Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa's Mike Calta. The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba's attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta. As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts to manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business. During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba's lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in manner deemed timely by Bubba's team. In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been "seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff's untimely production of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations. Moreover, Defendants' use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order. As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016. The Court entered an Order granting Defendants' motion on November 29, 2016." If Nielsen's tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn't work. He's doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI). Bubba's lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims "are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants' discovery requests." Here's the breakdown according to the court filing: "In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen's largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen's monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants' contractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants' current and prospective business relationships with WBRN's advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen's ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT's market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen's employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen's monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen's rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber. As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta's conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages." As noted, much of Bubba's evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen's proprietary PPM information. Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem's lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen's ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist's nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall. Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba's WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a "sting operation" to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation. The complaint also states that "Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem. Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley's WBRN for the month of September 2015." Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.
WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to 'Brand Personality.' Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the "third-chair rotation" for the "Kirk and Callahan Morning Show" on Entercom's sports talk WEEI, Boston since the fall. Now, the company announces that he's coming aboard full time as a brand personality. Calling it a "move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem," Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff "creating columns, blogs, and podcasts" while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show. The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation. WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, "Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk. I'm excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex's insightful writing to our massive online audience."
WLVK, Lexington Names 'Kruser' Program Director. Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave "Kruser" Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station. As part of the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart. Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster. Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, "Kruser" worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats. Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, "I look forward to 'Kruser' delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky's heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!"
Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). The planned protests for Friday's inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump's comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack on New Year's Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world's richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend's NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WHAT ARE WORDS FOR? Michael Harrison Chats with the Editor-at-Large of Merriam-Webster. The organic English language has always evolved but the changes have been speeding up due to the influences of the digital era. In this week's fascinating installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, "Up Close and Far Out," TALKERS founderMichael Harrison talks with Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, about the rapidly accelerating evolution of words and the English language. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is the second-best-selling book (right behind the Holy Bible) during the past century-and-a-half of American history. The conversation includes a discussion of the famed publisher's successful transition from being a print-based company fueled by book sales to a gigantic web-based digital advertising-based enterprise. To listen to this illuminating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the "Up Close and Far Out" player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.