Why They’re Interesting: Since November 2016, the radio personalities have teamed up to make the morning commute easier to bear. Q104’s The Jeremiah & Jeff Show mixes entertainment news, gossip and lighthearted skits — in addition to featuring plenty of relatable insights into their non-radio lives.
Fast Buddies: Widmer and Kurkjian initially connected in June 2015, when each applied for the open morning show gig at Q104. The pair bonded instantly — and even attended an Imagine Dragons concert together the very night they met. They continued to hang out even after Kurkjian started hosting the show solo. Teaming up for mornings when the opportunity arose was a no-brainer. “It honestly clicked in both of our heads, ‘This is the right thing,’ ” Widmer says. “We got along well together. We’re both creative, we’re both driven. It worked.”
Opposites Attract: On paper, however, the radio partners couldn’t be more different. Kurkjian, who has been in a long-distance relationship for 3 1/2 years, lives downtown. Widmer is married, has two kids with a third on the way and lives in Wadsworth. Although their lifestyles differ, the duo has found common moral ground. “That’s where Jeremiah and I are very strong: our family beliefs, our values and how important family is to us,” Kurkjian says. “We always relate on that aspect of our lives.”
Slow and Steady: Post-college, Rittman-native Widmer spent five years in Los Angeles doing various entertainment jobs, including working as an intern at The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. In 2012, he and his wife moved back to Ohio to start a family, although things weren’t easy. The couple lived in Widmer’s grandmother’s basement for 10 months after relocating. Stints at a station in Canton and three years at Star 102 buoyed his confidence before Q104 came calling. “To achieve that goal of a morning show in four years, it blows my mind when I sit back and look at it. I lucked into achieving it as fast as I did.”
Radio Daze: Kurkjian, who grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, became fascinated with morning radio in middle school, when he’d listen to The Kane Show during his 25-minute bus commute. Although he considered focusing on TV broadcasting or hard news at Syracuse University, he decided radio was more suited to his goofy personality. “Instead of telling people the bad news, I wanted to make people cry from laughter and smile every morning.”
Charity Buzz: In 2012, Widmer’s son, Eli, was diagnosed with phenylketonuria, or PKU, a rare metabolic disorder that means his liver can’t break down amino acids in proteins. As a result, Widmer and his wife have become fierce advocates for PKU causes and other allied disorders. They are planning a charity gala in October. “We like to connect with families,” he says. “Between family, PKU and radio, that’s pretty much what takes up most of my life.”
Get Musical: Kurkjian is a self-proclaimed “big theater geek” who has embraced Cleveland’s many acting opportunities. For the last two summers, he’s done musical theater at the Lorain Community Music Theater — playing Jack in Into The Woods and then an eel in The Little Mermaid. “I’m very much typecasted as the funny, the goofy, the sidekick, which is totally fine with me.”
Interesting Fact: Kurkjian cites Gavin DeGraw as his favorite musician while Widmer prefers Nelly and Eminem.