Patrick B. McGuigan
The cable television industry’s flagship public affairs network, C-SPAN, is concluding a week-long filming and production visit to Oklahoma, a vital stage in preparation of a wide range of programming centered in and around the Capitol area of Oklahoma City.
The programming has state and local leaders excited about the positive images of Oklahoma that will garner nationwide attention later this spring. Included in the programming is information reflective of the highly diverse, and sometimes troubled, history of the Sooner State.
The programs which C-SPAN’s “LCV” (Local Content Vehicle) crew has underway -- focused on Oklahoma -- will air May 5 and 6, on C-SPAN2’s BookTV and C-SPAN3’s American History TV (AHTV).
At a Blue Room press conference touting the programming this week, Governor Mary Fallin was joined by Debbie Lamb, coordinating producer for the LCV Tour, Roy Williams of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Percy Kirk, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications (the city-area cable provider), Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman of Sapulpa and a variety of other officials.
Fallin told Capitol reporters the C-SPAN cablecasts would highlight the state’s “rich history and culture, and very diverse peoples,” and bring new attention to the state’s recent economic strides.
Fallin reveled in the anticipated mention of the widely-remarked “reverse Grapes of Wrath” – that is, the migration of thousands of Californians to Oklahoma in recent years.
Fallin said Oklahoma is becoming “the Silicon Prairie of America” with diversified businesses and continued robust performance in the energy industry. She pointed to the latest cluster of economic trends for Oklahoma, including a 6 percent unemployment rate (second lowest in the nation), second best job creation numbers, number one ranking in manufacturing job growth, fourth best increase in per capita personal income, and the recent ranking of the Oklahoma City metro area as having the fastest economic growth of any large American city.
Kirk, of Cox Communications, said it is hard to imagine a better place to raise a family than Oklahoma. He praised C-SPAN for being “great partners to local cable systems” and said his company was glad to partner with other Cable systems around the state to highlight the upcoming programming. Among those in attendance for the Blue Room event was former House Speaker Loyd Benson of Frederick, now a cable industry executive.
The City Chamber’s Roy Williams noted another recent good news report for the area, in designation of the city as the nation’s most cost-effective place to do business. He named many factors that have contributed to local growth, but observed: “The real credit goes to the voters of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County.” He praised them for approving $2 billion in local public (tax-financed) expenditures “to make our city better.”
Senator Bingman said the state’s recent economic trends are “the fruits of our labor.”
Fallin presented a gubernatorial commendation to C-SPAN’s Lamb. She told reporters it was “a joy to get out of D.C.” to visit Oklahoma. She said the crew “had a wonderful time” in Oklahoma City – and even got to attend a Thunder NBA game. Lam is the niece of C-SPAN visionary and founder Brian Lamb.
A summary of the scheduled C-SPAN American History TV programming, provided to CapitolBeatOK by Cox Communications, includes these segments:
· Interview with Bruce Fisher, son of Ada Lois Sipuel. Sipuel attempted to enroll at the University of Oklahoma Law School in 1946, helping to the lay the foundation for Brown v. Board of Education.
· Tour the Oklahoma City National Memorial with the memorial’s director, Kerrie Watkins. Watkins explains the history of building the memorial and explains future plans for the memorial to the victims.
· Hear historian Blue Clark explain the significance of Indian relocation to Oklahoma’s history. Clark discusses the tribes that came into the state from across the country, as well as his family’s own relocation experience.
· Interview with Mayor Mick Cornett at Chesapeake Energy Arena about Oklahoma’s professional basketball team, the Thunder, and its impact on the city post-Hurricane Katrina.
· Tour the Oklahoma State Capitol building with tour guide Bill Parks. Learn about the history of the building, and how Oklahoma City became the state’s capital.
· Interview with Oklahoma historian Currie Ballard about his discovery of rare film taken of Oklahoma’s African American communities dating back to the 1920s. Ballard’s remarks are filmed in Langston, a historic African American community where his family has roots.
· Visit Oklahoma University’s Political Communication Center and the Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial Archive to learn how political television commercials have changed over time and hear how political commercials reflect the changing landscape of American politics.
· Interview with Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal at the Carl Albert Center. Mayor Rosenthal takes us through the papers of several U.S. Senators and Congressmen as well as talks about Carl Albert, Speaker of the House under Richard Nixon from 1971-77.
· Tour the Oklahoma History Center where we look at rare items in their collection, including a bison skin teepee and one of only two copies of a Certificate of Friendship offered to Indian leaders by Lewis and Clarke.
BookTV programming highlights include these:
· Interview with Full Circle Books owner Jim Tolbert about the literary scene in Oklahoma City as well as the state of the independent book business.
· Hear “Winning the West with Words” author and Oklahoma City University professor James Buss examine narrative, rhetoric and language used by Anglo-Americans to justify westward expansion and the removal of Native Americans.
· Listen to “Race and the University: A Memoir” author George Henderson recount his experience as the third African American professor hired at the University of Oklahoma and the obstacles he had to overcome.
· Interview “A Nation in Transition” author Michael Lovegrove about the story of Douglas Henry Johnston, the governor of the Chickasaw tribe during the critical transitional time of the early 19th century.
· Tour the University of Oklahoma’s Special Collections at Bizzell Memorial Library.
· Interview with “The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South” author Keith Gaddie about the history of voting right in the South and its effect on the current political climate. Gaddie is a professor at the University of Oklahoma.
· Hear Dr. Joe Foote, Dean and Edward L. Gaylord Chair in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, talk about the state of journalism today and the role it will play in the future.
The Cox system provides C-SPAN programming on these channels:
C-SPAN: 6 and 126; C-SPAN2: 127; C-SPAN3: 128.
The cable system’s public affairs programming channel, C-SPAN, is continuing its “ 2012 LCV Cities Tour.” Producers are travelling in special Ford Transit Connect vehicles, dubbed Local Content Vehicles (LCVs). The first LCV tour was held in 2011.