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Washington Journal
Format Guest interviews and Call-in
Opening theme Trumpet Concerto No. 2
Ending theme Trumpet Concerto No. 2
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes Unknown
Running time 180 minutes
Original channel C-SPAN
Original run January 4, 1995 – present
External links
Official website

Washington Journal is a political call-in and interview television program aired every day of the year (including holidays and weekends) on C-SPAN with no commercial interruption (as C-SPAN does not sell advertising or tabulate viewer ratings). It typically airs from 7-10 AM Eastern Time, with exceptions when special events or coverage of Congress preempt all or part of the program. The show is hosted from a studio in Washington, D.C., overlooking the Capitol Building.

The program is moderated by one of a set of hosts. All are also C-SPAN employees in other capacities.

The inaugural WJ program aired on January 4, 1995 (video).[1] A 25th-year anniversary special aired on October 7-8, 2005 with 25 consecutive one-hour call-in segments, each including a relevant guest from that specific year and showing a montage of C-SPAN call-in clips and archival video with, of course, the requisite viewer call-ins; culminating with the 25th-hour segment by including a C-SPAN viewer essay contest winner guest-hosting in the studio with Brian Lamb. Callers throughout the course of 25 hours posed questions, described how long they've been watching C-SPAN and Washington Journal, a couple mentioning that they had seen the first show back in 1980, and generally reminiscing about the historical aspects of the show.

During each show, the host often reads notable articles and editorials from current newspapers and periodicals, and interviews guests invited to discuss a particularly contextual political or legislative issue. The host generally does not ask challenging questions, instead leaving them to callers, but does in many cases ask for clarification on their contentions or assertions.

The show is noted for the participation of its viewers. Usually a period of time (30 to 45 minutes) is set aside at the start of the show for "open phones", during which callers are allowed to discuss, on-air, an issue of their choosing. Alternatively, a question is posed by the host related to a newspaper article from that morning, and the audience is asked to call with their thoughts on the question. During the rest of the program, callers are invited to express their opinion on particular issues and to question that morning's scheduled guests.

In some cases, a debate format is arranged by inviting two guests from opposing points of view relative to a specific topic or piece of legislation. Debate guests answer callers' questions as well as directly question each other, with the Journal host generally allowing a free-flow interaction, and returning to incoming calls after in-depth segments of point and counter-point.

Callers were originally not screened by ideology, but the call-in format was changed during the Clinton impeachment hearings during which an overwhelming majority of callers favored impeachment to an extent that was not reflected in public opinion polls. Washington Journal producers now set up separate phone lines for each side of the issue being discussed. Usually this means one line for those supporting the current administration, one for those supporting the opposition party, and a third line for "other" or independent callers. In some cases, a call-in line is made available for the international audience, as well (outside of US/Canada). Callers are taken from the separate lines on an even basis.

The Sunday edition of Washington Journal is simulcast on BBC Parliament in the United Kingdom, preceded by "America This Week", an hour of recorded C-SPAN programming.

The Washington Journal theme music is Concerto for Trumpet, no. 2 by Johann Melchior Molter (1696-1765) played as an introduction and as the program concludes, but also as an interlude as guests are transitioned. More recently, a 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 hosts include, but are not limited to:

  • Brian Lamb, C-SPAN Chairman and CEO
  • Peter Slen, Book TV Executive Producer
  • Connie Doebele
  • Pedro Echevarria
  • Robb Harleston
  • Paul Orgel
  • Bill Scanlan
  • Steve Scully, Political Editor
  • Susan Swain
  • Greta Brawner



External links



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