Tommy Mischke, whose folksy, quirky and unpredictable approach to talk radio in the Twin Cities served him well for more than two decades, is leaving the airwaves — and doesn’t have a clue what the future holds for him.
Mischke spent most of his career on KSTP (AM 1500) before moving over in May 2010 to WCCO (AM 830).
“This show tonight will be my last radio program,” Mischke said soon after he opened his mike Thursday night. “I suppose you can say I’ve reached the bottom of the tank creatively. And I have felt it coming for quite some time.”
Mischke, 50, said he has “no new career to pursue. … I have no idea what the future holds. I’m just walking away after tonight.”
He explained that “I feel spent. … I’ve done what I came to do in front of a microphone more than two decades ago.”
Mischke said in an interview Friday that he decided on Monday to leave radio and notified his superiors the next day.
As for how he’ll pay the bills, including college tuition for two kids, he said he intends to “bleed money out of a 401(k). … Financially, it’s a disaster.”
Looking ahead, he said he’ll put little to no effort into finding new opportunities.
“I hold out the possibility that what I’m supposed to do next may have nothing to do with the first half of my life,” he said. “I do not intend to spend the next several weeks or months going out looking.”
WCCO said that in the coming days it will air highlights from Mischke’s time on the station holding down the 10 p.m.-to-midnight slot on weeknights with an approach that ranged from parody to satire to serious in-depth interviews.
Mischke’s 16-year run at KSTP ended with his firing without explanation in December 2008.
He had been named multiple times the winner of the “Best AM Radio Personality” award given by City Pages. He also was profiled in a lengthy article in the national magazine Atlantic Monthly.
Mischke joined KSTP in 1992 when he teamed with Don Vogel’s “Afternoon Saloon.” Two years later, Mischke was given his own show, which aired late nights.
In 2006, “The Mischke Broadcast” was moved to a late-drive time slot and the station put restrictions on his quirky pranks and droll tales that he spun, often at the expense of callers who phoned in. He closed out his time at KSTP covering the noon-2 p.m. slot.