Andrew Z sues Cumulus for breach of contractWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Star 105 radio host Andrew Zepeda filed suit against Cumulus Broadcasting on March 5, claiming his December firing was a breach of contract and his former employer is wrongfully ordering him to stop streaming his radio show via smartphone app.
The suit, filed in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, is in response to the notice of demand to cease and desist Zepeda received from Cumulus on Feb. 28, stating that his show is a violation of the noncompete agreement he signed with the station.
After being fired by Cumulus on Dec. 26, Zepeda relaunched “Andrew Z in the Morning” with many of the same cast members via free smartphone app on Feb. 25.
Zepeda is seeking a court order declaring his app show is not in violation of his noncompete agreement.
“We don’t believe that the noncompete applies to Web radio and we’re pretty adamant about that,” said Zepeda’s attorney, Beau Harvey. “We don’t believe there’s any competition whatsoever. They are different entities.”
The suit also accuses Cumulus of breach of contract and seeks $250,000 in compensation for the remainder of Zepeda’s three-year contract, signed in May.
“Our contention is he wasn’t fired with cause,” Harvey said. “Our contention is it was done as a cost-saving measure [to avoid an increase in salary Zepeda was scheduled to receive starting Jan. 1].”
Harvey said he filed the suit “to be more proactive.”
“We’re filing up front. They sent us a cease and desist. We want to make sure we get clarity,” Harvey said.
Zepeda, of Perrysburg, was fired six days after he was sentenced 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, Zepeda was found to be in violation of 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. An appeal is pending.
The show had been at Cumulus 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 May.
Reached by phone March 5, Matt Spaulding, VP/market manager for Cumulus Media, said he was not aware of the suit and had no comment.