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BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY Minneapolis 2001 - Tommy Mischke

Readers' Choice: Joe Soucheray

At 8:00 p.m. on weeknights, Tommy Mischke signs on from "good old St. Paul," and for two hours the world is a better place to be. Not that The Mischke Broadcast is rosily predictable. During a given broadcast, its host might, variously, take calls from listeners, spin comic meditations on the day's headlines, hum an impromptu showtune, improvise stream-of-consciousness advertisements for KSTP sponsors, or, as he famously did a few years back, fall silent for the show's entire duration. Mischke, like his show, is impossible to categorize: He might be Minnesota's Ambrose Bierce--a moral ironist with a deep appreciation for life's ridiculousness and plenty of Midwestern wisdom to fill the void. He's at his best, anyway, when dealing with the assorted rubes, codgers, and cranks who listen to talk radio after dark. Affecting the tone of the laconic fellow at the end of the bar, he ribs his listeners with affection. And though The Mischke Broadcast stretches facts, Mischke always gets at the truth. (To this end, he often quotes Einstein: "Imagination is more important than knowledge.") On a recent show, after relating a study about the alarming percentage of Americans who feel overworked, Mischke issued an invitation in the same deadpan tone: "Somebody grab a six-pack of Summit, and let's find a spot on the banks of the Mighty Miss to talk this thing out." There's no one we'd rather do that with.

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