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.