Don’t hold back Sly, tell us how you really feel.

John ” Sly ” Sylvester really went off on DPW Chair candidate Martha Laning on Friday in a program/podcast titled ” Candidate Martha Laning is no Democrat “. At issue for Sly is Laning’s statement last year that she couldn’t bring herself to support even a $10.10 an hour minimum wage because it represented a 39% increase over the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, saying that it was ” a lot to swallow “. Sly is not happy. Love him or hate him he doesn’t pull any punches.

My conversation with Sly

Earlier this week I emailed long time Madison radio personality John ” Sly ” Sylvester  and told him that I was, I believe, the only lefty blogger in the state who’s written that the solidarity singers should get a permit. I told him that I’d written a piece for Blogging Blue titled, “ Defending the Dream and Defeating Scott Walker ” and that I’d be happy to come on his show and explain myself and my vision of how we beat Walker in 2014.  Much to my surprise he emailed me right back and booked me. The link to the podcast is below.  Let me say in advance that I didn’t pick the podcast title. Nuff said.

WXCO/AM 1230 switches to progressive talk format

This is encouraging…

WXCO station manager Steve Resnick says he made the decision to switch to a progressive format because it was hard to compete in a market already saturated with right-wing talk. Whether the station will one day hire a full-time local host is uncertain, however.

“We’re exploring the avenues to enhance the programming locally,” he says. “And it all depends on how well the current programs are performing with our listeners and advertisers.”

While the news that John “Sly” Sylvester and the entire WTDY news staff had been fired en masse was definitely a disappointment, this news about WXCO’s format switch to and efforts to get Sly back on the radio are certainly encouraging.

Fill the information void, Give Sly The Mic

By now you may have heard about the grassroots movement currently underway to return John “Sly” Sylvester to the airwaves after WTDY silenced him last week. “Give Sly The Mic” is an attempt to persuade the powers that be at The Mic 92.1 to give Sly his own show, so that Wisconsin Progressives can continue to have a voice. Here are the details:

Tell 92.1 to Give Sly the Mic!

CALL: 608-274-5450
The Mic needs Sly because:
  • Workers need a voice on the public airwaves fighting for them.
  • Small businesses that take good care of their employees depend on Sly’s loyal fan base.
  • Sly and his listeners give progressives the support they need to stand up to Scott Walker.
As a political blogger, I have gotten a lot of important information through livestreaming and listening to podcasts of Sly’s show on WTDY (and nobody interviews Glenn Grothman quite like Sly!). It has been less than a week, and I am already feeling the information void caused by Sly’s absence.
As a middle class Wisconsinite, I have appreciated the way that Sly has stood up for the rights of working class people, holding politicians on both sides of the aisle accountable for their words and actions, oftentimes angering even those on the left.
Sure, Sly has made my blood boil at times with some of the things that he has said, and I don’t always agree with him or like his bombastic style. But every time I have contacted him, he has been willing to listen, which says a lot about who he is as a person.
For these reasons and more, I stand in solidarity with Sly. I ask that you do the same. 
CALL: 608.274.5450 and tell the Mic:
  •  I strongly urge you to put Sly in the Morning on your airwaves as soon as possible.
  •  I support Sly in the Morning and his sponsors because he is a life-long Wisconsinite who provides an entertaining, insightful perspective that can’t be found anywhere else.
  •  I would become an eager 92.1 listener and supporter if you decide to add Sly to your lineup.

John Nichols on WTDY firings: Wisconsin progressivism deserves an outlet

Once again John Nichols nails it.

Sure, Sly often extended his remarks from “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” to flat-out condemning crony capitalists and crooked candidates. Everyone who listened to Sly took offense at one time or another.

Every guest (including this writer) disagreed with him sometimes. But Wisconsinites recognized that Sly’s anger was motivated by a rage at injustice and dishonesty. And they loved him for that, giving his show solid ratings and a loyal listenership that advertisers craved.

When those listeners tuned in the morning after Thanksgiving, however, they did not hear Sly raging against Walmart and demanding that Wisconsinites “buy local on Black Friday.” Station management pulled the plug on Sly and the news department. In so doing, they created a serious information void.

Hopefully this void will be filled by the reappearance of Sly’s morning show on another, more wisely managed station. The Wisconsin progressive populist tradition remains vibrant and popular, as the Nov. 6 election results remind us. It should continue to have a bold radio voice shouting “Hello Wisconsin” every morning.

For the record, I’ve not always seen eye-to-eye with Sly (his comments on Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and his support of Kathleen Falk in the gubernatorial recall as just two examples), but I absolutely believe there needs to be more balance on Wisconsin’s airwaves, which are dominated by right-wing extremists like Vicki “wolf on back, snake on chest” McKenna, Mark “racial slurs” Belling, and Charlie “family values” Sykes.


Social media is currently on fire with word that WTDY has, without warning, laid off most of its news staff, including Dylan Brogan and Amy Barrilleaux. John ‘Sly’ Sylvester was also let go. According to JSOnline, WTDY will no longer be news-talk, but will instead change formats. This is bad news for Wisconsin progressives, and many fans are shocked and appalled.

To let WTDY’s General Manager, Rick, know how you feel about this, you can call the station at 608-273-1000 to leave a message, or email Rick at

Sly Pops a Gasket

John "Sly" Sylvester

You’d think he’d focus his vitriol on the real enemy… you know… Scott Walker… Oh well, I guess not.

It’s hard to count the number of people who are only leaving behind the honest recall candidate, Kathleen Falk, for one that’s a hypocritical liar and higher-than-thou campaign expert, Tom Barrett, simply because they think he’s the only person who can win.  One things for sure is that they have a short attention span.  Time to pay attention.  Time to do a little ciphering and figure out exactly what makes a Barrett supporter tick.  Tom is orchestrating a systematic attack the worker, whether or not they’re in a bloody union.

I’m all for spirited, refined, well-informed debate on the issues.  This ain’t it.  The reality of politics is completely lost on the Falk supporters.  Compromise is not in their creed.  Like Tea Party extremists, they cannot see past their own victimization.

Listen up, kids: A Dane County Executive with no statewide campaign experience cannot win.  I’m sorry.  It sucks.  I get it.  But she just can’t win state wide in such a short campaign cycle.  If this were a normal election with several months of campaign time, she could definitely make a go of it.  She could probably even win.  But with a 1 month campaign, there’s no way she can do it.  No way.

Sly needs to come down off of Mount Dane and see how poorly Falk plays in the rest of the state.

The desperation of the Falkies is driving this short campaign into the gutter.

Well played, Sly… Well played.

Sly from “Sly in the Morning” interviews Rich Abelson (AUDIO)

Earlier today I posted an entry regarding some misinformation being spread about Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s record when it comes to his dealings with unionized City of Milwaukee employees. In that entry, I name John “Sly” Sylvester of WTDY-AM’s “Sly in the Morning” show as one of the folks responsible for attacking Barrett, as Sly has spend a fair amount of time on his show attacking Mayor Barrett’s labor record.

In response to my entry, Sly sent me a message saying that if I had any courage, I’d post the audio of his interview with Rich Abelson, the Executive Director of AFSCME District Council 48.

In the interest of allowing Blogging Blue’s readers to hear for themselves the attacks being leveled against Mayor Barrett by leaders within AFSCME, here’s the audio of Sly’s interview with Rich Abelson on April 2, 2012:
(Audio courtesy of “Sly in the Morning”)

For the record, I’m not saying Mayor Barrett’s record when it comes to his dealings with unions has been perfect, but the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker is too important to blindly support the candidate who was hand-picked by union leaders (without input from rank-and-file members) based on that candidate making promises to those union leaders.

Tom Barrett, February 2011

Cory Liebmann has an excellent take on the attacks being leveled against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, attacks that have come from folks like John “Sly” Sylvester of WTDY AM’s “Sly in the Morning” show as well as from AFSCME directly.

If the people asking this question can’t remember Tom Barrett’s role during those crucial weeks, allow me to take you down memory lane.

Tom Barrett Comments on Collective Bargaining February 2011

“The budget adjustment bill pits general City of Milwaukee employees against the fire and police unions,” – Tom Barrett [2/16/11]

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett voiced strong support Thursday for the state Senate boycott by fellow Democrats trying to save public employees’ collective bargaining rights. [MJS 2/17/11]

“Instead of talking with teachers, nurses, and law enforcement personnel to work together on a solution to our budget crisis, Scott Walker is dividing Wisconsinites by attempting to end the collective bargaining rights Wisconsin public employees have had since 1959.” – Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/22/11]

“I fundamentally disagree with the attack on the right to organize,” – Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/22/11]

Barrett offered a budget-repair bill alternative that removed the attack on collective bargaining [MJS, 2/25/11]

“It’s now clear to us that this is an ideological war, and it’s a national ideological war, and the purpose of it is to take away the rights of people who work for the government” -Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/25/11]

“It is time we return to our Wisconsin, the Wisconsin where we can sit down at the table and work out our differences…” -Tom Barrett [MJS, 2/25/11]

I understand that these statements made in the past by Mayor Barrett won’t assuage the concerns of some or stop the attacks against Barrett’s record in regards to public employees in the City of Milwaukee, but despite my several qualms about Mayor Barrett’s record in regards to public employees in the City of Milwaukee, I don’t doubt that Tom Barrett understands the importance of (and would work to reinstate) collective bargaining for public employees.

For the record, I haven’t made a final decision on who I’ll support among the four Democratic gubernatorial candidates, but the kinds of attacks being leveled against him by AFSCME and its surrogates certainly doesn’t make me want to support Kathleen Falk, AFSCME’s hand-picked candidate.