Conservative radio hosts' influence seen in Trump's Wisconsin loss

Story highlights

  • Conservative talk radio show hosts blasted Donald Trump ahead of the Wisconsin primary
  • Badger State voters picked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican contest

(CNN)One of the strong forces Donald Trump faced in Wisconsin's Republican primary, a contest he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday, was a group of conservative talk radio show hosts who roundly criticized him.

After several contentious interviews -- including one with Charlie Sykes, a leader of the "Never Trump" movement -- Trump lashed out.
    The billionaire businessman criticized them for three days in a row -- in rallies Saturday and Monday and talking to reporters Sunday.
    "This morning I was interviewed by a very good radio guy -- not the whack job that interviewed me -- his name is Sykes? ... Oh he is the worst," Trump said at a rally in Rothschild on Saturday.
    When Trump called into Sykes' show last week, he was pressed on the tone of the campaign and his re-tweeting of an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife, Heidi.
    Saying while most people would have hung up on the host, he decided to stay on the line, because, "You take on the enemy. You take them on. You absolutely take them on."
    ‎In Racine, he told the audience the radio hosts were spreading misinformation.
    "These crazy talk show hosts who I dealt with. I call them 'Hello. Do you know I'm for anybody but Trump?' I said I didn't know that. Go ahead. What's your question? I don't care."
    Six radio hosts throughout the state criticized Trump on their shows. Green Bay host Jerry Bader told CNN earlier Tuesday he was motivated by Trump's temperament. He said the group of six shared some concerns but did not coordinate with each other.
    "We are pragmatic. We are quite frankly sophisticated enough not to buy his crap, and we do it independently."
    The other four radio hosts included Jeff Wagner, Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber.