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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

UPDATED: The Liberal/Media Freakout Over RightWisconsin

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Imagine the reaction after we actually launch it. If you want to be in on the ground floor and receive daily emails and updates, sign up today at And added bonus: it is driving the left nuts.

UPDATED: Even more overheated angst here:


  This is nothing more than crass and cynical capitalism. It is the placing of profit before principle, propaganda above truth, and while it may be constitutional it is not fair or democratic and as a model of journalism and public service it is rotten to the core. If the goal of journalism is clear-sighted education, conservative radio fails on many counts, as its sense of history and science (not to mention reality) is often erroneous and sometimes, to use Joe Biden’s word, it’s pure malarkey.

Sykes and his fellow AM political fabulists are not mere entertainers; their voices do not go out over far-reaching radio waves to tell jokes. They do not sit at their microphones and read short stories. Their prominent political opinions reach a wide audience and entice many public figures; they have all the privileges of journalists with little of the responsibility. AM conservatives use their air time to bolster and spread fear and ignorance, and their irresponsible propaganda has negative consequences for the health of the commonwealth.

The JS suggests that this will be very bad news for a lot of folks. because conservatives like me are so "polarizing" and "alienating," you know. (Would like some brie with that condescension, Mr. Dudek?)

I've got bad news for 47% of the people reading this.

WTMJ-AM (620) conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes is taking his act to the Internet.

Likely in reaction to political events that have put the state in the national spotlight, Sykes and WTMJ-AM owners the Journal Broadcast Group are creating  RightWisconsin which he describes on his blog as a "digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here."

He writes that it will have "a full-time staff and multiple platforms" including mobile tablet and social media applications. And it will feature commentary from around the state, "key stories that other media won't cover," darts and laurels, and videos.

"We can do all of this," Sykes writes, "because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state's biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure" to make the effort successful.

After Sykes announced his plans, the liberal website Media Matters wrote that his "burgeoning network of platforms resembles nothing other than a smaller-scale version" of the "sprawling web base" of former Fox News host Glenn Beck.

Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, disputed the comparison.

"There will be no 'next' Glenn Beck," he wrote in an email, "not as long as Glenn Beck continues to fill that role quite successfully." But Sykes is an "example of successful hosts who follow" in Beck's "multimedia footsteps," he wrote.

And Journal Broadcast Group "has the resources" to launch such an enterprise, Harrison said.

Journal Broadcast Group is owned by Journal Communications, which owns the Journal Sentinel.

No start date for the site has been announced, but thousands have preregistered, said Steve Wexler, vice president of radio and television for Journal Broadcast Group. The possibility of a user charge depends on "feedback, demand and growth," he said.

The polarizing Sykes may alienate a large segment of the audience, let's say the same 47% whom Mitt Romney said were supporters of President Barack Obama, but "there's an incredible appetite for what he does," Wexler said.


Lib blogger James Rowen similarly wrings hands and bundles undies over the dire prospect of more conservatism.



Perhaps the best take on this comes from Steve Prestegard here...

Media Matters’ “discovery” of Sykes is hilarious. He has been on WTMJ since 1992. Before and since that, he’s written books, including A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, ProfScam,The Hollow Men, The End of Privacy, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School, and A Nation of Moochers....

I would argue that Sykes has already reached “that national level,” at least in conservative circles, for obvious reasons that far predate whatever Right Wisconsin will become.

In the last two years, with Recallarama getting national attention, for Wisconsin conservative talk radio to get notice is about as surprising as the sun setting in the west. Sykes has drawn listeners and advertisers for 20 years, which (combined with the inability of liberal talk radio to do the same) just drives liberals nuts. (Liberals are of course free to not listen or not patronize Sykes’ advertisers, but that seems insufficient to them somehow.)

I’ve written before about what’s known in state political circles about the Sykes Effect, Sykes’ influence on state legislators within earshot. Sykes’ show is available online, but can’t really be heard on the radio west of Madison or north of the Fox Cities.

Sykes may reflect Republican views, but Republicans don’t always reflect Sykes’ views. If Journal Communications were really serious about expanding Sykes’ presence, they’d be looking to syndicate him at least statewide.

That hasn’t happened. (And that arguably would detract from his show since listeners outside Milwaukee are not necessarily interested in Milwaukee issues.) If Journal Communications were serious about expanding Sykes’ “cross-platform” presence, he’d be writing a Journal Sentinel column.

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