Thursday, November 22, 2012

WTDY: Under New Manglement

The big news of the day, at least if you live in the Madison area, was the firing of John "Sly" Sylvester and several other staff members at WTDY.

I can not honestly say that I am as upset as some of my friends, but that is mostly because I'm in Milwaukee and had never heard their station or met any of them. That said, I think it's a great loss whenever a voice gets silenced like that.

However, my distance from these events gives me the advantage of an objective view and a chance to see the big picture. Here are some of the things I've noticed.

Scott Wittkopf cited Sly's announcement of his termination from the station:
Message to everybody: I just want to inform you that today was my last day of employment at WTDY. After 15 years, I was told that my services were no longer needed. I would like to thank everybody that’s supported my program. It’s been a pleasure to share this wonderful experience with you. I need to take a big deep breath this weekend and figure out what my future plans are. But, old Winter Soldiers NEVER DIE, and I look forward to letting you know what lies ahead. Solidarity!

That, in my humble opinion, is class. He was direct, and he was upbeat even though his heart must have been breaking. After all, the man had been with the station for fifteen years, which is forever in radio time.

Then again, Sly's positive message could be because they could not make any negative comments about the station, lest they lose their severance package, as reported by Emily Mills. How that's not extortion, I don't know. But it might be the norm for the radio/TV business.

As one would expect, the right wingers were celebrating eight more people losing their jobs the day before Thanksgiving.

Kevin Binversie, a propagandist in the Kochs' employment, and Owen Robinson, an AFP zombie, both stated the change in format was because of low ratings, even though neither one of them offered any proof for their scurrilous remarks.

They offer no proof because they have none. They have no proof because it's not true.

Here's a few things to keep in mind.

If a radio station is going to change formats, this is the time of year they usually do so.

As noted above, Sly has been doing this gig for 15 years, they don't get rid of them at a drop of the hat for ratings. It would take something really egregious.

Furthermore, their ratings weren't low. Wittkopf quoted another WTDY staffer who was fired, Crystal McKenzie Parker, who said that their ratings were the best in 10 years. The last two years of the illegal and unethical behaviors of the Republicans is fodder for shows like Sly's, so it is more likely true that they have had higher ratings.

While it's true that ratings correlate with how much a station can charge for ad time, it's also true that ratings don't necessarily mean a change in format. If radio stations were only interested in revenue, Clear Channel would have dropped Rush Limbaugh long ago. Limbaugh's history of over the top sexist and racist remarks is having such a negative effect on revenue that it is starting to hurt stations that don't even carry him:

Doug Stephan, president of Stephan MultiMedia and host of the nationally syndicated “Good Day” program, had this to offer:

Let’s face it, the agencies and advertisers are how we survive. So to tell them that their clients are stupid for not staying in an atmosphere in which they don’t want to be is akin to the Republicans not reading the tea leaves about changing demographics.

I’m not here to argue the point, but rather to tell you what this ONE incident has cost me as an independent in a sea of big corporate operators, who are obviously losing tens of millions of dollars due to this one event.

So far this year, my losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cancellations, avoidance and decisions to just not buy across the whole format, no matter what the content...

I’m not looking for Limbaugh to send me a check (although that would be nice), but I do think we have to let it be known that his actions have been devastating to our survival.
The real reason for the change has to do with two things.

One, they just brought in a new general manager in June. Odds are that this pinhead was brought in to be a hatchet man or he wanted to make a name for himself by being "bold."

Secondly, the new format will be sports talk, relying heavily on a national feed. This is the radio version of a Bain-type of outsourcing. But the experienced and more costly staff and ship the work to somewhere else where they'll do it much cheaper. Then the general manager can point to the higher profits and try to cover up the lower ratings.

The investors will be happy raking in the higher profit and won't know about the ratings until it's too late.

On an end note, I just wanted to point out the biggest ass regarding this whole affair. No, it's not Brett Hulsey either.

It's the Las Vegas Badger, who was not satisfied with the crew getting fired on the day before Thanksgiving, but wished that Sly had a fatal accident:
To [sic] bad this thug didn't accidentally touch any electrical lines that power the radio tower as he left the building for the last time.
No wonder the right is against anyone but them. It's the only way that that buttheads like this, who aren't worth the time of day, can get anyone to pay attention to them.


  1. Since you won't tell your ten readers what Sly has said in the past, I'll let them know: “SLY” SYLVESTER: How amateurish is it to have Rebecca Kleefisch, who, I don’t know, she has some like little panty business in her basement or something, I don’t know. She’s hardly a, she’s hardly an entrepreneur. You know what? You know how amateurish that is? Cold-calling?
    (Mocking Kleefisch in high-pitched, slurred voice)
    ‘Would you like to move to Wisconsin? Would you like to move CouponCabin to Wisconsin? I’m Rebecca Kleefisch. I perform fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee. And they endorse me and that’s how I became lieutenant governor. And then I got colon cancer and I ran around the state to help people. Even though I have government health care, screw everyone else.’
    …I had heard at one point Rebecca Kleefisch pulled a train, but that must have been a different story I was reading about.
    “Pulled a train” is vulgar slang for group gang rape.
    Yeah,this guy is a piece of trash.
    But I guess you liberals cannot take it, but instead whine, cry and complain about what we said. Stupid ass wimps.
    And look up the word sarcasm in the dictionary. You just might become a little smarter.

    1. According to the urban dictionary:

      Only sources I can find online referring to it as anything other than that is on the far right blogs. The very right wing blogs that use quite of few slangs.

      But, Dan, now I know what fellatio is.

      Real things that are out in the world. Strange.

    2. Dan, that still doesn't excuse you wishing people dead. Even four year olds have more maturity than you.

    3. Dan, I never heard the episode you refer to, I listened a couple of times and liked the show.

  2. Dan,

    he actually apologized for that, when is the last time anyone from the hate filled right ever apologized? They didnt even apologize for pushing the BS Mediatrackkkers/christian schneider story about Mark Pocan.

    The greater point he was making, i know your too simple minded to get bigger points, is that despite the fact that Scott Walker hated Rebecca and broke the law to make Brett Davis Lieutenant Governor, she won anyway. She won because the right wing hate cabal on the radio loved her and pushed her and her lemming followers did what they were told!

    1. I'm surprised to hear you defending him. I listened to him from time to time. Not just his podcasts, WTDY had a smart phone app that would let you listen live. His comments are indefensible, whether he apologized or not.
      But his views seemed close to yours, I assumed that is why he didn't suffer the "air america" fate sooner, being that he was surrounded by like minded people. If he could control his childish comments he was better at presenting the viewpoint than most. Contrary to capper, his market share ratings were very bad. It will be interesting to see where he lands. There seems to be an audience out there for his point of view, but who will take the chance he isn't going to shove his foot in his mouth again. Certainly the left can do better in finding a spokesperson.
      It still puzzles me why liberal radio can't stand on its own if 47 percent of the country is liberal. And yes, I chose that number, to "stir the pot" a bit.

  3. IMBR- It only puzzles you because you are a weak-minded fool. The reason left-wing radio isn't as prevalent as right-wing bilge is simple:

    Who owns radio stations? Who owns TV stations? Who advertises on them?

    Of course, if they silence us on the PUBLIC'S AIRWAVES, guess that means we have to take it to the streets and your neighborhood in order to be heard. Oh well.

    1. Hey Jake, your a close minded fool. When you "take it to the streets" remember to stay between the lines painted on the street.
      Yea, I've heard the right wings explanations too. But like yours, they make no sense. The free airtime candidates get on talk radio alone would be good enough reason for a loudmouth representative of the left (union bosses) to put his money where his mouth is and run a radio station. Heaven knows they've managed to dominate broadcast television news. I'm not saying it hasn't been tried, George Soros and air america. But why does it continuously fail when the other side has so much success?

    2. IMBAR, here's a fun fact for you. When compared watt for watt, liberal radio beats out conservative radio. That is why the conservative corporate media had to establish their monopolies. They need to control the message and even then, they are still failing.

    3. I don't know what that means? Watt for watt? I guess then they just need to increase the wattage? Or, just complain to the FCC that life isn't "fair", I guess.
      If this liberal message was as popular as you think it is, you wouldn't need to try to force it into the public's ears.

    4. You don't know how to measure watt to watt but you're going to tell us that progressive radio doesn't work. OK, good luck with that.

      What it means is that the number of listeners per wattage of station. When you compare liberal to conservative, liberal wins hands down. That's why the conservatives had to deregulate radio and build their monopolies.

    5. I shouldn't have to tell you they don't work, just read the news. I'm asking why? I do listen in to WGN, but have yet to find that liberal station in SE wisconsin that can hold my attention longer than ten minutes.

    6. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's bad.

      As for the why, look at who owns the media monopolies.

  4. Especially since the Uprising, Sly's show was offering much that the Madison area wanted to hear. Madison's Mayor was a regular guest as was state legislators from Glen Grothman to Mark Pocan talking about state issues. John Nichols was on daily to discuss both local and national news. Labor leaders and laborers from around the state and Illinois were on to talk about workers rights struggles. A lot of people in Madison work in or with government and as the recall effort showed, there's a lot of interest in worker's rights. Sly was offering the news and information of concern to this community. The trend toward national media and the loss of local voices and perspectives is indicative of the many areas in which the public is losing control of the resources we own and that we built. Public airwaves should serve the public, not a bunch of distant investors.

    1. Yep, and even those of us who don't work in state government here were sympathetic to our neighbors who do and joined the protests, so a lot of people listen to Sly, not just state workers.

  5. This comment thread reminds me of Thanksgiving with my extended family, because there's always one obnoxious racist at the table. The basic rule of thumb is to eat more turkey and hold off on the hard liquor

    1. Wouldn't everything be better if all the "sheep" just fell in line to your thinking?
      You wouldn't have to close your mind to any opinions or facts that don't justify your own delusions?
      Sylvester referred to (Condoleezza) Rice as "Aunt Jemima," and compounded his verbal assault by calling departing Secretary of State Colin Powell "Uncle Tom."
      Yeah...I'm the racist one.

    2. Belling called Hispanics wetbacks and Sykes slandered a Hispanic person on air and wouldn't apologize until sued.

      Where was your outrage then?

    3. Funny, I don't recall Sylvester being sued or taken off the air for days like Belling for his comments. I wasn't offended by Sly either, But I'm not black or a female.

    4. I don't recall that Sykes or Belling were fired for their comments. I also don't recall the right wing being upset about their comments, but then again, I'm not a fascist, racist or bigot.