June 18 trial date leaves little time to comb through case’s mountain of evidence
Disclaimer: Bubba The Love Sponge currently airs on AM 820 Tampa Bay as well as 98.3 FM Pinellas County. Both are owned by News Talk Florida’s parent company, Genesis Communications. The alleged events at issue in this trial occurred before this relationship began.
After delays on top of delays, a Tampa court is scheduled to hear Nielsen Audio’s legal complaint against Bubba the Love Sponge and the Bubba Radio Network. The case that started in October of 2015 alleges Bubba–whose real name is Todd Alan Clem–paid a listener to manipulate Nielsen’s ratings as a panelist after learning that the listener had been selected.
The ratings tampering case was at the heart of Bubba’s dismissal from a Beasley Broadcast Group station in December of 2016. The shock jock’s legal team has fought back throughout the buildup to the case with countersuits, and delays stemming from a need to go over upwards of 75,000 documents related to the case. Clem’s legal team has accused Nielsen of malicious action, a claim the ratings company denies.
Nielsen Audio is, of course, a company familiar to Floridians. Their Oldsmar location serves as an important hub for the most trusted company in ratings. Formerly known as Arbitron, Nielsen Audio was acquired by the company known more for television ratings in 2012 for over a billion dollars. The merger of these two competitors essentially created a monopoly on measuring radio ratings. Nielsen’s parent company is based between New York and The Netherlands.
In a 2015 news conference, Clem apologized for the alleged tampering, saying that he was “humbled and embarrassed” over the incident. This apology could potentially be used by the plaintiff in the case.
Bubba The Love Sponge’s morning show airs on WWBA 820 Tampa Bay from 6-10 AM Monday through Friday.