Wednesday, March 21, 2012

C-SPAN Superhero Brian Lamb Stepping Down as CEO after 33 Years!

Oh, Woe is Us!  There's nobody on talk/news/political/public affairs television that we love more than Brian Lamb on C-SPAN.  For the past three decades and a bit, Lamb's calm and erudite presence has been a low-key delight and influence on the cable industry's premier do-good project.  He was there at the beginning, a key player in the founding of the channel in 1978 and its CEO since then, and his intelligent oversight has kept C-SPAN as the only really truly fair and balanced network out there in TV land. 

Now, at the beginning of next month, two of his trusted lieutenants -- Susan Swain (pictured at right with Lamb) and Rob Kennedy -- will take over the day-to-day management of the C-SPAN trio of channels, each of them presenting 24 hour-a-day coverage of all things political, historical, literary and beyond.  Whichever ill-informed and short-sighted wag once-upon-a-time bemoaned the dulless of "talking heads on television" clearly never envisioned or watched C-SPAN.  There isn't a dull moment on the channels, not if you're a citizen who cares about what's happening in Washington, or a history buff interested in life's rich pageant (especially America's past), or even merely a book lover looking for a place on TV that celebrates the written word.

Not that we won't still have Lamb as host of his weekly Q and A series, and not that Swain and Kennedy aren't utterly qualified to serve as co-CEOs (a brilliant move acknowledging both of their complementary talents and expertises).  Susan Swain has been an reliable and smartly entertaining on-air presence and behind-the-scenes management force since her arrival at the network in 1982, while Rob Kennedy came onboard a few years later and is the whiz behind C-SPAN's invaluable web archive, among other accomplishments.  We know the network couldn't be in better hands, thanks to Brian Lamb's decades of hard work and complete dedication to making C-SPAN the national network of record. 

A lot of people undoubtedly take C-SPAN for granted, and maybe seldom watch it, but it's inconceivable to imagine what cable TV would be like without it.  Talk about your vast wasteland...C-SPAN is a beacon of responsibility, ethics, intellectual prowess and civic responsibility in an America gone lazy and saturated with junky TV.  I am so grateful that the cable industry continues to value C-SPAN's incredible legacy and its ongoing efforts to make our government more transparent, more accessible and more engaging to the citizenry.  We all have Brian Lamb to thank for the high-minded standards that C-SPAN has always stood for towards and achieved, without question and without peer. 

Of course the internet was abuzz with the announcement of C-SPAN's management changeover, with plenty of terrific coverage over the past week.  We recommend this great article by Brian Stelter with some wonderful quotes from Lamb, Kennedy and Swain at The New York Times, nice coverage in USA Today, Patrick Gavin's complete-with-video look at five best-of Lamb moments on Politico, a wonderful piece by James Rainey from The Los Angeles Times, an amusing read from The Weekly Standard by Andrew Ferguson from a while back, and you can peruse the official C-SPAN press release here.  Don't forget to visit C-SPAN's own incredible website, a treasure trove of information, video, and special features. 

C-SPAN -- everything about it -- is tops in my TV world, and Brian Lamb is one of the most under-appreciated and unsung heroes of cable television.  Take a big bow, Mr. Lamb -- you've earned it!

No comments: