1. Business

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem admits to ratings tampering (w/video)

Bubba Clem apologized at his studio on Tuesday. He refused to take questions from reporters after his statement.
Bubba Clem apologized at his studio on Tuesday. He refused to take questions from reporters after his statement.
Published Oct. 7, 2015

TAMPA — Radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem admitted to ratings tampering charges at a news conference Tuesday.

In a short statement to reporters, Clem admitted that he was contacted by a Nielsen ratings panelist and that he tried to influence that person's listening habits.

"I can't tell you how humbled and embarrassed I am," Clem said after apologizing to listeners, advertisers and staff.

Clem, who has been off the air at WBRN-FM 98.7 since Sept. 26, returned to the air Tuesday morning.

Clem refused to take questions from reporters after his statement.

"It's not acceptable and I take full responsibility," he said before departing the news conference.

The company that employs Clem, Beasley Media, said Monday that it strongly condemned Clem's actions.

Nielsen calculates its ratings by putting listening devices that look like pagers on people. Each person represents thousands of listeners in a given market. Those people are meant to be kept secret, and the panelists are changed every 18 months to avoid unusual behavior.

Beasley said Clem's conduct had no effect on the Tampa Bay radio ratings because the improper activity was discovered quickly.

"I don't know what the future of my program is going to be, but if I can continue to broadcast I can tell you I will never attempt to do anything this stupid again," Clem said.

Another legal case Bubba was involved in

Nielsen removed the participant's results from the survey. In a separate statement, Nielsen also said the ratings weren't affected in any of the markets.

Beasley said Clem and his staff must undergo ratings compliance training. The company declined to comment further after Clem's news conference. While it's unclear what kind of consequences may fall on the station, media expert Gordon Borrell said it's likely they will face fines.

"The real damage will come from his advertisers," Borrell said. "The station's reputation is at stake, which has become very important in this day and age because there are so many other mediums where companies can advertise. If they feel cheated, they'll go somewhere else."

Information from the Associated Press supplements this report. Contact Justine Griffin at Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Bubba's ex-wife is on sex tape with Hulk Hogan


  1. Frontier Communications this week launched tools to combat robocalls better. Pictured is a Frontier flag flies outside Frontier's regional office in Tampa in 2015. [Times file photo]
    The internet, phone and cable provider will help its customers better identify spam and fraudulent calls.
  2. Tampa Electric Co. customers will see a reduction in their rate for next year. Pictured is the utility's headquarters in Tampa in 2017. | [Chris Urso | Times (2017)] [URSO, CHRIS  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The reduction comes because of a drop in Florida’s corporate tax rate.
  3. California-based customer service company Alorica is permanently closing its call center near U.S. 301 and Adamo Drive and laying off 482 employees. [Google street view]
    The layoffs are scheduled to take place from Feb. 9 through March 27.
  4. Check for the latest breaking news in the Tampa Bay area.
    The company already has offices in Boston, San Francisco and Seattle, but likes the Tampa Bay area’s pool of tech talent.
  5. Brett Griest, 61, and his wife, Shannon, are the proprietors of the East Main Street Coffee Shop & Sandwich Shop in New Port Richey. The coffee, specialty sandwiches and a neighborly feel keep customers coming back. [Michele Miller]
    Three years in, the East Main Street Coffee and Sandwich Shop is making a go of it.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has invested $3 million in Bridge Connector, a Nashville-based medical technology company.
    Bridge Connector already had ties to Tampa. Its founder graduated from the University of South Florida.
  7. An administrative judge previously said a Pasco County ordinance allowing solar farms in agricultural districts did not violate the county's comprehensive land-use plan. On Tuesday, the county rejected a settlement offer from the litigants who challenged the planned solar farm. [Times]
    Two residents proposed a $165,000 payment to end litigation over a planned solar farm in Blanton.
  8. Robert Matthews Beall III, who goes by Matt Beall, is Beall's, Inc.'s new CEO. His great grandfather founded the company in 1915. [Beall's]
    Beall takes over leadership from the chain’s first non-family CEO.
  9. An artist's rendering of the planned Encompass Health Corp.'s regional office in the Bexley by Newland Communities in Land O' Lakes. [Pasco Economic Development Council]
    The company receives a $983,000 incentive package for the relocation
  10. Rooker Properties of Atlanta plans to build at least 400,000 square feet of industrial and office space at what is now county-owned land on Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel. Pictured is Rooker's Spartan Ridge Logistics Center, a 273,000-square-foot, Class-A industrial building in Spartanburg, S.C. It was constructed in 2018, and the company said the buildings planned for the Pasco County site will closely resemble this. [Rooker Properties]
    The inventive package includes a $3.7 million forgivable loan to Rooker Properties.