Bubba’s Regenesis

Bubba The Love Sponge is back on the Tampa Bay airwaves, beginning next Monday. WWBA, 820 AM in the Tampa Bay area, will be his new location, the fifth different station (unless I’m forgetting one, or more) he’s worked at in the Tampa Bay market.

WWBA is one of those stations that’s gone through numerous formats over the years, a 50,000 watt AM station (but only 1,000 at night) with a transmission complex out of Largo, not too far from my old stomping grounds of Largo Middle School. Their current format is right-wing talk, one of many stations in the area with this format at present. As of this writing, I don’t know if WWBA will stick with this format, or go with a slightly different approach.

As always, I wish Bubba well. He’s going to be on a station that hasn’t had a lot of luck over the years, so if BTLS can turn it around on WWBA, it’s a feel good story all the way around.

 

 

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Bubba Out The Door, Kinda

I wasn’t too surprised to hear this morning that Bubba The Love Sponge was once again off of the Tampa Bay airwaves. I predicted this a couple of years ago based on their relationship with Neil Rogers in the latter years of his career in the late 2000’s when Neil was on WQAM, owned by Beasley Broadcasting.

They seemed (at least to me) to have a reputation for giving talent a blank check, just as long as they owned the carpet in their home which they can pull out from under them at any given time.

The ratings tampering allegations probably doesn’t help things, either.

Again, I have no beef with Bubba Clem. He does an excellent show, has a good vision of what his audience wants, demands accountability from his co-workers and his crew. Nothing wrong with those kind of values. There are people in the media business who are so driven by what they do they sometimes go out of bounds. It’s just one of those things in life that happens. He’s kind of become what Mason Dixon was in the past few decades, going from station to station until a new permanent home is found, much like Mason was eventually able to do returning to Q-105 when they went to oldies music.

I do wonder if another station in town picks him up, although Bubba being kept on by Beasley in Ft. Myers will probably prevent that in the short term. He’s pretty much going to be in exile in southwest Florida for a while I would think, until his ratings tampering trial is adjudicated.

Bubba And The Nielsens

btls

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.

Bubba Beaten At His Own Game

As one of my long-time friends would say, Bubba The Love Sponge was so predictable today as he debuted on the former “98.7 The Fan” this morning, as the station launched an all-Bubba format that will last at least a month.

That’s what happens in anything you do in life.  When you get too predictable, someone paying attention will take notes and then pounce on you.  Mike “Cowhead” Calta was the one taking notes today, and it showed when he fielded Bubba’s call on “102.5 The Bone” this morning.

In some ways, it was Bubba getting his a long awaited comeuppance, just as what happened to Jameis Winston at the 2015 Rose Bowl last week at the hands of Oregon.  But neither Bubba nor Cowhead had anything to lose challenging each other.  As I mentioned a little over a month ago, I suspect Beasley will use Bubba (and vice versa) as a commodity to be thrown away a couple of years down the road.  He was a very relevant figure in the radio business for the past couple of decades, but unless you reinvent yourself, there is a “law of diminishing returns” in play here. Bubba is not immune to those rules, and he will soon figure out if he hasn’t already.

As Bubba struggles, Cowhead is somewhat in the same boat, as a non-conservative, non-political FM talk format tries to stay entertainment and relevant in a medium dominated by the right.  Entertaining talk radio in this market doesn’t tend to last long, as Cox discovered in the 1990’s with their “620 WSUN” format that featured Neil Rogers and Bob Lassiter.  The reason why (I think, anyway) is conservative talk radio has an easier time finding products to match up with shows and stations, whereas shows that are a bit extreme (with a few exceptions) struggle more for the same revenue.

It’s a shame Cowhead and Bubba can’t get along, but at this point in time, the student (Mike Calta) has outshined the master (Bubba).

Slices From 2014

According to WordPress, here were the 10 most viewed blog entries I posted during this year:

1. RIP Dave Wagenvoord: My first boss in the radio biz passed away on April 21st.

2. The “Howie Sucks” Banner: Unearthing footage of a Thursday night NFL game in Tampa from 1980 that involved Howard Cosell and some banner trickeration.

3. Proof Of A Former Life: My first show as a board op for Stan Major at the Sun Radio Network is unearthed and archived.

4. Thanksgiving, Shortwave, and Uncle Neil: On Thanksgiving Eve, I board op another Stan Major show.  This one was picked up on WWCR, the Nashville shortwave station, which gets called from England and Canada.  A famous Miami talk show host calls me after the show who the Tampa area would get to know a few months down the road.

5. Bubba To Beasley, And Why It Won’t Work: Rumors swirl that Bubba the Love Sponge will return to the Tampa Bay airwaves in 2015, but it was my opinion back on December 3rd that Bubba and Beasley will not get along.

6. And There Goes My High School: My alma mater of Largo High School in Largo, Florida gets torn down, to eventually be replaced by a high-tech version to open in a couple of years.

7. My 2014 Predictions: Predictions I made at the start of 2014 for the coming year.  Nailed the Super Bowl prediction cold!

8. The Land Of Gerrymandering: A look at the local House of Representatives special election in March, won by David Jolly, heavily contested by Democrat Alex Sink.

9. Brutality And Its Glorification: Thoughts on how the news has desensitized us to terrorism and the brutality of the present day world.

10. Flashback Friday: “Poor Man’s Son” by Survivor: A look at Survivor’s first top 40 hit in 1981 after the passing of Jimi Jamison.

Hoping 2015 will be just as good…

Bubba To Beasley, And Why It Won’t Work

WHFS, 98.7 The Fan, is no more, effective today, ending what was Tampa Bay’s first FM sports radio station after almost two years on the air.

What happened?

Beasley Broadcasting and CBS Radio swapped radio stations in an agreement made a few months ago. Beasley acquired six radio stations in Tampa, six in Charlotte, and one in Philadelphia. In turn, CBS gets two Philly stations plus three in Miami, including WQAM.

There are strong rumors that Bubba Clem will be the morning drive host of one of the Tampa stations, most likely either 98.7 or 104.7, the current Q-105.

I’ve been out of the radio game for a while, but I will make a bold prediction that Bubba flops on his new station, whichever one it winds up being. I base this on past history Beasley has, and is not an indictment on Bubba Clem in any way, shape, or form.

Remember that back in 2009 that when Neil Rogers was still on WQAM in Miami, then still a Beasley station, they fired him because he accidentally said “f***” on the air, thinking the station had a dump button (that removes obscenities from the air by temporarily releasing a seven-second delay and allowing it to rebuild) which wasn’t working at that time. The station took the bizarre action to suspend Neil for his loose lips, a non-functioning dump button be damned, with Rogers eventually fired a few weeks later.

I admit that someone like Rogers didn’t fit well in an all-sports format like WQAM had. However, if a Beasley station could scapegoat a Miami area legend, I’d imagine they’d keep Bubba on a tight leash, and I personally think that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Hope I’m wrong about this, just the way I see it.

As for WHFS, my sympathies for those who lost their jobs so close to Christmas, but that’s the radio business. What works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Tampa Bay, as I learned when I worked at WHNZ, which mimicked the New York 1010 WINS format as did stations in Miami or Orlando did at the time.

Then again, it’s possible I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Hulk vs. Bubba

I’m sure many of you have been paying attention to the whole Bubba The Love Sponge and Hulk Hogan fiasco.  They’re both celebrities in my neck of the woods, so let me throw my two cents in.

In short, I think this is all a put on.  As they say in the wrestling business, it is a work.  Showmanship.  A variation of the old “Fingerpoke Of Doom” trick.  It’s just a question of who is really doing the poking (HAH!) and who is really doing the lay down.

If my guess is correct, the whole matter will be settled out of court and the outcome of the settlement never gets disclosed to the public.  We’ll see what transpires before us on that.  Meanwhile, back to other things.