Tim Andrews, freed of absurd non-compete, joins Eric Von Haessler's show for real

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I am on vacation April 13-26 but I did my best to keep this blog populated while I was gone, at least a little bit. If you have any news or would like to read other entertainment news, please go to Jennifer Brett (jennifer.brett@ajc.com) and her AJC Buzz blog and Melissa Ruggieri (mruggieri@ajc.com) at AJC Music Scene.

Tim Andrews, the man of 1,000 voices, is back on FM radio courtesy of his former Regular Guys bud Eric Von Haessler.

He is now part of The Von Haessler Doctrine, heard Sundays from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB, joining English Nick, Autumn Fischer and Jared Yamamoto.

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"We've talked a lot about how much fun we can have and how creative we can be without all the backstage drama that plagued The Regular Guys," Von Haessler texted me earlier this month. "We're having fun and I think [the first Sunday show] is early evidence that the formula is entertaining. It's fun to have fun."

Andrews, 45, was already working on Von Haessler's podcast but was prohibited from being on terrestrial radio because of a non-compete clause in a contract that had expired in 2011. He had been with Rock 100.5 for four years without a contract when the station let him go. A few days later, he went on Von Haessler's show. Soon after, Cumulus enforced the non-compete despite the fact it was from a really dated contract.

Andrews, who had been with Rock 100.5 since it started in 2008, said he didn't have the funds to fight it. To help pay the bills, he has been working at Ammazza pizza place on Edgewood Ave. in Atlanta. ("You can't be too prideful," he said. "What am I going to do? Sit and sulk?")

He's now relieved to just be back doing radio again, even if it's just part time:

Had more fun doing three hours of radio yesterday than I did in the two years I lingered around Rock 100.5 before being sacked. Best wishes to everyone & apologies to those who had to deal with me back then. The past six months have been a needed break & the future looks a little brighter. A LOT brighter. Added bonus: No more stupid, 90s-era radio stunts or practical jokes!

While on break, he also hosted his own podcast to talk about whatever pop culture issues he was interested in. It was a way to practice being a lead host.

In an interview in February, Andrews, who grew up in Pennsylvania, said he began imitating voices as early as age five. "I was imitating people on TV like Howard Cosell, Bob Hope, Jack Benny. My grandparents watched all those show."

He got in trouble all the time at school imitating student teachers. "I was not a popular kid. I had to rely on my sense of humor," he said.

He broke into radio in 1990 in Elmira, N.Y. He came down to Atlanta in 1996 to join some friends, got a job at Fuddrucker's, then Z93 as a banner hanger. He also worked at IQ-TV, which did TV commercials for radio. He did a commercial for 96rock, which hired him in 2000. He didn't think he'd do on-air work. "I didn't know what I wanted to do," he said.

Listening to Phil Hendrie, one of his heroes, he began crafting characters on air. He also liked the voice guys on Howard Stern (before he moved to Atlanta, where Stern was not available at the time.)

He went to Dave FM as marketing director for a year when it started. (He is a fan of Steve Barnes, by the way, as well as Mara Davis and Holly Firfer.) While at Dave, he'd sometimes call into the Regular Guys when they got their jobs back on 96rock and do bits. Rick Caffey, who oversaw Dave, found out and told him that he needs to be on air. So Andrews jumped over to the Regular Guys before they got fired a second time.

He worked at 99X's final morning show for a year, then joined Rock 100.5 in January, 2008. In 2009, he officially became a Regular Guy.

He had nothing bad to say about any of the Regular Guys and that includes Larry Wachs.

"He's a great guy. We had our fights but it was frustration I had with other things I'd take out on him and vice versa. He was frustrated with stuff, too. I can't hold a grudge against Larry when he brought me in in the first place."

Andrews said he felt "rudderless," especially after Von Haessler left in 2013. And he didn't think Cumulus management did a particularly good job coaching or managing the Regular Guys.

And when Wachs was cut, Andrews stuck around a bit with his replacement Jason Bailey but wasn't happy at all. Plus, his salary had been incrementally cut over time since he went without a contract.

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