The Year I lost My Identity, Father, & Marriage

I was standing outside of Evergreen Ford in Issaquah, WA in January of 2017. It was dark as I shivered and looked up at the snow and rain streaking in front of the huge lights. I was directly under one of those gas heaters pretending to be waiting on someone to buy a car. I was likely the worst car salesman in the state of Washington. Wait, you thought I was a radio “star” in Seattle? So we need to backup.

I was part of Fitz in The Morning in Seattle from (I believe) January 3rd of 2006 until the fall of 2015. At that point my contract was coming up for renewal with 100.7 The Wolf. I was severely underpaid for the position I held and the ratings we had as a show. I did some quick research, and determined the salary I would need in order to purchase the average price home in the Pacific Northwest. I then asked for that salary. Sounds fair right? Well, they did not see it that way.

In return, I was offered a $1,000 a year raise, but they were removing all endorsement and talent fees. In other words, if I made an appearance at a grand opening of a T-Mobile store, instead of paying me a few hundred dollars for the appearance they would put that in their pocket. Instead of paying me the $500 a month for endorsing a business on the radio…they put that money in their pocket. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? It was a pay cut!

Now, before you think I’m slamming my former management…I am not, because it is their business to run. Honestly, I don’t think they thought I would “walk.” Regardless, I took a stand for myself and said I would not accept their offer, and they never came back with a counter offer. So eventually, I walked out the door, but now I’m going to tell you something very few people know!

One of the reasons I had the “balls” to walk is because I was already having discussions with KIMPS, which was the only other country radio station in Seattle. They were talking to my agent and it was basically a done deal.

I will never forget getting the call from my agent. I was sitting nervously in one of those cool hipster cafes in Seattle waiting. The phone rang and I looked at my wife as if to get permission to answer. My heart exploded when she said, “They want you and the salary will be close to $200,000 a year.” After 20 years of grinding it was finally my time! Not so fast, it would not be long until I got another call.

The operations manager contacted my agent to let her know that he didn’t know why, but there was a hiring freeze with CBS Radio, and there would be no deal. And a few months later we discovered that the same company who owns 100.7 The Wolf in Seattle purchased KMPS. Ever heard the expression, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch?”

So if you’ve read the previous blog posts then you now know that at this point I was no longer a pastor. In fact, I had totally walked away from my faith. I wouldn’t say I was an agnostic, but my life was no different than someone who did not believe in God. So, you talk about an identity crisis!

I was passionate about being a pastor, and that title and life was gone. Secondly, I enjoyed being on the radio, and that was gone! And for the next year I would spiral downward into a depression that would come to it’s peak in October of 2016. At that point, my wife told me she wanted a divorce. And then shortly after that father passed away.

And so there I was, selling cars for the incredible folks at Evergreen Ford, and selling insurance for an amazing family owned agency in Bellevue, WA. I was new to both so I wasn’t making enough money for a divorce! In fact, when I met with a divorce attorney she told me to go back and tell my wife that we were too broke to get divorced! However, we moved forward with the hell that is called divorce.

And that brings us back to me standing under the heater as the rain, sleet, and snow peppered my face. At that moment, I looked up and said, “God, I can’t take anymore. I need your help.” And what would happen in the next 24 hours would be incredible. I’ll share that in the next post.

Love ya,

Tony

17 responses to “The Year I lost My Identity, Father, & Marriage”

  1. David C

    I really had longed to know your story. Out of protest, I never listed to the Wolf again. Then when the Seattle Bull station was syndicated to the Bobby Bones Show, I flipped a cork and got Spotify! I truly loved the Fitz show, but because of you! No one else. I’m sorry you have had these headaches, but I love your posts and you saved me a bunch of money on my insurance! See, you are still blessing folks!

    Like

    1. Thank you for supporting me! 🙂

      Like

  2. Terri Mullen

    Ugh! You left me hanging Tony!!!! I can’t wait for the next one!!!

    Like

  3. Jackie Campbell

    Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my husband 7-31-2020. Yo this day I still ask why. He went through so much before his death we both questioned why he had not taken him sooner. He was caught in a fire was in ICU and the hospital for 42 day. Shortly afterwards fell broke his shoulder and had to have surgery twice on it. Not long after that had a toe amputation and ended up having to have a lower leg amputation. Close to a year later died of cardiac arrest.
    I came home from work to find him not breathing. I started chest compressions until EMTs arrived but was too late. I am still so broken. I attend church regularly but still have a hard time understanding.

    Like

    1. Hi Jackie, I’m sorry for the traumatic years of your life. I hope you’ve received help for PTSD, which is a real issue in your situation. I love ya and said a prayer for you tonight.

      Like

  4. Sharon Bannister

    You&Fitz were the best radio hosts. I loved listening to you before I moved to Ohio in 2013. You are an awesome person. I miss listening to you.

    Like

      1. Sharon Bannister

        No worries. I wish I could’ve met you before I left Seattle in 2013.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jo

    I too, have been at the crossroads of my faith in/of God. I since have found my way and God back in my life. I love reading your blog, and I have listened to you through radio. Lol, I feel I know you. Have a great day Tony.

    Like

  6. Noooo, it was not alcohol related. 😂 But thank you for listening and enjoying the show. I can see why you’d think I drank a lot with that crew!

    Like

  7. missheatherjo

    Tony. I think we ALL understand, your journey is yours, and we’re all just grateful to hear your truth. You & Fitz & Mary were why I started listening. I was a P1 from Day 1.
    When Mary left, I was bummed.
    When you left? I was devastated. I quit listening. I still find it hard, and skip it on the dial even now.
    I know, in my heart, God has YOUR back. You’ll find your way.
    Hang in there, and can’t wait for the next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love ya and thank you

      Like

  8. […] I had lost a job, my father, and it felt as though I was losing my family through the divorce. I wasn’t losing my kids, but as many of you know you do lose the family unit. I can’t speak for my wife at the time, but it was as if hope had been removed from our lives. To say we were both discouraged with life (and yes God) would be an understatement. Let me backup a few years to set the stage, and you may want to go back and read the last blog post. […]

    Like

  9. Donna

    It’s interesting how you feel like an old time faithful friend to so many of us from your days with Fitz in the Morning. I’m with many of the others who were gob smacked when you left (and I researched why) and I never wanted to listen again. Good for you for standing up for yourself even though it took its toll. You were true to yourself and that says so much. My son & daughter both live in Snoqualmie and I was so happy to meet you once when we visited the church where you were. Life is definitely a journey with lots of unexpected speed bumps. You are a great writer and I so appreciate you sharing your vulnerable journey with us. BTW, I’m a former pastor’s wife, divorced after 20 years. What a surprise that was. God blessed me richly though with another chance at love and we just celebrated our 27th anniversary so hopefully that will encourage you! May God pour His richest blessings on you now and please, keep on writing!

    Like

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