A Man of All Mediums
by Seth Jacobson
from WickedLocal.com - Thursday Jan. 10, 2008
STOUGHTON - The Stoughton Journal's own Mark Snyder has been in the public eye since he was 5 years old. Those people who read his newspaper column, log onto his Web sites or watch his TV show will know time has not changed his love of being a media mogul.
"I love Stoughton and I always do what I can to help the town," he said. "It's a luxury to have people value your opinion, whether they agree with you or not."
A lot of times, people do not agree with Snyder's viewpoints. And while he is sometimes viewed as a controversial figure, he's been doing what he thinks is right since he could open his mouth and speak.
"I got my first broadcasting kit from Radio Shack when I was five," Snyder said. By the time he was 7 years old, he had created his own radio station – WEAR – in his native hometown of Randolph.
"Yeah, I had a frequency," Snyder said, "but you could only hear the show two or three houses away. I used to put my speakers facing out of my window so people could hear it."
Some people took the young Snyder more seriously than others. His neighbors may have had basis for complaint, but that didn't stop major music labels from sending Snyder free records.
"They thought they could get some airtime on my station," Snyder quipped.
By the time he was 10, Snyder was a young reporter on the Quincy-based station, WJDA. At the same time, he would visit Boston-based TV sets like Bozo the Clown and Romper Room, sometimes appearing on the shows.
In 1988, while a student at Curry College in Milton, Snyder co-founded WMLN, an FM radio station at the school and also co-founded the institution's literary magazine. While he was there, he worked on the yearbook staff and was the editor of the school newspaper.
When he eventually graduated from Curry, Snyder took a job as a DJ at a nightclub in Nantasket Beach called Uncle Sam's, which he said was managed by Pat Lyons, known now as the "nightclub king" of Boston.
While he loved being a DJ, he decided to continue his education and headed of to Marquette University in Wisconsin, where he studied and taught English.
But he did come back to Randolph. He just wasn't sure what he would do with his life. He ended up taking a job at Lechmere in Dedham selling stereos for three years, and was the top salesman in the chain. He worked there until he stumbled across an article in the newspaper.
"It said radio station WTTP in Natick was looking for talk show ideas," Snyder said. He pitched the owner Pat Whitley a singles dating and show and got the job.
"I came up with the idea for this singles show, which was unheard of at that time," he said. It became the Singles Lifeline Show, which aired every Sunday on WTTP, 1060 AM.
"We basically just fixed people up on the air," Snyder said.
In the late 1980s, a staff member of WMRE radio in Boston called Snyder and asked wanted him to move his singles show to that station. And that's exactly what Snyder did. The show prospered. In addition, Snyder hosted Singles Lifeline dances six nights a week and spearheaded the creation of Singles Lifeline Magazine, which grew to a circulation of about 50,000.
Snyder even managed to land guest appearances on shows like Sally Jesse Raphael, the CBS News with Dan Rather, and Donahue.
He said he was very excited before he went on the Phil Donahue show because he was going to promote the whole Singles Lifeline business. But when he got on stage, the crowd started booing him because they thought he was afraid of commitment. It seemed to Snyder that he had been somewhat hijacked, landing in the middle of a soap opera.
"I thought I was just going to talk about the Singles Lifeline stuff," he said. "That show didn't go so well."
All the same, he persevered with the singles business.
"We ended up fixing up more than 120 couples that got married," Snyder said, adding, "No idea how many are divorced by now."
In 1989, Snyder got married, and he was thinking that the singles shtick was not for him anymore. The AIDS crisis was also hitting its peak and the market for fixing people up became rather strained. Snyder began thinking he would focus more on doing celebrity interviews, which were a part of his singles show.
He did just that. He got a job at WMSX radio in Brockton, where he worked for the next 10 years, interviewing a slew of celebrities, including the American Idol judges and the cast of shows like "That 70s Show" and "24."
By 1998, Snyder wanted to take advantage of all the new Web technology so he started the Professional Marketing and Promotions Company online at www.pmpnetwork.com, which is still up to this day and flourishing. Soon, he was promoting the material on his Web site by doing the "Entertainment Minute" on radio station Magic 106.7. By 2003, other Boston stations like WBOS and WROR picked up the "Entertainment Minute," which boosted Snyder's visibility in the cyber world.
These days, the pmpnetwork.com site has boasted more than 100 million hits.
But that is not all Snyder has done during the past decade. Eight years ago, he started his newspaper column, Snyder's Stoughton here at the Journal and because of the immediate popularity of the column, friends and other acquaintances kept telling Snyder he should do a TV show.
"I didn't really want to do it at first," Snyder said. "All this political stuff kept coming up and I wasn't sure I wanted to go that route."
So, he went another route. He did start doing what became the Snyder's Stoughton TV show but maintained he was doing so to highlight the positive aspects of Stoughton. The show airs on local Comcast cable every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at 7 p.m.
In addition to all of his publicity endeavors, Snyder has also been involved of the world of town politics, serving in such positions as finance committee chairman and Town Meeting representative. He is currently the vice-chairman of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce. He has also hosted about 12 fundraisers in town over the years for various causes. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest regional chambers in Massachusetts.
When asked how he manages to maintain his busy schedule, he said, "I don't sleep much."
Whatever he may be doing, Snyder is happy as long as he is busy, even if there happens to be controversy involved.
"I just try to do what I think is right," he said. "You can't please everybody. As long as I feel like I'm doing something good, I'm willing to put up with the criticism. I have pretty thick skin. And I'm always looking for new challenges.
Finally, there are always those who ask why Snyder is wearing dark sunglasses at all times.
"That's a secret I've never revealed," he said. "But I guess I will." He explained the first time he was filming his TV show, he was wearing regular, clear prescription glasses. But then, the lights got so bright that Snyder could not see. So, he donned his prescription sunglasses instead.
The rest is history.
To check out Snyder's Web sites, log onto www.pmpnetwork.com or www.snydersstoughton.com.