Conventional wisdom

Steve Scully has covered every convention for C-Span since 1992. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

Steve Scully, C-SPAN senior executive producer and political editor, is in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, leading what he calls his network’s “raw, unedited, commercial-free” coverage.

Like others, he enjoys listening to input from the likes of Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh, but said C-SPAN gives viewers the say.

“We’re truly America’s town hall,” he said.

An Erie native, Scully has covered every convention for C-SPAN since 1992.

C-SPAN has providing live gavel-to-gavel coverage of political conventions since 1984. The overnight hours are filled with highlights.

“We’ve had 24–7 coverage last week and this week,” Scully said, referring to the Republican National Convention from July 18–21 in Cleveland.

The convention is also being streamed live on and carried live by C-SPAN Radio, which can be heard nationwide through the free, downloadable C-SPAN Radio app.

Key speeches will be available via On-Demand. Each individual speech can be viewed via the Video Library on

“It’s phenomenal,” Scully said of the multiple outlets for content.

C-SPAN’s live morning call-in program, Washington Journal, is also originating from the convention.

American History TV aka C-SPAN3 is showing highlights from past Republican and Democratic conventions, with archival coverage from as early as 1948.

The C-SPAN Campaign 2016 Bus is at the convention for community outreach and education, including the network’s American Presidents Exhibit.

Scully said gavel-to-gavel coverage allows viewers to hear all speeches. He recalls a 2004 speech by a “relatively new member of Congress named Paul Ryan.”

“We have a lot of up-and-comers,” he said.

Scully has been at enough conventions to know that the parties are catering to audiences at home. As an example, former NBC news official Phil Alongi was hired to produce the Republican convention.

“They have become television productions. They sell the messages of the parties. The nominees are apparent,” he said.

At the same time, Scully said this year’s conventions have been different, with Sen. Ted Cruz failing to endorse Donald Trump in his speech and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz being forced out when emails leaked that the committee was favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

“There’s a lot more news value,” he said.

Once the convention is over, the C-SPAN networks will turn their attention to the campaign trail at the presidential, Senate and House levels.

Coverage will include presidential and vice presidential debates, 140 Senate and House debates, speeches and past presidential debates.

“We carve out our own niche,” Scully said.