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Shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge gets serious amid talk of NASCAR and wrestling feuds

Bubba-the-Love-Sponge Even in today's super-transparent media world, it's an unusual experience for me: To hear the subject of a story complain to his radio audience about what his thinks I might write before the story is published -- or even composed.

But Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem was doing exactly that about ten days ago, worried that I was planning some sort of hit piece when I talked to him about his show's penchant for sandwiching talk about serious state and local political issues in-between more salacious subjects.

It was something that really struck me in recent weeks, as I noticed Clem talking about legislation in Tallahassee opposed by local sheriffs that would have limited use of pre-trial intervention programs and another budget bill which would have forced the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority to pay $69-million back to the state, ruining the agency.

So often, morning radio can feel like a showcase for the superficial, filled with empty blathering about the latest TMZ-fed celebrity scandal.

I thought it was interesting that Clem was developing a track record for talking about expressway authorities and criminal justice legislation while also getting fired from a gig appearing on Spike TV's TNA wrestling broadcasts for calling a wrestler a "fake black b----" during a heated on air argument.

This morning, Clem mostly complained about my references to allegations that he's insensitive about race. This is a sensitive topic for him, despite recently airing a pretty raw parody song about illegal immigration, holding a Mexican Olympics on his show for Cinco de Mayo and the earlier mentioned argument with African American wrestler Awesome Kong.

He may see it as equal opportunity offending -- making fun of everyone in equal measure -- but it's hard to equal the playing field when some groups already have problems with being misjudged and stereotyped by the wider world.

(I also just finished an appearance on WWBA-AM's The Big Show morning program, where they took exception to my failure to mention their local ownership and three local talk programs. So I'll mention them here as a small consolation prize -- sorry guys).

At any rate, I thought it was a compelling story -- this shock jock who occasionally has a serious impact. Check out the story by clicking here, and tell me what you think.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:07pm]


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