As Mesa grows as a community, so has the attention it’s paid in the region and nationally.
So it may be no surprise — with a mayor readying for his term as the president of the National Conference of Mayors and the city ranking 38th in population in the U.S. and third in the state — that when C-SPAN brought its 2013 Cities Tour series to the Southwest for the first time, Mesa was the ideal destination.
“We find a midsize city, select a city that has unique history and nonfiction literary life. Mesa was chosen for those things,” said Debbie Lamb, the on-site producer of the special. “What we try to do is partner with our cable affiliate and here it’s Cox Communications.”
The Cities Tour spends a week in a city and videographers, using specialized vehicles called “Local Content Vehicles” to go around the city conducting interviews of local leaders, nonfiction authors and historians.
The team then produces six-to-seven videos on the authors and another six-to-seven segments on the history. They will be shown on C-SPAN 2’s “Book TV” and C-SPAN 3’s “History TV,” respectively. The segments will air this weekend (April 6 and 7), after which they’ll be online on C-SPAN’s website where visitors can view the entire series.
“What’s nice about what we’re doing is that we’re able communicate the message how C-SPAN is not funded by the government and does not receive any taxpayer dollars,” Lamb said.
“It puts us on the national stage,” said Cox spokeswoman Andrea Katsenes. “We get to share our neighborhood and expose Mesa and all the uniqueness of Mesa and all the greatness of the Arizona and the Southwest to a national audience.”
Besides the authors, among Mesa features highlighted include the Alston House, where Mesa’s first African American doctor lived, Mesa Grande ruins and the impact of Major League Baseball.
Lamb said the city will be the first in the Southwest featured on the series.
“This is our first time in the Southwest area and we’ve had a great time and the weather’s been beautiful,” Lamb said.
Officials from Cox and C-SPAN — originally created as the “Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network” — said they worked closely with the mayor’s office to pick the sites and the people to be featured. Filming took place during the first week of March.
The Mesa weekend programming also features an interview with Mayor Scott Smith.
“We certainly were more than willing to accommodate C-SPAN — anytime we can get the message of Mesa out there, we’ll do what we can as a city,” Smith said. “So we gave them access to city facilities and told the best story that we could.”
Lamb said local viewers may gain a better appreciation for the city while the national audience will get exposure to the Southwest region and a city often overlooked by national stage.
“It should be very proud of its heritage, where it’s going and how it’s grown,” Lamb said.
Check local listings for specific features and time.
Access the entire Mesa series after the broadcast by visiting www.c-span.org/LocalContent/.
What: Mesa featured on C-SPAN
Segments on: Falcon Field, Hohokam Civilization/Mesa Grande Ruins, Alston House, Mormon influence in Mesa, Groundbreaking Arizona Congressman John J. Rhodes, and more
When: “Book TV,” Saturday, April 6, noon, C-SPAN2 (Cox Cable channel 125); “American History TV,” Sunday, April 7, 5 p.m., C-SPAN3 (Cox Cable channel 126); content will also be scattered throughout the weekend on both C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3.
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