Managed to grab Tommy Mischke after his final City Pages webcast Thursday. The exit — which, as noted earlier, does not mean he’s giving up his alt-weekly column — was a bit of a surprise; Mischke says he didn’t decide today was plug-pulling day until 1 p.m.
Still, the exit had been in the cards for weeks. “I knew at the start of the New Year I didn’t want to sign any new one-year advertising contracts with clients because I knew I wanted to try something new,” he says. “As soon as you alert your advertisers to the fact that you’re looking around for some new endeavor, it sort of sends the signal that there’s no point in them getting involved in any new advertising deals. In this business you either commit or get out.”
What will he be doing now? Surprisingly, the options don’t involve a return to radio, and both sound pretty cool.
“I’m pursuing two things right now that are taking up a lot of time and I’m happy to be free now to work on them. One is a TV show. A local producer who probably doesn’t want me talking about this has come to me with a show idea and we’ve shot a pilot and it’s being pitched out west this month by his agent,” Mischke says. “Needless to say this falls under the heading of a serious crap shoot, but what the hell. It’s as much fun working on this as radio was that very first year, when I didn’t know what on earth I was doing and couldn’t believe I was being allowed to do it.
“The second thing stems from a call I received from the Mayor’s office in Saint Paul. They brought me over to the Turf Club last month for a couple of beers to talk about the possibility of me putting together some sort of regular live music and theater production in St Paul. At the Mayor’s office, they have a pretty serious desire to push the performing arts in my home town, and wanted to know if I’d be willing to take the lead in putting something together. I kind of like the challenge — though again, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.”
With that, he had to scamper off to pick up his son from school, but when he gets back, we’ll talk WCCO speculation, and what his year-plus experience says about web radio versus traditional radio.