The empire is continuing to crumble for Glenn Beck. This week Buckley Radio yanked Beck’s radio from four more of its radio stations after they had already pulled him from their flagship station, WOR in New York. The news is even worse on the television side where Beck’s Fox News program has lost 500,000 viewers per night during the first quarter of 2011.
Forbes’ Rick Unger was discussing Glenn Beck’s radio show problems when he cited some interesting ratings data about Beck’s Fox News program, “The prophet of doom has managed to lose, on average, over 500,000 viewers each night of the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010- down 30% in average viewership on year to year basis, and down a staggering 37% among the cable news advertiser target adults 25-54 demo vs. the first quarter of 2010. While Beck still holds the number one spot in his TV time period, his numbers represent the steepest decline in all cable news programs. That rarely bodes well for a program’s future.”
Beck’s radio issues only partially are related to his habit of putting his foot in his mouth with controversial, racist, and bigoted thoughts. The bigger issue that is causing radio stations to dump his show is that his ratings aren’t high enough. Ever since Beck has turned more religious it would appear that he has turned off some listeners/viewers, and their response has been to literally turn off Glenn Beck’s shows.
Rick Buckley, who is the president of the radio station group that most recently dumped Beck blames the host’s shift towards religion for his ratings decline. Buckley said, “In the last six months or so, he has tended to be more and more taking a religious point of view … It didn’t do well here in the east. It has not gotten real traction. If you want a religious point of view, we’ve got plenty of religious stations. You can get it 24/7.”
When Glenn Beck’s ratings first started to tank, he decided that the way to revive his career was to inoculate his political views with a healthy dose of religion. The Rally to Restore Honor had nothing to do with honor. It was big coming out party for Glenn Beck’s new persona as a religious leader.
The problem is that Godly Beck still had political Beck’s biggest character flaw. He can’t stop saying racist and bigoted things. Godly Beck got himself into trouble by comparing reform Jews to Islamic fundamentalists. Political Beck sowed the seeds of his demise when he called Obama a racist.
The question is, why are viewers and listeners both leaving Glenn Beck? Is because of the religious tone of the programming as Buckley speculated? Is it because Beck has taken the humor out of his show, and gloom and doom isn’t very entertaining. Could it be that Beck’s redundant end of the world message has caused bored viewers and listeners to flee?
One, some, or a combination of all of the above factors could be the reason why Glenn Beck’s numbers have gotten so bad. (Remember Sarah Palin reading the phone book for an hour a night probably could do close to 2 million viewers for FNC so in Fox News terms, Beck is in the tank.) Viewers haven’t returned to Glenn Beck. They are still leaving, and the ones who already left are staying away.
Glenn Beck completely misjudged why his audience watched and listened. They liked Beck because he was the conservative warrior who scared the pants off them with a cheerful smile. He entertained them. But last year when Beck decided that he was going to go God, he appears to have alienated and annoyed a portion of what was left of his declining audience.
It will be no surprise if when December rolls around Fox News decides to part ways with Beck. What’s interesting is that it wasn’t the advertiser boycott, or “progressive conspiracies” that brought Beck down. He failed because he forgot who he was and what his audience wanted.
The only person who has to blame for sabotaging his career is Glenn Beck. When Glenn Beck stopped bringing in the ad dollars, he was no longer worth the trouble, and this is why this self-styled patriot of democracy and the free market could be about to be shown the door.