November 22, 2012

"I am no fan of radio hosts who get mean and personal. So I shed no tears for the Radio Sly-mer..."

"... who was this afternoon fired from WTDY-AM 1670 after 15 years," says David Blaska, as Midwest Family Radio dumps local talk radio and picks up the CBS sports package.
I call him the Sly-mer because he did things like call then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice an Aunt Jemima. He suggested that Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor performed sexual favors to win election, rejoiced at her diagnosis of cancer, and made fun of her children.
The man was on for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, so it's not surprising that — trying to be interesting/exciting/outrageous — he went too far sometimes, presumably many times. Such is life in free-speech America.

He obstructed my ability to hear Sarah Palin one time:



So what if he was a big old lefty asshole? He had his place here in Madison, where there should be local talk radio. It's sad to lose the voice of John "Sly" Sylvester. Ironically, the conservative talk channel, with Sly's counterpart Vicki McKenna, raves on. In Madison!

81 comments:

ddh said...

It seems the new owners think they can earn more profit with another format. Radio is still a business. In Madison!

Sofa King said...

What do you know, markets work.

AllenS said...

Maybe you and other liberal professors at the University could use your own money and start an anthing goes radio station. I wouldn't listen to it, but if you paid for it, then WTH.

ddh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Somebody has to block out Palin.

ddh said...

If lefty talk radio can't make a go of it in Madison, where can it?

Chip S. said...

He suggested that Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor performed sexual favors to win election, rejoiced at her diagnosis of cancer, and made fun of her children.

I'd say these insights will be missed, but I'm guessing he was driven off the air by the ready supply of cheap substitutes in Madison.

McTriumph said...

Like I said yesterday, blue states are incrementally at glacial speed moving right.

There's no viable free market for progressive radio. That's why NPR is subsidized.

Mary Beth said...

I'd say these insights will be missed, but I'm guessing he was driven off the air by the ready supply of cheap substitutes in Madison.

Exactly. You don't need some guy on the radio saying the same things you hear from friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's sad to lose the voice of John "Sly" Sylvester.

Agreed. The remedy to be applied is more assholes.

Methadras said...

Who would listen to leftard radio. It's been tried and failed. I mean afterall, you already have partially government funded PBS progressive lite radio as it is. It needs the help of taxpayer money to stay afloat. The only redeeming value it has, is that most of it's money is from private money drives and they have some decent things to listen to.

elkh1 said...

The radio station cares more about making money than "free speech".

Madisonians should do protests and sit-ins in the Capitol to force thru a law to guarantee all ideologies be heard over the airwaves, call the law the Fairness Doctrine and ram it thru.

If the money grabbers refuse to fund the talkshows then taxpayers should, so the leftists could be heard, and the dangerous Palin be shut down.

chickelit said...

garage must be devastated. Where will he get local talking points?

Chip S. said...

SEIU HQ?

garage mahal said...

What do you know, markets work.

So there is a market for national sports talk radio in Madison, over WTDY local news? I doubt it. The sports package is I'm sure easier and much cheaper. Sly wasn't the only person axed, their whole news dept was let go.

garage mahal said...

garage must be devastated. Where will he get local talking points?

I don't listen to any talk radio. Neither Sly, or the disgusting hate screechbot McKenna.

James said...

"Madisonians should do protests and sit-ins in the Capitol to force thru a law to guarantee all ideologies be heard over the airwaves, call the law the Fairness Doctrine and ram it thru"

Just pay a visit to the Isthmus forums. There were several threads there going on about the Fairness Doctrine around the time of the recall elections. As I recall they were even talking about filing a lawsuit to get equal time on Vicki's program.

Ann Althouse said...

Markets work, but broadcast radio uses the limited spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to businesses on the condition that they serve the public interest. To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property.

bgates said...

Althouse reacting to a man expressing glee at a Republican woman's cancer: "So what?"

Althouse reacting to a man calling a Republican woman a whore: "Such is life".

Althouse reacting to a man mocking a black Republican woman with a stupid racial slur: "He's trying to be interesting/exciting/outrageous; he had his place here in Madison".

Althouse reacting to a man showing a video of a belligerent woman with a government-subsidized phone: "You look ugly."

wyo sis said...

No bias evident in garage's completely fair and balanced comment.

MayBee said...

So did the ugliness of what he said ever make you refuse to vote for the Democrats?

Chip S. said...

Ann Althouse said...
Markets work, but broadcast radio uses the limited spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to businesses on the condition that they serve the public interest. To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property.

A homework assignment for Althouse: Replace "broadcast radio" with "farming" and "limited radio spectrum" with "land", then compare your analysis to the story of the first Thanksgiving.

James said...

Complaint filed with FCC alleges WISN, WTMJ radio bias on recall


A liberal watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, charging that bias demonstrated by local radio hosts violates something called the Zapple Doctrine, requiring equal time not just for candidates but their supporters.

The complaint by the Media Action Center charges that shows hosted by Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber on WISN-AM (1130), a Clear Channel Communications station, and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner on Journal Communications station WTMJ-AM (620) demonstrated pro-Scott Walker bias in violation of the doctrine.

Officials at both stations declined comment.

The regulation requires that in the 60 days prior to an election, stations must provide comparable airtime to both major political parties.

However, since Zapple was a byproduct of the Fairness Doctrine, which was taken off the books in 2011, it is unclear whether it still applies.

According to an attorney writing in Talkers magazine, the only exceptions to Zapple were newscasts, interview programs, documentaries and breaking news.

"So the question becomes whether or not most talk radio shows come under any of these exceptions," wrote the attorney, Steven J.J. Weisman. He noted that the FCC "has taken a broad interpretation" of the definition of "news interview program."

According to the complaint, Media Action Center monitored the stations for seven days in May. They found WISN-AM aired an average of 80 minutes per day of "pro-Walker / anti-Barrett and pro GOP anti-Democratic messages," and WTMJ-AM aired 88 minutes.

During the survey period, WISN-AM aired six minutes and 30 seconds of pro-Barrett/ Democratic messages, and WTMJ-AM aired 13 minutes and 30 seconds.

If it can be proved that the stations "consistently only interviewed or promoted a single candidate without ever providing air time to his opponent, it is not only possible but likely that the FCC would ... require equal time for the other candidates," wrote Weisman.

Drago said...

garage: "Sly wasn't the only person axed, their whole news dept was let go."

Again, if there is a profitable enterprise to be had here, don't you think there are enough lefties in Madison to make a go of it?

Big Mike said...

... he did things like call then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice an Aunt Jemima. He suggested that Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor performed sexual favors to win election, rejoiced at her diagnosis of cancer, and made fun of her children.

That's that lefty "civility" I presume? I associate this sort of disgusting commentary with Blacks who abandon the plantation -- Justice Thomas, for instance, or the Steele twins. Now they're doing it to women who dare to reason for themselves?

edutcher said...

Uh, Ann, seems to me you went off like a Hellfire missile over the way you thought a pro-Republican group played up the Obamaphone woman's race.

I'm going to be awfully disappointed in you if you want us to believe it was OK for him to say what he said about Condi (one of The Blonde's faves) because he was a Lefty or a Demo.

Big Mike said...

So there is a market for national sports talk radio in Madison, over WTDY local news? I doubt it.

@garage, there's nothing inconsistent between the notion that that there's not much market for national sports news in Madison, WI, and the notion that the station could attract more listeners -- and therefore more advertising revenue -- from that than from listening to a lefty vent his spleen for four hours a day.

Sofa King said...

Markets work, but broadcast radio uses the limited spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to businesses on the condition that they serve the public interest. To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property...

Well, two problems with that.

First, the doctrine was established during a time when available broadcast channels were much more limited, and when wireless broadcast was the only effective means of real-time transmission. Now, we have the internet, we have satellites, we have lasers; the fundamental uniqueness of the abilities of radio transmission has been severely eroded. Thus, the fundamental justification for treating radio transmissions uniquely from a 1A perspective is eroded likewise.

Second, how do we assess "public interest?" I would argue that economic viability is perhaps the best available metric. So, I would argue that this is exactly how licensees should be encouraged to operate. You might appeal to something beyond mass-market sensibilities; but that presumes an inherently anti-democratic view of "public interest," does it not? There are some assumptions built into that perspective that deserve challenging IMO.

Sorun said...

Sylvester couldn't overcome the tough lefty competition he got from chalk graffiti on State Street.

garage mahal said...

Again, if there is a profitable enterprise to be had here, don't you think there are enough lefties in Madison to make a go of it?

There is zero evidence the move was because of ratings. I had heard their ratings were the highest in years.

Jake Diamond said...

Has edutcher always been such a bore?

Drago said...

garage: "There is zero evidence the move was because of ratings."

LOL

Seriously, how would you even know?

The only evidence I need that the management believes this move could better their financial performance is the FACT that they made the move.

garage: "I had heard their ratings were the highest in years."

Where did you "hear" this?

Sorun said...

Garage: "There is zero evidence the move was because of ratings."

Zero evidence except for the ratings themselves. WTDY is 3rd of 3 in the News/Talk genre. (WIBA is #1)

"I had heard their ratings were the highest in years."

I think Garage "hears" all kinds of goofy stuff.

HalP said...

Ann, what's your response to the people who have pointed out the contrast between your friendly tolerance of this big old leftie a-hole and your irascible response to the people who made and played the video of Obamaphone lady?

I know you say they all have the right to talk, but why are you so indulgent of one, so hostile to the other?

Sorun said...

Cute
vs.
Looks like Garage.

Chip S. said...

Sly has a face for radio.

Too bad his station decided to ditch a highly-rated format for something nobody wants to listen to.

garage mahal said...

I think Garage "hears" all kinds of goofy stuff.

I guess it's too much to ask that tiny little brain of yours to grasp that the amount of WTDY's listeners, such as it were, could be at their highest levels in years, and still be behind the amount of listeners compared to a rock station.

Drago said...

garage: "I guess it's too much to ask that tiny little brain of yours to grasp that the amount of WTDY's listeners, such as it were, could be at their highest levels in years, and still be behind the amount of listeners compared to a rock station."

Which is why, in my post, I simply referenced financial performance, not "ratings".

Of course, that doesn't yet explain where you claim to have "heard" about the stations ratings.

Where did you "hear" that?

Drago said...

On the plus side, the recently released employees can now try their hand in the economy that obama "saved" and which has given us no less than 3 "Recovery Summers" in a row!!

I hear there is also a ton of food stamps and extended unemployment benefits available.

Though why those would be needed in obama's robust economy is difficult to determine.

Perhaps our time would be better spend talking about ladyparts.

SteveR said...

There's a real shortage of left leaning media in this country and especially the charming hate filled stuff. So sad

damikesc said...

Markets work, but broadcast radio uses the limited spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to businesses on the condition that they serve the public interest. To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property.

...but given the abundance of television and radio channels and the relative lack of newspapers --- shouldn't a "Fairness Doctrine" apply to newspapers over all other services?

They have to sent over public roads, right?

There is zero evidence the move was because of ratings. I had heard their ratings were the highest in years.

Going from .3 after years at .2 isn't something to crow about.

Sorun said...

"I guess it's too much to ask that tiny little brain of yours to grasp that the amount of WTDY's listeners, such as it were, could be at their highest levels in years, and still be behind the amount of listeners compared to a rock station."

Given that the recall and election campaigns can only bring the station to second-to-last (ahead of an oldies station), changing format sounds like a good idea.

gadfly said...

Old Winter Soldiers never die,
never die, never die
Old Winter Soldiers never die
They just:
- rape
- cut off ears
- cut off heads
- tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turn up the power
- cut off limbs
- blow up bodies
- randomly shoot at civilians
- raze villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan
- shot cattle and dogs for fun
- poison food stocks
- generally ravage the countryside

And old liberal talkers never die,
They just keep shooting their mouth off

Kirk Parker said...

That's Sofa King Brilliant--indeed, a complete thread-winner--at 12:08pm.

Chip S. said...

Sly should've known a gig at WTDY would only be temporary duty.

Alex said...

Ann - so what you're saying is that having a local hater is more interesting then a bland national lefty.

Alex said...

Smells like victory.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Left or right is immaterial. The fact is that these people are entertainers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The problem is that the listeners often take their words as gospel, forgetting that the hosts are paid to entertain.

KenK said...

Cry me a river Althouse. What kind of person grieves for a creep like that? What doe suppose he'd say if it was you or Meade that had cancer? The judgement you show about things lately has been really bad.

jr565 said...

Wishing cancer on someone is truly assholish. Not saying I'm glad to see him get fired, but if that was the extent of his
Criticism of the right then I probably won't shed a lot of tears over his canning

rhhardin said...

Lefty radio is the voice of affirmation that direct action is the only thing that ever works, and the perverse consequences people wrong because they're morally deficient.

It's a question of whether there's a big enough audience to support it.

The audience that will agree with it (the young and the stupid) is a lot bigger than the audience that wants to listen to it.

rduke said...

Thank you Ann. Love your blog. Sly has been a pox upon Madison for years. The free market has spoken...nuff said!!!

Rusty said...

Jake Diamond said...
Has edutcher always been such a bore?


Have you?

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
garage must be devastated. Where will he get local talking points?

I don't listen to any talk radio. Neither Sly, or the disgusting hate screechbot McKenna.



Then how do you know she's a hate screechbot?

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
I think Garage "hears" all kinds of goofy stuff.

I guess it's too much to ask that tiny little brain of yours to grasp that the amount of WTDY's listeners, such as it were, could be at their highest levels in years, and still be behind the amount of listeners compared to a rock station.

Radio stations, like all other businesses, exist to make money. When you're in the business to make a profit, markets are everything.

Emil Blatz said...

Long overdue. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

George Grady said...

Markets work, but broadcast radio uses the limited spectrum which is publicly owned and licensed to businesses on the condition that they serve the public interest. To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property.

Is it even true that the spectrum in Madison is "limited" in any meaningful way? Is Madison's radio dial full? Are hopeful radio station owners constantly being turned away because there just aren't any free frequencies?

purplepenquin said...

Amazing times we live in where a man who is strongly in favor of gun rights and constantly expounds the virtues of big cars while mocking bike riders is still labeled a lefty libtard liberal.

But I reckon if folks are gonna insist on there being only two labels in the world then they gotta choose one of 'em, eh?

Ann Althouse said...

"First, the doctrine was established during a time when available broadcast channels were much more limited, and when wireless broadcast was the only effective means of real-time transmission. Now, we have the internet, we have satellites, we have lasers; the fundamental uniqueness of the abilities of radio transmission has been severely eroded. Thus, the fundamental justification for treating radio transmissions uniquely from a 1A perspective is eroded likewise."

Broadcast radio remains limited, and the spectrum is an important public resource. I didn't say anything about the First Amendment doctrine. I was responding to people who made points about the free market, which has to be adjusted to account for the fact that the market is affected by the licensing process and the physical scarcity in the spectrum.

"Second, how do we assess "public interest?" I would argue that economic viability is perhaps the best available metric. So, I would argue that this is exactly how licensees should be encouraged to operate. You might appeal to something beyond mass-market sensibilities; but that presumes an inherently anti-democratic view of "public interest," does it not? There are some assumptions built into that perspective that deserve challenging IMO."

In law, you don't just throw out everything that's hard to define with precision. Defaulting to the market is an easy move, especially if that's your ideology, but there's something to the idea of local media with local voices and this prepackaged sports stuff is a sad end result.

Ann Althouse said...

The criticisms of my supposed lack of balance are really misunderstanding my position.

I don't like Sly's speech, but he was local and he had a point of view that had a place in the dialogue and debate, much of which was ugly.

I like to see a range of speech, different and distinctive voices, especially local things. To the extent that it's offensive -- on the right or on the left -- I would criticize particular things (eg repeatedly playing the Obamaphone lady audio). I don't say take it off the air!

Obviously, I criticize Sly for celebrating Kleefisch's cancer (or whatever he did). But that isn't the point here.

And Sly wasn't taken off the air for these lapses in judgment/taste. He was taken off the air because another format was cheaper and could sell more ads (I think).

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Yet another conflagration started by a lefty held to his own standard, once.

DEATH HELL FIRE TO ALL is all a lefty knows when his own standards approaches.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Leftists defend and admire Roman Polanski.

And Bernie Fucking Ward.

Shameless fucks.

Like Sly bitch.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/iteam&id=6356752

These sick Democrats will face Justice, and they will use all their power to proclaim otherwise always.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

This is a link that fulfills indeed.

Nora said...

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Radio is a business, that sells listeners to advertizers. And if the liberal talk show program was closed, it was not because of the conservative radio competition.

It's subsidized NPR that liberal radio stations have to compete with for listeners, not the conservative radio. Conservative radio competition is a fable the liberals employ in their attempts to shut up any conservative radio talk shows.

Ken Mitchell said...

Behold the power of the MARKETPLACE. Leftie talk shows fail, because not enough lefties listen or mention to merchants "I heard your ad on ..." Conservative talk shows sell millions in ad time, and prosper.

Radio stations don't much care about red or blue; they're in it for the GREEN. Literally, "money talks".

Michael said...

What Nora writes is vitally important. Lefties have NPR and a leftie capitalist wanting to open and run a radio station is undermined from the start by a competitor who doesnt have to hustle ads. I would say they deserve it but they dont. In my market there is one so-so classical music station which happens to be the NPR affiliate. Impossible to fund a first rate classical station against that "competition"

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Surprise surprise. Althouse responds to withering criticism by claiming that the plebs just "misunderstand" her position.

I think we understand it very well. And it does not reflect well on you.

Michael Haz said...

To have packaged national blandness is a misappropriation of public property.

Let the market decide.

I would argue that economic viability is perhaps the best available metric.

Agreed. Glad you've taken the position that NPR should stand on its own without government subsidy.

Michael Haz said...

Defaulting to the market is an easy move, especially if that's your ideology,...

The free market isn't your ideology? Do tell.

...but there's something to the idea of local media with local voices and this prepackaged sports stuff is a sad end result.

NPR is all prepackaged isn't it? And who are you to determine what programming sports fans might enjoy. It's their choice to make, not yours to make for them. Free markets, and all.

KenK said...

He was "local" and had a "POV"? That's some mighty weak tea professor. The mentally ill homeless who hang around State street are local and have a point of view too. So what? I don't listen to them either. And who cares anyhow? If someone I despise gets fired for being an asshole or are terminated for business reasons, what difference does it make? Either way they're gone. Revel in his agony. I do.

William said...

People will always want to look at naked women, but the centerfold of Playboy magazine is no longer the most effective or economical delivery vehicle. People will always want to hear outrageous opinions, but here again radio is not the optimum delivery vehicle. If you want outrageous rants the internet is the place to be. I am Howard Stern. No, I am Howard Stern. No, we are all Howard Stern.....Also, just as a matter of supply and demand, there's probably a bigger demand for right wing jerks than left wing jerks simply because there are fewer of them. Also every member of the Harvard Lampoon wants to snag a job with Letterman and make fun of Chrystie. If you wish to dump on Republicans, you're competing with Olympic qualifiers. However, if you wish to make fun of, say, Chrystie's Democratic predecessor, Jon Corzine, you're harvesting verdant, first growth forest, and there's far less competition in the marketplace..

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Maybe he can get clerk work at Selective Video.

"Brown shirt, brown cow."

David Blaska said...

Ann of A., unlike so many of my liberal acquaintances, I have no desire to shut down the other side of the political argument. In fact, I welcome the debate. But the Sly-mer has a lengthy history of what I like to call serial misogyny. The Condi Rice and Rebecca Kleefisch episodes are only two of them. Ask yourself this: does Todd Akin have a future in politics in Missouri or anywhere else? That was just one statement, just as stupid but not nearly as hateful, and intentionally so. The Sly-mer did it because he hates, because he could get away with it, because any attention was better than no attention for his low-rated program. In the end, it did him no good or, perhaps, did him in. In fact, a great many liberal women refused to have anything to do with the man. He soiled his own cause.

jimspice said...

"Ironically, the conservative talk channel ... raves on. In Madison! "

Yeah, ROI works with the lemming crowd. BUY GOLD!!!!

Ralph L said...

He soiled his own cause.
Free speech working like it's supposed to.

Sorun said...

Yeah, ROI works with the lemming crowd. BUY GOLD!!!!.

Gold! I wish I'd bought gold.
Lefties are buying carbon credits instead. LOL!

reformed trucker said...

"I like to see a range of speech, different and distinctive voices, especially local things." - Ann

Two Saturdays ago I was working out at Epic in Verona and happened to stumble across a show on 91.7 (?) from noon to 2 p.m. called The Devil's Advocate. The hosts were a Progressive and a Libertarian. Good stuff... you should give them a listen.

Joe said...

Nothing but money and will is stopping this guy from opening his own radio station. Or garage, who ten could hire this guy, for that matter.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
"First, the doctrine was established during a time when available broadcast channels were much more limited, and when wireless broadcast was the only effective means of real-time transmission. Now, we have the internet, we have satellites, we have lasers; the fundamental uniqueness of the abilities of radio transmission has been severely eroded. Thus, the fundamental justification for treating radio transmissions uniquely from a 1A perspective is eroded likewise."

Broadcast radio remains limited, and the spectrum is an important public resource. I didn't say anything about the First Amendment doctrine. I was responding to people who made points about the free market, which has to be adjusted to account for the fact that the market is affected by the licensing process and the physical scarcity in the spectrum.

"Second, how do we assess "public interest?" I would argue that economic viability is perhaps the best available metric. So, I would argue that this is exactly how licensees should be encouraged to operate. You might appeal to something beyond mass-market sensibilities; but that presumes an inherently anti-democratic view of "public interest," does it not? There are some assumptions built into that perspective that deserve challenging IMO."

In law, you don't just throw out everything that's hard to define with precision. Defaulting to the market is an easy move, especially if that's your ideology, but there's something to the idea of local media with local voices and this prepackaged sports stuff is a sad end result.

11/22/12 5:11 PM

Ann meet the Kelo decision. Bucks trump all. Maximized ratings equal maximized ad revenues equals maximized tax revenue. So sayeth The Supreme Court of The United States.

tiger said...

You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

It's obvious that even in Left Wing Central that is Madison Left wing talk has no market.

Besides the guy was a racist, a sexist and a liberal POS; he should have been fired years ago.

And then we have this:
garage mahal said...


There is zero evidence the move was because of ratings. I had heard their ratings were the highest in years.


And YOU *know* this how, exactly?
You don't - fark, you're one tiring jackass to read.

We all see what you're doing here: Your inference is that since they had their 'highest ratings in years' that there must be some other reason for this happening - and from the views you post the implication is that 'someone' had them 'shut down'.

What nonsense.

Even if the station doubled it's ratings moving it from last place to next-to-last-place it's still a losing proposition.

I have no idea what their ratings were and neither to you.

All we know is that the format wasn't profitability (or even 'profitable enough'), Left wing propaganda does not have a 'right' to be broadcast and the guy and the rest of the staff got dumped.


William said...

AA said, "In law, you don't just throw out everything that's hard to define with precision. Defaulting to the market is an easy move, especially if that's your ideology..."

Sorry Professor, the law, especially in the hands of the left, does precisely that. See for example, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

It seems too often in public policy controversies that the law lacks discernible definition such that words have become mere tools that advance political ends. And oh, by the way, these moves are typically cheap, easy and intellectually void.

In a town where local voices are shouted down by the abusive left, the loss of Sly is not much of loss in the public interest. There are plenty of venues where his hate is channeled.