Lamb Stepping Down As C-SPAN CEO

Brian Lamb will be stepping down as CEO and chairman of the board of C-SPAN, the cable public affairs network he founded in 1978. He becomes executive chairman of the board.
Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain, co-presidents, will become co-CEOs on April 1.
Lamb will still host his weekly interview show The Communicators, and will continue to help set the direction for the net and its associated operations.
"Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain are veteran C-SPAN executives with a deep sense of the C-SPAN mission and an eye to the future," said Time Warner Cable chairman and chairman of C-SPAN's executive committee Glenn Britt. "Their successful partnership and long experience puts them in an ideal position to guide C-SPAN into its next generation."

According to C-SPAN, the board unanimously agreed to the change back in September. It was announced Monday to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of the channel on March 19. April 1 is the beginning of C-SPAN's next fiscal quarter.

"We have complementary skills," Kennedy told Multichannel News. "I am more the hardware side and Susan is the software side. Susan mostly focuses on the content and the marketing. I focus on infrastructure. We've been doing this for 20 years in very similar roles, so we have developed a very good working relationship."
Noted Swain: "I don't think our jobs, per se, are changing. I think what is different is that Brian has been the public face of the network for 35 years and he would like to move out of that role."

The succession plan was actually teed up back in 2006, when Kennedy and Swain were named co-presidents that December.C-SPAN had been preparing for a successor, or in this case, successors for Lamb, the man who built the channel and has headed it for more than 25 years, billing it as "an important step towards an eventual transition to new corporate leadership." Kennedy and Swain had been executive vice presidents and COOs before that promotion. 

"Brian Lamb's extraordinary impact on the cable industry and American democracy cannot be understated, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his innovation, leadership and service," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell in a statement. "Brian's vision for C-SPAN opened our nation's democratic process to millions of Americans, allowing citizens to become better educated, engaged and aware of how Congress and the federal government operate. Brian will be missed. We're pleased, however, that veteran C-SPAN executives Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain will carry on with his legacy and further burnish C-SPAN as a national treasure."

C-SPAN launched its first channel in 1979 and has become must-see TV for political junkies. Lamb has headed up the channel since he put it together in 1978 while bureau chief for Titsch Publishing. That was a year after the House agreed to open up its proceedings to TV.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.