By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR
Perhaps there is a hidden message in the URL “http://norulesrock.com/bubba-the-love-sponge__trashed/” that briefly appeared Monday morning as the name of the webpage where the bio and details of one Todd Clem — a.k.a. veteran radio station personality Bubba The Love Sponge — appeared.
In a statement issued by Beasley Media Group on Monday morning (12/12), the company said that it has decided “to make a format adjustment” at its “No Rules” Rock-formatted Class C2 WBRN-FM 98.7 in Holmes Beach, Fla., which covers the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market with a 50kw signal.
As a result, “Santa 98.7” is on the air with all-Christmas programming as a temporary solution to what to air in place of the hard rock programming and main calling card of the station — the syndicated Bubba the Love Sponge Show.
Beasley offered no comment as to why it has decided to drop the show from WBRN. However, the company confirmed that it “looks forward to continuing its relationship” with the show at its Class C Rocker WRXK-FM in Bonita Springs, Fla., which serves the Ft. Myers-Naples market some two hours south of Tampa Bay.
What is known is that Beasley has opted to pull the plug on a 22-month-old radio station that was created expressly around the “shock jock,” who has gained national notoriety for his antics over many years in Tampa.
A veteran market observer tells RBR + TVBR that the move is most likely the result of disappointing ratings, the coming end of a two-year contract between Beasley and Clem, and a failure of Mr. Clem’s control that transpired prior to a still-unresolved $1 million ratings distortion case against Bubba and his radio network filed by Nielsen.
RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION (full text below, for subscribers only): Creating a radio station around the controversial Bubba The Love Sponge was not a bad idea — even after he was canned by Cox Media Group and iHeart predecessor Clear Channel. As one market observer tells us, “It was a genius of an idea … at the right price, and the right oversight.” We agree. Unfortunately, Mr. Clem’s act got axed from WBRN through his own actions … including trashing the station’s signal within weeks of debuting on WBRN.