EXCLUSIVE: Radio Chain Dropping Beck Because His Rants Hurt Ratings
A radio chain that dropped  Glenn Beck from five of its stations since January did so, in part, because the show's content was hurting ratings, the company's president said Monday.
"He bounces around pretty radically, I think he confuses people, they're not sure where he is coming from," said Rick Buckley, president of Buckley Radio of Greenwich, Conn., who spoke with Media Matters. "It can change day to day, hour to hour. Consistency is, I think, the path to success in broadcasting, in radio for sure, whether it be music or talk. Glenn is sort of all over the park from time to time."
Buckley spoke just days after his company announced it would pull Beck's show from four stations in Connecticut. -- WDRC-AM, WWCO-AM, WSNG-AM, and WMMW-AM. Those stations simulcast programming and will no longer air Beck's morning show, replacing it with two local personalities.
"Some of his direction has changed over the last year and a half," Buckley said. "He is preaching a lot more than entertaining."
The move comes just months after WOR Radio, the chain's flagship station in New York, replaced Beck with a local host in January.
"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," Buckley said. "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."
Buckley, whose father started the company in the 1950s, said Beck's show had changed and taken on more of a religious tone since his August 2010 rally in Washington, D.C.
"There is no question I think he had a big change after his Washington conclave. Something hit him down there. His show changed after that," Buckley said. "In its basic elements that he had been doing for a long, long time. He got much more into the doomsday and a lot more talking of the religious aspects of people's lives and stuff like that. For us in New York and in Hartford, we just felt that a local program would be better."
In recent months, Beck's show has frequently veered  into apocalyptic religiosity.
Asked about the WOR change, Buckley said he had expected Beck's ratings to improve in that market, but they did not after two years on the air.
"WOR ... we gave it a two-year shot, it just didn't seem to get traction, it didn't get the traction we thought it would, especially with all the publicity and P.R. he's had, you'd have thought it would be a runaway. It was going the other way," Buckley said. "I don't know whether he is a little off the reservation in trying to prove his point for the masses ... the listening audience."
Citing the WOR ratings in New York, Buckley said: "They weren't down, but they weren't up. We'd thought they'd go up. The other talk station in New York, WABC, had gone through a lot of changes and you would have thought consistency would have helped [Beck]. We'd have thought we'd see some movement, but we didn't see anything."
Beck's show will remain on one Buckley station, KNZR-AM in Bakersfield, Calif. The company owns 17 stations in three states.