Montco Radio host covers political convention
By Theresa Katalinas
He witnessed protesters crashing the media tents, saw Bernie Sanders supporters walk out following the roll call vote and described the “subtle presence” of law enforcement during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jeff Allen, a Montgomery County Community College student, covered the convention, interviewed protesters and police and served as the eyes and reporter for the College’s internet radio station, Montco Radio, or www.montcoradio.com.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Did you have fun?’ That would not be an adjective that I would use to describe it,” Allen said. “It was kind of chaotic.”
Allen attended with the intention of interviewing Pennsylvania delegates for his radio program. That never happened, mainly because floor access was not granted. However, he gathered enough interviews and content to provide an informative convention recap.
He also shed some light on the protesters, who he described as “youngsters learning to protest” and said, “they’re not quite sure what they’re protesting for.”
Out of the thousands of protesters, a man from the Finger Lakes region of New York had a unique story.
“He was there by himself. He wasn’t part of an organized group,” Allen said. “He went there to sing the protest songs that he wrote.”
Allen, of Ambler, also shared how police kept peace.
“The police department sealed off the doors to the media pavilion,” Allen recalled of how law enforcement handled protesters’ entrance into the area. “I was very impressed by the subtle presence of law enforcement throughout the convention. I don’t think any of them were weaponized.”
Police “Didn’t intrude, didn’t confront, didn’t engage,” he added.
A veteran broadcast journalist hailing from Detroit, Allen covered primaries, as well as the 1980 Republican National Convention when Ronald Reagan was chosen as the Party’s nominee. Allen’s stories have been featured on NPR and BBC, among other news outlets.
“I have plenty of political exposure,” he said. “That was my first career.”
After six years in the broadcast business, the father of two moved in a different direction. His love of journalism remained. Five years ago he returned to his first career. He began taking communication courses at Montgomery County Community College to update his skill set.
“I learned a lot about software editing and audio,” he said. “It’s much different than it was in years past.”
Soon after, Allen began doing newscasts for Montco Radio, where he also hosts the “Jazz Straight Up” show from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every third Friday of the month.
In order to provide his listeners with insightful observations, commentary and a final roundup of the conventions and presidential candidates, Allen said he followed the recent Green Party convention closely. He also kept tabs on the Republican National Convention.
“I have no desire at all to be a political operative,” Allen said, adding that his political involvement is “usually from a point of view as a reporter.”
Photo: Jeff Allen hosts a monthly radio show, “Jazz Straight Up,” for Montgomery County Community College’s internet radio show, Montco Radio. Allen attended the Democratic National Convention and provided updates of the activities and brief interviews for Montco Radio broadcasts. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Allen)