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C-SPAN Radio

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C-SPAN Radio

This article is about the US radio station. For plant database, see World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
City of license Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Washington, D.C.
Baltimore, Maryland
Branding "C-SPAN Radio"
Frequency 90.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
90.1 HD2 C-SPAN1 simulcast (House of Representatives and other)
90.1 HD3 C-SPAN2 simulcast (Senate and Book TV)

XM Radio 132
Format Public Affairs
Power 50,000 watts
HAAT 149 meters
Class B
Facility ID 68950
Transmitter coordinates

38°57′44.0″N 77°1′36.0″W / 38.962222°N 77.026667°W / 38.962222; -77.026667

Callsign meaning Truncation of C-SPAN
Owner National Cable Satellite Corporation
Webcast WCSP-FM Webstream
Website WCSP-FM Online

WCSP-FM, also known as C-SPAN Radio, is a radio station licensed to the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) in Washington, D.C. The station broadcasts on 90.1 MHz and is on-air 24 hours a day.[1] Its studios are located near Capitol Hill in C-SPAN’s headquarters.[2] In addition to WCSP-FM, C-SPAN Radio programming is also available online at and via satellite radio on XM 119 (previously 132).



The station was originally licensed to Georgetown University under the callsign WGTB, and was programmed by Georgetown students with a progressive rock format.[3] In 1979, the Georgetown administration decided that the station did not fit with the public image they desired for the university, and sold the station to the University of the District of Columbia for US$1.[3] UDC took ownership officially on March 12, 1980,[4] and WGTB became WDCU, with a jazz format.[5] During a budgetary crisis in mid-1997, the school sold WDCU for $13 million to C-SPAN, a non-profit funded by the cable television industry.[6] UDC had planned to sell the station to Salem Communications (a Christian broadcast network), however this deal was unsuccessful, leading to C-SPAN’s offer to buy the WDCU.[2] Once the station was purchased, broadcasting of C-SPAN Radio WCSP began on October 9, 1997.[5]


C-SPAN Radio expanded its coverage by signing programming agreements[7][8] in 1998 with two subscription-only satellite radio systems: CD Radio (later renamed Sirius) and General Motors' XM Satellite Radio, bringing the station to a nationwide audience in 2001.[9][10] As of February 14, 2007, Sirius Satellite Radio no longer carries WCSP-FM.[11] The station was added to XM Radio Canada on April 1, 2007.[12] The FM range of the radio station extends as far North as Hanover, Pennsylvania, South around 15 miles beyond Fredericksburg, Virginia, West to 5 miles East of Front Royal, Virginia and East to Cambridge, Maryland.[13] C-SPAN offers three channels of programming for listeners within the FM signal radius with HD radios, using digital technology to multicast all three channels at 90.1 FM. The three channels offer different programming: WCSP-FM's usual programming is broadcast on 90.1 HD-1; 90.1 HD-2 simulcasts C-SPAN, broadcasting coverage of the House of Representatives plus other C-SPAN programming; 90.1 HD-3 simulcasts C-SPAN2, broadcasting coverage of the Senate and audio of Book TV.[14]

As of July 28, 2010, C-SPAN Radio can be accessed via any phone, thanks to a partnership with AudioNow. In addition to this service, a C-SPAN Radio application allows users to listen to the station via their iPhone.[15]


C-SPAN Radio broadcasts public-affairs programming, including some audio simulcasts of C-SPAN's flagship television programs like Washington Journal and some radio-only programming such as the famous tape-recorded Oval Office conversations from the Johnson and Nixon administrations, oral histories, and some committee meetings and press conferences not shown on television due to programming commitments. The radio station does not try to duplicate C-SPAN television coverage, and takes a more selective approach to its broadcast content.[16] Regular programs broadcast on the radio station include Today in Washington and Prime Minister's Question Time.[17]

In the early period of C-SPAN Radio's existence, programming also included coverage of local events and government hearings affecting only the Washington region.[2] A unique part of WCSP's programming is its rebroadcast of five Sunday morning talk shows, without commercials, in rapid succession.[16] All programs on C-SPAN Radio are broadcast commercial-free.[9]

WCSP is the first radio station to broadcast audiotape of historical U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, with announcers explaining the court decision at the end of the recording.[9] The broadcasts of the Supreme Court arguments have provided listeners in the U.S. and Canada with the opportunity to hear spoken words during oral arguments for several of the Court's most influential cases, including the Texas v. Johnson argument over flag-burning in 1989, and the Miranda v. Arizona argument in 1966.[18][19] In September 2010 the Supreme Court began releasing audio recordings of the week's oral arguments each Friday, thereby allowing C-SPAN Radio to broadcast a selection of current arguments. Prior to this arrangement, recordings of oral arguments were occasionally made available on a same-day basis, which C-SPAN would request in cases of high public interest.[20][21]


External links

  • C-SPAN Radio Online
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for WCSP
  • Radio-Locator information on WCSP
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WCSP

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