As reported earlier on the site, former TNA personality Todd "Bubba The Love Sponge” Clem was pulled off the air in September in Florida after being accused of possible ratings tampering for his radio show. Billboard reported at the time that Nielsen was investigating the claims of ratings tampering in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market, where Bubba’s show once aired.
Clem has admitted to the tampering in October. According to the complaint, a mutual friend of Bubba's arranged a deal with a listener to manipulate ratings in the Tampa area. Clem paid the person 300 per month (with bonuses of up to $400 monthly if certain goals were met) to manipulate the ratings. Bubba gave the person instructions to avoid detection while also not listening to key rivals radio shows.
In an update, Clem may have paid more people to strategically listen to his show than previously thought, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
Beasley Media Group (parent company of WBRN) President Bruce Beasley issued this statement:
We cooperated fully with Nielsen to ensure the accuracy of their past and forthcoming ratings. Therefore, we were blindsided and disappointed to learn that Nielsen Audio will exclude WBRN-FM from the October 2015 ratings. The fallout from this dispute may inflict collateral damage on Beasley, which, indisputably, has done nothing wrong.
Clem is now being sued for tampering with the ratings.