Tuesday, December 13, 2005


One of the best known morning drive radio personalities of recent Tampa Bay history, "Bubba the Love Sponge", has announced that he will be back on the air starting in January. His programme will be heard afternoons on the same Sirius Satellite Radio channel as shock jock king Howard Stern.

"Bubba" was a highly successful --- and controversial --- morning jock for years in Tampa Bay until he was sacked by employer Clear Channel Communications after a then-record $755,000 in FCC fines for indecent content on his programme. He was lured by Stern, the former New York-based "King of All Media", who has control of two Sirius channels as part of his half-billion dollar five year deal.

But two questions remain:

1) How much will satellite radio grow over the next five years? Siruis is banking much of it's financial future on Stern and how successful his two channels will become.

2) Will the freedom that "Bubba", Stern, and company are expecting from their being out of the regular broadcast spectrum last much longer? The FCC and Congress are already looking long and hard at extending their rules on content to cable television and satellite radio. That, of course, would be a disaster for their brand of "shock radio", and would bring them back under the realm of government oversight that they sought to escape.

While I'm not a fan of "Bubba" or Stern, I wish them both well in their new endeavour. And for those who don't like their brand of humour...the wonderful thing about radio and television in America is the wide variety of options available. That's what the tuner and/or the on/off switch are for. The last time I researched, the Tampa Bay radio market alone has NINE religious radio stations, not to mention (I believe) THREE religious televisions stations. Maybe those folks should be watching Benny Hinn or Jim Bakker instead.


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