Losing Mischke vol. 1

At the start of the first work week without Mischke in over 17 years, AM 1500 was still running Mischke's ad spots on-air, including bits for longtime sponsor R. F. Moeller Jeweler's. But Mischke's personal page on the AM 1500 website, which included a message board on which his many fans mourned his firing over the weekend, is now a dead link.


AM 1500 is still keeping mum, as is Hubbard Broadcasting, who rarely comments on the ground level maneuvers of its many media outlets, and amid this dead air, conjecture flies wildly, as fans and listeners fire pot shots in an attempt to explain the abruptness of Tom Mischke's termination.

Declining ratings might partially explain the firing (according to these numbers posted on minnpost this afternoon, Bob Davis is still the stray dog of the AM 1500 lineup by more than a point margin). But they do not explain the abruptness of the firing, particularly when you adjust Mischke's numbers for the fact that he is directly preceded by Davis, whose 0.9 ratings share makes Mischke's 2.1 look like the Hope Diamond.

Whatever the numbers bear out, there is no pardoning the fact that the firing was conducted with a deplorable lack of ceremony. Mischke, for whom AM 1500's personal esteem seemed beyond question only a month and a half ago, was denied a farewell show, and was swiftly excised from the station's website and promotional materials. After 17 years of beautifying their airwaves, Mischke was flushed with all the honors owed a pet crocodile that suddenly grew up.

And what now for the AM 1500 airwaves? Even with Mischke shoehorned into the afternoon line-up, the broadcast content was marked by disgruntled, low-decibel commentary that, unlike Mischke's show, did little to elevate the background noise of day-to-day life.

In my conversations with him, Mischke considered himself lucky to have maintained such a career for such a long period, even jokingly remarking that the one thing he lacked that other radio greats had was a good firing story. And his listeners can scarcely deny their own good fortune. Finding Mischke on-air day after day for 17 years is like a two decade-long game of roulette where every bet hits.

Sure: Luck, more than any other phantom property, is keenly subject to entropy, and it runs out fast. But this is a move that stamps the sparks to stoke the ashes. It's another inch lost in the Scorched Earth policies that wring the last drops from the quickly exsanguinating patient. More over, the lack of pomp short changes AM 1500's listeners (which, with their advertising dollars, employ the station and all its denizens), and the breath we now bate while awaiting Mischke's replacement is the breath of morbid curiosity and more than a little indignation.