Conservatives across Texas were shocked last month when KFYO suddenly and unceremoniously dumped the Pratt on Texas show. People are still shaking their heads wondering what happened. Texas conservatives have lost a significant voice.
No one really knows why or what happened. Pratt has opinions. Of course, that’s why we listened to Pratt, he always has opinions. KFYO is not talking other than its formal statement. If KFYO, and its parent corporation Townsquare Media, Inc., had not wanted us to think Pratt’s cancellation was anything but cancel culture then it shouldn’t have cancelled the highly popular show in that context. Or at least given us something more of an explanation than Chad Hasty’s, “this wasn’t cancel culture.” Sure it wasn’t, Chad, KFYO terminates top programming every day.
Was it shady on the part of all involved? You decide.
Was KFYO just doing what it was told? Of course; that’s always the excuse. Was it shady on the part of all involved? The reader and listener will decide for themselves.
Fifteen years and out.
But it’s often the way things end. There’s probably only one relationship God intended last forever. All the rest are temporal. But most of us are resistant to change, and as a result it often has an element of violence to it. Or at least violation. I think it is fair to say both Pratt and his followers in Lubbock, Abilene and Wichita Falls feel outraged and violated by the manner in which it ended, and more to the point, the fact that it ended.
But for our purposes, maybe it’s better to look at Pratt on Texas and KFYO as an highly successful 15-year partnership that unquestionably raised the bar for local broadcasting in Lubbock and across the state. Pratt on Texas defined excellence in local radio. Its feature spots were something to look forward to. By leveraging the Rush Limbaugh-driven reach of a station that was originating nothing memorable locally, and matching it with his conservatism, keen intellect and hard work, Pratt led the ratings in all three markets.
Pratt on Texas defined excellence in local radio.
Robert created his own niche in the industry with his Texas-centric broadcast, Texana, as Pratt describes it on his website. The broadcast originated in Lubbock, but it was 100 percent Texas to its core. If you wanted to understand what was happening in Texas government, Pratt on Texas was the place to go.
“It’s the only thing I ever worked hard at,” Robert told me the Sunday after his show was canceled. I doubt it was the only thing, I’ve known Robert a quarter century, but he certainly did work very hard at Pratt on Texas and the result was evident in the product he put out. Every hour on-air was backed by hours of research and decades of work in radio and politics. Love him or hate him, nothing in local markets compared to the sheer quality and volume of material in Pratt’s broadcast. Whether it was the news, his Anti-Wimp Update or the Word of the Day (relevant vocabulary), Robert kept his content fresh and interesting.
You couldn’t listen to Pratt without disagreeing with him on one subject or another. Many of us regretted his partnership with Empower Texas but Robert is first a businessman and none doubted he was the best and loudest voice Empower had in Lubbock, Abilene and Wichita Falls.
Republicans were no safer from Robert’s focus than Democrats. I’ve had my own skirmishes with him, but I’ve always known I had merely to call on the listener line and Robert would give me time to talk. And I did.
A tip of the hat, to Robert Pratt, for a job well done.
There’s no word yet on what will happen next with Pratt on Texas. The moderate establishment of Lubbock ought to pray Robert is in contract with a federal licensee forthwith because if he is not, I suspect he’s going to be bored, unoccupied and ready to run campaigns. I can tell you from experience, you don’t want Robert Pratt running a campaign on the other side from you.
The High Plains of Texas remains one of the most conservative areas in the United States and it produced a Robert Pratt who created Pratt on Texas. In turn, Pratt on Texas helped anchor that conservatism for the last 15 years. So, a tip of the hat, to Robert Pratt, for a job well done and best wishes and Godspeed for whatever he and his wife Isabel choose next.