TAMPA - The way the chips are falling, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem could soon end up at WHFS-98.7 FM.
The inflammatory radio personality was surprisingly ousted from The Bone 102.5, owned by Cox Media Group, in August. Clem has surpassed his own prediction that he would be back on the air in Tampa Bay within 20 days.
The sports talk station called "The Fan" at 98.7 FM fired all of its on-air talent Thursday morning, according to locally-based radio consultant Gabe Hobbs. "I heard it from one of their personalities," he said. "They were told to come in and sign their severance packages."
At 3 p.m. on WHFS-FM, the scheduled time for the "Booger and Ryan" show, a recorded voice said, "Tampa radio is changing. Tune into the station on Monday morning Jan. 5 for a stunning announcement." Then they spun Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas."
"They might do some Christmas programming, but if it ends up a rock station, you can bet a fair amount of money that Bubba will be the morning man," Hobbs said.
Other factors come into play:
- As of a Dec. 1 closing, Beasley Broadcast Group officially took over the six Tampa Bay radio stations previously owned by CBS Radio in a swap of assets. When new ownership comes in, it generally moves swiftly to make changes.
- Further, a few Internet domain names were registered by the registrar normally used by Beasley: 987 Bubba.com; Bubba987.com and Bubba1047.com, according to RadioInsight.com.
- The Fan has struggled since launching in August 2012, languishing in the shadows 620 WDAE. RadioInsight reported that the station notched a paltry 0.8 share in October.
- Bubba1047.com applies to the more successful Q105, a "Classic Hits" station. Q105 is part of Beasley's new Tampa portfolio, so they could be planning to move around some station formats.