Brian Lamb, the 70-year-old founder of C-SPAN, will announce Monday that he is stepping down as CEO of the television network. Starting in 1979, Lamb ensured that regular TV-watching folk would have access to every last (stultifying) moment of House and Senate proceedings, an idea that the New York Times called “revolutionary.” Lamb is handing over the reins to two co-chief executives, Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain.
Lamb’s network, which basically resembled a pretty boring webcam of your government at work, created a platform that brought … wait for it … Newt Gingrich to national attention.
As a young member of Congress, Gingrich had the insight that it didn’t matter if no one else was in the House chamber when he was speaking — from a TV set it looked as if he was addressing all of America. Newt has recently credited C-SPAN with some of his support, which comes largely from (surprise!) older voters.
Here’s a treat: a salt-and-pepper-haired Gingrich in 1984, talking with new co-chief exec Swain, about grand theories of political history.