How I Went from Pastor to Fitz in The Morning

I was standing outside of Evergreen Ford in Issaquah, Washington 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, and uttered a simple prayer. It was one of those heart felt prayers of desperation. A Hail Mary if you will.

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.

We had moved to the Pacific Northwest 8 years earlier, because we both believed we were following God. To this day I admire her courage, because we had a great life in Texas, and we both packed up and headed west. Many don’t know this, but for the first 3 years of Fitz in The Morning in Seattle…I was in a home studio in Texas! I was a pastor in Fort Worth and refused to relocate! So now we need to go back just a little further.

I believe it was December of 2006 and Fitz called me and said, “How would you feel about doing a morning show in Seattle?” I was sitting in my church office, and told him I wouldn’t relocate, but I would consider it if they’d let me do it from Texas. The next thing I know I’m on an airplane for Seattle. Fitz had a buddy drop him off at the airport in a truck that looked very close to something from Sandford and Son (ask your parents). And he had all of his belongings in what appeared to be his father’s Army bag from the Vietnam War.

We flew off to Seattle and did an on air audition, and I have to be honest in saying I really didn’t think we would get the gig. However, after about 2 hours I was fairly certain we would get the job. They paired us with a Seattle legend who had a contagious laugh, and Fitz was on! I mean he killed it, and I couldn’t miss a punch line. And we got off the air, and the boss called us into his office and was giddy! He looked at us and said, “So, what should we call the show?”

At that moment my first thought was, “Holy shit, this guy doesn’t know I’m not going to move to Seattle.” Fitz had apparently “forgotten” to mention that part to them, and I wasn’t about to bring it up at that moment. And since I knew I wasn’t about to move I said, “I think we should call it Fitz in The Morning.” Before the end of the day I got a call from Fitz’s agent offering to represent me for FREE. Did I mention he is a lawyer? And he offered to represent me for free! Well, I agreed and then told him I was unwilling to leave my church in Texas. Two days later he called and said, “They are willing to pay you very well. So, are you telling me there is no amount of money you’d take to leave your church?”

Our church was just starting to do well, and I absolutely loved being a pastor. And I thought I was exactly where God wanted me so I told the agent I would not leave. After many discussions I was permitted to do the show from Fort Worth for a reasonable salary. And then, every single time I flew up to Seattle for an appearance I would think, “This is where you are supposed to be!” After all, Texas had two churches on every corner, and the Pacific Northwest was considered one of the most unchurched places in America.

In June of 2009 we relocated to Snoqualmie, Washington where I would be an assistant pastor in a large church. And if you’d like to know how that went you can read a previous blog post. In summary, it did not go well, and by the time we find me under the heater at the car dealership….life was a mess. And I looked up into the sky and simply said, “God, I can’t take anymore. I need your help.” Now, lets move ahead 24 hours.

My clothes were starting to hang off of me! I looked like a kid trying on his dad’s clothes! I had lost 30 lbs, and I was living in a buddy’s spare bedroom until I could find a place I could afford. My car had approximately 200,000 miles on it, and to make things worse…it was a gold color! Right? Rock bottom! I was freezing while standing under the heater when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I pulled it out and looked at the screen to see a Portland number, and couldn’t figure out who would be calling me, but picked it up anyway. On the other line was one of the most powerful “players” in radio, and he was going to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

In the next post we will look at a hillbilly’s journey in Portlandia! And just to spice it up, I’ll explain how I bought a car off of a woman I met on Bumble.


6 responses to “How I Went from Pastor to Fitz in The Morning”

  1. patti

    Loving each blog post. Miss you in Seattle.


  2. Kendis Wilson

    Loving each post! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michelle James

    Tony just found this. Loving it so much. I loved hearing you in Seattle and still follow you on FB (not always on so I miss a lot)
    Thank you for keeping life real!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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