Back in the 90’s, someone who I went to school with who I met at, of all places, the 2001 Odyssey nudie bar off of Dale Mabry in Tampa, asked me if I was Bubba The Love Sponge. The person I went to school with wound up being a dancer there, but I didn’t ask to see her in her birthday suit. Just didn’t think it would feel right.
In retrospect, I probably should have lied. Would have made my dollars go a little farther that night, among other things. Sometimes I think I’m too damn honest.
In fact, I’ve never crossed paths with Bubba, truth be told, though we work (or in my case, worked) in the same business.
I wrote about eleven months ago about Bubba going to work for Beasley Broadcasting, and how I was skeptical of the whole deal going smoothly. Sure enough, reports have surfaced recently about how Bubba is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the Nielsen company that puts together radio and television ratings. They claim that Bubba was going to participants in the Nielsen surveys through acquaintances, offering $300-$400 per month to give his ratings at his new home at 98.7 WBRN in Tampa a boost.
Needless to say, payola for higher ratings is a big time no-no, but not the first time it’s been attempted in the history of radio. Back around 1960, there was a big scandal involving big name DJ’s such as Alan Freed and Dick Clark that they took bribes to play certain records. The allegations ruined Freed’s career, while Clark sold interests he had in record companies to preserve his clean image.
I haven’t listened to Bubba’s show in a while, as there seems to be about a law of diminishing returns with him. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Beasley terminates business with him at some point ahead. I almost feel sorry for him, but if you engage in fraud, there’s prices to be paid.