Christopher Spata, Features Writer

Christopher Spata

Features Writer

I'm focused on the offbeat side of life. I love stories about people pursuing unusual goals, and what drives them. I've written about retirees attending Santa Claus School, competitors at the World Sign Spinning Championships and an optician rebuilding old Chuck E. Cheese robots in his bedroom. I'm also looking for hyper-local culture stories, from tracing the global path plastic beads take to Tampa's Gasparilla festival, to pondering mysterious butt graffiti in downtown St. Pete. I also contribute to our entertainment and Things To Do coverage. I previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star-Banner. I'm a rare, native-born Floridian, and collect all things Floridiana, from alligator ash trays to vintage postcards for roadside attractions. I say Florida isn't "weird," just more interesting.

Rob Lorei reinstated as news director at WMNF after appealing firing

Rob Lorei is one of the founders of WMNF. He was fired from his position as news director and on-air host in February.  [Times (2005)]
Lorei, a founder of Tampa’s WMNF, will return to his duties at the Tampa community radio station.

Bubba the Love Sponge sues Cox Radio and Mike Calta, claiming ratings 'sting operation'

Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem laughs while broadcasting in his studios Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 in Tampa. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
Bubba Clem filed the lawsuit, which also involves the Hulk Hogan sex tape, on Wednesday.

Unsolved Hernando homicide will be featured on Oxygen's 'Cold Justice'

The cast of Oxygen's
A veteran prosecutor and detective return to Hernando County to look into the case of Carrie Leonard.

Brewers remember Greg Rapp, founder of Rapp Brewing and a godfather of Tampa Bay beer

Greg Rapp, owner of Rapp Brewing Company, poses in the brewery's lab in Seminole Monday, September 14, 2015.
 JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  TIMES
Rapp died last week at the age of 60.

Bubba the Love Sponge: Tucker Carlson 'assured me he's not mad at me'

Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem poses for a photograph with his two dogs, Pookie, top and Peaches while at his home Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 in St. Petersburg. CHRIS URSO   |   Times
Tampa Bay's talk radio host is back in the news for something he recorded years ago.