Ousted Toledo radio host Andrew Zepeda is trying to start fresh after his stint in jail, but his former bosses won't give him a break.
Cumulus Media, owner of Star 105.5 FM, has threatened to sue Zepeda if he continues broadcasting his "Andrew Z in the Morning" show online.
Just after Christmas last year, Zepeda and four members of his radio crew were terminated by Cumulus Broadcasting, removing them as hosts of Star 105's morning radio show, "Andrew Z in the Morning: The People's Show."
Zepeda began broadcasting his show on a mobile app called Toledo's App Station this past Monday. He was under a six month non-compete agreement with Cumulus, but Zepeda's lawyer doesn't believe the clause covers an Internet broadcast.
"We don??t believe that the non-compete applies to Web radio and we??re pretty adamant about that,?? attorney Beau Harvey said, pointing to a precedent set by a similar case in Stark County, Ohio, in which a judge differentiated between the Web and an FCC-licensed radio station. ??Specifically with Andrew, they??ve limited his scope to the local business area ?? in other words, Toledo ?? whereas the Web reaches the world. ?| We don??t believe there??s any competition whatsoever. They are different entities. That??s really where we are. We??re kind of at a standoff.??
The radio host was fired from Star 105 shortly after a Wood County judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail for violating probation. Zepeda underwent alcohol dependency treatment after pleading guilty to charges related to the 2010 burglary of his former Perrysburg pizzeria, including theft, failure to remit sales tax and complicity to commit breaking and entering.
"I said I was sorry and I'll say I'm sorry for years to come, I'm sure. But I've paid the price of my actions," Zepeda said on his show, referencing Cumulus' cease and desist order. "We've been bankrupt, currently on food stamps, currently receiving unemployment, I had to go to jail... I've done everything I've had to do to try to make amends."