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Host ‘Bubba the Love Sponge’ fired

Program has resulted in FCC proposing large fine
/ Source: Reuters

Florida radio personality “Bubba the Love Sponge,” who was accused of airing indecent material by federal regulators, has been fired, media group Clear Channel Communications said Tuesday.

The Federal Communications Commission last month proposed a $755,000 fine against Clear Channel, the biggest operator of radio stations in the United States, because of sexual material broadcast during a “Bubba the Love Sponge” program on WXTB-FM in Tampa and three other Florida radio stations.

In proposing the fine, the FCC said the programming had involved cartoon characters discussing sexual activities and had been meant to pander to listeners.

“We recognize the importance of understanding and airing content that is consistent with the standards and sensibilities of the local communities that we serve,” Clear Channel said in a written statement.

U.S. media groups such as San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel, which also Tuesday reported that its quarterly profit was little changed, have been under attack by U.S. lawmakers and others critical of programming considered obscene.

U.S. law bars the airing of obscene speech and limits the broadcasting of material with sexual or excretory references. Lawmakers are proposing dramatically increasing fines for violating the limits.

“Bubba the Love Sponge,” who had legally changed his name from Todd Clem, was fined $23,000 by the FCC in 1998 for airing indecent material. Two years ago, he was acquitted of animal cruelty charges after a pig was castrated and killed during one of his broadcasts.

The “Bubba” program had been ranked first in its morning broadcasting slot among younger Florida listeners.