Click to join

Bubba the Love Sponge at Seminole Casino Immokalee PDF Print E-mail
CHARLES RUNNELLS 10:32 a.m. EDT June 11, 2015




His name is Bubba the Love Sponge. It says so right there on his driver's license and passport.

Don't believe it? That's OK. Neither do the people checking IDs at the airport.

"They're like, 'OK, smartass, where's your real one?'" says the Tampa-based shock jock, whose radio show appears on local FM station 96 K-Rock and other stations across the country. "And I'm like, 'No sir, that's my real one.'"

The controversial radio personality legally changed his name from Todd Clem to Bubba the Love Sponge in 1999. And it gets a reaction wherever he has to pull out his ID.

"It's always, 'Sir, really?' And I'm like, 'No, really,'" he says. "And they look it up and validate it, and then they laugh.

"It's always kind of an icebreaker. It kind of opens up this whole conversation. They say, 'Did your momma name you that?' And I'm like, 'No, I'm a radio guy.'"

Bubba probably won't need to show his ID when he appears Saturday at Seminole Casino Immokalee. The place will be packed with fans in the "Bubba Army," and they all know EXACTLY who he is.

He and the rest of his radio-show crew will put on his uncensored Bubbapalooza comedy show, which includes live music, stand-up, skits and other popular bits from his show.

Bubba chatted with The News-Press recently to promote the event. Here's what we learned.

He's just one fine away from getting a lifetime ban from terrestrial radio. He says he's racked up more than $1 million in FCC fines.

"I'm under the microscope daily," he says. "One more strike, and I'm officially banned for life on regular radio. I have the largest one-time fine in the history of the FCC. So one more strike, and I'm gone!

"My fine was $755,000. It was for just a plethora of eight or nine different things that they found offensive. It was $75,000 an utterance or something like that.

"I have over $1 million in fines. I'm in the seven figures. I should be getting a gold watch from the FCC soon (laughs)."

He seems to be a magnet for controversy and lawsuits — whether it's a sex tape involving his ex-wife and Hulk Hogan, allegedly slaughtering a pig on live radio, or just talking graphically about sex. That comes with the territory when you push people's buttons for a living. But Bubba says he's more annoyed with the online trolls.

"I don't get tired of lawsuits as much as I get tired of social networking and the haters," he says. "That's really a whole 'nother thing that I didn't anticipate in my career. That's something we didn't have before. It's bad. It's bad. They take swipes at my children. That's something that I never knew.

"You know what? I'm not involved in any lawsuits right now. But I'm always being killed by ... 8 or 10 trolls that are posting pictures of my son or my mom's address. That's what makes me want to quit and go back to Indiana to be a football coach."

He doesn't call himself a shock jock, but he doesn't mind much if you do.

"That's kind of a term that the media coined," he says. "It's anybody who is real and isn't the standard plastic template. It doesn't bother me.

"It's a smart-ass attempt to label me and pigeonhole me. But I'm obviously in good company with Howard."

He returned to terrestrial radio in 2012 after working for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. But it wasn't easy reining himself in after the uncensored, no-holds-barred world of satellite radio.

"It's continually a struggle to keep it between the lines, so to speak," he says. "I walk up to the ledge every day, but don't ever go over."

He knows exactly what he would have done if he'd been elected sheriff ofPinellas County in 2004 (he ended up getting about 30 percent of the vote).

"I would have been the sheriff," he says. "And been a kick-ass one!"

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells (News-Press) (Facebook) @charlesrunnells (Twitter)

If you go

What: Bubbapalooza with Bubba the Love Sponge

When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Seminole Casino Immokalee, 506 First St., Immokalee

Admission: Free



Bubba The Love Sponge Flips WHFS To WBRN - Bubba 98.7, No Rules Radio
February 2, 2015


TAMPA - It's war, people. War, I tell ya.

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE, who's been having fun with his return to the market, unveiled the new format on BEASLEY BROADCASTING WHFS-F/TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG as BUBBA 98.7 "No Rules Radio," with new calls on the way of WBRN.

CARL HARRIS will serve as the station’s PD, and can be reached at

The music, BUBBA told listeners this morning, will be "anything that I like.  Seriously ... that's the forma t... it's me.  It's what I like.  It could be KURTIS BLOW's 'Basketball' and AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long.'"  He also suggested that he could even play CW MCCALL's "Convoy" and said that while other stations are programmed by corporate people, "we have ownership in this radio station.  What we sez, goes."

ALL ACCESS was told the station will include artists such as AC/DC, METALLICA, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, PEARL JAM, LED ZEPPELIN, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, LINKIN PARK, GREEN DAY and FOO FIGHTERS. Also, the format includes songs chosen by BUBBA himself which range from artists like EMINEM, NOTORIOUS B.I.G., DR DRE, JERRY REED, PUBLIC ENEMY, C.W. MCCALL, LL COOL J and many others.

The lineup will include BUBBA 6-10a (ET), commercial-free music 10a-noon, "MANSON'S Greatest Hits," "a work in progress" with "elements" from BUBBA's sidekick MIKE "MANSON" WATERS noon-3p, and BUBBA sidekick character "NED" a/k/a "NEDLY MANDINGO III" (also played by MANSON) for afternoons 3-7p.

EVP/Operations BRIAN BEASLEY commented, “BEASLEY has entered new territory with today’s announcement.  The music, personalities and bits will all be the creative responsibility of the station’s morning show host, BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE. We hope the listeners will be thoroughly entertained by the new direction of the station.”


Bubba the Love Sponge returns to local airwaves — in full attack mode
  Reporter-Tampa Bay Business Journal
Jan 5, 2015, 2:53pm EST

TAMPA - It's war, people. War, I tell ya.

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem returned to the Tampa Bay airwaves Monday morning — on WHFS-98.7 FM, as was expected. He and his on-air cohorts spent their first few hours hurling taunts and insults at his morning show rival, Mike "Cowhead" Calta, who took Clem's spot at WHPT-102.5 "The Bone."

The two personalities, who characterize themselves as bitter enemies, spoke by phone on the air. According to Clem, Calta said on the radio that he would punch Clem in his "fat face."

Adding a bit of theater to the war of words, Calta parked his tour bus — which touts his radio show and his band, Pitbull Toddler — outside Clem's studio off Cypress Avenue in Tampa's Westshore area.

Inside the studio — which is tricked out like a nightclub with full bar and stage — staffers walked around in camouflage T-shirts emblazoned with "Operation Bury the Bone."

Clem was perched, throne-style, at his workstation, which has the trappings of a DJ booth, while his sidekicks sat at floor level facing him.

Just after 9 a.m., Clem hosted the media for an on-air Q&A.

He confirmed some things that have been widely reported, and offered a few further details:

Cox fired him (not his words) in August and paid him his "seven-figure" compensation to stay off the air until Dec. 31.

He was wooed by Clear Channel's iHeartRadio and gave serious consideration to returning to WXTB-FM "98Rock," where he started his Bay area career. CBS radio was also part of the "bidding war," Clem said.

When CBS vacated the market by swapping stations with Beasley Broadcast Group, Beasley vied for his services "in the 11th hour," Clem said. "And gave me an offer I couldn't refuse."

Clem did not provide financial details of his deal with Beasley.

He did reveal that the new operator, which owns six Tampa Bay stations, is building 98.7's programming around Clem's a.m. show, and will have a plan in place by February.

Asked if his talk-intensive show could change, perhaps to include music, Clem said he was not sure, although he has final say-so. "We have veto power over the format they pick," he added, referring to Beasley. "At the end of the day, we're kind of our own bosses."

Clem also alluded to a potential move to another dial position owned by Beasley. That is widely believed to be WRBQ-FM (Q-105), which has a much stronger, market-wide signal than WHPT.