With Settlement, Bubba The Love Sponge Ends Nielsen Dispute

Shock jock and ratings king come to an agreement, end legal feud

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.  

Nielsen Audio and radio shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge have, after nearly three years of pending legal disputes, reached agreement on a settlement.

The details of the settlement are unclear at this time, but the announcement has brought an end to a case that never went to court after years of countersuit claims and delays.

In a statement released by Nielsen acknowledging the end of the dispute, Bubba was quoted in an apologetic manner. “I understand how important it is to the radio industry that the NIELSEN ratings be free from bias and I deeply regret interfering with NIELSEN’s collection of listening data.”

The case, which began in October of 2015, was initially brought by Nielsen against Bubba—whose real name is Todd Alan Clem—for ratings tampering. Clem was alleged to have been given word that one of his listeners had been selected as a Nielsen panelist. The claim suggests that Clem offered to pay the listener money in order to manipulate the monitoring.

Bubba’s legal team responded with a countersuit that made Nielsen out to have attempted to frame the shock jock, and delays on top of delays prolonged the case for years. In June, the trial was pushed to a July 23 start date, as Clem’s legal team had been requesting more time to sort through as many as 75,000 documents related to the case.

In 2015, with the allegation still fresh, the radio host issued an apology that could be taken as a direct response to the allegations by Nielsen. It was unclear whether that apology would later be allowed in court.

Nielsen Audio is part of the Nielsen ratings company, well known for its work in television. The company is compared to a monopoly in many ways, as it has no real competition in its field Nielsen maintains a sizable presence in Tampa Bay, with offices in Oldsmar.

Bubba The Love Sponge’s morning show airs on WWBA AM 820 Tampa Bay and 98.3 FM Pinellas County from 6-10 AM, Monday through Friday.