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WBEN Commentary & Opinion

Thoughts from WBEN/WGR/WWKB Operations Manager Tim Wenger
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Can't We Have an Adult Conversation?

When the deal was announced Thursday afternoon between New York State and the Seneca Indian Nation,  we immediately made some calls to change the direction of "Buffalo's Early News" for Friday morning. 

I personally made the call to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster's mobile phone and got his voicemail.  I asked if he would come into our studios at 7am Friday and join John and Susan.  Mayor Dyster accepted the offer and called our newsroom to confirm.  After calling Mayor Dyster, like any good journalist, I thought it would be a good idea to have some native input on the show.  I called John Kane who hosts a show on WWKB Radio and asked if he would come in studio as well.  He agreed.  Now the first question some would ask is, "did either of them know the other would be here".  They were booked separately and both were good enough to agree to come in.

Shortly after the interview began, Mayor Dyster became visibly upset at John Kane's thoughts on the deal and his opinion that the Seneca's got the short end of the stick.  When John Kane said he felt Governor Cuomo and Mayor Dyster owed the Seneca's an apology, Mayor Dyster jumped in and said he would leave if "this keeps up".   So he walked out.

Really Mayor?  Let me repeat the title MAYOR. 

If you're charged with being the elected leader of a city I think you should be comfortable enough with your beliefs, thoughts and positions to hear from someone who may disagree and have an adult conversation about those differences.  It's been a long and divisive road to this deal and obviously there will be some who don't like how it ended.  As the leader of the city, I think it's a mandatory trait to be able to address those differences with something more than "blessed are the peacemakers" and "let it go".  The Mayor told the audience "this is not why I came in here".   Apparently the Mayor expected to come in and sit in the glow of praise for the deal.  There are two sides, sometimes more, to every story and it's only right to allow those differences to be aired and let each individual decide.

In the end, the deal is done and has been at least ceremoniously signed.  I don't have a strong opinion on who won or who lost in this agreement.  And if it really is a good deal, no one lost. 

But I do have a strong opinion on how Mayor Dyster walked out of an interview and took the spotlight away from the issue and put it on his sophomoric reaction to being challenged by John Kane.   John Kane never raised his voice and presented his ideas in a professional and mature manner.  The Mayor took the low road and walked out, leaving the remainder of the interview to Kane alone.

John Kane says the Mayor owes the Seneca Nation an apology.  I think the Mayor owes his constituents an apology for walking out and not standing up to someone who disagrees with him.

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Topics : Entertainment_CulturePolitics
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Locations : Buffalo
People : CuomoJohnJohn KanePaul DysterSusan

06/14/2013 9:00AM
Can't We Have an Adult Conversation?
Let me know what you think!
06/14/2013 9:25AM
Commercial interruption
So why was the second half of the interview interrupted by a long commercial run? What was said but not heard?
06/14/2013 9:30AM
Why the conflict raged on for so long
When I was asked why this conflict went on for so long, I would suggest they simply look at the behavior of Mr. Dyster. Enough said.
06/14/2013 9:39AM
Well said
Enjoyed your opinion. Very well said
06/14/2013 9:42AM
The Dyster Walkout
Like it or not, the Mayor has to stand above what is clearly some bad blood he has with Kane. He should not have left. On an important related matter, I would like to hear if Kane's claim that the Mayor had previously said he'd pull Fire Dept. support is true...this statement claimed by Kane and denied by Dyster is what escalated the Mayor's reaction. I'd love if WBEN let us know whose telling the truth and if the statement was made by Dyster, what was the context and how was it sad/delivered.
06/14/2013 9:45AM
The State was lucky the Senecas cooperated.
The State violated the Compact, that is clear. John Kane was spot on. The three politicians at the table yesterday do owe an apology. Dyster's actions were disturbing.
06/14/2013 9:51AM
truth be told?
nice thoughts dyster took his money and went home showing the exact nature of his priorities but not so much his leadership qualities. he stated he did not threaten to with hold fire and police from senecas incorrect it made the news or did he forget?
06/14/2013 9:54AM
I would like to think that the Mayor could have taken the high road and stayed for the interview. Obviously, he was somewhat taken off guard and could not overcome the strong feelings he has carried these many years regarding the gaming situation.
06/14/2013 9:57AM
Grow Up
Dyster just made himself look bad and walked away from a discussion that he really thought was going to be one sided. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed!!
06/14/2013 10:07AM
un real
Just a reminder of the type of people that run our state...
06/14/2013 10:09AM
Mayor in normal disposition when not getting his way
06/14/2013 10:10AM
Dyster vs WBEN
Did your station inform the Mayor, in advance, that he would be sharing the podium with Kane? Why are we only hearing part of the audio? I am sorry but I think that you are slanting this and not acknowledging that perhaps there was a lack of preparation and professional courtesy on the part of WBEN.
06/14/2013 10:13AM
adult conversation
if anybody should apology Snyder should apology to coumo for calling him a bully
06/14/2013 10:16AM
Can't agree with you
I can't agree with you on this one. Having a Entercom talk show host or employee "debate" the agreement was unethical. He in fact be the only person in WNY who doesn't agree with ending this stalemate. Kane knew the mayor wouldbe there, you should have told the Mayor. Rather than news you produced a Jerry Springer moment.
06/14/2013 10:34AM
Irony of ironies!
Have you ever listened to this station for ten minutes? WBEN advocating adult conversations is like Wayne LaPierre advocating sanity and rational discourse.
06/14/2013 11:02AM
Maybe he was Set up
I think he should have been told John Kane was going to be there. He felt it was a set up and maybe he's right . Is this WBEN trying to be the news instead of reporting it . Maybe Also when you have nepotism things like happen Is Tim sticking up for his Wife or being an objective manager. I wonder
06/14/2013 11:35AM
Dyster represents the people not the sovereign. Him and Cuomo got what they were after. Gave a fair debate and not just plot them. Bringing Kane in without knowledge is a setup.Kane knew but Dyster didnt
06/14/2013 11:39AM
Can WBEN report the important news?
WBEN should put the petty stuff aside and report on what was agreed on by the Senecas and Cuomo. That's the news !
06/14/2013 11:41AM
typical N.Falls politcian
Every Mayor that I worked for as a Police Officer for 30 years, has had to get his own way, and if not, take their ball and go home. They always take credit when good things happen, even if they had no involvement in it and when things go bad they deny any involvement. They constantly lie to the people of N.Falls, but get elected anyways. They'll blow this $89 million and be crying the blues. They should lower taxes drastically so people may want to stay and open businesses.
06/14/2013 11:42AM
Dereliction of Duty
It's unfortunate that the Mayor lacked the confidence to see himself through this discussion. John is right - even the Governor eluded to the fact that the Senecas had a legitimate argument. It was frustrating throughout this whole debacle to listen to elected officials blame the Senecas fir all their financial woes. The Senecas didn't owe the city of Niagara Falls money - the State did. When the state breached their exclusivity agreement what SHOULD the Senecas have done? It's the Mayors responsibility to represent. Johns point was a fair one and the Mayors handling of the interview made all the PR if yesterday seem illegitimate. There is a long road ahead - it's not a good idea to start off on the wrong footing. Just sayin. . .
06/14/2013 11:59AM
Kane was right. See this from Buffalo News Sept 12, 2012
06/14/2013 12:07PM
Mayor shows his true colors
For anyone who lives in Niagara Falls or pays attention to the true nature of the "Mayor", his reaction comes as no surprise at all. He has a total inability to discuss issues that are confrontational or may reveal what a terrible elected official he truly is. He only makes himself available for photo opportunities and speaking engagements when he can deliver the same canned speach over and over again. He makes idiodic statements and continually backs away from them when they come back to bite him. He is one of the main reasons why Niagara Falls NY cannot move forward. He is a shortsighted political lifer who looks for personal gain and not progress for the city he "represents".
06/14/2013 12:17PM
Can't agree with you
Mayor Dyster should have been informed ahead of time that Mr. Kane was to be present duing the interview. Mr. Kane is the only person in WNY not happy that this is behind us. Some people can't take YES for an answer. WBEN I think you blew it!
06/14/2013 12:57PM
This could have been a glowing moment!
If the mayor was "set up", it is not fair, but had he been a professional, he could have turned it around into a glowing moment for himself. Had be been a professional, whether he was thrown into the den of wolves or not, he could have spoken his thoughts and comments in a professional manner and those listening could have been proud to say he was their mayor. Walking off is not the answer.. - think about this during the next election...
06/14/2013 12:59PM
Why John Kane
Besides the mayoral issue, why was John Kane invited and not someone from the Seneca nation.Anyone listening to his radio show on WWKB knows that all he likes to do is feel a victim and never agree with anything.
06/14/2013 1:10PM
No excuse for poor journalism
Kane is a Mohawk, not a Seneca. Anyone who listens to his program knows he has an axe to grind. Poor choice, poor planning, poor job of backpedaling now.
06/14/2013 1:19PM
"Now the first question some would ask is, "did either of them know the other would be here". They were booked separately and both were good enough to agree to come in." You manage to reference the question that you believe many would ask, but then you fail to answer it in any definitive manner. Now, I have no dog in this hunt, but this piece by the station's Operations Manager seems both misleading and a little arrogant. That said, I don't agree that walking out on the interview was the Mayor's best or most professional response to the situation. However, the practice of only letting the guest on one side of an issue know that their appearance will be more of a debate than an interview, assuming it is true, doesn't display very much journalistic integrity.
06/14/2013 2:09PM
Who would ever think?
That the mayor of a city in NYS is immature, ignorant, and disingenuous. Kinda seems like a prerequisite these days. Dystra looked like a 6th grade kid at a meeting with the principle over smoking on the school grounds. Be proud Mr Dystra!!
06/14/2013 2:09PM
06/14/2013 2:17PM
Ambushed or not. This is the problem with this country. Everyone feels entitled! Let me know who else will be there, give me a list of the questions in advance, I need a TelePrompTer,who is that, where is that, what do "I" get in return. To me good journalism is asking all questions from both sides and getting off the cuff, transparent answers!!! Mr. Dyster was immature, unprofessional and not very mayoral. Grow a pair. Mr. Kane is correct in that apologies should be made, but that is for the Senecas to ask in my opinion. I don't feel this was an ambush, we were getting 2 sides of a story. Sadly only heard 1.
06/14/2013 2:40PM
I have never voted for this man and as a resident of Niagara Falls I am embarrassed for our city. And when questioned about saying that he threatened to cut fire protection, he lied and said that he never said that. Give me a break!!! It was front page in the Gazette. I really hope that the people of the Falls heard this and will remember this in the next election because he can run again. But most of the people in this city don't vote or pay attention; case in point - this mayor.
06/14/2013 3:21PM
Ambush was wrong.
Booking the two together without letting either one know in advance was wrong.I have no horse in the race,however that was ill mannered.For whatever reason the mayor did not want to be part of the forum with Kane. It was his perogative and you have no right to decide who should do what.
06/14/2013 3:41PM
Shoddy journalism indeed, but what do you expect
WBEN is to journalism as wrestling is to sports, even notwithstanding the demographic overlap. No wonder Steve Cichon bailed on this dishonest propaganda outfit. A disgrace.
06/14/2013 4:37PM
No apology necessary
The "deal" both isn't formal as it needs to be approved by the Seneca Nation tribal council and isn't public in that details have not been released (because it hasn't been approved by the Senecas). How could anyone possibly say the Senecas got the short end of the deal if the deal hasn't even been made public? Doesn't excuse Dyster walking out mid-interview, but Dyster is a CITY mayor, not a state employee and the city has done nothing but been good hosts to the Seneca Nation, both in Dyster's administration and the one before him. Remember, the state is the one who violated the compact, not the city. The city doesn't have a lick to do with any of the problems, they just got left holding the empty money bag after the problems started.
06/14/2013 5:40PM
Typical Dyster
I'm not fan of Kane, but Dyster showed that he's a coward today. If he believed he was right, he should have stood his ground, made his points, fought the fight, and moved on. He always wants people to think he's the smartest person in the room, which is true, when he's alone. Even then it's questionable.
06/14/2013 5:42PM
Mayor Dyster
I agree......ambush..poor journalism.....and now the Radio and TV station are continuing the attack. Kane didn't discuss the issue he attacked the Mayor.
06/14/2013 7:22PM
Dyster Had Nothing To Apologize For
What is being lost hear is that the City of NF and Mayor Dyster had nothing to do with the State violating the compact. From where I sit, it was the City that deserves an apology from the Seneca Nation and the State of New York. WBEN has lowered itselfthat had been established 40 years ago. It's right wing shock jock radio. Just listen to Bauerle and Beach: 2 Sean Hannity wannabes. What a joke!!!!
06/14/2013 10:47PM
I am so sick of native americans like Mr. Kane portraying themselves as victims all the time. No one owes the Senecas or any one else an apology-get serious. A very small group of native americans continue to flourish excessively hiding behind the supposed wrongs of the white man hundreds of years ago. None of us were around back then that caused these supposed wrongs and none were around back then to "suffer". Give me a break-why should these people be living tax free and benefit with great wealth. The senecas did a great disservice by withholding money from the host communities for years.
06/15/2013 12:39AM
Do you understand the meaning of the word "settled"?
Because, I'm not sure you do. See, the dispute between the Senecas and the state was "settled". Why would anyone -- after both sides had finally stopped throwing punches -- want to sit there and take even more hits on one of your shows? Compromises were made on both sides, and an agreement was finally arrived at, then afterward someone else is going to come along and claim, no, you also owe us this? Let's re-open the wounds we just bandaged up? This was a manipulative, sensationalist stunt that could result in nothing but damage to the already weakened relationship between the state and the Senecas.
06/15/2013 1:12AM
John Kane here. Suggesting an apology was in order is far from an ambush!
I had no idea the mayor was booked to appear with me. I learned on the way into the studio that he was to be a guest as well but I didn't if he was going to be interviewed separately or perhaps just calling in. Certainly Mr. Dyster could have expressed his apprehension to appearing WITH me. No one locked the door behind him when he showed up. John and Susan offered to interview him separately after he erupted but he had already lost his mind. I can assure the listeners that there was no other exchange between us in the studio other than what was aired. I think significant portions of my interview did get wiped out by an abundance of commercials in the wake of much of the confusion and scene caused by the mayor's lack of composure. But I never addressed the mayor or his behavior in any of the remaining interview. I honestly thought Mr. Dyster would have been gracious enough to acknowledge some of his strong words over the last couple of years. But he certainly could have just declined my suggestion. I guess it's better for the mayor to be hating on me at this point rather than those who just gave him $89 million. Certainly the Senecas would not ask for an apology but after some very harsh words, you would think the Seneca bail out of his city could have been more graciously acknowledge.
06/16/2013 7:23PM
It doesn't seem like an "ambush" at all.
It's common for multiple sides of an issue to discuss it. That happens every Sunday morning of the year on all major TV networks. ABC's Nightline (Ted Koppel era) and the PBS News Hour have famously used that format as well. Dyster should've stayed and simply declined to apologize for his past remarks if he didn't want to apologize, then stated his reasons why. To walk out was a childish thing for Dyster to do. If Dyster is confident in his views, then being interviewed with Kane should have been no problem at all. It isn't as though Zach and Rose would have ganged up on Dyster - that isn't their style. But even if they would have too, so what? Dyster didn't trust the public to hear all sides conveniently?
06/16/2013 9:30PM
Do you hear laughter????????
Any "Mayor" that would threaten denying fire protection to anyone in the community should have been replaced.Western NY continues to be the joke that the rest of the nation knows it is.
06/17/2013 6:12AM
what a mess
Mayor Dyster is the one owed an apology from WBEN. Would they invite Buffalo Mayor Brown in with an adversery with no prior notice ? Probably not. The Senecas are the only ones who actively fought any agreement with NY. They should get over the "feel sorry for us " attitudes. They don't need to follow NYS laws and claim they don't even need passports, like the rest of the world does. Sorry. The attrocities against the American Indian happened a LONG time ago. We are ALL Americans. Lets live together FAIRLY !!
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