Tony Zazza, whose nearly 17-year DFW radio career includes stints doing mornings from 2005 to 2009 at KDMX/102.9 FM and from early 2013 to November 2014 at KVIL/103.7 FM, does not currently have a gig on traditional radio, But he is not letting that stop him from having a morning show.
On March 30, Zazza will debut a Zazza Mornings podcast, available via the Podcast app for iPhones or the Soundcloud app for Android and other devices. He’ll be joined on his opening podcast by News 8 Daybreak co-anchor Ron Corning and Nick Hatfield, who was Zazza’s producer during his last months at KVIL. Expect other people who were part of Zazza’s KVIL show to make appearances.
“I’m blessed to have amazing listeners who have stuck by me,” Zazza says, “and they want something. So I thought, ‘Why not grab some USB mics? I’ve got a home studio.’ ”
So he’s doing the podcast, which will be about 30 to 60 minutes long. He says he’ll have guest co-hosts every morning — local celebrities, media friends, even non-radio people that he thinks are funny.
“I also want to do it for myself, just because I love it, I love the craft of it,” Zazza says. “It’ll be 30 minutes or so of fun and laughter and information that will help people get through their morning commute.”
Zazza has been getting Facebook comments from listeners who have never heard — in some cases never heard of — a podcast.
“It’s going to be available on iTunes, which will make it easy for anyone who has an iPhone with a podcast app; you just click on it and take you right to it,” Zazza says. “I think sometimes we get caught up in our business and don’t remember that sometimes there are people who don’t know what a podcast is, so I hope to coach ’em through that. I don’t want it to be difficult. I want it to be something where people can punch and hit play.”
He says his goal is to have it available by 5:30 a.m. every morning, so that it’s ready for people who want to listen during their commute. “But if they don’t get around to it during the morning, it’s there throughout the day,” he says.
Zazza is also working on a TV series, Bullies: The Reality Show, with Meghan Jones — another alum of his KVIL show — and Ashley Jay. The Dallas-shot show aims to reduce bullying by having people who have been bullied — and bullies themselves — share their stories with the hosts, who will help them find help and guidance to resolve their problems.
Zazza says that the show was partly the brainchild of North Texan Tim Levasseur, father of Big Brother 8 winner Derrick Levasseur. The elder Levasseur was a listener and sometime contributor to Zazza’s KVIL show.
“Tim’s always got good ideas to give back to the community,” Zazza says. “We’d talked back and forth about some ideas that we were going to try to get rolling, and none of them really came to fruition. He called me about two and a half months ago and said, ‘I have an idea, and you’d better sit down, because this is the big one.”
Levasseur told Zazza that he’d been bullied as a kid, and he saw the opportunity to use the TV show to work to stop bullying, including stories from the bullies as well as the bullied.
“I loved it from the get-go,” Zazza says. “One death from someone being bullied is one too many, and we’re seeing this happen all across the country. There’s a big movement, and has been nationwide, to put a stop to bullying. So why not go in and give these kids a little opportunity to find some light at the end of the tunnel.”
The show has been soliciting stories via its website, and has received several submissions to get it going when it begins filming in late April. There’s not a hard debut date yet, and it will start as a web-only series, although there are hopes that it will be picked up for a broadcast/cable-TV version.
“We’re seeing a variety of stories,” Zazza says. “I saw a story the other day about a little girl that’s being bullied by other sixth-graders. I’ve got five nieces and nephews, with two more on the way, and they’re my life. I can’t even imagine someone being mean and hateful and saying those things.”