BA 1963, Speech; HDR 1986, Liberal Arts
Brian Lamb is the CEO of C-SPAN Networks. He’s been at the helm of the public affairs channel since he helped the cable industry launch it 30 years ago on March 19, 1979.
Today, C-SPAN employs approximately 270 people and delivers public affairs programming on three television channels to the nation’s cable and satellite customers; globally to Internet users via C-SPAN.org and 15 other internet sites; and to radio listeners through C-SPAN radio—an FM station in Washington that can also be heard on XM satellite service nationwide.
Brian has also been a regular on-air presence at C-SPAN since the network’s earliest days. Over the years, he has interviewed Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush and many world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. For 15 years, beginning in 1989, he interviewed 800 non-fiction authors for a weekly program known as Booknotes. Four books of collected interviews have been published based on the Booknotes series. Currently, Brian hosts Q and A, an hour long interview program on Sunday evening with people who are making things happen in politics, media, education or technology.
Brian Lamb is a Hoosier, born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana. Interested in broadcasting as a child, he built crystal radio sets to pick up local signals. During high school and college, he sought out jobs at Lafayette radio and television stations, spinning records, selling ads, and eventually hosting his own television program.
After graduating from Purdue with a degree in speech, Brian joined the Navy. His tour included the USS Thuban, White House duty during the Johnson Administration and a stint in the Pentagon public affairs office during the Vietnam War.
In 1967, his navy service complete, Brian returned home to Lafayette. However, it wasn’t long before he returned to the nation’s capital where he began as a freelance reporter for UPI radio. Later, he served as a Senate press secretary and worked for the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy at a time when a national strategy was being developed for communications satellites.
In 1974, Brian returned to journalism, publishing a biweekly newsletter called The Media Report. He also covered telecommunications issues as Washington bureau chief for Cablevision Magazine.
It was from this vantage point that C-SPAN began to take shape. Congress was about to televise its proceedings; the cable industry was looking for programming to deliver to its customers by satellite. Brian brought these two ideas together with C-SPAN, which launched with the first televised House of Representatives debate on March 19, 1979.
Brian and his wife Victoria are longtime residents of Arlington, Virginia. When he’s not reading newspapers or non-fiction books, Brian is often in hot pursuit of the latest country music release.