Andrew Z relaunches radio show via smartphone appWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Zepeda hasn’t listened to Star 105 since Cumulus Media abruptly dropped his morning show Dec. 26 — but not out of spite. His radio is broken.
“The ironic thing is the one car we have, the radio broke the week after we got fired, I swear to God,” Zepeda said. “So I haven’t really listened to terrestrial radio since I left. I don’t have the money to get it fixed. Actually I use my phone. That’s what I use for all my entertainment now.”
Fittingly, Zepeda plans to relaunch “Andrew Z in the Morning” on Feb. 25 via a free mobile app called Toledo’s APP Station.
The morning show will stream live 6:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Afterward, the show will replay on a loop all day.
The show will be the first Toledo radio station exclusively available via smartphone, Zepeda said. The app is available for Android and will be available for iPhones soon.
“We are jumping on a concept that is sweeping larger U.S. cities like Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago, but has yet to make its way to medium size markets like Toledo … until now!” Zepeda posted on his Facebook page Feb. 18.
Mobile radio apps are the future of the genre, Zepeda said.
“Whether it’s Pandora or Spotify, it’s hard to find someone that hasn’t (listened to something on their mobile device during the past week). Everyone’s doing it now,” Zepeda said, adding that at least one car manufacturer is planning to incorporate mobile radio apps into its dashboards.
“We’re going to be right next to terrestrial radio at some point,” Zepeda said. “It’s the way the future is going.”
The show’s cast will feature familiar voices, including Zepeda’s wife Michelle, Brandon Doriot, Calen Savidge and Corey W. King.
“It’s going to be the same kind of energy we had on the other show, but a lot less restrictions where we can go comedically,” Doriot said. “We’ll have no real censors. My humor has always been a little edgy. I’ll probably gain an inch, but we also don’t want to alienate people.”
Zepeda said he is confident people will seek out the show because “it is still the best show in Toledo.”
“We all have enough personal pride in what we do that we wouldn’t launch this if we didn’t know we had a really great product to put out there,” Zepeda said.
If all goes well, Zepeda plans to add channels featuring local musicians and comedians.
“The cool thing is it’s endless the amount of stations you can put on there,” Zepeda said.
To start, the show will broadcast from Zepeda’s Perrysburg home, but he hopes to find more sponsors and studio space soon. Zepeda also alluded to another project in the works featuring more traditional media that would be announced soon.
Split from Cumulus
Zepeda said he was “blindsided” Dec. 26 when he was told “Andrew Z in the Morning: The People’s Show” was being dropped by Cumulus Media. The show had been at the station since July 2011, starting at tiny 100.7 The Vibe before being promoted to a larger signal at Star 105 in March and awarded a multiyear contract in June.
The firing came six days after Zepeda was sentenced by Wood County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry to 30 days at the Wood County Justice Center, with permission to apply for work release, and five years’ community control, including no bars or alcohol.
In October, Mayberry found Zepeda violated his intervention in lieu of conviction by participating in a Sept. 13 celebrity charity boxing match at which alcohol was served. The violation meant Zepeda was convicted of three felony charges related to a 2010 break-in at his former business in Perrysburg. An appeal is pending.
“I couldn’t have been more blindsided,” Zepeda said. “Days earlier, we had conversations with the higher-ups that said, ‘Oh, don’t worry. Everything’s good.’”
It was “a hopeless time,” Zepeda said. “There’s been some dark times over the last couple years, but I thought, “There’s no way to come back from this,” Zepeda said. “It’s what I’ve done my entire adult life and I really didn’t see an out this time. It was a tough time.”
Matt Spaulding, vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media, agreed the firing was abrupt, but declined to comment further, saying only that “there are several reasons and Andrew is aware of each.”
After the firing, it wasn’t clear what would happen to the show.
Three cast members, Jerry Pickering aka Avalanche, Steve Reamey aka Gay Steve and Carlos Dias, were offered and took positions at Cumulus Media. Donny Palicki aka Donny P is no longer working in radio, Zepeda said.
Those who remained initially weren’t sure they wanted to stick with him for another try, Zepeda said.
“Not everyone was on board at first, but listeners were posting on Facebook, asking ‘When are you guys coming back?’ and I said, ‘You know what? We have to do this because this is what I do. It’s the only thing I know. It’s what I love to do,’” Zepeda said.
Doriot said it was “disheartening” to see the show’s “forward momentum come to a grinding halt” and he had to do some soul-searching before agreeing to do another show.
“When you go through that, it does occur to you that you don’t want to continue making the same mistake over and over,” Doriot said. “I went a few weeks without really contacting him and when you get away from that and all you read is the bad stuff, it’s easy to say, ‘This is a mistake.’ But then we talked and all that old chemistry comes back and you realize it’s a good thing. And if I can make money doing it, I don’t see why I wouldn’t.”
Zepeda said fans of the show are excited.
“It’s funny because it drives people who don’t listen to the show crazy,” Zepeda said. “They’re like, “Why do they keep supporting this guy?’ I think if you don’t listen to the show, you don’t get it. You either get it or you don’t.
“The morning bond is such an intimate bond with somebody,” Zepeda said. “It’s when they first wake up and it’s usually just you and them in the car. The bond we’ve had with our listeners over the past eight years is just amazing and they support you through everything. We’re just super excited.”