After his revealing email interviews with MinnPost's David Brauer last week, former AM 1500 host T. D. Mischke spoke further with Gimme Noise regarding his termination from AM 1500 on December 5.
Understandably, the aftermath of a firing is fraught with legal and professional perils too numerous to foresee. For this reason, the interview, also conducted over email, is reprinted verbatim, as per Mischke's wish.
Were you aware of the firing prior to your final broadcast on Friday? If not, why do you suppose you were denied the chance at a farewell show?
I was not aware this was coming. I was caught off guard as much as my listeners were. As for an on air good-bye, farewell shows are highly unusual in radio. Generally, in this industry, you're fired exactly the way I was. Management waits until the end of a particular program, and calls you into the office at that point to tell you it's over. You then leave the building never to return. It may sound cold, but understand, this is the norm across the country, with the occasional exception here and there.
Over your career, you've been responsible for many breaches of conduct on-air, practices which have been tolerated and celebrated by AM 1500 and your listeners. Why the sudden change of heart now?
I honestly can't answer that question. I don't know why.
The reason cited in your termination has proven to be something quite pedestrian. Why the long period without comment from you and AM 1500?
On their end it's simple company policy. Nothing more nothing less. On my end it was the result of advice from a friend of mine who is an attorney. He told me not to say anything. But I grew weary of the questions and speculation and the phone calls and emails. I spent 17 years saying what was on my mind. It felt unnatural to suddenly be so quiet. It feels right just to get everything out there and to move on.
The reasons cited to you seem quite official and routine. But the abruptness of your firing and the fact that a replacement had not, and still has not, been secured could suggest greater immediacy to your termination. Do you feel you're being given a straight story by AM 1500?
Times are hard in radio, real hard. The management over there has to put together a budget for 2009 that makes sense. I don't know the nuts and bolts of the business end. But I can't imagine all the things they have to deal with right now figuring out how to stay in the black in this economy. On the day I was let go 18 people downstairs, in the TV end, lost their jobs as well. The morning show host lost his job just a few days ago. Who knows what all is at play. As I said, these are difficult times. I wish them nothing but the best trying to figure out how to traverse the terrain ahead.
The general consensus among station sources as well as people who have followed this story is that the McDonalds conflict is the true cause of the firing, and that the FCC violation is being used as a smokescreen to prevent greater damage to the Hubbards' professional relationship with McDonalds. Your comment on this to Brauer was vague. Is there anything more you can say about this aspect of the firing?
There's been nothing said to me to indicate this was related.
When you started as a caller to Vogel, a career in radio wasn't an aspiration of yours. After a 17 year career, do you feel an urge to explore other avenues, or are you inclined to continue a career in broadcasting?
Here the picture is reduced to simple math. Since I got into radio in June of '92 I've gone and got married and had a couple of kids. I'm no longer in the dreamy world of what would I like to do with my life. Bills are rolling in right now and no money is rolling in beside 'em. Add to that the dreary economic picture and I'm in a position where writing short notes to bank tellers has to be considered an option
You changed the name of your album from "Songs for the Livin'" to "That Kind Of Day." Do you find that name change to have added meaning in the face of your termination?
I've thought about that myself. Maybe I jinxed my world when I changed that title. My wife told me this CD was a tad darker than the last one. Maybe some part of me sensed the bleak days ahead. I think I'll name my next CD "Lottery Winner."