Charlie Sykes to Step Down from WTMJ Show

After more than two decades, the on-air host announced his plan to step down from his role on WTMJ Radio.

Charlie Sykes, who’s spent 23 years as a conservative talk show host on WTMJ Radio, announced Tuesday morning that he would be stepping down from his show in December.

Sykes said he’d made up his mind to leave around a year ago, but he admitted that the tenor of the current presidential election made the decision easier. Sykes has been a member of the Never Trump movement since early in the primary season, and he drew national attention with a contentious interview with Donald Trump in April, before the Wisconsin primary. The opposition of Sykes and other conservative state talkers was credited for Trump’s convincing defeat in the state by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Sykes has continued his criticism of Trump since the New York businessman won the Republican nomination – and has taken heat for this opposition from many listeners.

Before his 25-year career in talk radio – he worked two years for WISN Radio before coming to WTMJ – he served as editor of Milwaukee Magazine. He was also a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal, covering City Hall for part of his time there.

Sykes made his announcement on his radio show, telling listeners he’d continue editing the Right Wisconsin website and Wisconsin Interest magazine, and that he would work on a book about the “crackup of the conservative movement.”

Sykes has been outspoken in recent months about the role of conservative talk radio in attacking “mainstream media” so much that for many people, it no longer can serve as a trusted arbiter of what is true or false.

Here’s a good article Sykes posted online Tuesday about his decision to leave, with numerous links to stories about his thoughts on conservative media and politics.

And here’s a link to a cover story Milwaukee Magazine did on Sykes in 2000.



Tom Tolan is managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine, where he's worked since January 2016. He spent 24 years at The Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a copy editor, assistant metro editor and reporter. He lives in Shorewood.