End of an Era
I would like to think that I am a bit of a pioneer when
it comes to talk radio listening. When doing
deliveries for the family business back in the mid 80's,
I grew weary of hearing the same BTO songs every day on
the "Home of Rock and Roll". It lead me to surf
the AM band in search of something different. I
came across Bob Yates who held down the afternoon drive
on KSTP AM 1500, News, Sports and Talk Radio.
Liking what I heard, I started to listen to Don Vogel,
the Round Mound of Sound - a blind man doing a radio
show. He had a caller who he referred to as "The
Phantom Caller". I remember hearing this guy who
would call and do this insane narrative about 100
different topics in about 45 seconds. The only one
I specifically remember had something to do with going
to a diner where the "waitress was drinking corn whiskey
out of a dirty distributor cap".
Well Vogel's Phantom Caller was
a guy named Tommy Mischke, who later partnered with Don
for "The Afternoon Saloon". Mischke's brilliance
was immediately apparent. He had the raw high
energy of an 8 year old after drinking too much orange
soda. He was famous for right in the middle of a
bit he would pickup a ringing line and say in a low,
quiet monotone "Mischke Broadcast". The caller
would say "yeah I want to talk to Mischke", completely
unaware that they were on the air.
One night Mischke does this and
it is a lady who thinks that she has called some Sears
Outlet Store and is looking for a curtain rod.
Mischke makes her think she needs something called an
Oswald Rod and politely jacks around with her for about
15 minutes. Classic Mischke.
Another time he is talking to
this old guy who is all concerned about high school
hockey players shouldn't pile on each other after a goal
because a skate is going to injure someone.
Mischke says didn't you hear? A kid was
decapitated today, and the guy in his best Fargo accent
says ohhh...no.. Finally the guy gets wise that
his leg is being pulled and he says "Is this Butch?"
Mischke says "you got me, it's Butch" The old guy
seems confused - "You don't sound like yourself Butch"
Mischke says flat out "I got throat cancer" And we
get another ohhh...no. Mischke says "I'm fine!
I just got it a little bit ... just enough to mess up
the voice a bit".
My greatest talk radio moment
was that I made Mischke laugh. He was talking
about something and stating it in a very bullet point,
line by line fashion, in a very gruff voice. I
told him he sounded like a Larry King column "For me,
pound for pound there was no greater ball player than
Rico Petracelli" he howled with laughter that felt
like spring showers raining over me. Every other
one of the other half dozen times I called him he
hung-up on me, including the time I called to tell him I
liked milk. He accused me of being a farmer or
knowing someone who profits from milk sales. Yeah.
That's how Mischke shows went.
His laugh came easy, and was
infectious. I have an example of the Mischke
laugh. Jim Souhan was talking about Sid Harman
with TD and it damn near killed him.
Souhan/Mischke - Sid Hartman Story
Well KSTP let TD Mischke go
right before Christmas. Radio is a fickle business
and I am not going to pass judgement on anyone here.
I'll just say that Tommy was a true original and he is
If you want more Mischke go to