End of an Era: Tommy Mischke Leaves the Airwaves

A genuinely original talent calls it quits, at least for a while.

Back in 2000, when for odd reasons I was spending a lot of time driving back and forth through northern Minnesota, I learned about and became fascinated with the St. Paul-based radio humorist / interviewer / musician T.D. "Tommy" Mischke. I wrote an article about him in the magazine, source of the picture above.

In the years since then, Mischke has had various up-and-down adventures with radio management, his audience, the Internet, etc. I've chronicled several along the way, for instance this in 2010 (when he came back to the airwaves); this also in 2010 about some of his phone-call riffs; this in 2009 with links to some previous installments; and, by one of his fans, this long interview about Mischke and his career. 

Word out of The Cities yesterday is that Mischke is again leaving radio. His is a genuinely original talent, and I hope he will find the right next outlet for it. Meanwhile you can find an archive of many of his shows, plus links to his CDs, at this slightly out-of-date but still functional Mischke Madness site.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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