Influential conservative Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes announced on Tuesday that, after more than two decades on the air, he is stepping down at the end of this year to “pursue new opportunities.”
“It has been both a pleasure and honor to work here,” Sykes said Tuesday morning. “It has been an extraordinary privilege to be a part of the momentous changes that have taken place in Wisconsin over the last two decades. This is not a decision that I made either lightly or recently and it was not driven by this year’s political season. I made this decision more than a year ago for both professional and very personal reasons. My father died when he was 63, and I will turn 62 this year, so this year has always been circled on my calendar. Frankly, if I was ever going to make a move, it was now. While I am stepping back from my daily radio duties I intend to remain an active voice. I want to write more, travel more and pursue new opportunities.”
Sykes has been a major voice in the movement from the right against Donald Trump’s candidacy. This past Spring, Sykes became a national name when he had an explosive interview with Trump.
“Before you called into my show, did you know that I’m a #NeverTrump guy?” Sykes asked Trump a few days before the Wisconsin primary. “That I didn’t know,” Trump replied. Sykes gave Trump several chances to back off his feud with Ted Cruz over online insults about each other’s wives, but Trump kept saying “he started it.”
“We’re not on a playground,” Sykes replied. “We’re running for president of the United States.”
Trump ended up losing the primary to Cruz.
In a blog post on Tuesday Sykes wrote that while this year’s political climate and campaign was not the reason for his decision to step down, it definitely had an influence.
“t would also be fair to say that this campaign has made the decision easier,” Sykes wrote. “The conservative movement has been badly damaged; obviously the conservative media is broken as well. So this is a good time for step back, sit down for a while, and ask “What the hell just happened here?”