Arnie Returns To Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show
Rob And Arnie Tell The Almost-Tragic Story
November 13, 2012 at 1:58 PM (PT)
Radio is strange ... and life is certainly stranger. The best living example of that is ARNIE STATES of the syndicated ROB, ARNIE & DAWN show, who returned to the air this morning following more than three weeks off, recovering from a suicide attempt.
ROB WILLIAMS shares the story with ALL ACCESS in the hopes that others who are troubled will seek help, as ARNIE did.
"When ARNIE didn't show up on time for work on MONDAY morning 10/22, I went to his house since he wasn’t answering his phone and it’s unheard of for any of us to be late. After making his dog bark for five minutes (hoping he had just slept in), I deduced something much more serious was going on and we contacted 911. Ultimately, the police agreed to force entry (via ARNIES’s doggie door), let us all in and ARNIE was found in his bedroom, bleeding from the wrists, but alive.
ARNIE had slit his wrists in an attempt to end his life. It was a serious attempt, not one designed to gather attention, as he called no one, left no note, and went back in three separate times when he kept waking up and realizing he wasn’t dead yet."
WILLIAMS says the remaining RAD Show members (ROB WILLIAMS, DAWN ROSSI, producers CRISTI CANTLE and BRANDON ANGEL) handled the situation like total pros. "I’ve never seen such an amazing team, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. When the show members were told by me that morning what ARNIE had done, there were some tears and then everyone sprung into action doing everything from communicating with affiliates, planning to do Best-Of Morning Shows, taking care of ARNIE’s dog, cleaning up his house, etc. Because of privacy issues and HIPPA laws, we had to keep everyone in the dark, which meant a lot of leaps of faith on the parts of radio partners, clients and sponsors. Everyone was amazing."
This morning ARNIE returned to the airwaves to tell the story live on the air to the RAD Show's listening audience. WILLIAMS says "Overwhelmingly, there was sadness and a sense of shock at the totality of the news. No one expected what came out of ARNIE’s mouth. People had guessed that a family member had died, or maybe that after 15-plus years of sobriety, ARNIE had relapsed, but to hear him explain that life had taken him over, that he had been battling depression for four years and that he slit his wrists was powerful. There were a handful of people who wrote and called in expressing their disappointment in ARNIE and some who called him a loser and pussy for getting so desperate. We aired them all."
In a show of support to ARNIE, the RAD Show is selling SUPPORT ARNIE shirts. WILLIAMS explains "Shortly after ARNIE disappeared from the air we designed the SUPPORT ARNIE logo, which was a group of people holding up a platform with an elephant on it. ARNIE is an enormously fat man, so the elephant represents him. We sold a few hundred of those while he was gone, and sales spiked when he told everyone the total story TODAY. We made sure to mention various suicide prevention websites and phone lines but truthfully, our show deals with subjects on a semi-regular basis and this will simply become a recurring theme which we will happily confront whenever the situation dictates."
WILLIAMS wrapped up his story to ALL ACCESS by saying "ARNIE is my best friend and loyal on-air partner for the past 20 years and throughout that time, he has been both the funniest person I’ve ever met and someone who has struggled with multiple demons, but he has overcome them all along the way. This will be no different and he and I will resume making radio magic with the rest of our amazing team starting TOMORROW. There is truly no greater group of talented human beings working together under one roof than this team."
ARNIE told ALL ACCESS, "I would just like to add that I am a really blessed/lucky guy to work with the people I work with. Not only did they help me through this dark-ass time in my life, but they never judged or took things I did personal. They just wanted me to get better, and every day I am getting a little better. The doctors warned me that I would have bad days like everyone does. But not everyone has such an amazing group of friends they get to work with who are really on my side. Even though I am so damned fat."
For more info on the SUPPORT ARNIE shirts, visit www.robarnieanddawn.com.