Bubba The Love Sponge has left satellite radio in favor of Internet radio. In case you’re inclined to downplay this news due to Bubba’s renegade reputation, I’ll say that I think this is big news for Internet radio.
Bubba The Love Sponge was a well known and highly fined shock jock of the Howard Stern genre. In 2004 he was fired for indecency, soon after to end up at Sirius XM where he hosted the #2 show after Stern’s for years. In 2008 he reappeared on broadcast radio in several markets, that show also continued to air on Sirius XM. Unhappy with the terms of his contract renewal at Sirius XM, Bubba left the satellite station at the end of 2010 and announced to his listeners that he would begin streaming his show on Radioio on January 3rd.
Few, if any, radio personalities with a following the size of Bubba’s (reported to be around 3 million) have made such a move. Bubba has earned bragging rights as an Internet radio pioneer. But he says it wasn’t a risky move given the way Internet radio is growing. More people have smartphones than satellite radios, he points out, so more people can listen to Internet radio than Sirius XM, and more potential listeners for his show.
“The way to deliver content changes by the minute” Bubba said during my phone conversation with him. “While this may seem revolutionary today, tomorrow it won’t.”
Content distribution is what Bubba The Love Sponge is really focused on. He’s been producing and distributing his own content – to Sirius XM and a small number of broadcast stations – for several years. Was there a deal that would have kept BTLS with Sirius XM? Not exclusively. “No amount they could have offered would have kept me off of Radioio,” he says.
Bubba has been watching Internet radio and Radioio closely for years. It was in 2004 that he first met with management from the station. At the time, his friend and mentor Randy Michaels advised him to sit back for awhile. BTLS’s agent Tom Bean is also the CEO of Radioio, something that came about as a result of Bubba’s early interest in the station.
The Bubba The Love Sponge show is available now on Radioio for free. In March, Radioio will add an additional second channel of Bubba programming – one will stream a free rebroadcast of the show produced for terrestrial radio and the second will offer an exclusive, unregulated version to subscribers for $9.99 a month.
“We view this launch as the next evolution in Internet Radio,” said Thomas Bean, CEO of IO World Media. Radioio Founder and Consultant Mike Roe calls it a historic event for the medium. I have to say I agree. With this move, Bubba becomes the first major radio personality to move his programming and huge and passionate audience online. While I can’t say I’ll be listening, I’ll definitely be watching…