America's Best Leaders: Q&A with Brian Lamb, president and CEO of C-SPAN
What were the most difficult moments for you as you went through the last 25 years, and what got you through the difficult bits?
That's so easy. The single most difficult moments all sound alike: when some system or systems in America would take C-SPAN off. The single most difficult moments. It's like you felt at some pointthere was a point back in 1982 where we lost 400 cable systems overnight because we switched satellites. Very painful. Very difficult. And you weren't ever sure you were really going to get them back. And it turned out that the public's reaction was the most significant, because if the public ever gets it, they don't want to give it up. The only other difficult moments would revolve aroundour board has done a great job over the yearsyou've got to put this in contextof giving us the money we needed to operate. We're given a $50 million-a-year budget, and that in television is nothing. But it's what we need; they will give us what we need. The money thing has not been the issue, the issue's been one thing: carriage of these channels on cable. It's the most important issue, and the most painful part of the existence is when they would drop us somewhere. -Peter Meredith