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April 13th, 2012 - Kelley Chambers

C-SPAN films in OKC for upcoming feature

If you think C-SPAN only shows endless hours of debate and activity on the floor of the U.S. House and Senate, think again. In a push to diversify programming, while still covering every second of congress in action, the network began planning last year for a series of historical features on cities around the country. Oklahoma City made the list.


With two C-SPAN “Local Content Vehicles” parked on the sidewalk in front of the state Capitol April 12, Debbie Lamb, the network’s coordinating producer, was joined by state leaders in the governor’s blue room to discuss plans for filming around the city for an Oklahoma City weekend May 5-6 on C-SPAN 2, dedicated to books, and C-SPAN 3, dedicated to American history.

While much of the programming will offer glowing accounts of the city and its history, C-SPAN will not shy away from controversy. Along with pieces about successes like the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team and tours of the state capitol, segments will be devoted to the trials and tribulations of Native American’s in the state, and black residents who challenged the status quo for equal rights. The program is in collaboration with Cox Communications, which carries C-SPAN for its customers.

Lamb explained that while there is plenty to talk about in and around the nation’s capitol, there are plenty of equally compelling stories to be told around the country. Her team of three hit the road to film interviews in seven cities.

“We made a decision back in May that we wanted to get outside of Washington, D.C., and enhance our history programming on C-SPAN 3,” she said.

While places like Jefferson City, Mo., and Beaumont, Texas, might not seem like peer cities to Oklahoma City, Lamb said each one on the list was chosen because they felt each had a story to tell. The tour began in January in Baton Rouge, La., and then moved on to Beaumont, Shreveport, La., Little Rock, Ark., and Oklahoma City. The next stops will be Wichita, Kan., and Jefferson City.

Once the programs air, Lamb said they will be accessible for viewing online indefinitely.

Gov. Mary Fallin touted Oklahoma’s struggles, tragedies and successes. She called Oklahomans a resilient people with a rich history.

“We all think Oklahoma is a very special place,” she said. “We’re very proud to host and be able to showcase Oklahoma to C-SPAN and to a national audience.”

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