Research indicates that the public is dissatisfied with news coverage of state government proceedings and would support and watch a public affairs channel devoted to covering the state legislature.
The California Channel is created by the Center for Governmental Studies based on a report by Tracy Westen and Beth Givens, in cooperation with the USC Annenberg School of Communications.
Test of televising begins in August with coverage of the State Assembly for 7.5 hours a day, 5 days per week (Monday through Friday), for the last four weeks of the legislative session. Thirty cable systems participate in the test, and provide legislative coverage to 1.6 million homes across California.
Broadcasting begins officially on February 4, 1991, with the channel available to 1.5 million California homes. Assembly floor sessions and committee hearings are broadcast from 10am to 3pm on Mondaysand Thursdays. Coverage of the State Assembly is then extended to 35 hours a week beginningJune 3rd when the channel begins broadcasting Assembly proceedings from 9am until 4pm Monday through Friday. On September 12th, the channel broadcast oral arguments heard before the California Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Proposition 140 – Term Limits.
The network is available to two million homes. On January 16th, the channel broadcast oral arguments heard before the California Supreme Court on the Master's Reapportionment Plan. In February, coverage of the state Senate proceedings begins. By May, the channel is available to 2.5 million cable households in the state. In June, the channel begins broadcasting 9am until 4pm Monday through Friday. That broadcast schedule remains throughout the year.
The channel begins televising legislative sessions from 11am to 4pm Monday through Friday. The channel is available in over 2.8 million cable homes throughout the state. In October, The California Cable Television Industry assumes governance and financial responsibility for the channel.
The channel expands programming hours to offer legislative and public affairs programming from 9am through 3:45pm Monday through Friday. The channel is available on 82 cable systems serving 3.2 million homes in the state.
Programming hours remain 9am through 3:45pm Monday through Friday throughout the legislative session. At the beginning of the year, the channel is available to 90 cable systems serving 3.9 million cable subscribers. By the end of the year, The California Channel is available on 94 cable systems serving 4.4 million California cable subscribers.
The California Channel serves as the primary news source for live coverage of the Governor's State of the State Address and the legislative response. By May, The California Channel is available to 99 cable systems serving 4.5 million cable subscribers. In June The California Channel launches an Internet Web Page featuring information about the channel's operations, funding history, editorial endorsements, mission statement and weekly programming schedule. By November, the channel is available to 104 California cable systems serving 4.6 million cable subscribers.
In March, the channel begins delivering its satellite signal in a compressed, digital format, utilizing the Scientific Atlanta PowerVu System. By June, the network is available to 4.8 million homes. On August 6th, The California Channel transmits the first ever live broadcast from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as oral arguments are presented regarding California's Proposition 140, the 1990 Legislative Term Limit Law. That same month, the network is presented with a special Diamond Award for excellent programming by the Southern California Cable and Telecommunications Association. The South Bay Producers Guild presents the channel with the Media Arts Award for Outstanding Service to Community and Communication. California State Senator Ralph Dills joins with the Guild in recognizing and presenting the network with this award. On November 20th, The California Channel, in partnership with C-SPAN, transmits the first ever live broadcast of an En Banc hearing of a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as the 9th Circuit Court heard arguments in Rand v. Rowland and in Bates v. Jones
The California Channel begins delivering legislative hearings over the internet through RealVideo in April. The California Channel begins production and distribution of Cable's Free Airtime Project. The network, in partnership with The League of Women Voters of California and the California Voter Foundation produces and cablecasts one-on-one interviews with all bona fide candidates for the General Election for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, U.S. Senate and California Supreme Court. The network is being carried on 111 cable systems and available to 5.1 million subscribers.
The prestigious Beacon Award is awarded to the channel by the CTPA (Cable Television Public Affairs Association) for Cable’s Free Airtime Project. The League of Women Voters of California also recognizes the Free Airtime Project and bestows the network with their highest honor, the Susan B. Anthony Award. The network is being carried on 112 cable systems, and available to 5.2 million subscribers.
The network is carried on 115 cable systems, making it available to just over 5.4 million California homes. Of the 1,128 hours of legislative programming distributed by the network during the year, 548 hours, or 49% were provided live. The network independently produces over 116 hours of press conferences, Capitol proceedings and other public affairs events.
The network receives an Emmy Award for their educational video, “Checks & Balances: The Three Branches of State Government.” The NCTA (National Cable Television Association) announces that the network is one of three finalists for their Spirit Award – Regional Networks: Community & Public Affairs. The network moves to a new facility, complete with a production studio. The channel is carried on 115 cable systems providing service to 5.6 million California homes.
The network begins production of “California Perspective.” Forty-seven of the fifty-eight candidates for statewide office take advantage of the network’s production of Cable’s Free Airtime Project. The channel broadcasts the first educational outreach program of the State Supreme Court, which convened in Fresno. The network is being carried on 152 California cable systems, providing service to 5.1 million homes. Additionally there are 149 cable systems providing contributions representing 1.4 million subscribers, and doing so without benefit of carriage. Of the 1,022 hours of legislative programming distributed by the network, 634 hours (62%) are provided live.
The network’s production of Cable’s Free Airtime Project for the gubernatorial recall election is hailed on the front page of the Los Angeles Times as “A Fastidiously Fair Forum for Candidates: Big names or no-names, all get equal treatment from the California Channel’s John Hancock.” Seventy-two of the 135 gubernatorial candidates accepted the invitation to participate in the 30-minute one-on-one interviews. The channel wins two Telly Awards for the “Shake The State” venture with the Secretary of State’s office, and one Telly Award for the educational video “The Voting Process.” The network is carried on 165 California cable systems to 4.9 million homes, with an additional 141 cable companies serving just over 1.4 million subscribers supporting the network without benefit of carriage.
The network is being carried on 174 California cable systems to over 4.9 million homes, and an additional 107 cable systems serving over 1.4 million subscribers are supporting the network without benefit of carriage. In October the network begins uplinking its own signal to the leased satellite transponder. In December a fiber link was completed between the channel and the State Capitol for reception of legislative feeds. Almost half (49%) of the 1,130 hours of legislative programming received by the network are provided live. Additionally the network independently produces over 124 hours of press conferences and public affairs events.
The network is carried on 174 California cable systems to over 5.1 million homes, with an additional 114 cable systems serving over 1.4 million subscribers providing contributions without benefit of carriage. The network is granted exclusive approval to provide live coverage of May 24th oral arguments regarding the parental rights of same-sex partners heard before the State Supreme Court. In October the channel covers the fourth annual education outreach program of the State Supreme Court held in Shasta County. Also in October the network joins forces with Southern California cable operators to produce and distribute the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women and Families.
The network is being carried on 108 California cable systems to over 5.7 million homes, with an additional 40 cable systems making contributions based on just under one million subscribers without benefit of carriage. The California First Amendment Coalition presents their distinguished Beacon Award to the channel. The network is honored with the only televised interview granted with California Chief Justice Ron George in recognizing his tenth anniversary as the Chief Justice. The channel produces the sixth installment of Cable’s Free Airtime Project, with 74% of the 67 qualified candidates for eight statewide constitutional offices participating. The Judicial Council of California awards the network with the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award for distinguished service.
The network transitions from analog to a full digital infrastructure. The channel is carried on 97 California cable systems to 5.2 million homes, with an additional 37 cable systems providing contributions without benefit of carriage.
The network is granted permission to broadcast the highly acclaimed HBO “Addiction” 14-part series, which is debuted with a special hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The channel also cablecasts live coverage of two session of “Choices & Consequences: Real DUI in the Schools” – and educational venture between the courts and high schools to teach the ramifications of drinking and driving under the influence. In March, the network provides live coverage of the historic oral arguments on same sex marriage heard before the California Supreme Court. The network’s web based archived video of those proceedings draw significant viewership as voters educate themselves about the November ballot’s Proposition 8 – Same Sex Marriage. The network wins a Telly Award for coverage of California’s Poetry Out Loud competition. Over 5.5 million California households receive the network via 126 cable systems.
The California Channel begins broadcasting 24/7 on January first. The channel’s web site sees a three-fold increase in unique visits as compared with the previous year. For the eighth year in a row the channel carries the California Supreme Court’s educational outreach session. The network is carried on 127 California cable systems to 5.3 million homes.
The network wins a Telly Award for coverage of the “We the People: Project Citizen 2009” statewide competition. The network is available to 5.5 million California households via 136 cable systems.