Saturday, July 7, 2018

Nielsen, Bubba Work Out A Solution

Telecommunications ratings giant Nielsen Audio Inc. announced to a Florida federal court on Friday it had settled with Bubba the Love Sponge, a nationally syndicated radio host accused of trying to bribe the panelists whose listening input set radio rankings.

The single-line update, claiming that Nielsen had reached a settlement with the radio host, whose real name is Bubba Clem, and his Bubba Radio Network Inc., did not include the terms of the agreement.

According to NewsTalkFlorida, the details of the settlement are unclear at this time, but the announcement has brought an end to a case that never went to court after years of counter-suit claims and delays.

In a statement released by Nielsen acknowledging the end of the dispute, Bubba was quoted in an apologetic manner. “I understand how important it is to the radio industry that the NIELSEN ratings be free from bias and I deeply regret interfering with NIELSEN’s collection of listening data.”

The case, which began in October of 2015, was initially brought by Nielsen against Bubba—whose real name is Todd Alan Clem—for ratings tampering. Clem was alleged to have been given word that one of his listeners had been selected as a Nielsen panelist. The claim suggests that Clem offered to pay the listener money in order to manipulate the monitoring.

Bubba’s legal team responded with a countersuit that made Nielsen out to have attempted to frame the shock jock, and delays on top of delays prolonged the case for years. In June, the trial was pushed to a July 23 start date, as Clem’s legal team had been requesting more time to sort through as many as 75,000 documents related to the case.

In 2015, with the allegation still fresh, the radio host issued an apology that could be taken as a direct response to the allegations by Nielsen. It was unclear whether that apology would later be allowed in court.

Bubba The Love Sponge’s morning show airs on WWBA 820 AM Tampa Bay and 98.3 FM Pinellas County from 6-10 AM, Monday through Friday.

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