Lane was a geek for technology and knew how to use it to his advantage. Along with his cable-access call-in show, he was also capitalizing on advancements in satellite television transmission that allowed local news stations to transmit Live broadcasts and cover issues all the way in Washington DC. Lane held press conferences any chance he got, and was always in contact with reporters back home.
He was capitalizing on a technological revolution that transformed politics across the nation. Previously, Politicians had been able to have more control over local messaging and media coverage. Few reporters from their home districts would come to DC, because if they did, they would have to make a tape and then literally send it back to the news station. This meant politicians could take their message back to their district, giving them time to fine-tune their message and deliver their own hand-picked information. The Satellite transmission gave reporters greater access to Washington to get immediate responses and hold Politicians more accountable.
In July of 1987 the Congressional Quarterly did an article about this new satellite technology, and how young Congress members who were “raised on television” used the medium to their political advantage. It was called “Hometown Celebrities: the TV Generation in the House,” and it featured Lane on the cover. To which Senator Paul Simon commented: “I’ve been in Washington 13 years and I’ve never made the cover of Congressional Quarterly. I think that is an indication of the kind of impression that he has made in the Washington scene.”
The Satellite transmission was equivalent to the “carrier pigeon vs. the wireless telegraph” as the article said: “The ability to dominate the news agenda back home has always been an important protective tool for House incumbents. Now, for those with a high profile on local television, the protective effect is amplified. (Lane) Evans is one member whose security clearly has been bolstered by his status as a local TV star…During his appearances in the district, many greet him with the sort of enthusiasm and adulation that a popular entertainer might receive. Evans’ ability to obtain television coverage of his activities helps him offset Republican charges that he is an extreme liberal.”
At this time, the media was bound by Equal-time laws that mandated that news outlets provide equal time to legally declared political candidates during prime-time, but they were now released from the Fairness Doctrine, which mandated news outlets provide “balanced and fair coverage of controversial issues. The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated by Reagan in 1987. Still, many Republicans felt that the local news was unfairly giving Lane too much air time.
To that, News Director Greg Wilson at the Rock Island TV-station WHBF (known for being Republican) said: “We don’t put him on just for the sake of having him on.” They only covered him if a local issue was being discussed. And Lane knew that he could spin nearly everything to be local, so he was able to dominate most news cycles even with the most miniscule of issues.