Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tampa Bay Radio: Bubba Alleges He's A Victim

In a series of allegations longtime Tampa Bay Radio Personality Bubba The Love Sponge Clem asserts he's the victim of an elaborate conspiracy and sting.

Bubba was ousted last month from his morning show with Beasley's WBRN 98.7 FM, now airing a MainstreamAC format in the market.

Attorney's for Bubba have come up with legal maneuvering which claims Cox Media Group and Nielsen "entered into a conspiracy" to keep him from competing against CMG's WHPT 102.5 FM The Bone. Bubba alleges that after his contract was not renewed by Cox, and he was hired by Beasley, Cox and new morning man Mike Calta conspired with Nielsen after ratings on Bubba’s former station WHPT declined and ratings on his new affiliate WBRN increased.

According to RadioInk, Clem alleges Nielsen’s motivation for participating in the conspiracy with Cox was:
  1. To appease Cox, one of its largest customers, by using its monopoly power to interfere with Clem’s contractual relationship with Beasley and artificially increasing Cox-owned WHPT’s share in the Tampa Market
  2. To encourage Cox to enter into new contracts to purchase expensive products and services from Nielsen 
  3. To conceal the fraudulent conduct committed by its own employees and the various other serious flaws in its ratings methodology caused by, among other things, Nielsen’s internal policies that promote the manipulation of ratings for the benefit of larger clients and its total failure to maintain and/or implement and/or fairly apply quality control
The conspiracy theory claim also alleges that that Nielsen unfairly applied its rules and imposed “unprecedented sanctions” on Beasley to cause it to end its contract with Bubba.

The Bubba counterclaim also alleges that Cox encouraged Calta’s on-air defamatory statements about Clem. “Cox clearly adopted Calta’ s defamatory statements as well.

The proposed counterclaim and third-party suit alleges that in the first half of  2015, WBRN beat WHPT in Persons 25-54 and Men 25-54. In June, Cox and Nielsen allegedly conspired to try and eliminate Clem's show in the market, first with Calta's airing of an allegedly defamatory phone call on the air that claimed Bubba was tampering with the ratings.

Bubba’s legal team also says a court modification is necessary because all but 66 pages of the 80,000 pages of discovery material Nielsen produced in the case has been designated by Nielsen as confidential. The defendants claim their use of the discovery materials “has been severely limited” by the protective order.

Bubba’s attorneys say they’ve been trying to resolve the confidentiality issue directly with Nielsen but have been unsuccessful, arguing that they don’t think any of the info referenced in their Proposed Counterclaim and Third Party Complaint is actually confidential. Nielsen’s position is that the deadline for asserting counterclaims or third party claims passed on Dec. 19, 2016. Bubba’s lawyers disagree, saying they have until Jan. 19 to amend pleadings.

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