Sunday, May 20, 2018
TV and Media

Shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge off the air at 102.5-FM

Shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem is off the air at WHPT-FM 102.5 the Bone.

Cox Media Group said Friday that the station will discontinue airing the Bubba the Love Sponge Show, effective immediately.

"We appreciate everything the Bubba the Love Sponge Show has done for us over the past six years," said Keith Lawless, Tampa vice president and market manager for Cox Media Group. "We now are taking the station in a different direction."

Cox Media Group will continue to provide technical support to the Bubba Radio Network through the end of 2014. The Bubba the Love Sponge Show will continue to be aired on stations in Ocala, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Orlando, Charleston, S.C., and Reno, Nev.

Members of "Bubba's Army" in Tampa Bay can still listen to his show on RadioIO, an Internet radio station.

Starting Tuesday, the Bone will replace Clem, 48, with the Mike Calta Show from 6 to 10 a.m. Calta previously held the afternoon spot, which will be taken by In Your Face With Drew Garabo from 3 to 7 p.m.

In June, Cox signed Calta to a five-year contract.

The Twitterverse exploded Friday after the announcement. Clem's fans tweeted their support for their favorite shock jock, who is known for his often-controversial airwave chatter.

He didn't offer an explanation for his sudden departure, but tweeted, "Thanku4 the outpouring of support!!! please trust me this isn't a sad day 4all of us at the BRN.ill be able2 explain/give details very soon."

In response to one fan, he tweeted: "The true story will come out soon."

Cox Media Group did not say why they were taking Clem off the air in the news release, and representatives from the Bone did not respond to requests for comment. Clem could not be reached, either.

Clem's often-abrasive radio segments have gotten him in trouble before.

After a segment in 2000 that featured the live castration and slaughter of a feral pig, Hillsborough County prosecutors charged him with animal cruelty. He was acquitted in 2002.

Two years later, he was fired from WXTB 98 Rock, where his show topped the ratings charts, after the Federal Communications Commission proposed a $755,000 fine against Clear Channel Communications for airing segments that included a skit of cartoon characters talking about sex and drugs and segments about masturbation.

After he was fired, Clem ran for Pinellas County sheriff but lost.

Before he came to Tampa Bay, Clem worked at radio stations in San Antonio, Texas; Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Orlando, and was fired, by his count, at least six times along the way.

In 2008, Clem was sued by radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt, who claimed Clem said false and defamatory things about him and his wife on his show. Eventually, the men reached an agreement after a five-year legal battle.

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