c-span logoC-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), is a private, non-profit American cable television network, created in 1979 by the cable television industry in the United States, as a public service that televises many proceedings of the federal government, as well as other public affairs programming.

The C-SPAN network includes three television channels (C-SPAN, C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3), one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming media and archives of C-SPAN programs. C-SPAN’s television channels are available to approximately 100 million cable and satellite households within the United States, while WCSP-FM, also called C-SPAN Radio, is broadcast on FM radio in Washington, D.C., and is available throughout the U.S. on XM Satellite Radio, via Internet streaming, and through apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices.

The network televises U.S. political events, particularly live and “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the U.S. Congress as well as occasional proceedings of the Canadian and British Parliaments and major events worldwide.

Its coverage of political and policy events is unedited, thereby providing viewers (or listeners) with unfiltered information about politics and government. Non-political coverage includes historical programming, programs dedicated to non-fiction books, and interview programs with noteworthy individuals associated with public policy. C-SPAN is a non-profit organization, funded by a 6-cent per subscriber affiliate fee paid by its cable and satellite affiliates, and does not have advertisements on any of its networks, radio stations, or websites, nor does it ever solicit donations or pledges. The network operates independently, and neither the cable industry nor Congress has control of the content of its programming.
Website: www.c-span.org

The US Congress


Senate and House of Representatives

The C-SPAN network’s core programming is live coverage of the U.S. House and Senate, with the C-SPAN channel emphasizing the United States House of Representatives. Between 1979 and May 2011, the network televised more than 24,246 hours of floor action. C-SPAN2, the first of the C-SPAN spin-off networks, provides uninterrupted live coverage of the United States Senate.
With coverage of the House and Senate, viewers can track legislation as it moves through both bodies of Congress.

Public Affairs

The public affairs coverage on the C-SPAN networks other than the House and Senate floor debates is wide-ranging. C-SPAN is considered a useful source of information for journalists, lobbyists, educators and government officials as well as casual viewers interested in politics, due to its unedited coverage of political events. C-SPAN has been described by media observers as a “window into the world of Washington politics” and it characterizes its own mission as being “to provide public access to the political process”.

The networks cover U.S. political campaigns, including the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian presidential nominating conventions in their entirety. Coverage of presidential campaign events are provided during the duration of the campaign, both by a weekly television program, Road to the White House, and at its dedicated politics website. C-SPAN also covers midterm elections.

C-SPAN and C-SPAN2 programs

cspan1While many hours of programming on C-SPAN are dedicated to coverage of the House, the network’s daily programming begins with the political telephone call-in and interview program Washington Journal every morning from 7 to 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Washington Journal began January 4, 1995 and has been broadcast every weekday morning since then, with guests including elected officials, government administrators, and journalists.
The program covers current events, with guests answering questions on topics provided by the hosts as well as from members of the general public.

On the weekend schedule, C-SPAN’s main programs are: America and the Courts, which is shown each Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, Newsmakers, a Sunday morning interview program with newsworthy guests; Q&A, a Sunday evening interview program, with guests including journalists, politicians, authors, and other public figures; and The Communicators, which features interviews with journalists, government officials, and businesspeople involved with the communications industry and related legislation.

cpan2On weekends C-SPAN2 dedicates its schedule to Book TV, which is 48 hours of programming about non-fiction books, book events, and authors. Book TV was first launched in September 1998. Booknotes was broadcast originally from 1989 to 2004, as a one-hour one-on-one interview of a non-fiction author.

Repeats of the interviews remain a regular part of the Book TV schedule with the title Encore Booknotes. Other Book TV programs feature political and historical books and biographies of public figures. These include In Depth, a live, monthly, three-hour interview with a single author, and After Words, an author interview program featuring guest hosts interviewing authors on topics with which both are familiar.

After Words was developed as a new type of author interview program after the end of production of Booknotes. Weekend programming on Book TV also includes coverage of book events such as panel discussions, book fairs, book signings, readings by authors and tours of bookstores around the U.S.


cspan3The programming on C-SPAN3 from Monday to Friday features uninterrupted live public affairs events, in particular political events from Washington, D.C. Each weekend since January 8, 2011, the network has broadcast 48 hours of programming dedicated to the history of the United States, under the name American History TV. The programming covers the history of the U.S. from the founding of the nation through the late 20th century. Programs include American Artefacts, which is dedicated to exploring museums, archives and historical sites, and Lectures in History, featuring major university history professors giving lectures on U.S. history.

C-SPAN Radio

cspan-radioIn addition to the three television networks, C-SPAN also broadcasts via C-SPAN Radio, which is carried on their owned station WCSP 90.1 FM in Washington, D.C. area with all three cable network feeds airing via HD Radio, and nationwide on XM Satellite Radio. Its programming is also live streamed at c-span.org and is available via apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices.

C-SPAN Radio has a selective policy regarding its broadcast content, rather than duplicating the television network programming, although it does offer some audio simulcasts of programs such as Washington Journal.
Unique programming on the radio station includes oral histories, and some committee meetings and press conferences not shown on television due to programming commitments. The station also compiles the Sunday morning talk shows for a same-day rebroadcast without commercials, in rapid succession.

C-SPAN outside the United States

Live Streams

C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, C-SPAN3 and C-SPAN Radio are available for free worldwide via internet streams.
See: www.c-span.org/live/

C-SPAN on BBC Parliament

Some programming from C-SPAN is broadcast on the BBC Parliament channel in the UK. The channel is available free-to-air on Freeview (terrestrial) and on satellite from Astra 2E  (UK spotbeam).
The channel is also carried on cable and available on BBC iPlayer.
See: America this Week

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