Thanksgiving Media Massacre: WTDY fires entire newsroom staff and morning host Sly
Post by Emily Mills on 11/21/2012 3:51pm
(Updated 4:05 p.m.) Madison-based radio station WTDY 1670AM/106.7FM is ending its news and talk format for as-of-yet-unannounced content, and unexpectedly laid off the entire newsroom staff Wednesday morning.
Liberal morning show host John "Sly" Sylvester was apparently also among those who received pink slips. Reporter Amy Barrilleaux confirmed her own termination on Twitter, writing, "Strange feeling. I've never been laid off before."
Also let go were reporters Dylan Brogan, Shawn Prebil, Crystal McKenzie, Deanna Wright and Lindsay Adjavor. Reached by phone, Brogan expressed gratitude for his time working at WTDY and had high praise for the work done by the newsroom to cover local news. However, he sees the change as a major loss for the area.
"The city is sorely lacking local news reporters and the people putting in the hard work that it takes to cover local politics and local schools," Brogan said. "We were swimming up stream and doing a damn good job and kills me that that is now over."
Sylvester sent out the following note to supporters on his Facebook page announcing the massive changes:
"Message to everybody: I just want to inform you that today was my last day of employment at WTDY. After 15 years, I was told that my services were no longer needed. I would like to thank everybody that's supported my program. It's been a pleasure to share this wonderful experience with you. I need to take a big deep breath this weekend and figure out what my future plans are. But, old Winter Soldiers NEVER DIE, and I look forward to letting you know what lies ahead. Solidarity!"
Barrilleaux has stated that the station will no longer broadcast in the news/talk format, but didn't have any further details. The station is now playing holiday music, and the website simply displays a large "Happy Holidays" graphic.
WTDY is owned by Mid-west Family Broadcasting. The station itself has been in operation since 1948, when its call letters were WISC, later WISM, and has been broadcasting news and talk since the 1980s.
Brogan said that no warning was given to staffers about the layoffs. Managers called the news team into one room Wednesday morning and read a simple statement about the format change and that "our services were no longer needed." Part of the deal, too, was a requirement that the laid-off workers not "disparage or criticize" WTDY or Mid-West Family Broadcasting, else risk losing their severance packages, Brogan explained.
Rick McCoy, the station's general manager, has not yet been reached for comment.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at