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#ThrowbackThursday: When the Cameras Turned On

This photo is from the Roll Call archives of a call-in show hosted at the National Press Club on Oct. 7, 1980, the year after C-SPAN first began broadcasting. Lamb, on the far right, is joined by, from left to right, Michael Kelly, Pat Gushman, Don West and Tack Nail.
This photo is from the Roll Call archives of a call-in show hosted at the National Press Club on Oct. 7, 1980, the year after C-SPAN first began broadcasting. Lamb, on the far right, is joined by, from left to right, Michael Kelly, Pat Gushman, Don West and Tack Nail.

The next time you need an “older than” joke, here’s some new material: members whose congressional careers are older than C-SPAN.  

There are just 11 members of Congress serving today who were in office the day the network began broadcasting the House proceedings on March 19, 1979 — it took more than seven years for the Senate to vote to allow cameras to televise that chamber.  

C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb examined the date and found there are “only 11 that are still in Congress that were here before television,” he said on “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” Monday .  

(More on the rise of C-SPAN as part of Kojo at the Capitol: In Partnership with Roll Call, WAMU’s Metro Connection, and the Folger Shakespeare Library can be found here .)  

In alphabetical order, the members whose congressional careers are older than C-SPAN are:

  • Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
  • Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
  • Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.
  • Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah.
  • Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.
  • Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.
  • Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.
  • Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.
  • Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
  • Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala.
  • Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

Of that group, Grassley, Markey, Mikulski and Shelby were in the House when C-SPAN started.  

Tune in to WAMU on 88.5 from noon to 2 p.m. from Feb. 2 through Feb. 6 for Kojo at the Capitol: In Partnership with Roll Call, WAMU’s Metro Connection, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Related:

Former Lawmaker Reflects on Congressional Life Before the World Wide Web


Covering Congress, 40 Years Ago


A Preview of Kojo, Will and Roll Call on the Hill


Roll Call’s Coverage of the Capitol and Congress as a Community


The Kojo Nnamdi Show


The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress


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