Look Mom, I’m Radio-Active!

After Judge Rebecca Bradley’s election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April, the liberal group Citizen Action Wisconsin to attempt to pump new life into its “Radio-Active” campaign. The purpose of this campaign, per the CAW website, is to:

After years of damaging attacks on our state, one thing is clear: We must develop and support new, bold ideas if we are to change the direction of our state.

Our idea is simple: Grow our member-owned Organizing Cooperative to fund a professional organizer who will work full time, year-round to coordinate a grass-roots campaign to challenge the most toxic influence on state politics and Wisconsin elections: Conservative Talk Radio.

Every day in Southeastern Wisconsin, five right-wing radio hosts spew divisive rhetoric on our most powerful AM stations (the effort was later amended to include my Green Bay-based regionally syndicated show). Our mission is to break the ultra-conservative media monopoly and restore a true marketplace of ideas on our public airwaves, and we call our campaign “Radio-Active.”

Wisconsin’s conservative talk hosts did indeed advocate for Bradley’s election over JoAnne Kloppenburg. The same hosts also actively argued against the candidacy of Donald Trump in the Wisconsin’s presidential primary. Both successful efforts appeared to spur the group to try to breathe life into the seemingly moribund effort that had been announced earlier in the year:

Charlie Sykes, Jerry Bader and the rest of the reactionary talk radio circus have turned our airwaves as a get-out-the-vote machine for far-right candidates. Without the right-wing radio monopoly, there would be no Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, or Rebecca Bradley!

The conservative radio monopoly is responsible for splitting cities from suburbs and rural areas, tilting public opinion to the far-right, and setting an extreme agenda at the Capitol.

We’ve remained silent for too long. Now we must fight back.


So far, the effort has had no impact on the influence of conservative talk radio and has been seldom heard from since mid-summer. That is, until last week’s announcement that I have replaced Brian Sikma as Communications Director at Media Trackers. From the Radio-Active Facebook Page:

 Jerry Bader, right-wing radio host…is taking Brian Sikma’s place at alt-right muckraking site Media Trackers. “He said he sees his roles as communications director at Media Trackers and a conservative radio talk show host as promoting the same mission.”

Here is the Media Tracker’s mission statement:

Media Trackers is dedicated to media accountability, government transparency, and quality fact-based journalism. Our site examines stories published in the mainstream media, explores claims made by some of the more partisan political groups, and provides the facts on the issues, people and elections that matter.

Indeed, I do all those things in my mission as a radio host. There are, of course, elements of the talk radio mission that are not included in the Media Tracker’s mission. But the two missions certainly overlap.

As for CAW’s use of the term “alt-right” in describing Media Trackers. Wikepedia describes the alt-right movement this way:

The alt-right is a loose group of people with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States.

It is noteworthy that both Charlie Sykes and I, who CAW has targeted with its Radio-Active campaign, were members of the #NeverTrump movement and warned on a near daily basis on our respective shows of the dangers of the rise of the alt-right movement.

It also should be noted that CAW’s radio hero is Madison area liberal-talker John “Sly”Sylvester. As Media Trackers reported in 2013, the left was ecstatic when Sylvester returned to the airwaves at that time after being without a job:

Madison liberals were so very happy for the return of the very host that former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume rebuked in 2004 for making remarks about former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice that were “just as bad as those who hide under sheets and burn crosses.”

The Left in Wisconsin was overjoyed that they would no longer be deprived of the radio host who sadistically laughed about pouring weed-killer on the grave of conservative activist Andrew Breitbart just days after the father of two unexpectedly passed away.

The Left in Wisconsin will now be able to tune in and once again hear the fever-swamp ramblings of a man who seriously posited on-air his belief that Governor Walker would have his former aide murdered before testifying in the John Doe case.

And of course, the Left in Wisconsin is so pleased that they can snicker at the sick humor of a radio host who mocked Lt. Governor Kleefisch’s cancer and joked that she committed sex acts on Milwaukee radio hosts.

From the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and One Wisconsin Now, to John Nichols and WEAC, the Left is ecstatic about the return of the radio host who says all the unfiltered and ugly things they all wish they could say.

Contrast that with this from the Radio-Active Facebook page:

Progressive DJ Sly from 93.7 thanks the Organizing Cooperative’s Radio-Active campaign for exposing the bigotry and hatred that dominates Milwaukee’s airwaves for 15 hours a day. Pledge to help make our grassroots campaign permanent today!

It would appear that when it comes to bigotry and hatred, Sylvester is indeed a voice of authority.