Network shows variety of offerings

Toledoans get hands-on with C-SPAN

5/15/2014
BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Keith Meyer, left, does a quiz while fellow Kiwanian Pat Lora watches  during a tour of the  C-SPAN bus.
Keith Meyer, left, does a quiz while fellow Kiwanian Pat Lora watches during a tour of the C-SPAN bus.

The C-SPAN touring bus rolled into Toledo for a brief visit on Wednesday as part of the TV network’s effort to educate the public about its 24-hour public affairs programming.

About two dozen members of the Kiwanis Club of Toledo gathered at the Toledo Club downtown for a brief presentation about C-SPAN’s history before going outside to tour the 45-foot motor coach, which also serves as a TV production studio and media demonstration center.

“It’s cool,” said an impressed John Eberly, 69, as he toured the bus filled with cutting-edge technology, including TV cameras, editing tools, and giant touch-screen computers that showed off the network’s new Web site.

“It makes me want to watch C-SPAN,” said Mr. Eberly, a long-time Kiwanis member. “It sounds like it’s a really good education tool for kids.”

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Doug Hemmig, a marketing representative for C-SPAN, told the Kiwanians that most people mistakenly believe the network only offers live coverage of House of Representative and Senate meetings.

“We’re so much more than that,” Mr. Hemmig said. “We also offer history programs and education programs.”

The network’s new Web site includes more than 2,000 hours of content that is accessible to anyone, Mr. Hemmig said.

The site has become especially popular with teachers, who use the information for classroom lessons, he said.

 The  C-SPAN bus sits outside the Toledo Club.
The C-SPAN bus sits outside the Toledo Club.

C-SPAN is a nonprofit company and averages about 6 million viewers per week, Mr. Hemmig said. The company receives its funding from cable and satellite stations; approximately 6 cents of every cable bill goes to fund C-SPAN, he said.

C-SPAN’s visit was sponsored by Buckeye CableSystem.

Kiwanis President Greg Loeb said his club was very fortunate — C-SPAN officials called him to ask if they could stop and make a presentation while passing through Toledo.

“It’s exciting,” said Mr. Loeb, who likes to tune in to the cable channel to catch up on current news, especially national government.

The best part, he said, is that C-SPAN offers an unbiased look at the news.

Terrence Bilal, a motor coach operator for C-SPAN for more than 11 years, said the bus visited Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School earlier in the day. After leaving Toledo, the bus was heading to Fort Wayne, Ind., where officials will visit another school on Friday.

C-SPAN officials did not visit any Toledo area schools on this trip but have in the past, Mr. Bilal said.

Buckeye CableSystem and The Blade are owned by Block Communications Inc.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.