On his Fox News show today, Glenn Beck suggested that the efforts of Jewish Funds for Justice and Media Matters to “accelerat[e] Beck's decline” are not working because “the lights are on” in his studio. In fact, Beck's Fox News program has lost over 300 advertisers, he has lost more than 1 million viewers over the last year, his radio show has been kicked off various stations including ones in New York and Philadelphia, and there is a possibility that Fox News executives are reportedly “contemplating life without” Beck.
Beck: The “Lights Are On” In My Studio
Beck Attacks Losers Who Haven't Been Able To Get Him Off Fox. From the March 28 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: [Jewish Funds For Justice] even have a special Fox News campaign now. Saying, “We stand up for those who offer nothing but scapegoats and demagoguery.” They are also hiring interns in case you are looking to -- they are creating jobs. Here's the job description: “Jewish Funds for Justice seeks creative and motivated interns in New York City.” I hope you're motivated.
The interns will focus on the solutions, not scapegoats, campaign and report to the senior campaign manager. The intern work will primarily focus on JFSJ's campaign to get Glenn Beck's hateful rhetoric off of Fox News and off of radio in several cities. They are going to disrupt me some more?
C'mon, guys. It's not working for you so far, is it? Man, sometimes you must feel like a [gestures loser], anyway, they continue: “This cutting edge campaign is receiving national press attention for accelerating Beck's decline.” Am I in decline? Could somebody check with a doctor? “And promoting positive public discourse.” I know it feels positive so far.
This weekend I was out in Texas. That's where I got the hat. It's the best disguise I have ever worn, because nobody expects me in a cowboy hat. I was actually out doing a stage show in Texas and I went to the Alamo on Saturday. My wife had never been. We walked the grounds of Davey Crockett and Colonel Travis. Tomorrow -- this has nothing to do with Media Matters because, I mean, really [gestures losers]. Can you imagine having that much money and still years later we're all still, lights are on. We're doing good. I mean, wouldn't you really at some point go I'm so depressed? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/28/11]
More Than 300 Advertisers Have Fled Beck's Fox News Show
StopBeck.com: “Total Number Of Companies That Refuse To Have Ads On Glenn Beck: 300+.” StopBeck.com has documented the number of advertisers who have dropped their ads on Fox News' Glenn Beck. To date, StopBeck.com has recorded over 300 sponsors that have dropped their advertisements from Beck's show. [StopBeck.com, accessed 3/28/11]
NY Times: Beck Is “Toxic For Ad Sales.” In a September 29, 2010, article headlined, "Being Glenn Beck," The New York Times highlighted the difficulty Fox News experiences in finding advertisers for Beck. The article stated that “Beck's show is known in the TV sales world as 'empty calories,' meaning he draws great ratings but is toxic for ad sales.” From the article:
While Beck's personal ventures and exposure have soared this year, his television ratings have declined sharply -- perhaps another factor in the network's impatience. His show now averages two million viewers, down from a high of 2.8 million in 2009, according to the Nielsen Ratings. And as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck's show (up from 26 in August 2009). Fox also has a difficult time selling ads on “The O'Reilly Factor” and “Fox and Friends” when Beck appears on those shows as a guest. Beck's show is known in the TV sales world as “empty calories,” meaning he draws great ratings but is toxic for ad sales. [The New York Times, 9/29/10]
Beck's UK Broadcast Has Run Without Any Ads For More Than A Year. Beginning February 9, 2010, the UK broadcast of Beck's show ran without any ads. It was not until February 7, 2011, shortly before the first anniversary of the show, that a handful of advertisers returned. However, the show has again run without any ads since February 18. [StopBeck.com, 3/28/11]
Beck's Ratings Are In Free Fall
The New Republic: "[Beck's] Show Has Lost More Than One Million Viewers" Over 2010. From The New Republic:
Just six months later, however, Beck seems to have traveled somewhere else entirely. His ratings and reputation are in steep decline: His show has lost more than one million viewers over the course of the past year, falling from an average of 2.9 million in January 2010 to 1.8 million in January 2011. He now ranks fifth among Fox's six weekday talk hosts, trailing lesser-known personalities like Shepard Smith and Bret Baier. Beck's three-hour radio show has been dropped in several major cities, including New York and Philadelphia, and has seen a ratings decline in most other markets. “It's hard to gain a million viewers,” says Eric Boehlert, who follows Beck's shows for the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters, “but it's really hard to lose a million viewers.” And Beck's fall contrasts with the fortunes of other Fox News hosts, like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, whose TV ratings stayed solid throughout 2010.
Beck's commercial viability also seems to have suffered. His viewership among 25- to 54-year-olds, a prized advertising demographic, declined by almost one-half in 2010. An advertising boycott organized by liberal groups has caused over 300 companies--including Procter & Gamble, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart--to stop showing commercials during Beck's show. The Beck brand isn't what it used to be off the airwaves either: His most recent non-fiction book, Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure, was his first book in eight years not to reach number one on The New York Times best-seller list.
What happened? Beck built a following by making outlandish, conspiratorial claims--about ACORN, Obama, and so on. (Bizarrely, his extremism may have augmented the number of curious liberal viewers tuning in: A Pew Research Center poll from last September found that 9 percent of Beck's Fox viewers identified as Democrats, and 21 percent as moderates or liberals.) But “anytime you have extreme stimulus,” says Alexander Zaitchik, author of the unauthorized Beck biography Common Nonsense, “you'll have diminishing returns.” Beck, says Zaitchik, was caught “in a vicious circle”: To keep viewers coming back, he had to keep creating new, more intricate theories. [The New Republic, 3/3/11]
Beck Guest Host Equaled Beck's Ratings. During the week of March 7, Freedom Watch's Andrew Napolitano hosted Beck's show while Beck was on vacation. For those four rated days, the Napolitano-hosted program averaged 1.83 million viewers. The week prior to that, the Beck-hosted show drew an audience of 1.98 million, which meant there was just an eight percent dip in the audience while Beck was on vacation. [Media Bistro via Media Matters, 3/16/11]
Beck's Ratings In February Were Much Lower Than The Same Month The Previous Year. TVNewser reported that the February ratings for Glenn Beck's Fox News show dropped 26 percent compared to February of the previous year. [TVNewser, 3/1/11]
During The First Quarter Of 2011, Beck Has Reportedly Lost “More Than A Third Of His Audience Over The Last Year.” The New York Daily News reports: “According to Nielsen Media Research, during the first quarter of 2011, Beck lost more than a third of his audience over last year--more than one million viewers. [New York Daily News, 3/23/11]
Radio Stations Drop Beck's Radio Show
NYC's WOR Drops Beck And Replaces Him With Mike Gallagher. In January, New York City's second largest radio station, WOR (710 AM), dropped Beck's radio show and replaced him with Mike Gallagher. The station cited Beck's poor ratings as the reason behind the decision. The New York Daily News reported:
Glenn Beck may be one of the hottest talk show hosts in the country, but he apparently left New York's WOR cold.
WOR (710 AM), one of the city's two biggest talk radio stations, said this morning it is dropping Beck's syndicated show as of Jan. 17 and replacing him with a familiar New York name: Mike Gallagher.
“The reason is ratings,” said WOR program director Scott Lakefield. “Somewhat to our surprise, the show wasn't getting what we wanted.” [New York Daily News, 1/4/11]
Buckley Radio President: "[Beck] Bounces Around Pretty Radically" And “Confuses People.” In a conversation with Media Matters' Joe Strupp, Rick Buckley, president of Buckley Radio, explained his reasons for dropping Glenn Beck's radio show from his network. Citing the decision to pull Beck off the chain's flagship WOR, Buckley said:
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. [Media Matters, 3/28/11]
Beck Kicked Off Philadelphia's Top Talk Radio Station. In November 2010, WPHT, Philadelphia's top talk radio station, dropped Beck from its lineup. [Media Matters, 11/19/10]
Beck Loses Time Slot In Kansas City Due To Low Ratings. Beck reportedly lost his morning time slot on Kansas City's KMBZ “due to declining ratings.” His show was moved to the less desirable late evening slot and local talker Chris Merrill took over Beck's morning slot. Bottom Line Communications reported:
Due to declining ratings, nationally syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck has lost his morning time slot on NewsRadio 980 KMBZ, and will be replaced by Chris Merrill from 9-11 a.m. The change is effective Monday (3/14).
Beck's show will now be extended for its full three hours and air from 9 p.m. to midnight weekdays on the Entercom station. [Bottom Line Communications, 3/13/11]
Wisconsin Radio Station: Beck's Show Is “Unacceptable For Broadcast.” WTDY/Madison dropped Glenn Beck's show from its station in February. When asked for the reasons behind its decision, WTDY issued the following statement to Media Matters:
WTDY can no longer carry the Glenn Beck program. Over the last 12 months, the show has devolved into plugs for Fox News (the radio version of which is aired by our direct competitor), his books, and other personal endorsements. The lack of actual content becomes more apparent daily. Monday's program was the final straw; his unabashed deriding of Madison is unacceptable for broadcast in our community. [Media Matters, 2/24/10]
Fox News Is Reportedly “Contemplating Life Without” Beck
NY Times: Fox Is “Looking At The End Of [Beck's] Contract.” In a March 6 article, The New York Times' David Carr reported that Fox News executives are “looking at the end of [Beck's] contract” which expires in December and “contemplating life without Mr. Beck.” Carr further reported that since last August, Beck has “lost over a third of his audience on Fox -- a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox.” From the New York Times:
Mr. Beck, a conservative Jeremiah and talk-radio phenomenon, burst into television prominence in 2009 by taking the forsaken 5 p.m. slot on Fox News and turning it into a juggernaut. A conjurer of conspiracies who spotted sedition everywhere he looked, Mr. Beck struck a big chord and ended up on the cover of Time magazine and The New York Times Magazine, and held rallies all over the country that were mobbed with acolytes. He achieved unheard-of ratings, swamped the competition and at times seemed to threaten the dominion of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity at Fox.
But a funny thing happened on the way from the revolution. Since last August, when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the “Restoring Honor” rally, Mr. Beck has lost over a third of his audience on Fox -- a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox. True, he fell from the great heights of the health care debate in January 2010, but there has been worrisome erosion -- more than one million viewers -- especially in the younger demographic.
He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say -- anonymously, of course; they don't want to be identified as criticizing the talent -- that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck. [The New York Times, 3/6/11]
NY Times: Beck Has Began Searching For Alternatives To Fox For His Future. In a March 22 article, The New York Times' Brian Stelter reported that Glenn Beck has considered taking over a cable channel or expanding his Insider Extreme Web service, should Beck not renew his contract with Fox News at the end of this year. The article went on to quote a Fox spokeswoman who, when asked about Beck's contract, said, “it's not up until December,” but declined to comment further. From the New York Times:
But a cable channel takeover, even in part, carries enormous risk, as Ms. Winfrey and Ms. Stewart can attest -- they have more real estate now, but the ratings comparisons are not favorable. For Mr. Beck, the risk may be heightened by the fact that many advertisers have shunned him on Fox, in part because of a boycott that started after he called President Obama racist in 2009.
Furthermore, having cable channel turf may carry less importance in the future as more people access TV shows online.
Mr. Beck's other option is to expand Insider Extreme, the subscription portion of his Web site, glennbeck.com, by hosting an exclusive show there and by adding other content.
Insider Extreme already simulcasts Mr. Beck's three-hour radio show; shows a fourth hour hosted by his sidekicks; shows a daily show hosted by S. E. Cupp, a conservative commentator; and occasionally features documentaries.
People who have spoken to Mr. Beck say that neither option -- a cable channel or what would essentially be an Internet channel -- would be aimed at competing with Fox News, which is enormously popular on cable. Rather, it would try to extract more value out of Mr. Beck's loyal fans. The comparison to [Howard] Stern may be apt: his audience on satellite radio is smaller than it was on terrestrial radio, but the profits are higher. [The New York Times, 3/22/11]