Radio War or Just Entertainment? Bubba The Love Sponge® vs. Mike Calta

Prior to December, 2014, I was a die-hard fan of the Bubba The Love Sponge® Show based in Tampa, Florida.  I mean, a die-hard fan.  Every morning I had to have my fill of what was on his mind, what was happening of importance in Tampa Bay and the rest of the country.

Lately, I've been filling my Twitter and Facebook with talk about, and against, Bubba and I felt the need to explain this a bit.

I listened religiously to this radio icon who backed law enforcement and the "little guy". He talked about the whiners, cry babies, and other "pussies" (as he would call them) in the spotlight and put a lid on them and their petty causes. He would call on the phone to bring them out.  He was on Twitter and Facebook.  He called them "pussies" when they would not respond to him or his calls.  "Come on and talk to me you little bitch." They had to answer to Bubba or be labeled.  Bubba was the bully of the airwaves.

Bubba also has an "army".  A band of followers who believe his every word.  The army supports him regardless of the cause or if it's "right" or "wrong".  This cult-like organization was frequently called upon during Bubba's radio show.  If a show of force had to be made, Bubba would call on his army to show up in support and many of them did.  Bubba refers to this group as "Bubba Army".  Marketing it to show support, camaraderie and brotherhood, they produced bumper stickers, t-shirts, flags and signage with the logo:

Bubba was a man's man; a champion and hero to many of his followers.  He was #1 at the top of his game in every market he entered.  He was at the top of every age group in every realm of his network of radio stations.

Bubba was in the media with a defamation lawsuit brought on by Todd Schnitt, who had his own talk show on 970 WLFA and hosted the MJ Morning Show on 93.3 WFLZ in Tampa.  The two had been at each other for a long time.  Bubba called Todd Schnitt a "whiny little bitch" and other names. He called Schnitt's wife a "whore" on the air.  Classy move.  News coverage of the lawsuit went nationwide. There was controversy about the plaintiff's attorney DUI arrest and whether Bubba's defense side set him up or not.  Read one media report about the trial (link)

Everyone who followed Bubba's prime 6am to 10am time slot were brought there, and apparently hired, by Bubba. He brought in Drew Garabo, The Cowhead Show and others.  He gave them their slot at a huge radio station in Tampa.  Bubba took the once music-only format and put together a line-up of talk shows turning The Bone into a 24/7 talk radio entity subtitled "Real. Raw. Radio."  It was a brash, hardcore, talk radio like none other and Bubba was at the center, the creator, of it all. Bubba frequently reminded everyone that so-and-so got their start because of him.  Yet, he never gave them respect or advertising during his morning show.  The Bone wasn't about any of these other talk shows, it was all about Bubba The Love Sponge®.

Then, while at the top of the radio market, Cox Media Group, owners of 102.5 The Bone, fired him.

Bubba was, understandably, outraged.  Who wouldn't be?  The #1 radio host in his market pulling in maximum advertising dollars and a celebrity mixing with celebrities himself is fired?  To add fuel to this, he blamed his firing on Mike Calta, whose show was then known as The Cowhead Show.  I never listened to The Cowhead Show while he was on later in the afternoon.  The time slot just didn't work for me and his show was all about celebrity penis sizes and not much else. At least, when I did try to listen, that was all I heard.  I frequently listened to "In Your Face with Drew Garabo" and the Billy Madison Show.  Garabo is a genius.  Now, the setting changed and Cowhead became Mike Calta Show and he took over the prime morning slot from 6am to 10am, once held by King Bubba. As for Bubba, he seemed to be done.

Bubba resurfaced, however, in January, 2015, on another station in Tampa: 98.7 The Fan (WHFS).  Changing from an all-sports format to Bubba's shock-jock talk show mentality.  Bubba Army were elated and rejoiced in his return to the air.  The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group.  Well, if you listen to Bubba, he owns it.

From the start, Bubba The Love Sponge® came out of the gate, on-air, swinging.  He was not attacking the "pussies" and cry baby whiners.  He was now targeting Mike Calta for scheming to have him fired from The Bone.  This was understandable for the first week or two.  You've been fired from a job you loved and had a huge following of backers, future plans, growth, etc., fired at the hands of someone else, right?

A month later, Bubba The Love Sponge® was still talking about Mike Calta...daily.  Not only talking on-air, but his Twitter feed - linked to his Facebook page - was all abuzz over this.  And, he would organize his "army" to fight with him.  Bubba led a caravan - pickup trucks, bulldozers and whatever lawn equipment can be legally driven on public roads - to the studios at The Bone during Mike Calta's show.  "Come outside and fight, Calta, you pussy!".  Apparently, the police were called or already standing by and the army considered this was a "pussy" move - because any SANE person would walk outside an office complex with 20 to 30 rednecks wanting to beat your ass without calling the police.  Right.

Bubba's next venture is a new concept in radio never before heard - playing music.  He sends Twitter messages about the mixes being played "Led Zeppelin to Mariah Carey" and follows it with some stupid non-trending hashtag: "#putthatshitoverccuuuuzzzzz"  Put "that shit" over what?  Now doesn't that sound like a professionally-run radio operation?  It is as if Bubba invented radio, online streaming, and (big one here) music genre mixes. It has been going on for many years already but since Bubba has gotten into it, a whole new set of cave dwellers knows about it.  Bravo.  Take a bow and accept your award.

According to Bubba The Love Sponge®, Mike Calta now was being fired from Cox and The Bone.  As such, Calta would be terminated "soon" and there were daily reports of this and Calta's demise on Bubba's Twitter/Facebook page.  There were news-worthy reports of Calta having billboard signs in Tampa.  As if it was illegal.  Bubba Tweeted that Calta was seen fishing, or shopping, or having dinner or lunch at some restaurant. The shame! Bubba The Love Sponge® was infatuated, obsessed, with every move Mike Calta was making and it was obvious.  To many of his long-time followers, Bubba The Love Sponge® was now being the "whiny bitch" cry baby.  A hypocrite too.  Bubba broke "news" about Mike Calta messaging for having relations with certain women.

It's as if Bubba The Love Sponge® was now a holy man of no shame or sin.  He could do no wrong or nothing immoral and his army agrees.  (They have to for fear of being ousted by the rest of the Bubba cult.)  To his army, Bubba is a saint who could never do wrong.  Remember?  He's a man's man, a champion for the "little guy".  Would a man's man have a celebrity wrestler sleep with his wife?  Read this report for details.  His army says "of course we would!".  Bubba's former employers/broadcast stations have also been fined heavily by the FCC.  He was also tried for animal cruelty for broadcasting the castration of a pig on the radio.  He was cleared but vowed revenge against State Attorney Mark Ober.  He has been cited for indecent broadcasts.  Yet he remains a "model citizen" of high morale standards.

Bubba The Love Sponge® also established the BTLS Foundation, a 501 (3)(C) organization intended to help the families of fallen officers and those in need.  I actually know of someone who took over management of a popular day care that was struggling to stay in operation.  Previous management screwed with the funding and that person was replaced.  No one from the foundation responded, not even "Sorry can't help you".

Back to Bubba The Love Sponge® Facebook and Twitter accounts.  If you view his Facebook page, it appears he posts a lot of messages there and offers a lot of interaction.  Truth is, his Facebook page is only a feed of what he posts on Twitter.  So, he is limited to 140 characters and frequently abbreviates his posts to the point it looks like he is illiterate.  His army is very active on his Facebook page and frequently gives their collective nod in agreement to everything he posts.  But when someone else makes a negative remark, the wrath of the Bubba cult is felt widespread.  There is shame, guilt, threats, name-calling or name-twisting.  It sounds like an elementary school playground.  "Bubba doesn't monitor his Facebook page you moron, so why post?"  Well, why does the army post their support as if he is seeing any of it?  Thousands of characters are wasted with the back-and-forth nonsense. The more you read, the more you realize the Bubba Army...College...does not teach English or any form of literacy.  For every topic a non-Bubba worshiper responds to, a Bubba Army officer will drill you down with insults, name-calling, family bashing, work bashing and whatever tools are used to attempt to degrade the person.  Because, being a bully and degrading people is what Bubba The Love Sponge® is all about, right?  Most of the "army" replies end with "BITCH" (has to be in all caps) or "Look out your window BITCH".  This was derived by the incident outside The Bone studios when they called on Calta to step outside for a fight.  And, of course, since that is normal behavior, the Bubba Army adopted it as their own.  Most of them question why "trolls" and haters are following Bubba in the first place.  The response begins with "and yet here you are".  The Bubba Army manual must have a section devoted to responding on social media.  The first 6 chapters are "Bubba is always right", followed by "7. Using Social Media".   They also resort to twisting names, Cowhead (Calta hasn't used that name in over 6-months) is turned into Cowturd, Cowpatty, Cowface.  Those are from some real adults.  Of course, I've had my name twisted by these goofs on Facebook and have been threatened with their "show of force" at my work - like a group of terrorist wannabe's.

Actually, I believe the only thing separating Bubba's Army from being called a "terrorist" group is that there is no political gain. But they do threaten through intimidation, threaten to use violence, fear and coercion for their gain.

According to his faithful cult, Bubba doesn't read anything on his Facebook page.  He will respond to a message sent from his homepage's "Contact Us" page, right?  No.  I tried that also.  Finally, I went to Twitter and, after several direct messages to @BTLSRadio, surprise, no response there either.  But sure enough, the attack against Mike Calta continues and we are now 6-MONTHS into this cry baby "war".  Bubba The Love Sponge® just can't get over himself.  He also cannot produce a show with compelling topics.  He is obsessed, creepy, and borderline psychotic.  I have lost all respect for him as a radio show host and, frankly, as a "man".  He has become the cry baby whiner that he, himself, once shouted against on the radio. This is no "man's man"!

Bubba's 12-year-old son, Tyler, was also thrown into the mix.  Tyler races at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala.  Tyler ("Tizzy") has a Facebook page and Bubba sent a Tweet (so you know it was posted to Facebook also) to have everyone like and follow his son on Facebook.  I don't know about you but I would never ask random strangers, my "army" or not, to follow my 12-year-old.  Another creepy move.  Of course, Bubba Army applauded him and attacked anyone with negative comments - it's what they do. They are as proud of Bubba as I'm sure Tyler is proud of his dad for doing all of this childish crap.

One of the posts directed at me asked why an old man (me) was even following Bubba. Bubba is, as of this writing, 48.  I'm not *that* much older than his holiness. Idiots reaching for whatever they can dish out.

Now at 6-months and Bubba is still talking about Mike Calta daily.  We are now down to the final hours of some "breaking news" - a mole inside Cox Media, The Bone, reporting to Bubba, and the Tweets are...flying.  Every minute: "My mole says something big is happening at The Bone #mikecaltaisgoingtobefired". "All you Cox employees are glued to my Twitter feed now to find out what is happening in your own building #arentyoudoingthatyouBITCHES" "Mole says some big changes today at Cox and you heard it first here #andyoumustbegladyouarefollowingmeBITCHES"

...and it goes on.

Truth is, as far as I'm concerned, I don't really have a stake in this or care if Mike Calta is gone.  I don't listen to either show.  I do follow both Bubba and Calta on Twitter and Facebook.  Bubba will do unto others has they have, allegedly, done to him and he won't stop until then.  But then what? You have lost a lot of respect and listeners even though you do claim you are #1 now in this market. You have been saying that for months but apparently it was only recently that you overtook the Mike Calta show.  Your army explained that Calta gained your former listeners then lost them all.  You also gained a few from former "The Fan" listeners.  Who cares?  If that is all that matters, then the fact that you lost a lot of respect is no big deal. You still have your Bubba Army and they will stand behind you, really close, no matter what you do.  You and your army have plans to show up at a concert, the band of which Mike Calta is a member.  Because, that is what you're all about.  That is what "good" radio is all about.  Fact is, Bubba has lost "touch" with reality.  I feel sorry for the people who have to work for him on his show and behind the scenes.  Always doing what you're told and not able to express your own real feelings. You fear him.

Bubba's agenda with Mike Calta is personal and business and should have taken place behind closed doors, in meeting rooms, with professional corporate executives - Bubba is the furthest thing from being professional.  Cox Media Group, The Bone, fired you. Instead, you have become an embarrassment to the Tampa bay area, talk radio, and those who, at one time at least, stood with you, purchased stickers and t-shirts, believed in you.  You have no real show content and your only method of staying relevant is by re-hashing this "beef" with Cox and Mike Calta on-air and on social media. Hypocrite. You are not the man's man you were back in the day.  And except for your die-hard Bubba Army, it will be a long time before you really matter to anyone.

Here's something to think about:  Except for those few statistics in the Tampa Bay area and your radio network markets, you are nobody.  After auditing your Twitter followers, the report showed 77,227 were real and 53,224 were fake accounts.  You still have a good "following", but to whom?

Is this a real radio war or has this all been for entertainment?  Bubba needs to grow up and move on.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: I have (finally) been blocked from posting on Bubba's Facebook page. I ended up unliking his page which is no loss to me either - it is full of hypocrites and hatred, better known as "Bubba Army".