Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tampa Radio: Bubba Gets OK To Refile Nielsen Counter-Claim

Lawyers for Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem have received the go-ahead to re-file sensational conspiracy allegations against Nielsen in the measurement giant’s ratings tampering suit against the Tampa-based morning man.

According to InsideRadio, a Florida court granted Clem’s motion to lodge a counterclaim alleging Nielsen and Cox Media Group conspired in a “sting operation” to entrap the host into engaging in ratings distortion.

Bubba Clem
Much of Nielsen’s $1 million lawsuit against the controversial personality revolves around a “cooperating panelist” Nielsen identifies as Nicholas Tabachuk. Nielsen claims Clem encouraged Tabachuk to “manipulate” his PPM and those of other members in his household to boost his ratings. But now Clem’s lawyers can make the case that Nielsen and Cox hatched a scheme to entrap Clem, using ratings distortion evidence from the sting to punish Beasley Media Group, owner of Clem’s then-flagship station, with the goal of forcing the broadcaster to end its contract with Clem.

InsideRadio reports the gist of Clem’s case is this: Nielsen selected Tabachuk and three other members of his household as panelists with the express goal of using the “cooperating panelist” to obtain evidence against Clem. Tabachuk had “a well-known relationship with Clem and the ‘Bubba the Love Sponge Show,’” according to the counterclaim. The ratings distortion evidence was obtained by a third party, acting on behalf of Cox and Mike Calta, morning man at Cox talker “102.5 The Bone” WHPT. This third party “developed a relationship of trust with Tabachuk” and convinced him to obtain evidence against Clem and give it to Calta and Cox. This was in the summer of 2015 when Clem’s morning show on Beasley’s WBRN Tampa competed directly with Calta and Cox.

Cox, in turn, allegedly informed Nielsen that Tabachuk told them Clem was involved in ratings distortion activity. After Nielsen sat with Tabachuk at a meeting arranged by agents of Cox, Cox encouraged Tabachuk to continue to play along with Clem “as it would be good for Nielsen to pin this on Clem and bring him down,” Clem’s counterclaim states. Cox is not a party to the case.

And RadioInk is reporting Bubba ref-file includes a new counter-claim aCox demanded Nielsen pressure Beasley to fire in Tampa. And if Nielsen did not implement the “death penalty” sanction, Cox threatened to file a lawsuit against Nielsen, seek an MRC audit and Congressional inquiry into Nielsen’s PPM data collection adequacy.

A trial is expected to be held in June.

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