Laurie Roth
Pushing through the wall of despair
National host and singer to Dr. Road Kill
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By Laurie Roth
May 20, 2016

I have been hit many times with the seduction to just give up. The first time involved the flattening of my only dream at the time to make it as a singer and songwriter. From childhood on I had entered contest after contest, choir after choir, then sent off tape after tape trying to get noticed. Finally, after years of pushing, calling and selling myself and songs I finally got what I thought was a break. I formed a little production company, established a team I believed in, raised money and signed a distribution deal with a major label Mogul/BMJ. The reviews were coming in and great. When my record was starting to go up the charts and it seemed I was going to finally make it as a singer after all these years....the unbelievable happened. I ended up being a victim of crime, had hard to raise money stolen by a company overseas and my record promoter was linked to a major crime family. My prize for finally starting to make it out of a small town was to go bankrupt, watch my record fall quickly off the charts due to an absence of stolen promotional dollars, become yesterday's news overnight and fall into despair for losing my long fought for career and everyone's money that I loved. Oh yeah, along with so many being mad at me for losing all their money, being evicted from my home and my car being repossessed, I was sickingly aware I was too old to start all over again in the music business. Now what? Too old and too poor. Don't feel any pressure! I disappeared into the woods with my dogs. Maybe I could sing to the trees in between crying and praying.

It was finally out of my boredom of my whining and feeling such despair that I started thinking that maybe I could do something else, like talk radio. I felt I was too old for a recording contract now. So I started volunteering at a small station in Eugene Or and developing a national radio show out of my music disaster. Maybe I could compete here somehow.

From the start up of my national radio show in 2003, I was working hard as an Independent, growing markets, ratings and advertisers. Maybe my life would start to go in the right direction now. My listeners quickly knick named me The Annie Oakley of the Airwaves due to my hard-hitting and satirical style. I was just having fun that is all I knew.

Things were going great until Aug 2005 when I made national news by nearly being killed on my motorcycle when a Deer slammed into me as I turned a corner. My skull split open on the hot pavement. I'm told I was about 2 minutes from death at the scene and my lungs were filling with blood. I had severed and artery in the back of my throat. I was suffocating. 1st responders expected me to die. My forehead was fractured. My cheekbones were shattered. My jaw was broken in 3 places. My eye socket caved in. The roof of my mouth was severed. It was suddenly the end of almost everything for me. I slipped into a coma and did not awaken for several weeks.

It marked an abrupt close to my broadcast career. Along with breaking nearly everything from the neck up, I had bruises and severe damage to my cranial nerve, inner ear and immediate recall and memory storage area of the brain I would easily forget any new conversations. I remember my close friends and husband telling me how I would repeat myself in a conversation for the first 3-4 months of recovery. How lovely, a formerly pretty girl who looks like Frankenstein now and acts like she has Alzheimer's. Isn't that special!?

The other huge hit for our family was financial. Our only income had been the small income we received from my little but growing radio show. My husband and I had made this show our only income so he and I could be home since we had foster adopted two precious and needy children who needed much attention. We thought at the time that being there for the kids was more important than two incomes at the moment. In addition we had no health insurance when this accident occurred. We couldn't afford it. I had no disability insurance and I had no coverage whatsoever. My annual income was less then $30,000. That was covering a family of four.

As the massive medical bills started to climb quickly past $250,000, my husband applied to Medicaid for help. They checked out our income and tax records, and then said we qualified. Otherwise we would have quickly gone bankrupt. Medicaid at least paid a lot of the major stuff.

After a month and a half in the hospital I came home. My show was off the air after 3 months of guest hosts. After 6 surgeries, a year of braces on my teeth, therapy and endless visits to Doctors I saw enough healing and growth that when I looked in the mirror I saw back the reflection and face I had always known. With my cranial nerve being seriously damaged to my left eye, and struggling with seeing double for nearly 2 years, my munched inner ear began healing ever so slowly.

After 10 months of daily work and practice with walking, talking, exercising my very injured eye and more, USA Radio Network offered me the opportunity to return to my national radio show, 7-10 pm each night again.

I am still recovering regarding struggles and distortion with my left eye, regulating my sleeping patterns, energy issues and dumbness in my mouth. Only last summer I was finally able to receive surgery on my damaged left eye. Now it tracks with the other eye and has 60% less double vision. I thank God for this. In Dec of 2015, I received two major spinal surgeries, where L3, L4 and L5 were fused. My surgeon feels strongly that the deterioration and pain emanating from my spine had everything to do with the major trauma of my motorcycle wreck. I am now walking several miles a day and 5 months after my spinal surgery have started carefully to jog again. Now, I am more like a Renoir painting than a beautiful, clear landscape – A little abstract and broken but still beautiful.

'Dead' and I don't get along – Life is way better. I can run again, sing and do concerts again, look like me again and am busy putting together my multi faceted career as I can. I don't do victim well, but I do dream big and walk forward into those dreams.

Over 18 years ago I started writing a crime drama, I would act the lead in. My character would be a forcibly retired CIA agent, who has many secrets and is being pursued by many. She is hiding her background in Spokane WA and sings in a local jazz club at times to work out her personal demons. Now my character is also recovering from a near fatal motorcycle wreck as she pieces her life back together. Hark...where did I get that idea?

This you may think is a ridiculous and very hard goal for what I have gone through – my limitations, age and the toughness in the media world. You would be right. It is not hard, it is impossible...just the way God and I like it. I am excited to see what the Lord has next for me. Because I belong to Him, I know it is big, successful, and meaningful and God will use it all...the hardships, dreams, successes and failures in my life. I'm not so organized but He is.

'With Christ all things are possible' Phil: 4:13. Remember to dream big and practice living, not dying. Take your shaky dream and place it in God's hand. Trust Him, then take a step, then another and another. If you stumble and fall, dust off the dirt on your pants, notice the cool rip in your jeans and take another step.

Progress and real achievement is always made at the hands of broken and tried people who trust in the Living God and just keep going no matter what people say or the obstacles are. If I can come back so can America.

© Laurie Roth

 

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Laurie Roth

Dr. Laurie Roth — the "Annie Oakley" of the airwaves — is a nationally-syndicated radio talk-show host. She has hosted successful talk shows on radio stations from Boston to L.A. with no shortage of callers... (more)

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