NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Pat Snyder, our former morning host and now-candidate for state assembly, has sparked an interesting debate among some radio listeners.
Pat’s opponent, Mandy Wright, says he’s been a divisive personality. Pat is quoted in the Wausau Daily Herald as saying that sometimes things are said in the name of ratings. He said that “people agreeing with each other isn’t very exciting radio.”
Which leads to the logical question – do we believe what we say on-air? It’s a question that deserves an answer, because it’s the question that I’m asked very often about co-host Tom King. Conservative listeners will sometimes come to me and say “Does Tom really believe all those things he says?” Yes, he does. I’ve never known Tom to espouse a position on-air that doesn’t hold off-air. And I’ve always been a little disappointed when someone is so rooted in their own positions that they find it impossible to believe that there might be someone on the other side of the political spectrum with a different view. Disagreeing isn’t enough – the person with an opposing idea must be saying that only as part of a show or to drive the debate.
I worked with Pat Snyder for eight years. And I also don’t think he ever took a political position on-air that he didn’t personally believe. There are times, in the name of ratings, that the discussion becomes more animated than it might be. A radio discussion of opposing views is bound to be different than if you were talking to a neighbor or a family member in person. The conversation would probably be more civil. The discussion would certainly be shorter, as on-air we are always under time constraints.
As a practical matter, people who say one thing but believe something else quickly put themselves in an impossible situation. Many of the subjects we talk about come up again and again and again. Hosts who take “for play” positions quickly lose track of what they said a few weeks ago, a month ago, a year ago. It’s far easier to just say what you believe. And that’s what we do.