Beasley Media Takes Actions Against Bubba The Love Sponge, Actions Follow Investigations Into PPM Tampering
October 5, 2015 at 3:42 PM (PT)
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 Rock station WBRN (98.7 NO RULES RADIO)/TAMPA, 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 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 BUBBA’s attempt to influence the listening of a PPM Panelist, BEASLEY's WBRN will not be included in the SEPTEMBER 2015 ratings report.
BEASLEY MEDIA GROUP Pres. 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 since confirmed on his FACEBOOK page that he will indeed return to the air, live, on WBRN tomorrow. After his air shift, he'll hold a press conference at 11a ET to discuss the situation.
NIELSEN released this statement regarding the event:
"NIELSEN has evidence that a syndicated personality at WBRN in the TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER market engaged in attempted rating distortion in the form of attempted panel tampering. Per our policies, we notified BEASLEY, the station owner, and are working closely with them to ensure that proper remediation measures will be implemented for WBRN. We appreciate BEASLEY’s full cooperation during this process.
"As a result of these activities, and in accordance with our Rating Distortion guidelines, we are delisting WBRN in the TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER PPM Radio Market Report for the SEPTEMBER 2015 report period. This attempted ratings distortion activity involved a program carried in additional markets; therefore, NIELSEN is also adding a notation for one report period in the markets in which the program aired.
"The ratings themselves were not affected in any of the markets and for that reason, no data reissue is necessary. NIELSEN is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and will continue to act swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld, including taking additional measures if circumstances warrant."