Beasley Media Group announced today that following an investigation into Nielsen’s allegations of attempted ratings distortion activity it has determined that Todd Clem (AKA, ‘Bubba The Love Sponge’), who provides syndicated programming as an independent contractor to radio station WBRN 98.7 in the Tampa Bay radio market, was contacted directly by a PPM (Portable People Meter) holder and subsequently attempted to influence the listening habits of the PPM holder.
Nielsen Audio confirmed that Mr. Clem’s conduct has no impact on the Tampa Bay radio market ratings because the improper activity was discovered in a timely manner and Nielsen moved quickly to remove the PPM holder’s results from the survey. However, due to Mr. Clem’s attempt to influence the listening of a PPM Panelist, Beasley’s station, WBRN-FM (98.7 MHz), will not be included in the September 2015 ratings report.
Beasley Media Group President Bruce Beasley stated, “We were completely unaware of Mr. Clem’s actions and moved quickly to cooperate fully with Nielsen once they brought the allegations to our attention. We thank Nielsen for their work to ensure the accuracy of forthcoming ratings.
“Beasley strongly condemns the actions of Mr. Clem, who has provided syndicated programming to radio broadcasters for many years and is not a Company employee. We are taking appropriate steps to ensure that such conduct does not occur in the future. These steps include, but are not limited to, compliance training for Mr. Clem and his employees and the distribution of guidelines reiterating the importance of avoiding conduct that could cause ratings distortion, to all Beasley employees.”
Bubba has been in Best-Of programming on WBRN since the allegations were made public. His show remained live on his other affiliates.
Update 9/28: Bubba The Love Sponge remained in Best-Of mode on Beasley’s “Bubba 98.7” WBRN-FM Holmes Beach/Tampa has the company and Nielsen continue to investigate the allegations against him.
Nielsen has also delayed the release of the September PPM monthly and Week 4 weekly ratings that were to be published on Tuesday to allow for completion of additional Quality Assurance steps.
Original Report 9/25: Nielsen Audio is investigating Bubba The Love Sponge for potential fraudulent activity in regards to the Tampa/St. Petersburg PPM sample.
As first reported by All Access, the syndicated morning host based at Beasley’s “Bubba 98.7” WBRN had inappriate contact with at least one household on the PPM panel. Nielsen released a statement saying, “We became aware of evidence of attempted ratings distortion activity in the Tampa market. We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available. Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld.”
After a month of running Bubba’s show around the clock, Rock “Bubba 98.7” launched on February 2 with members of Bubba’s morning show hosting other dayparts. The station reached a peak of a 2.1 share in the June 2015 ratings before dropping to a 1.3 and 1.6 in the following two monthlies.
WTVT-TV reports that Bubba’s show was off today as he recuperated from injuries suffered during a fall. He told the station that he has not been fired and would have more to say once he had more information on the allegations.