Capitol Conversations - Press Release

Wayne’s World Goes to St. Paul:
Introducing Capitol Conversations

During a session with 60 freshmen in the Minnesota Legislature, it makes sense for a different kind of political talk show to begin its freshman year as well.

Capitol Conversations is Minnesota’s first livestreamed, interactive weekly political talk show. The one-hour Web program is hosted by Marty Owings, a political enthusiast and citizen journalist who broke into the news business with KFAI radio. The show is livestreamed, or broadcast online, at mncapitolnews.com each Tuesday at 6 pm CT. With three episodes produced and viewership increasing by the week, Owings says there’s nowhere to go but up.

Owings describes Capitol Conversations as “less wonk and more Wayne’s World.” (The 1980s Saturday Night Live skit starred Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as two teens in a basement hosting a low-budget cable TV talk show.) In a similar vein, on Capitol Conversations regular guy Owings engages guests in dialogue that’s casual, candid, and often lighthearted. Former Independence Party Gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner inadvertently referred to Governor Mark Dayton as Senator Dayton; Owings ribbed Horner about not letting go of the election outcome. “I let it go on midnight November second,” a relaxed Horner chuckled.

“The business of governing is serious, and so is journalism. But if you can’t stop and laugh at yourself every once in awhile, that’s sad,” Owings says.

Host Owings is no stranger to self-deprecating humor, and at times is in awe of the guests he interviews. Never having worked at a newspaper or television station, he calls himself a “glorified copyboy” in a field of established journalists such as MinnPost reporter Eric Black, a recent Capitol Conversations guest. Owings says, “I’m just a dude who’s interested in civic discourse, political life, the fun of it, the process of government, all the things that are important to democracy.”

In its formative freshman year, Capitol Conversations is livestreamed from the Capitol’s upper House gallery press area. Guests have included Representatives Mike Beard and John Lesch discussing the state budget, and Representatives Jim Abeler and Ryan Winkler on health care. Solo guests have included Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, state Representative Jeff Hayden, freshman Representative King Banian, and former state Representative Paul Gardner with his Plain English budget.

Confirmed upcoming guests include former Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and Political Analyst Sarah Janecek, with several other guests still unconfirmed.

Viewers can send questions or comments via the show’s Facebook group page or @mncapnews on Twitter. To inquire about a guest spot on Capitol Conversations send an email to mncapnews@gmail.com.

About the staff
Marty Owings is a technology professional who has a passion for news, politics and people. He was a technology manager and host for Minnesota Capitol News.Capitol Reporter for KFAI, and created Minnesota Capitol News, a nonpartisan Web site of Minnesota political news. Owings’ goal is to cover stories that often go neglected, and to provide balance as opposed to advocacy. He lives in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Craig Stellmacher is an independent photographer and videographer. His videos include the Metrodome roof collapse and numerous videos for the news organization The UpTake, including 25 debates in the 2010 Minnesota Gubernatorial campaign. He produces Capitol Conversations and contributes in-depth features called Stellmacher Reports. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Susan Maricle is the associate producer of Capitol Conversations. Working remotely from her east central Minnesota farm, Susan provides livestream production assistance and editorial guidance. A freelance writer, she specializes in B2B copywriting, radio copy, and has been published in MinnPost’s Blog Cabin Program. She lives in Bruno, Minnesota.

Capitol Conversations