Friday, May 17, 2019

Tampa Bay Radio: Bubba the Love Sponge Is Off Air

It's could be the end of an era for a well-known voice on the Tampa Bay radio.

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem will no longer be heard on WHBO AM 1040. ABC ActionNews reports the radio personality said he could not reach a deal with the radio station to air his program.

‪”Myself and am1040 couldn’t come up with a deal today,” he wrote on Facebook.  Fans of Bubba the Love Sponge can still listen to him on his website.

Earlier this week it was learned Bubba (Clem) the Love Sponge faced foreclosure on his Tampa broadcast studio and a racetrack he owns in Ocala, FL

In a suit filed April 16 in Marion County, Valley National Bank says Bubba Clem, as he is legally known, and Bubba Raceway Park, LLC, owe a total of $94,373. That includes nearly $3,000 to cover property taxes that have not been paid for 2017 and 2018.

In a separate suit filed the same day in Hillsborough County, Valley is foreclosing on the studio near Tampa International Airport owned by Clem, BRN Studios, LLC and Bubba Radio Network. That action stems from a $77,510 judgment filed against Clem last year for defaulting on a line of credit.

Records also show Clem owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $140,000 in taxes. He also sold his waterfront Pinellas County home for $1.285 million in March.

Once among the nation’s best-known shock jocks, Clem has indicated he is in financial straits.

Earlier this year, he sued a former employer, Cox Media Group, claiming it had tried to destroy him professionally and personally after he left one of its stations to join a rival. The alleged actions by Cox and two of its employees damaged Clem’s reputation and caused him to sustain “losses in the tens of millions,″ the suit said.

Abrupt departures have become somewhat of a norm for Clem, according to The Tampa Bay Times.  In 2014, he was suddenly let go from 102.5 the Bone and replaced by his former intern-turned shock jock in his own right, Mike Calta. Earlier this year, Clem filed suit against Cox Media, which owns the Bone, and Calta, his chief radio rival, claiming they conspired to personally defame him and ruin his career.

After the Bone, Clem went to WBRN-FM 98.7 in January 2015, but was let go in December 2016 after Nielsen sued him over a ratings-tampering scandal dating back to his Bone days. He then joined the am1040 family in February 2017, bringing his morning show to WWBA-AM 820.

Clem first came to the bay area in 1992 and, after switching to an all-talk shock jock style, became the biggest name in Tampa Radio. He was a darling of Howard Stern and by the early 2000s had a nationally syndicated show and an uncensored Sirius XM satellite radio show.

His star status hasn’t come without controversy.

In 2002, he was arrested for animal cruelty after allowing a wild hog to be castrated and slaughtered in the 98 Rock parking lot but was found not guilty. Then there was the controversial Gawker leak of a sex tape featuring Clem’s then wife Heather having sex with famed wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan is also suing Cox and Calta over the leak, claiming they were responsible for it in a vendetta against Clem.

There was also his feud with Todd Schnitt, another Tampa radio personality, in which Clem’s lawyers were accused of setting up Schnitt’s lawyer C. Phillip Campbell to be arrested for drunk driving. As a result, a police officer was fired and Clem attorney Stephen Diaco, along with two other lawyers, were permanently disbarred.

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