By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Tim Andrews, the king of impersonations, is no longer with Rock 100.5's morning show.
He left the building Wednesday and declined to comment on his departure. Cumulus Atlanta market manager Sean Shannon on Thursday told me that after producer Sebastian Davis left in the spring, the bosses asked Andrews to fill the executive producer job on top of being the funny voice guy.
But Andrews, he said, wasn't comfortable in that role. "Tim's enormously talented and we love the job he did here but his role changed," Shannon said. "He was not happy. You could hear it on the air."
So Shannon said they mutually decided to split. Rock 100.5 is actively seeking a new executive producer. As for finding a funny voice guy? That's not necessary for the new job.
UPDATE on Friday October 9: As an immediate part-time gig, Andrews will be reuniting with his former Regular Guy co-host Eric Von Haessler on Sundays on News 95.5 and AM 750 for the "Von Haessler Doctrine" from 1 to 3 p.m. starting this Sunday. Haessler is clearly on deck for a weekday job at WSB if anyone on the current lineup leaves and it wouldn't surprise me if he kept Andrews around for that move.
Shockingly, Cumulus did not have Andrews under a non compete. "They've under-estimated his talent from the beginning," Von Haessler texted me. "The fact they didn't recognize talent works to my advantage. They really are clueless over there. It's as if their plan all along has been to create the most mediocre show possible. Give'em credit. They've succeeded."
UPDATE AGAIN November 2, 2015: I heard Cumulus has had the temerity to enforce a non-compete clause of six months on Andrews' lapsed contract. (He had been working with Rock 100.5 without a contract since - get this - 2011!). Andrews would have to hire a lawyer to fight it, something he may not want to expend money on. Or Cox could pay a small fee to free him from Cumulus and allow Andrews to go on air with with Von Haessler. Von Haessler said it's outside his realm to comment on internal legal matters beyond the fact he believes Cumulus' arguments to enforce a non-compete on a contract he is no longer bound by are "specious."
Atlanta-based Cumulus, which owns Rock 100.5, is in financial turmoil. Revenues are down. The company had losses in the second quarter. The stock price is under $1. The company is weighed down by $2.4 billion in debt. And founder Lew Dickey was dropped last week as CEO and demoted to vice chairman.
Cost cutting is clearly the name of the game so Andrews appears to be a casualty at an under-performing rock station that lags far behind 97.1/The River and Radio 105.7 in ratings and revenues. An executive producer on a morning show is almost certainly cheaper to hire than an on-air talent like Andrews.
Andrews was a producer for the once popular Regular Guys toward the latter run of their time on 96rock starting in 2005 after doing promotion for the station for several years. He was promoted to "Regular Guy" status soon after he joined Rock 100.5 in 2007. The show did well for many years. Andrews remained even after V on Haessler was let go in 2013, followed by Larry Wachs late last year.
He and "Southside Steve" Rickman, along with producer Sebastian Davis, stuck around when Jason Bailey joined the cast and the show was given the generic Rock 100.5 Morning Show title. But Sebas left for a new job in the spring in California, leaving behind all the great audio bits he'd do on the road, hitting conventions and bars.
Andrews was the type of radio personality who contributed a lot of humor to the equation but rarely talked about his personal life. I recently wrote an item about the fact he recently moved in with his unnamed girlfriend, notable mostly because he is so quiet about such things.
Vinny Bucci, who interned with the Regular guys for four years from 2010 to 2014, called Andrews "a master impressionist. His many voices and overall personality brought comic relief to the show. While everyone else was forming opinions and taking political stances, Tim was cracking jokes and making everyone laugh!"
He said Andrews always made him feel welcome and he loved Andrews' imitation of Bucci's mother. "He was the last person I expected to be let go!" Bucci wrote me via Facebook. "But I'm confident he'll be back on the air again if he wants to be."
His departure leaves Bailey, Rickman, Brandi Britain and Nate Hanson. The Rock 100.5 Morning show page has already scrubbed Andrews off the cast list.
Rickman is now the last "Regular Guy" left standing of the four.
This has been a brutal few weeks for Atlanta radio professionals. Among others who have lost their jobs or stepped down from their posts since late July: