We’re ready for our close-up, Mr. DeMille

We’re ready for our  close-up, Mr. DeMille

C-SPAN puts the spotlight on Dayton during “Cities Tour”

 By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

 
Photo: Crew and staff from Time Warner Cable and C-SPAN Coordinating Producer [third from left] meet with Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell [third from right] at Dayton City Hall for production on the “Cities Tour” program

People in wool suits were glad-handing other people in wool suits, and people in blue jeans were toiling around lighting and camera equipment. Reporters roamed about the fringes, jotting notes and eyeing the clock. We were all there for the big show, and the big show is Dayton.

There’s been something in the air about Dayton lately, and that’s not pomposity talking. Between the shout out in the New York Times and the spotlight on “The Daily Show” in regards to our open-armed approach to immigration, well, we’re something to talk about.

And now here’s C-SPAN, in partnership with Time Warner Cable, setting up cameras and microphones in City Hall, preparing for a welcome from Mayor Gary Leitzell as part of the Dayton chapter of their 2013 “Cities Tour,” set to air this weekend.

“Dayton is known as a city of innovation and creativity,” said Mayor Leitzell. “We are the cradle of creativity here in the Heartland. I think the citizens of this fine country are going to appreciate just how much comes out of the Midwest and how much comes out of this little town called Dayton and how progressive we are.”

We’ve certainly caught someone’s eye.

“We started this project in May of 2011,” said Debbie Lamb, coordinating producer at C-SPAN. “Dayton is one of 20 cities that we will be visiting in 2013. The goal of C-SPAN’s ‘Cities Tour’ is to get out of Washington D.C. and focus on unique, midsize cities who have a rich history, a rich heritage, a story to tell.”

“This visit was the result of a great collaboration C-SPAN has with Time Warner Cable and their connections in the city,” said Lamb. “We wanted to provide an insider’s view into Dayton’s many hidden historical and literary treasures. We felt it was important for our national audience to learn about the historical impact of Dayton’s inventors, industrialists and the birthplace of flight. We have wanted to showcase Dayton for awhile, and with the help of our Time Warner Cable partners and the city this was the perfect time to visit.”

Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, humorist Erma Bombeck, law professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister and Amish culture documenter Susan Trollinger will be featured in segments about local authors.

For pieces that delve into Dayton’s esteemed history, C-SPAN crews visited Carillon Historical Park for the artifacts and historic buildings; the National Museum of the United States Air Force for segments on the Doolittle Raiders, the restoration of the Memphis Belle and the “Sacred Cow,” which was once used to transport President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives; and University of Dayton’s Marian Library, which holds the world’s largest collection of printed materials on Mary.

“And you can’t come to Dayton without looking at the inventors and the industrialists that made a huge impact,” said Lamb. “Obviously on the city, but also nationwide.”

The Wright brothers, John H. Patterson and Charles Kettering will be amongst the innovators to be featured.

C-SPAN is a private, nonprofit company that functions as a public service, offering wide coverage of the federal government and also public affairs events.

“Often it gets confused because we cover the government, we’re funded by the government,” said Lamb. “C-SPAN was created in 1979 by the cable industry, literally as a public service … C-SPAN’s goal is to show you a variety of points of view without commentary, without editorializing on our part and showing an event from beginning to end.”

The press conference and following interview with Mayor Leitzell came to a close, and the room turned casual. As lights and cameras were broken down, Lamb shuffled everyone from C-SPAN and Time Warner Cable together with Mayor Leitzell for a group photo so that she could tweet and post on Facebook. I snapped the photo with Lamb’s fancy smartphone and took in the smiling faces of all these people, standing next to Dayton’s seal on the podium to their left, and I thought, “We’re all here because Dayton is amazing and truly something to talk about and share with the world.”

Gem City? This town’s a star.

 

C-SPAN will air the Dayton edition of their 2013 “Cities Tour” Saturday, Dec. 21 and Sunday, Dec. 22 on no-fiction book channel Book TV (C-SPAN2, Time Warner Cable channels 360 and 876) and history channel American History TV (C-SPAN3, Time Warner Cable channels 361 and 877). For more information, please visit c-span.org/LocalContent/.

 Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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