B.J. Harris: Reunion with MJ isn't about Bubba, but the Power Pig
When I first heard that long-gone radio personality B.J. Harriswas reuniting with former partner MJ for two mornings on WFLZ-FM this week, I wondered if it might not be another chapter in the fight between rival jocks MJ and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
After all, when Clem first came back to the Tampa Bay radio scene in early 2008, he accused MJ (real name: Todd Schnitt) of dropping a dime to Clear Channel management about Harris' personal problems to get him ousted from the station back in 2001.
But a call to Harris at his new home in Denver, Colo. revealed a different explanation: nostalgia.
In a story published in the St. Petersburg Times this morning, I quote Harris saying this two-day visit was inspired by the 20th anniversary this year of the "Power Pig" format -- an in-your-face, prank-filled format aimed directly at then-ratings powerhouse Q105 back in 1989.
"I've been friends with MJ for a long time," explained Harris. "A lot of times, when people leave a radio station, nobody explains why they've gone."
Harris will fly into Tampa for two days of appearances on Schnitt's morning show for WFLZ-FM (93.3) Thursday and Friday. It's a burst of publicity which couldn't come at a better time; according to Arbitron, WFLZ's morning show has suffered a bit in ratings ranking for listeners aged 25 to 54, dipping from second place to a tie for seventh in September 2009 compared to the year before.
(Radio ratings currently are provided by a new personal people meter system, in which a sample group wears a pager-sized device measuring what radio sources they listen to each day).
Harris also denied that Schnitt ever spoke out of turn about him to Clear Channel back in the day. And although he wouldn't answer the question directly Tuesday, he promised to answer the question of whether substance abuse was involved in his 2001 departure, if asked.
"I will tell you to turn on the radio," he said. "If that question gets asked of me, I will answer it."