For the majority of 2014, Michael Floorwax, veteran morning-show host on 103.5 The Fox, has been off the air for reasons that were never specified. Now, Floorwax has released a statement that was read to listeners by longtime partner Rick Lewis moments ago. In it, he reveals that he's fighting medical problems that will prevent him from returning to the show. Details and the complete statement below.
As we've reported, Lewis addressed Floorwax's absence numerous times during the first several weeks he was gone, albeit in vague fashion. In one such instance, Lewis said Floorwax was going through a rough patch and might not be back for a while. On another, we hear Lewis told the Fox's audience that Floorwax remained in town and apparently wasn't averse to telling fans who ran into him why he was gone -- but no one at the station could do so because of HIPAA.
This last reference is to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, whose wide-ranging privacy rules include provisions restricting employers from revealing information about an individual's medical history.
Lewis and longtime morning-show producer Kathy Lee didn't respond to interview requests from Westword earlier this year. As for Greg Foster, vice president/programming for the Denver branch of Clear Channel, the Fox's owner, he sent the following response via e-mail: "Floorwax is currently taking a personal leave of absence. For privacy reasons, we will not comment further."
At last, Floorwax has broken his silence. Here's his statement, which is posted on The Fox's website:
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To The Fox Family
I want to take this time to reach out to my radio family and let everyone know what's been going on this past year. I feel like I'm ready to talk about this and feel like you deserve to know. I also want to clear up some rumors that are going around about me. #1 I did not fall off the wagon, I have been clean and sober now for 30 years and very proud of that. I did not quit my job and iHeartMedia did not fire me.
As you know, if you have listened to the show at all for the past 24 years, I have struggled with certain medical issues. I've openly talked about it on the radio and have made many jokes at my own expense about the issues that have plagued me for many years. I know many of you have reached out to me over the years and have said that you struggle from similar conditions.
Some of you may know that with these types of conditions, doctors will experiment with many different drugs to see what will work. Some work for a while, some don't work at all and others can actually make things worse. This past year has been the biggest battle of my life as I continue to seek relief.
I know that many of you have sent out well wishes and prayers and believe me they are most appreciated. I want to thank Rick and Kathy and the Fox morning show for standing by me over the years and helping me get through some pretty tough days. I continue to battle and hopefully will get this under control. Unfortunately, I will not be coming back as I have to focus all my energy on regaining my health and well-being.
In the meantime, keep the good thoughts and prayers coming. Thank you!
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Lewis acknowledged after reading the letter that "it's been a rough couple of days." But the tone of the show to date has been upbeat, with Lewis, Lee and callers reminiscing in good-humored fashion about Floorwax's 24 years on the Denver airwaves.
We wish Michael Floorwax the best.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.