C-SPAN CEO, Broadcaster of Congress, Steps Down

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WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 05:  U.S. President George W. Bush (R) hangs a Presidential Medal of Freedom on the neck of Brian Lamb (L), President and CEO of C-SPAN during a ceremony for the 2007 recipients in the East Room of the White House November 5, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is given to those who have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian Lamb;George W. Bush
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2007 Getty Images

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.