Sykes’ next stop: NPR

‘Indivisible’ will air nationally, but you won’t hear Charlie in Wisconsin

Conservative talker Charlie Sykes, who retired from his morning show at WTMJ radio last month, will co-host a national call-in show to be aired on National Public Radio stations.

He’ll be one of several hosts for “Indivisible” broadcasting four nights a week and covering the first 100 days of the Trump administration. His turn will air Wednesday nights, according to an online media newsletter that’s part of Politico. Though the program will be available to NPR stations around the country, it won’t be heard in Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel, because of the terms in Sykes’ retirement agreement with WTMJ. That contract apparently prohibits him from going on the air  within 250 miles of Milwaukee.

The program is a joint venture of WNYC-FM in New York, an NPR station; Minnesota Public Radio News; and The Economist, according to the show’s website, which calls the show “Public radio’s national conversation about America in a time of change.”

Other hosts will be Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Kai Wright of The Nation and Kerri Miller, who hosts a news-talk show on Minnesota Public Radio, the JS reports.

Sykes, who gained national prominence last year as a member of the “never Trump” movement and is working on a book called How the Right Lost Its Mind, says of the new show in an email, “It seems like a great opportunity to break out of our right/left media bubbles.”

Sykes also says he was disappointed that WTMJ wouldn’t let the show air on WUWM-FM, the NPR station in Milwaukee. Dave Edwards, station manager at WUWM, said, “I think WTMJ is being a bit petty about this.” He adds that WUWM won’t air the other three nights of “Indivisible,” because it’s meant as a package.  

Both WNYC and Minnesota Public Radio stream their programs online, so listeners in Milwaukee could conceivably tune in that way. But streaming may also fall under the terms of Sykes’ contract, according to industry insiders, who say non-compete clauses are standard in the industry, and often cover both over-the-air and streaming material.



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.