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The Case of the Slowly Disappearing Glenn Beck

Reported by Aunty Em - March 28, 2011 -

Way back when I was still fairly new to predicting what Glenn Beck might do—in January of ’10—I went out on a limb and made some wild predictions. Subsequent events have proven me remarkably prescient in some areas, but off the mark in others. I’ve since learned it’s not all that easy to predict the unpredictable Beck. I might have to alter my predictions of Beck’s eventual demise after more radio stations abandon the Radio Drama Theatre and the NYT speculates about a post-Beck Fox “News” Channel.

Back then I said:

No matter where he’s living, the road will get very rough for The Beckinator in 2010. Not a week will go by that he doesn’t find a new target to smear with lies and distortions. As each new target is acquired this year, another organized group will begin to howl in righteous indignation. Eventually, Big Mouth Beck will say something so outrageous, so off-the-wall, so ridiculous that a “Dump Glenn Beck” movement will coalesce and pick up steam. As usual FNC, and Bashful Beck, will make themselves the victims, crying that their First Amendment rights are being threatened while using one of the largest megaphones in broadcasting. Despite the public pressure, Beck will hang onto his show until the ball drops for 2011, but for how much longer than that?

I further predict, not necessarily in the next year, but eventually, that he will continue to keep himself up at night to the point where he either falls prey to Dionysus, The God of Beckanalia, or starts snorting the Colombian Marching Powder <> all over again, if he isn’t already. This will lead to an eventual meltdown, where we are told that Glenda is taking a bit of a rest.

Stay tuned. It’s going to be a great year in Beckville and I’ll continue to profile its mayor week after week.

I was so “on the mark” in that first paragraph it seems as if I channeled Kreskin, right on down to the Cavuto mark at the end. However, in my second paragraph, I allude to a spectacular flame-out. Sadly, for sheer entertainment value alone, it doesn’t look like that’s what we are going to get. Beck’s influence will shrink his year in drips and drabs until Fox “News” decides not to renew his contract in December. Then what?

His slide began early this year when Phili’s WPHT dropped Beck’s (and Hannity’s) show as did WOR, in NYC, the biggest talker market in all of Radiodom. [To make sure he stays off the air in New York more than 26,000 people have emailed the other NY talk radio stations to keep him off the air.] And, this week Buckley Radio announced it was axing The Beckinator on 6 stations in 3 states.

Now with talk that Fox “News” might not renew his contract (the one Beck has always claimed was only a handshake), what’s a Conspiracy-monger to do? How about pulling a page out of the Oprah playbook and starting his own channel? That’s the latest buzz in Beckistania, as reported by Brian Stelter in the NYT:

Two of the options Mr. Beck has contemplated, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.

Reports this week that Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, would soon join Mr. Beck’s growing media company, Mercury Radio Arts, were the latest indication that Mr. Beck intended to leave Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, when his contract expired at the end of this year.

Notably, Mr. Beck’s company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.

Were Mr. Beck to set off on his own, it would be a landmark moment for the media industry, reflecting a shift in the balance of power between media institutions and the personal brands of people they employ.

However, Jack Mirkinson argues in an interesting item at a HuffPo, Mercury might be playing a “dangerous game” of both ends against the middle:

But despite Mediaite's characterization of Cheatwood as a "Fox News bigwig," a source close to the situation claims that Cheatwood has been marginalized at Fox News, saying that he already spends most of his time at Mercury and is only seen at Fox News HQ when Beck's show is taping. The source also told the Huffington Post that Cheatwood's contract with Fox News expires in the next few weeks, and that the network was not planning to renew it.

Cheatwood has been a close associate of Beck's since the two were both at HLN, CNN's sister station, where Cheatwood helped create Beck's first, pre-Fox News show. He has also become one of Fox News' primary spokesmen for Beck in the media.

The source also speculated that the report came originally from Chris Balfe, the head of Mercury.

"Chris Balfe is playing a dangerous game with Roger Ailes," the source said.

No matter what happens, it will be an interesting year for Glenn Beck watchers. However, I may have to start to transition to other Fox "News" personalities if I am to have a future at News Hounds.



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