While many people across the country were celebrating the 4th of July this week, two sides of a legal battle agreed to bring their back and forth bickering to an end. Earlier today one of the biggest legal battles in the radio industry reached a conclusion. The legal spat was between Bubba The Love Sponge Clem and Nielsen over alleged ratings tampering. According to news from both parties, they reached an out-of-court settlement. But what was the lawsuit about and who filed it against whom?
According to court documents, the lawsuit was filed by Nielsen over “alleged ratings tampering by…the Tampa-based nationally syndicated radio personality and his production company, The Bubba Radio Network.” In agreeing to settle the dispute, Clem admitted that “prior to the lawsuit he had not previously disclosed all contacts with Nielsen panelists.” He also revealed that he “is not presently in contact with any Nielsen panelist, and promised to never knowingly communicate with any active Nielsen panelist in the future…and agreed to notify Nielsen immediately of any future contact with Nielsen’s active panelists.”
As part of the settlement, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem will make “an undisclosed financial payment to Nielsen.”
If Clem violates the settlement agreement at any time, he will be subjected to “a court-ordered injunction and additional financial damages payable to Nielsen,” according to the agreement. When discussing the settlement, Clem said, “I understand how important it is to the radio industry that the Nielsen ratings be free from bias and I deeply regret interfering with Nielsen’s collection of listening data.”
“Nielsen reaffirms that none of Clem’s contacts with Nielsen panelists materially impacted Nielsen’s audience estimates. Nielsen’s lawsuit was filed as part of an ongoing initiative to safeguard the impartiality of the company’s audio estimates and to protect the integrity of its rating process.”
The lawsuit was first filed against Bubba the Love Sponge Clem back in October 2015 in Florida civil court and made its way through the “U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, leading to today’s out-of-court settlement.” Much of the legal battle was covered by Streamline Publishing’s Radio Ink, and before the out-of-court settlement, a trial was expected to begin later this month. However, according to reports, “a one-page document was filed with the court on June 21 by Judge James Whittemore directing both sides back into mediation.”