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Bubba the Love Sponge: 'I will not give up. I will not quit'

Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem poses for a photograph along with his two dogs, Pookie, top and Peaches at his St. Petersburg home. [CHRIS URSO | Times files (2018)]
Published May 13

TAMPA — Radio talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge says he's made "plenty of mistakes'' but vows to continue airing shows that are "better than anything currently available.''

Bubba Clem, as he's legally known, posted a comment on the Tampa Bay Times' Facebook page late Friday in response to an article revealing he faces foreclosure on his Tampa broadcast studio and his Ocala car racing track.

Clem also owes more than $140,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, records show. He sold his waterfront Pinellas County home in March for $1.285 million.

ALSO READ: What happened to Bubba the Love Sponge?

Referring to the initial batch of reader comments under the story — many sharply critical of him — Clem responded: "Wow...Your hate and ill wishes towards me makes me want to work even harder to right my wrongs.''

"One would think I've done something far worse than say outlandish and sometimes uncomfortable shocking things on radio,'' he continued. "Yes, I've made plenty of mistakes, most of which I'm paying for dearly. I will not give up. I will not quit. I will walk into whatever I have left for a studio and do a show that is better than anything that's currently available in most places.''

In a somewhat rambling post, Clem said he also would continue to support law enforcement through his nonprofit foundation and replace dirt bikes stolen from children.

"What has your favorite radio personality done lately?" he wrote. "Probably nothing because everyone in radio and the media is scared to say the things I say."

Once among the nation's best-known shock jocks, Clem was syndicated on multiple radio stations and had a show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. But after a series of controversies including a tape of his then-wife having sex with wrestling icon Hulk Hogan, his fortunes have reversed and he now airs his show on WHBO-AM 1040 Sports Talk Florida.

The 53-year-old Clem noted that other well-known figures, including golf star Tiger Woods, have rebounded from scandal. "I have the sex scandal part handled,'' Clem wrote, ''now maybe all I need is to be pulled over drunk and on pills.''

Clem's posting prompted a fresh outpouring of comments as positive as the early ones were negative. "You will never have to worry about a place to live,'' wrote a reader in Ocala, offering him use of a spare bedroom. "I still believe in you and think you WILL make a comeback.''

Another reader suggested that Clem set up a GoFundMe page, and "let us fans try and help.''

Valley National Bank, owed a total of more than $170,000, began foreclosing in April on Clem's Bubba Raceway Park and his studio near Tampa International Airport.

Pinellas County records show that in November, Clem satisfied an IRS lien that had been filed against him for $202,678 in taxes owed for 2015 and 2016. He still owes a total of $140,119 for the years 2010 and 2013, and part of 2015.

In March, Clem sold his home in the gated Bayway Isles community of south Pinellas for $515,000 less than the original $1.8 million asking price. Two decades ago, he paid $150,000 for the lot on which the 6,376-square-foot house now sits.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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