CBS 11 Header TXA 21 Header MeTV Header KRLD Header The Fan Header

Political Conventions

By Ken Foote, CBSDFW.COM
View Comments

Well, it’s that time again when thousands of people get together every four years to officially nominate a candidate for President and his or her running mate for Vice President.

Political conventions have been in existence since the 19th Century but it was only within the last 80 years that electronic media began to cover these events live as they happened. In 1940, the first known televised convention was done by New York television station W2XBS from Philadelphia of the Republican National Convention. Soon after, all three networks were covering the conventions from gavel to gavel.

51548189 Political Conventions

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite testifies on February 20, 1991, in Washington, D.C. before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs concerning the Pentagon rules on media access to the Persian Gulf War. (credit: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS’s Walter Cronkite covered his first convention for the CBS Television Network in 1952. Sig Mickelson, an up and coming CBS executive, had negotiated a deal with both the Democratic and Republican parties to have CBS televise their convention while permitting the network to sell commercials within the broadcasts. Cronkite was chosen to head up CBS’s team of correspondents and it was at this time the term “anchorman” was coined. It was Mickelson’s success at televising these events that got him promoted as the first President of CBS News. Cronkite of course was on a fast track with CBS and by 1962 was the anchorman of the CBS Evening News for the next 19 years.

Every convention has some interesting moments. One that I remember was the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago where CBS’s Mike Wallace was escorted from the building and Dan Rather, also of CBS, was struck in the ribs! Both men were roughed up by Chicago police that week. This convention took place during the height of the Vietnam War so tensions were running very high around the country. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated that year. Cronkite reported on the air, after hearing Rather’s explanation about being punched in the stomach, “I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here, Dan!”

81006214 Political Conventions

Dan Rather, former CBS News anchor and host of a show on HDNet, speaks during a ceremony which honors the year’s best communications initiatives in the cable television industry. (credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

This year, CBS News will be covering both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The lead team consists of CBS Evening News anchor and Managing Editor Scott Pelley, Chief Washington Correspondent and Face The Nation Anchor Bob Schieffer and CBS This Morning hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell. CBS’s coverage of the Republican Convention will be Tuesday, August 28-Thursday, August 30 from 9-10pm CDT. Coverage of the Democratic Convention will be Tuesday, September 4-Thursday, September 6 from 9-10pm CDT.  Other CBS News correspondents assigned include Bill Whitaker, Byron Pitts, Jan Crawford, Nancy Cordes, and Bill Plante.

Face The Nation is officially a one hour show and can be seen Sundays from 9:30-10:30am on CBS11. There is no one who knows Washington better than Bob Schieffer!

You can also get your convention coverage via the CBS Radio Network and CBS Radio News. They will have live updates each night of the conventions, as well as live streams of gavel to gavel coverage on its iPhone app. Locally, 50,000 watt NewsRadio 1080 KRLD will provide coverage with Mike Rogers in Tampa at the Republican Convention and Emily Trube at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.

Also Check Out:

View Comments