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State leaders tout upcoming C-SPAN programming featuring Oklahoma

By Patrick B. McGuigan

The cable television industry’s flagship public affairs network, C-SPAN, just concluded 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.

Staet and local leaders are excited raising the state’s profile via CSPAN’s nationwide audience when it airs later this spring.

Included in the programming is information reflective of the highly diverse, and sometimes troubled, history of the Sooner State.

The programs, being filmed now, will air May 5-6, on C-SPAN2’s BookTV and C-SPAN3’s American History TV (AHTV).

At a Blue Room press conference announcing the programming last 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 and Percy Kirk, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications (a 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.

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. Lamb is the niece of C-SPAN visionary and founder Brian Lamb.

Segments in the programs, accoridng to Cox Communications, include these segments:

• 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.
•Tour the Oklahoma State Capitol building with tour guide Bill Parks.
• 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.

BookTV programming highlights will 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.
* 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.
• 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.

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