Washington Journal

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Washington Journal
File:Washington Journal logo C-SPAN 200.jpg
Genre News and public affairs
Opening theme Trumpet Concerto No. 2
Ending theme Trumpet Concerto No. 2
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Production location(s) Washington, D.C.
Running time 180 minutes
Original network C-SPAN
Original release January 4, 1995 – present
External links

Washington Journal is an American television series on the C-SPAN network in the format of a political call-in and interview program. The program features elected officials, government administrators and journalists as guests, answering questions from the hosts and from members of the general public, who call into the studio or submit questions via e-mail and social media.

The three-hour program airs every day of the year beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern Time,[1] except when special events or coverage of Congress preempts all or part of the program. The audio of the program also airs on WCSP-FM as a simulcast with the television broadcast.[2]

Background and production


Washington Journal's antecedent is the C-SPAN daily call-in, a fixture of the network since 1980.[3] The inaugural Washington Journal program aired on January 4, 1995, and the program continues to be shown on C-SPAN in its original time slot. Saturday and Sunday editions were originally just two hours long; on January 20, 2001, they were expanded to a full three hours.[1]

Simulcasts of Washington Journal on C-SPAN's radio station, WCSP-FM, began on October 9, 1997; it was the first program to be broadcast on the station.[2] One hour of the Sunday edition of Washington Journal is also simulcast on BBC Parliament in the United Kingdom, preceded by America This Week, an hour of recorded C-SPAN programming.[4]


File:Washington Journal 260510.jpg
Washington Journal host Greta Brawner interviews Adm. Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) on May 26, 2010.

At the beginning of each program, the host reads noteworthy articles and editorials from current newspapers and periodicals as viewers discuss a timely topic chosen by C-SPAN. The program occasionally features "open phones" segments when callers may discuss any topic of their choosing. In multiple segments following, the host interviews guests invited to discuss a specific political or legislative issue, and takes calls from the public.[2][5] Most guests appear in C-SPAN's Washington or New York City studios, while some guests are interviewed from remote locations.[6]

The program is noted for the participation of its viewers who may call in, submit questions and comments via e-mail or, since March 5, 2009, Twitter.[1] As facilitators of conversation between the public and C-SPAN guests, Washington Journal hosts do not offer their own perspective on issues, and leave more pointed questions to callers, though they will occasionally ask for clarifications from callers and guests. Consistent with its emphasis on reflecting a wide variety of viewpoints, C-SPAN aims to take approximately 60 calls in each program, and roughly 20,000 calls per year.[7]

In the early days of Washington Journal, callers were not screened by ideology. This was changed at the recommendation of University of Maryland professor John Splaine, hired by C-SPAN to ensure the network's objectivity, who noticed that C-SPAN received a disproportionate number of calls from conservative viewers. Washington Journal producers now set up separate phone lines by party affiliation (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) and take alternate calls from each line.[8] In some cases, a dedicated call-in line is made available for the international audience (outside the U.S. and Canada), or for a particular group of callers. For example, a program about college tuition may have a line for students and recent graduates.[9] In the fall of 2006, Washington Journal recorded two shows in New Orleans and set up a call-in line for locals to tell their stories from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.[6]


The show is hosted from C-SPAN's Washington, D.C. studio overlooking the Capitol Building[10] and is hosted by a revolving set of hosts. In November 2009, C-SPAN named veteran television news producer Michele Remillard as executive producer of Washington Journal.[11]

The Washington Journal theme music is Concerto for Trumpet, no. 2 by Johann Melchior Molter[12] (1696—1765), played at various points during each broadcast. The theme is used as introductory music, as an interlude during transitions, and is played again as the program concludes. Video simulcast of the C-SPAN Radio studio has been shown during transitions at the top of an hour, with the radio host reading the day's news headlines. Washington Journal is on 7 days per week 365 days per year there is no interruption for holidays and unlike most call in shows Washington Journal uses no delay nothing is bleeped if a caller does use obscene or racial language they are cut off at that point There is one rule for callers and it is on the honor system that you allow 30 days between phone calls.

Notable guests and events

For several days following the September 11 attacks, Washington Journal began at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.[13] Following Hurricane Katrina, Washington Journal frequently featured discussions on the issue of New Orleans' recovery. On August 21 and 22, 2006, a remote broadcast was set up in the city to interview key players, including U.S. senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, and local homeowners.[6]

Among C-SPAN's primarily anonymous callers, recording artist and entertainer Cher made waves by calling into the show on October 27, 2003. Although intending to call anonymously, host Peter Slen correctly guessed her identity, which she reluctantly admitted. She called again on May 28, 2006, and waited on hold for her call to be taken.[14][15] Cher subsequently appeared on the program on June 14, 2006, to speak about Operation Helmet, a nonprofit organization providing helmet upgrades for U.S. soldiers.[14][16]

Notable hosts




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "C-SPAN Milestones". C-SPAN. Retrieved 8 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Marc Fisher (21 October 1997). "C-SPAN for Drive Time; 'Washington Journal' Makes Radio Debut on WCSP". The 'Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Evolution of Call-ins on C-SPAN". c-span.org. C-SPAN. Retrieved 28 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "BBC Parliament Goes Live On Digital Satellite". M2 Presswire. 25 November 1998.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Aaron Blake (29 June 2006). "C-SPAN increases its campaign coverage". The Hill.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dave Walker (21 August 2006). "17th Street 'Journal'; C-SPAN comes to town for Katrina anniversary special". Times-Picayune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "About C-SPAN's Call-in Program". C-SPAN. Retrieved 24 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Dan Fesperman (5 March 2001). "A C-SPAN kind of man". The Baltimore Sun.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Ben Miller, Greta Wodele Brawner (26 October 2010). College Debt (Television). Washington, D.C.: C-SPAN. Event occurs at 34:59. Retrieved 29 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Michael Rust (9 February 1998). "Americans Speak Up on Talk TV". Insight on the News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Patrick Gavin (19 November 2010). "Remillard New C-SPAN EP". Politico. Retrieved 25 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Paul Bedard (22 June 2010). "Brian Lamb: C-SPAN Now Reaches 100 Million Homes". Washington Whispers. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 8 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Open Phones: Terrorist Attacks in U.S." C-SPAN. 12 September 2001. Retrieved 24 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 Jeff Dufour (15 June 2006). "Cher : From rave fave to soldiers' savior". The Hill.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Cher waits turn on C-SPAN call to air views on wounded troops". The Washington Times. 27 October 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Betsy Rothstein (2 November 2010). "Cher Admits Obsession with C-SPAN". MediaBistro. WebMediaBrands. Retrieved 5 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links