Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

James Wigderson and his critics, live on Friday nights


As some of you may have read in Saturday’s Waukesha Freeman (just a dollar but chock full of coupons), some unnamed people are upset enough at what I write that they want Freeman Friday Night Live to be sponsored instead by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or some other “regional” media outlet.

Waukesha Downtown Business Association President Roger Igielski said “someone” (unnamed) approached him with the idea of switching sponsors in the hopes of getting more money and exposure for the event. However, the Waukesha Freeman received a letter at the same time from a “Debbie B. Alexander”(initials DBA) saying that if the Freeman doesn’t stop publishing opinion pieces by me then there will be boycotts of the newspaper including removal of the Freeman as a sponsor of Friday Night Live.

I have to apologize to Sarah Pryor, the Waukesha Freeman reporter, for not giving her good quote on Friday when she brought the story to my attention. I’m normally much more pithy.

Let me explain something to “someone”. I will probably be writing for the Waukesha Freeman long after Mayor Jeff Scrima and his friends are driven from public life. Nobody at the Freeman has asked me to consider quitting or switching to other subjects. Thankfully, it’s been quite the opposite experience.

Let’s add that I get quite a bit of support from the community for what I write. It doesn’t always make the Sound Off section, but people do stop to tell me when they see me in downtown Waukesha, like at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, how much they love my work. They tell me they’re glad someone is willing to do what I do.

Even former judge, Democrat, planning commission member, Guitar Town steering committee chairman and First Minister to Mayor Jeff Scrima’s New Day fund Richard Congdon had this to say the other day, “Thanks for your interest. Your questions are valid and keeps us on our toes legally and ethically.”

I’ll remind him of that the next time he comments on my dietary habits in the Waukesha Freeman.

So until the circulation manager of the Waukesha Freeman stops smiling and waving at me every time he sees me at a public event, I’m not going to lose any sleep over a proposed boycott.

That said, if “someone” else other than the email writer is proposing the change in sponsorship for other reasons, are they kidding? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has retreated behind the walls of Milwaukee County with its local coverage. Conley Publishing (which publishes the Waukesha Freeman) also owns newspapers in Oconomowoc, Washington County and Ozaukee County.

What is the potential market area for Freeman Friday Night Live? Milwaukee’s East Side? No, it’s in all of the areas I just mentioned. So let’s be realistic about what this is really about.

Me. It’s all about me. And being me is pretty good these days.

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