C-SPAN Might Be Heading to Your Radio

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Spencer Daily Herald Staff Writer

A satellite radio system available by subscription only as early as the end of next year could bring C-SPAN's uninterrupted coverage of Congress to motorists across the country.

Brian P. Lamb, chairman and CEO of the public affairs network, spoke of this broadcast expansion during a visit to Lake County earlier this week.

Lamb said the services - New York-based CD Radio and General Motors' XM Satellite Radio venture - will include broadcast of WCSP-FM in Washington, local C-SPAN radio.

Like the cable network, the radio station broadcasts the U.S. House of Representatives gavel-to-gavel when it is in session, as well as other political and history programs commercial-free.

On top of a subscription charge of about a $10-a-month, the two competing satellite radio formats will each require a special radio receiver. They will each include about 100 channels split between talk and music programs, including special interest channels like blues and reggae.

"It should revolutionize radio listening in cars, where there is a tremendous audience. It will be in direct competition with radio stations that now exist," Lamb said before speaking to students at Lake Forest College.

"You can't imagine what it is like until you have it. ... If you are starved for diversity, it's fabulous."

With C-SPAN already branched out onto the Internet, Lamb said the satellite radio system may be the next step to open government and public affairs programs to the small portion of the public interested.

C-SPAN - the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network - is now available in 75 million homes through cable television. C-SPAN2, which covers all proceedings of the U.S. Senate, can be seen on cable television in 54 million American homes.

The networks' core concept is to provide broadcasts of entire events, allowing viewers the opportunity to reach their own conclusions about what transpires. …