TAMPA - In the latest round of local radio wars, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem's morning show has moved to the top of the Arbitron ratings in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market.
Clem returned to the airwaves in January on WHPT, 102.5 FM, and the most recent Arbitron survey released May 2 indicated his "Bubba the Love Sponge Show" has edged out morning rival "The MJ Morning Show," hosted by MJ Kelli (Todd Schnitt), on WFLZ, 93.3 FM.
According to a statement from WHPT, Clem's show is the most-listened-to in the market during its time slot of 6 to 10 a.m.
The program ranked No. 1 in several key demographic groups, including ages 12 and older, adults 25 to 54, males 25 to 54, adults 18 to 49, males 18 to 49, adults 18 to 34 and males 18 to 34.
Station officials say that the audience gain made in only three months is one of the fastest moves to No. 1 in radio history.
Jay O'Connor, regional vice president for Cox Radio, which owns WHPT, praised Clem in a prepared statement. "He's brought great radio back to Tampa Bay, and he's proven that he can do so within the FCC guidelines," O'Connor said.
In 2004, Clem was fired by Clear Channel Communications after the company was fined $750,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for comedy skits about sex and drugs. Those skits originated on Clem's show on WXBT, 97.9 FM, which is owned by Clear Channel.
Since returning to Tampa radio, Clem has been sued by Schnitt and Schnitt's wife, Michelle, who claim Clem made multiple offensive statements about them on the air.