Bubba the Day After: Questions Remain
Since I only had a limited amount of space for today's Bubba the Love Sponge Clem story, I decided to come back with a few extra questions and comments:
Bubba had a press conference today to catch up local media on his new gig. About 30- people packed into a condference room in Cox Radio's St. Petersburg offices, including WTVT-Ch. 13, Tampa Tribune, WFLA-Ch. 8 and WFLA-970 AM radio.
I didn't hear anything new, but Mike "Cowhead" Calta was there to show his support, along with Bubba's sidekick Spice Boy, longtime producer Brent Hatley and assorted Cox Radio executives. Bubba did note that both Cox Radio and Sirius wanted to sign exclusive deals, and that his boss in satellite, Howard Stern, was concerned about the workload he would be taking on.
The best line of the day: In explaining the show's 10-second delay -- Bubba's producers and Cox Radio will each control a "dump button" allowing them to cut audio -- the shock jock noted "I can say, like, 16 f-bombs and it'll all get caught. I may even try that the first day."
Then Cox executive Jay O'Connor spoke up, jokingly -- "No, he won't."
This is going to be interesting.
Regarding competition: Is this really going to be a fight between Bubba and Todd "MJ" Schnitt, or a competition with Bubba's old home, 98 Rock, where Buckethead does mornings?
Strange bedfellows: When Mike "Cowhead" Calta tried using his nickname as a radio handle after leaving Bubba's show as a producer, Clem sued Calta, saying he owned the rights to the name. Now, even though Clem's arrival has pushed Calta into an afternoon drive slot, Bubba says the two have reconciled and are now teammates.
Bubba wasn't going along with a comparison to fellow shock jock Don Imus, who returned to radio last week after his firing in April. "Don Imus is an asshole," Bubba said Monday. "I don't think he can change. We're still relatively young. We only have ourselves to blame if we shoot ourselves in the foot."
Bubba's production company, which retains ownership of all his shows, even from the 98 Rock days, now employs 18 people besides Clem himself, including merchandising, Web operations, and a burgeoning video operation he hopes to expand.
The only other jock Clem will give props to from Tampa's morning scene -- besides Cowhead -- is WLLD-FM's Orlando, who he said Sirius tried to hire back when Bubba first debuted on the satellite system.
Cox Radio regional VP Jay O'Connor says Bubba can be funny without being dirty: "The FCC and the Cox policies are both very specific as it relates to what you can and can’t talk about. You cannot talk about explicit, or graphic items. You cannot speak about sexually explicit or graphic situations. Anything that might be regarded as overly titillating to the audience – those are areas that are off-limits...We won’t be giving any milk enemas on the air, that’s for sure."
David Caton, executive director of longtime Bubba critics the Florida Family Association, was not surprised to hear about Clem's show on Cox Radio -- I even mentioned the possibility when I last wrote a substantive story about him. He was, however, surprised to hear that Clem was staying on Sirius, too -- seemingly assuming that a move to Cox meant he had failed on satellite.
"We’re definitely going to be listening, taping every hour of his programming," Caton said. "We’ll not only be contacting his sponsors. We’ll be recording every hour and reviewing the content. We’ll have certain people listening live. We’ll be pretty hands on particularly in his first week."