Cox settles Todd Schnitt defamation suit; jury seated


Bubba ArmyCox Media Group has settled the suit brought by Compass Media Networks talker Todd Schnitt against the broadcaster and host Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, who airs on Talk WHPT-FM Tampa, “The Bone.”

Cox agreed to the settlement Friday, before jury selection would begin this week on the suit, in which Schnitt has accused Clem of “false, highly offensive and defamatory statements” about him and his wife Michelle as competition heated up between the two on the morning radio, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Specifically, Clem targeted Schnitt on the air, the then-top-rated morning guy on his MJ Morning Show at Clear Channel’s cross-town CHR WFLZ-FM in what lawyers called a “radio war” for ratings. Clem called Schnitt “a lying piece of crap” and branded his wife a “whore.”

Cox and Schnitt agreed to keep the terms confidential, declining to say if money changed hands or legal fees were paid.

A jury was selected from a pool of 48 after they were asked all day how they felt about bullying, about damage to reputations and about famous media feuds, including that of Jay Leno and David Letterman. Six jurors and four alternates were chosen 1/15 for the civil trial.

Cox attorneys are now helping Bubba’s legal team prepare for the trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks.

See the Tampa Bay Times story here

RBR-TVBR observation: The lawyers may have it right. The series of lawsuits, battles and general shock that revolve around Bubba are good for ratings and good for Tampa radio. The most bizarre angle on this case may just be that Bubba’s lawyers will actually have to try and prove what he said about Schnitt and his wife to absolve some of his guilt in the eyes of the jury. Schnitt takes that risk by suing. The lawyers will also try and show that this is the nature of the radio business—creating controversy and water cooler talk.