Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Judge Denies Bubba's Counterclaim Vs. Nielsen, Cox Media

A federal judge in the Bubba the Love Sponge Clem ratings tampering case has denied the shock jock’s request to file a counterclaim and complaint against another radio host alleging that they conspired to move him from the airwaves.

However, U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore left the door open for Clem to refile his motion, according to the Tampa Business Journal.

The judge noted that the proposed counterclaim and third party complaint was “heavily redacted” by Nielsen Audio Inc., which originally brought the lawsuit against Clem (born Todd Clem). “As a result, it is impossible to determine whether the proposed pleading meets the standard for granting leave to amend, including whether the proposed claims are ‘meritless’ and therefore futile,” as Nielsen argues, the judge wrote in his order.

Clem’s proposed counterclaim and third-party complaint is against Nielsen, Cox Media Group Inc. and Michael Calta, a radio host on WHPT 102.5 FM The Bone, operated by Cox. The shock jock alleges in the proposed pleadings that after his contract with Cox was terminated in late 2014 and when Calta’s show began on 102.5, Clem brought his high ratings with him over to Beasley station WBRN 98.7 FM. There, Clem continued to have high ratings until June 2015. He says in court documents that this was “approximately the same period of time that Nielsen and Cox entered into a conspiracy to remove Clem from the air in the Tampa market.”

Nielsen removed WBRN from its rating reports in late 2015 “at the urging of Cox,” the proposed counterclaim alleges.

Clem’s show was ousted from Tampa airwaves, although the show continues in syndication. WBRN, owned by Beasley Broadcast Group in Naples, changed formats, but Clem will stay on the air on the company’s Fort Myers station, his lawyers said at the time.

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