Category Archives: RNC_Perspectives

A Bellicose Commentator and a Bulldog Dad

by Denise Tejada

Now that the RNC is rolling out of town, and our on the ground coverage is done, we have time to reflect on a couple of characters we met, and experiences we had during our week in St. Paul. Here are two stories from the week that touch on the role of conservative talk radio and TV in U.S. politics and families–with perspectives from young people who make the media and consume it everyday. 

It’s His Party and He’ll Talk if He Wants To

Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center's Radio Row in St. Paul.

Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center

Ankitha: Conservative talk radio has always had a rep for being loud and in-your-face. Well, everything the medium is known for is embodied in 27-year-old Ben Ferguson, a nationally syndicated talk show host.


LISTEN HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad the Conservative Bulldog

Denise is a graduate of Youth Radio's class of 2003. At 19, she's a production assistant in the newsroom, helping students develop stories for both our National and Local outlets. Denise is also helping produce much of the immigration coverage for Youth Radio.

Nineteen-year-old Denise Tejada is at the RNC, getting her first exposure to young Latino Republicans en masse. Her father, a strident conservative, has ingrained his values in Denise through stories of his personal history, debate, and Spanish language talk radio and TV.

LISTEN HERE!



Watching Talk Radio


Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center's Radio Row in St. Paul.

Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center

You can meet conservative talk radio host, Ben Ferguson, in audio form in our next post. But here you get to check him out in moving pictures. Ever wanted a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of conservative talk radio? That’s just what Youth Radio’s Ankitha Bharadwaj got–in a big way–during her visit to the RNC in St. Paul.

She tagged along with conservative talk radio personality, Ben Ferguson, who’s been broadcasting live all week from the RNC’s Radio Row. Ben got his start in radio before his 13th birthday. Now he’s nationally syndicated–and a force on and off the mic. Meeting Ben is shook some of Ankitha’s assumptions about a media landscape she’s been coming to know as an emerging young producer.

Youth Radio’s Denise Tejada turns the table on mun2 reporters

Youth Radio’s Denise Tejada told us about one of her frantic days at the RNC a few posts ago.

Well… if you were wondering how the whole interview with mun2 TV went down… here’s a little video for you. Just to remind you, Denise met up with Renato Lopez and Xochitl Dorsey of mun2 TV to be interviewed for a feature… But when the interview was over, she decided it was time to conduct an interview of her own…

Our Day with Princella, Young Political Star

LISTEN TO IT!

READ IT!

Kelly Chau and Alana Germany follow 24-year-old Princella Smith, Chief Advocate for Newt Gingrich's American Solutions project, through her day at the RNC.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul–People often ask Princella Smith how old she is. She’s 24. Princella is also the Chief Advocate for Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions project, which means that by now she’s accustomed to being the youngest person in the room. Youth Radio’s Alana Germany spent a day with Smith and provided a glimpse into the Convention through the eyes of one of its youngest rising stars.

Youth Radio sits down with Princella Smith.

Later on this week, Alana will take part in the NPR News and Notes Reporters’ Roundtable – stay tuned!

Don’t forget to listen to it!

How Hurricane Gustav Stole the Convention

by Ankitha Bharadwaj

Minneapolis-Saint Paul__So unless you’ve been in hiding, fearing that the Republicans will yet again rule for another term, you know about Hurricane Gustav and the impact it has had on the RNC — bringing a halt to much of the excitement. Lucky for us, this change of events actually made our stories better. It’s shaping up to be an awesome week for Youth Radio!

OK, so enough with the self-promotion and let’s get on with the day’s events. So today, my producers Miguel and Lissa took me and another reporter to St. Paul’s hotbed of political activity, the Xcel Center. All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we strutted confidently down 7th Street, showing off our shiny Special Press passes. Can you say “bling-bling”? But (with that heavy build up, you should’ve seen that “but” coming!) we only had two of the said passes, so only Miguel and I walked through the guarded gates.

Despite the large number of bulletproof vest-sporting, big-gun-toting, muscled cops running about, we found that it was surprisingly easy to slip in.

Trusty security at the Xcel center protecting the Republicans from anarchist protesters.

Trusty security at the Xcel center protecting the Republicans from anarchist protesters.

Talk about blind security…

Once we were cleared, Miguel and I entered Radio Row where we met with our interview subject, Ben Ferguson. For those who don’t know, Ben is the youngest nationally syndicated conservative talk show host. He got his start when he was 13! What was I doing at 13? Oh that’s right, watching “Dawson’s Creek” on the WB. Anyway, now at 27, Ben has enough on-air experience to run with the big dogs. We watched him broadcast live, and then got a one-on-one interview where we dug up his deepest, darkest, most diabolic secrets.

Newt Gingrich cheesing for the camera at a booth on Radio Row.

Newt Gingrich cheesing for the camera at a booth on Radio Row.

Actor Jon Voigt talking to some radio folks at the Xcel Center

Actor Jon Voigt talking to some radio folks at the Xcel Center

Conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson doing his thing at the Xcel Center.

Conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson doing his thing at the Xcel Center.

Like many of the others at the RNC, Ferguson ranted about how unfair it is for the RNC to be muted by hurricane news, while the protesters out there continued their “work”. He said something about the protesters placing buckets of urine around the Xcel Center, and tossing feces. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be the janitor on duty at the center…given that were about 2,000 protesters, according to the Washington Times. More on that story coming soon!

So along with protesters and folks promoting awareness about the injustices at Guantanamo Bay, we ran across some famous faces too. To name a couple, Newt Gingrich and Jon Voight! SWEET!

And 17-year-old Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant? Can we get the Washington Post to corroborate that please? I’m tired of having my feelings messed with.

A long day’s journey to Minneapolis-Saint Paul

By Ankitha Bharadwaj and Nathan Hadden 

Minneapolis-Saint Paul__Ankitha: Waking up at 5 in the morning is never fun. But on this awesome August 31, I was more than psyched to kick off my comforter and get ready for a very entertaining week ahead. Obviously, I’m excited about the Republican National Convention (duh!) and of course, all the glitz and glamour of celebrity guests (yeehaw!). Unfortunately, not everyone shared my enthusiasm. After boarding our plane, we soon noticed a passenger onboard who found our discussions about our RNC coverage annoying. Well I guess that’s one less listener for Youth Radio. But after a group-shared bashing of that guy, it was onward to St. Paul.

Ankitha thinking that Nate's not so Great

Ankitha thinking that Nate's not so Great

Weirdly enough, my first day in the RNC host city has been everything but Republican. As our house renters showed us the town, I was baffled by how liberal the setting is — almost hitting hippie status. Once we settled into home base, the group split into teams to complete all the million tasks we have. A couple of us decided to buy some groceries because contrary to popular belief, we journalists do need other forms of sustenance than coffee to survive. We were taken to a local co-op market where your basic block of cheddar cheese costs $6. After spending a small fortune on food, we returned to the house to set up all of our equipment, make some dinner for the other teammates, and…oh yeah, check out the neighborhood anarchists. Anarchists and Republicans in the same town? That can’t be good…and neither can the red-eyed albino squirrel in our backyard. So now I pass the torch to fellow reporter Nate”The Great”. 

Nate: Well, as I continue the story…I guess I’ll tell you about the “Anarchist” group today. The landlord of the house we are renting for the week showed us where the HQ of the “Anarchists” is located. The HQ looked straight up like some “Mad Maxx – Road Warrior – Beyond the Thunderdome” type scene where everyone there was dressed as though they just got finished fighting. Ankitha and I went to their HQ assuming they would be pleased to get some press to spread their word. But sadly we were mistaken. They didn’t want to be interviewed. One of the group members said the reason behind that decision was because the leaders of the organization were recently arrested at gunpoint by police. 

Nate and Ankitha getting down on Nishat's rice

Nate and Ankitha getting down on Nishat's rice

Snapshots of the first day

by Kelly Chau

Minneapolis-Saint Paul__My first day at Minneapolis and St. Paul was quite exciting. I even got a glimpse of the Xcel Energy Center where the 2008 Republican National Convention is going to be held. I took a tour around town after I went to go retrieve press credentials. As I looked around the town, there were numerous “Obama 08” signs planted on residents’ front yards. I saw only one “McCain For President” sign, and it was a bumper sticker on someone’s car. In addition, I spotted an “Al Franken for U.S. Senate” sign.

Obama Sign

Obama Sign

What does that say about the state of Minnesota? Well according to a recent from Pollster, Senator Obama is leading by seven points over Senator McCain here. But anything can change from now until November, so we’ll just have to wait and see.