Tampa Bay radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem is being investigated by his employer, Beasley Media Group, in connection with allegations of ratings tampering.
"We have been made aware of the allegations and are in the process of investigating," Soni Diamond, a Beasley spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement. "We have no additional comments at this time."
The Beasley group, which is based in Naples, owns 53 radio stations across 12 markets. Clem joined Beasley earlier this year when it introduced a format switch to WHFS-FM 98.7. The transition to Beasley was prefaced by Clem's ousting by Cox Media Group.
The Nielsen company also said Friday that it knew of evidence of attempted ratings distortion in the Tampa Bay market, but did not offer any details specific to Clem's circumstances.
"We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available," the group said in a statement. "Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld."
Nielsen ratings are assigned based on data fed to the group by "diarykeepers."
These diarykeepers are instructed to document any time they spend viewing or listening to five or more minutes of a particular program per every 15-minute window. Typical occurrences of ratings violations can include, among others, buying information off the diarykeepers or asking them to misrepresent their actual experiences, according to the Nielsen Diary Rating Distortion and Rating Bias Handbook.
Clem was off the air Friday, but told WTVT-Ch. 13 that it was due to injuries sustained during a fall. It was unknown Friday whether Clem would remain on air as the investigation continues.
He could not be reached for comments by the Tampa Bay Times.