Shocker: KSTP-AM fires Tommy Mischke

This seems like spitting on the flag; KSTP-AM fired beloved radio yarn-spinner T. D. Mischke Friday.

I called Mischke Saturday morning and he was gracious, diplomatic and cautious. “I want to be able to talk about it, but I need a little time before I can,” he said.

Expect a torrent of outrage; for 17 years, Mischke has been a genuine, funny, decent presence in a commercial-radio landscape filled with haters and bloviators. [Update: Mischke said a brief goodbye to his fans on AM1500’s website. Hopefully, management leaves the discussion up.]

He began as Don Vogel’s sidekick in 1992, and has done the noon to 2 p.m. show after working late nights for years. His talent was vast enough to be recognized nationally; for example, in this excellent Atlantic Monthly profile (PDF).

Even though the TV side laid off 18 people Thursday, word was the rest of the Hubbard empire went untouched.

A discussion about Mischke’s removal has erupted at the radio site Redandnater. One anonymous commentator says KSTP management axed Mischke a day after the release party for his CD “That Kind of Day” — an event KSTP program director Steve Konrad attended.

Just a month ago, Konrad talked up Mischke in a lengthy City Pages profile of the host. I’ll try to get station management’s explanation this weekend.

[Conflict of interest note; Konrad hired me at KSTP in the mid-’90s; he was a very supportive boss. Tommy was a very supportive colleague.]

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Karl Pearson-Cater on 12/06/2008 - 10:48 am.

    That’s hard to believe. Truly a shocker.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/06/2008 - 11:38 am.

    I’m sorry to hear this. At his best, Mischke was hugely entertaining and always original.

    He’s said he hated it, but I used to really look forward to his broadcasts from Midway field during Saints games…it became a summertime staple for me.

    But he had been increasingly incapable of restraint; interjecting his bitter lefty political partisanship (with a vehemence that rivals my own) into what everyone had come to expect to be a light hearted midday break from politics.

    Politics has it’s place, and every one is entitled to his or her own opinion but in this case (as with Keillor’s “PHC”), politics was a spice that putrefied a once lovely dish.

    For myself, a segment a few months ago where Tommy bitterly (and hypocritically IMO) railed on Southern states was the tipping point that sent my dial to the FM side until Sucherey’s show.

    I really do hope Tommy lands on his feet somewhere very soon; but please, take a pill and relax, son….leave the spittle flecked political invective to the experts!

  3. Submitted by Jason Nagel on 12/06/2008 - 12:36 pm.

    Here’s hoping Mischke winters well and returns soon to our radio dial.

    I would wish coal for the radio bosses this xmas but I’m starting to think that they eat the stuff.

  4. Submitted by Julie Sandburg on 12/06/2008 - 01:39 pm.

    Wow. This is very messed up.

  5. Submitted by Sam Bergman on 12/06/2008 - 11:19 pm.

    If I’m Mick Anselmo, I’m already on the phone offering Mischke the evening shift at WCCO. And if I’m Minnesota Public Radio, I’m working overtime to figure out how to use Mischke’s talents to create an entirely new kind of public radio show that could have national appeal…

  6. Submitted by Hanson Hanson on 12/07/2008 - 06:57 pm.

    I first heard about Mischke from an old man who’d been on radio way back when. That was when Tommy was on at night, and he was so refreshing to listen to, after having listened to KNOW much of the day. I tried listening when he was on during “rush hour” and wasn’t keen on him at that time of day, I’m afraid. Finally, when he came on at noon, I found him a wonderful diversion when the world was falling apart on other stations. I was absolutely shocked and devastated to read in today’s Strib that he’d been sacked! I know he’ll find another slot, and I hope to hear him again soon. I simply love his unpredictablility, the silences, the shuffling of papers, and the shouts down the hall!

  7. Submitted by Sean Bailey on 12/07/2008 - 10:39 pm.

    I listened to old Tommy for a good chunk of my life. I’m going to miss the broadcast. I’ve been far from good old st. paul for awhile, and the show was always my ticket home for a couple of hours.

    I’m sure he’ll find another outlet, someone will hire the man.

    I hope.

  8. Submitted by Craig Bowron on 12/08/2008 - 03:15 pm.

    Ponce de La Mischke, World Intellectual Explorer!You can bet that Tommy will find a different ship to sail.
    The man does great radio — who cares if he lists to port or starboard?

  9. Submitted by Ken Kadet on 12/08/2008 - 04:18 pm.

    Driving home from anywhere late at night, listening to Mischke is a surreal experience. I suppose if The Common Man can survive from noon to 2, Mischke could have, but I’d argue he’s a different beast … an old-fashioned storyteller and prankster perfect for late night as a nip of cocoa with a little something extra.

    I hope MPR can create a space for him … he’d be perfect, and, as always, like nothing else out there.

    Finally – I got a “file not found” when I clicked on the link to the Atlantic article… anyone have it somewhere else to share?

  10. Submitted by Steve Clemens on 12/08/2008 - 05:14 pm.

    KSTP was never really a good fit for someone as creative as Mischke. Maybe Don Shelby can go to bat for him and encourage his bosses at WCCO radio to keep his show local.

    My two favorite memories of his show: his honesty about his depression and his willingness to go host an impromptu fundraiser for a female sheriff’s deputy in southwest GA who had no health insurance.

    I’m not sure it’s really a complement but our family named our dog Mischke in honor of our son’s favorite radio host.

  11. Submitted by Roy Quady on 12/08/2008 - 05:32 pm.

    mischke was a cancer on KSTP Radio. mischke is a bad boy who will never grow up into manhood. mischke has talent — talent on loan from the devil. It is highly unlikely that mischke’s brother will hire mischke at The Villager. And it is certain that no radio station will ever hire mischke. That City Pages stuff about mischke being the top radio personality was all a hoax.

  12. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/09/2008 - 12:18 pm.

    “KSTP was never really a good fit for someone as creative as Mischke.”

    Perhaps – and yet, I suspect it was just about the only place that would have chanced it with him.

    As to Mischke working for MPR – Yeah, I think it’d be cool, too – but remember how audibly he chafed under Hubbard management (which, by radio industry standards, was pretty benign and hands-off, especially compared to the Hubbard Broadcasting I grew up working for)? How do you think he’d fare working for the much more hide-bound regime at MPR (to say nothing of ‘CCO)?

    My $.02 in the post linked above.

    All the best to Tom.

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