Tag Archives: RNC

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.







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.



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.

Convention is the New Nightclub

Listen to it it here!

Minneapolis-Saint Paul–Now before you get your baffled face on, let me explain.

When Youth Radio was preparing its RNC team, the first question they asked us was…

Youth Radio: “How old are you?”

Ankitha: “What? I’m 18, why do you ask?”

Youth Radio: “That’s good, because only journalists 18 and over are allowed into the RNC.”

Seems like a lame rule, doesn’t it? The obvious reason might be that only people over 18 are allowed to vote, so if there are die hard political junkie journalists who are on the younger end of the spectrum, they’re denied the chance to play a vital role in this year’s political process.

And much like this convention, many nightclubs across the country require partygoers to be at least 18 to enter. The resemblances don’t stop there. If you’ve ever been to a club, I’m sure you’ve had interesting experiences with the huge bouncer, who guards the club doors to make sure only the “worthy” are allowed in. Similarly, the Xcel Center in St. Paul was guarded by security officers, metal detectors, and scanners. Moreover, just as you’d need to have your name on a special list, the convention requires credentials for anyone to enter the Xcel Center, and getting those credentials is tricky business if you’re under 18.

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it a little weird that the RNC didn’t allow journalists under 18 when they’re trying so hard to appeal to the youth? And moreover, this just gives the democrats more power, since the DNC happily welcomed underage reporters.

We spoke with folks from YPress, a media organization similar to Youth Radio headquartered in Indianapolis. They were frustrated when the RNC denied them any credentials, forcing YPress to look elsewhere for RNC coverage. And the worst thing is that they’ve covered both the DNC and the RNC for years now, so it’s a little confusing why they weren’t credentialed this time around. But the YPress team got some pretty awesome stories; they interviewed Fred Thomson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other cool cats. So take that RNC.

Our Day with Princella, Young Political Star



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!

Let’s Make a Recording Booth

by Nate Hadden

Minneapolis-St. Paul — Wondering how Youth Radio’s RNC reporters record their scripts when away from our studios? Check out Youth Radio’s setup process for Alana Germany’s story on NPR’s All Things Considered today.

Day 3 at the RNC for Youth Radio Reporters

Minneapolis-St. Paul — The week continues with Day 3 at the Republican National Convention and our weary reporters report for duty, perhaps not so bright-eyed. Here’s a quick preview of our day.

Taking the bus to the convention center is no easy task.

8 AM to 9:30 AM: Early editorial meeting, logging tape, blogging and then the migration to the convention center. We get on the bus (part of the reason why it’s no easy feat get ourselves to the convention center).

9:45 am: Ankitha and Miguel depart for Radio Row, Kellogg Lobby, for the tail end of Ben Ferguson’s show and get 13-year-old’s tape. Nishat edits Alana‘s teen pregnancy reax script, KCBS phoner prep with Alana, mix Pledge-Protestor to hold, Nate work on red white and blue dog story.

1:00 PM: Alana leaves for Civic Center for GOP youth — 143 West Fourth Street – Saint Paul, MN
Denise work on RHNA tape, political orientation script

2:00 PM Nate/Kelly/Nishat leave for Xcel Center for Superfan story.  Lissa/Ankitha leave for Children’s XPress interview

A riot policeman displays his patriotic ink at the XCel Center.

4:20 PM Confirmed- Alana two-way with KCBS

5:30 PM Lissa and Ankitha go get YPress interview for Convention is the new Nightclub story 

5:30 to midnight Everyone else: PRODUCE!

Alana tape “afterglow” video with Kelly re: convention sightings

Nate produce Kelly video for auditionAlana create audio blog about ‘Reporters, what’s the funniest thing that happened to you today, IN A FEW LINES?’ (stay tuned for that)

Kelly – finish blogging about convention sightings



A fully-loaded riot policeman at the convention center.

Ankitha – finish WTNW script, record
Lissa – edit WTNW script, record Ankitha
Miguel – mix WTNW piece
Denise – write Latino political orientation script
Nishat – interview Denise, log political orientation script

Two sides of the same story: bus stop ads outside the convention center.

2:30 AM: Most reporters asleep.



A Tale of Two Conventions

Minneapolis-Saint Paul__Inside the Xcel Center’s main stage, 15-year-old Victoria Blackstone gets ready to recite the Pledge of Allegiance from

Outside, fellow teenagers Maret (mah-RAY) Banks, Angie Rausch, and Mark Lynch are busy with their own planning. They are gearing up for a series of protest events pledging opposition to the Republican Party and its policies.

You’ll hear a mix of voices from young people on the inside of this convention, and out… starting with the protesters.

Victoria Blackstone won the Stars and Stripes essay contest—and leading the pledge is her prize. The RNC protesters are helping to organize a high school walk-out on Thursday in St. Paul. That story was produced by Youth Radio.