Bubba the Love Sponge misses syndicated debut of his show in Detroit due to illness
Listeners to Tampa Bay area shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem have heard his crew presenting the show without him for the past two days, as the personality was sidelined by illness -- missing the Wednesday debut of his show in syndication on a Detroit station.
Clem's show, which airs locally on Cox Radio-owned WHPT-FM (102.5 The Bone), debuted at 6 a.m. Wednesday on another station called The Bone, an HD Radio channel operated by WGPR-FM in Detroit and rebroadcast over conventional terrestrial radio by "translator" towers. But Clem missed the debut, hobbled by a flu which his producer Brent Hatley said could be pneumonia.
"In the 19 years I've known him, I've never seen him this sick," Hatley wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. "The doctor is monitoring him and his sister is caring for him on bed rest."
Fans critical of Clem have traded messages on Twitter saying the shock jock's plane traveled to another city Wednesday, theorizing that he might not be honest about his illness. Hatley said the plane was rented to another group, which traveled to Tallahassee that day.
When Clem signed his new deal with WHPT owners Cox Radio (a three-year agreement with a one-year option), the provisions allowed him to syndicate his show on a "barter" basis; essentially providing the program free to stations, which would allow the Bubba Radio Network to sell a portion of the advertising spots in the show and keep the revenue.
The debut on The Bone was the first such arrangement; Clem's show also airs on stations in Ft. Myers and Charleston, S.C., but lost affiliates in Orlando and Jacksonville last year. It also airs on the Internet radio company led by his agent, Radio IO.