Madison’s diversity is one of its many positive attributes. Diversity in residents, neighborhoods, restaurants and businesses and many other areas have all contributed to the quality of life here. Although we have perhaps been an anomaly, that diversity has, until recently, extended to talk radio. In an era where progressive talk is pretty rare, our city and area had the benefit of WTDY’s morning show host John ‘Sly’ Sylvester. As you probably have heard, Sly and the rest of the staff at WTDY were dismissed last week. Their job loss is our community’s loss.
Madison radio needs local voices and local hosts. Sly’s program on WTDY has provided a local forum for politicians and listeners for over 15 years. No screening of callers to weed out those who disagreed, but a free flow of thoughts and ideas. I was a frequent guest on the program, as was State Representative Glenn Grothman. There are very few issues on which State Representative Grothman and I agree but Sly treated each of us with respect and had a genuine interest in issues important to us. Local radio promotes and supports local businesses. Sly had developed long-standing relationships with advertisers and contributed to their success. He continued his work off the air, helping to make this a better city. He was involved in promoting Monona Terrace when many believed it would never happen. He championed the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial and has been involved in many projects and causes, certainly some politically progressive, but not all.
There is a concerted effort underway to keep our progressive voice on the air. It’s called Give Sly the Mic and I’m joining in.