend that you go to our TV Schedules link at the top of this page and check for updates throughout the day. You will also find Schedule Updates on our television networks every 15 to 30 minutes announcing upcoming programs a few hours in advance.
What if I miss an airing on TV?
If you miss an airing on TV, it is possible that the program may air again. We recommend that you go to our Schedules link at the top of this page and check for updates throughout the day. You may also watch a missed program at our website. Use the search tool at the top of the page to find the program.
How does C-SPAN choose what events they will cover?
C-SPAN's assignment desk keeps well informed of events happening in the public affairs arena. Our editorial board meets daily to determine what events our cameras will cover. If there is an event that you feel we should cover, you can contact us at 202-737-3220.
How do I submit an event for coverage consideration?

C-SPAN will only consider covering events that are submitted by sponsoring organizations. Please contact C-SPAN at 202-737-3220 and have the following event details prepared: Title, Date, Location, Contact information.

  • Please note that C-SPAN...
  • will only consider events submitted by the event sponsor
  • does not accept press releases or PSAs
  • does not provide follow up or verification of receipt
  • assignment editors will consider your event and contact you only if there is an interest

Using the Video Library:

How far back does C-SPAN's Video Library go?
All programming that has aired on C-SPAN since 1987 (200,000 hours) is now available for viewing online. Many programs aired since 2003 have searchable text transcripts of the program’s closed captioning. Transcript text can be clicked on and the video will jump to that point.
Where do I call if I have an order question?
Videos, Congressional Directories, and other C-SPAN merchandise can be ordered online at http://www.c-span.org/store or by calling 877-662-7726. C-SPAN does not offer written transcripts for purchase. Portions of transcripts associated with each video are available online. For information or order questions contact the C-SPAN Archives by submitting an Online Case Form or by calling the toll-free number at 877-662-7726.
How do I license C-SPAN footage?
All licensing and use requests are to be submitted online through the Copyrights and Licensing page. Please read through the Licensing and Permissions Policy to determine if a license is required for your requested footage. For license information or to submit a license request contact the C-SPAN Archives by completing the Licensing Request Form .
What does it mean when I flag a video as having an issue using the 'Report Video Issue' tool?
Some of our older programs may have problems with their audio or video. Flagging a video puts it at the top of the queue for re-transcoding which should take place within hours. If you don't see an improvement feel free to use the Contact Us link at the bottom of our site.
How do I embed video from the Video Library on my Wordpress.com blog?

Unfortunately, Wordpress.com doesn't allow their blogs to have content embedded directly in them. Instead, a third party tool must be used to make the video show up on Wordpress.

Here are the steps to post the video using vodpod.com:

  1. Create or log in to your account at vodpod.com
  2. Click the 'Add Video' button
  3. Copy the embed code from our player and paste it into the box above the 'Continue' button
  4. Click the 'Continue' button
  5. Click 'Yes, this is the video'
  6. Give the video a title and click 'Save'
  7. Now open your video in vodpod and find the 'Share' menu option (it should be below the player)
  8. Note that the video won't play correctly from here
  9. Click 'Blog'
  10. In the 'Post to Your Blog' dialog click the link that says 'Wordpress.com shortcode'
  11. Copy this code
  12. In a Wordpress.com blog post edit page paste the code where you want it to appear
  13. You'll need to change the code. Change the text where says w=425&h=350 to say w=410&h=500
  14. When you publish your post, the video should appear.

Downloads

When will a program be available for ordering after my request?
Typically you can expect the video to be ready in less time than the length of the requested program. Feel free to inquire via the Contact Us link at the bottom of our site on the status of your request.
When will my video be available for download after ordering?
You can expect an order for a clip to be ready in less than ten minutes plus the length of the clip. An order for a full program should be ready within minutes of completing the order. Please make sure that your billing address matches exactly the address where you receive your credit card statement or your order might not be ready until the next business day.
What size are the downloadable videos?
The standard quality files are encoded around 450 kbps or 200 MB per hour and the low quality files at 167 kbps or 73 MB per hour.
How do I play my downloaded programs?

Program downloads from the Video Library are in MP4 format. In order to play these downloaded programs, you need to have video playback software on your computer that is compatible with the MP4 format, or you need a media device that can use the MP4 format.

Below is a list of common MP4-compatible software and devices:

  1. VLC Media Player
  2. QuickTime Player
  3. Windows Media Player , with MP4 codecs installed
  4. Apple's portable media devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad)

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of MP4-compatibility. If your preferred media device or video software is not listed above, please check the specifications of your software or device for MP4 playback availability.

How can I obtain transcripts of C-SPAN shows?
C-SPAN offers free transcripts online for Q&A and Booknotes on their websites. The C-SPAN Video Library uses closed captioning as an aid to searching the video, but does not provide copies of the transcripts. We recommend that you contact the speaker or the organization sponsoring the event to inquire about transcripts. Written transcripts of House and Senate floor speeches are available at http://thomas.loc.gov . Contact the committees directly for committee transcripts.

Washington Journal

Why Does C-SPAN Take Audience Calls?
The call-in program - and our philosophy of focusing on the caller -- has been a fixture of the C-SPAN networks since the network's founding; it's so fundamental to us, it's incorporated into our company mission statement. Through the call-in program, C-SPAN encourages viewer interactivity by enabling viewers and listeners to talk directly to elected officials, policymakers, and journalists covering the national policy debate. C-SPAN frequently incorporates viewer call-ins into its programming schedule, both in regularly scheduled call-ins and open-phones programs that allow people to react to breaking news events.
When was C-SPAN's first viewer call?
On October 7, 1980, just 18 months into its history, C-SPAN inaugurated television's first-ever, regularly scheduled national viewer call-in program from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., following a speech by then- FCC Chair Charles Ferris. C-SPAN's first caller was from Yankton, South Dakota. See the video here.
How is the program staffed and run - and who decides the guests?
"Washington Journal," guided by an Executive Producer, has a professional staff of producers, guest bookers, and production assistants who work as a team to decide what topics are covered on each day's program and which guests should be booked to discuss those topics. Each program strives to educate the viewing public about national issues and to learn from them.
What is there to know about "Washington Journal" hosts?
The role of the C-SPAN call-in host is to facilitate the dialogue between callers and our guests. Throughout its history, C-SPAN has drawn call-in hosts from its ranks; they host the program in addition to other roles at the network. The idea behind this practice is to avoid creating "personalities" so that the focus of the program remains on the guests and the callers.
How many calls does "Washington Journal" air?
The program strives to take about 60 callers per three-hour program-another way that callers are emphasized over comments and questions from the C-SPAN host. That translates into more than 400 calls per week - which works out roughly to 20,000 calls per year.
What's the concept behind "open phones" segments?
During open phone segments, viewers can discuss a topic or news item of their choosing, giving them an opportunity to drive the discussion. This open forum is a regular part of the "Washington Journal," and also can be heard on other programming on all three C-SPAN television networks and C-SPAN Radio.
How does C-SPAN deal with calls that are inaccurate or distasteful?
While the vast majority of calls are not of this nature, the live, town-hall format of our call-ins can occasionally give rise to calls that contain factual inaccuracies or distasteful language. Fact-checking for live viewer calls is impractical, something of the nature of the beast. Regarding distasteful language: When a caller makes ad hominem attacks or uses indecent language or obviously racist language, program hosts are certainly permitted to step in. Given that this involves quick judgment during a live television production, it's an imperfect process. The network does not endorse any comments made by our callers, or, for that matter, our guests.
Are the calls aired live?
Yes. This is another philosophical aspect of our "town hall format." We've always taken the calls as they come in so that the agenda is set by the callers, not by our producers in Washington. We don't screen - except if callers violate the 30-day rule, explained next - and we have different lines for different positions on issues. Typically these lines are for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to ensure ideological diversity among callers, but they may be changed up for specific issues.
Why the "30-day rule" for callers?
To encourage an "open dialogue' we don't want the program to be dominated by a small cadre of regular callers. The program hosts remind viewers to allow one month between calls to allow as many voices to be heard as possible. This is another "not perfect" aspect of the program--there are callers who violate this rule, as is sometimes pointed out by other regular listeners.
Are telephone calls the only way viewer's voices are heard?
No. In addition to calls, hosts will take viewers questions and comments via e-mail (journal@c-span.org) and now Twitter (@cspanwj). Also, we frequently continue "Washington Journal" conversations on C-SPAN's Facebook page, and we welcome audience comments and a robust discussion there as well (http://www.facebook.com/CSPAN).
How many people watch "Washington Journal"?
C-SPAN's public affairs programming is available in 97 million households. C-SPAN, as a non-commercial network, doesn't measure viewership; we conduct occasional demographic surveys to measure reach and impact. The most recent was a March 2009 survey, which estimated 39 million Americans watch C-SPAN regularly -- at least once or twice a week. We don't have viewing numbers for the "Washington Journal" but we know from several such surveys that the percentage of viewers who attempt to call in is approximately five percent.

C-SPAN Bus

How Does C-SPAN Visit Your Community?
C-SPAN visits your community in a variety of ways. The C-SPAN Bus attends events across the country, including book festivals, education conferences, and political gatherings. We work with local cable providers to bring the Bus to high schools, universities, libraries, and various other locations. The Local Content Vehicles and crew travel the nation capturing unique stories along the way. The LCV crew also speaks to students and other groups about filming and video journalism production. Additionally, C-SPAN sends representatives to visit communities across the country, year round. We introduce visitors to our public affairs programming while providing a greater understanding of C-SPAN and our free resources.
What Does a Visit from the Bus or the LCVs entail?
A visit from the C-SPAN Bus or the LCV vehicle entails bringing a vehicle to your community. A Bus visit includes a hands-on tour of the multimedia demonstration center. The LCV vehicles produce programming for both American History TV and Book TV.
What is inside the Bus?
The Bus is equipped with touchscreen computers that demonstrate C-SPAN's many websites, including the Video Library, C-SPAN Classroom, Congressional Chronicle, and Book TV. Visitors can also test their knowledge of public affairs through quizzes, learn about StudentCam. Visitors can watch the latest C-SPAN programs in HD - tune into live feeds of C-SPAN and C-SPAN2, catch new authors on Book TV, or view historical perspectives on American History TV on C-SPAN3. In the "C-SPAN on the Go" section, you can download C-SPAN podcasts and our Radio App for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Use our laptops to connect with us online by browsing C-SPAN's YouTube page, checking our Twitter feeds, and becoming a fan on Facebook. The Bus is also equipped with a Smartboard and presentation area for discussions on the Video Library, C-SPAN Classroom, and other topics.
How long have the Bus and LCVs been on the road?
The C-SPAN Bus launched in February 2013 and the Local Content Vehicles officially launched in the summer of 2010. The C-SPAN Bus program began in 1993 with the C-SPAN School Bus.
Who will enjoy a visit to the Bus?
Everyone! Whether you're a C-SPAN fan, serious about books, or simply curious about our technology, we think you'll leave the Bus informed, engaged, and more connected to public affairs.
How do I host a visit from C-SPAN in my community?
If you are interested in hosting a visit of the C-SPAN Bus, the LCV or a C-SPAN Representative, please contact your local cable provider.
What environmental considerations did you make when designing the Bus?
C-SPAN made every effort to use renewable and reusable resources in the Bus design. The new Bus engine also meets EPA environmental standards.