CNN's Glenn Beck once asked, "Am I turning into Bill O`Reilly? I really--I don't want to be that guy." After today, that may be impossible: the radio host who insists he's a regular joe is poised to reap a blockbuster monetary windfall.
Beck has famously made his opinions on monied celebrities abundantly clear, having tossed barbs their way as recently as two weeks ago, when California wildfires burned down the homes of those he termed "America haters." But, the recent news from the New York Times' Brian Stelter - that Premiere Radio Networks will announce a contract extension with Beck to the tune of "$50 million over five years, through a combination of salary and profit-sharing from syndication" - indicates that the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" maxim will soon apply to the radio host.
The deal is significant news because, who knows? Maybe this is the last $50 million the radio industry has to spend, having ceded market share and the ability to draw up blockbuster contracts to their brethren in the satellite radio biz. What Beck has going for him is listener loyalty and some demographics unique to the talk radio game. As Stelter notes, Beck's show skews younger and brings in "more females than most other talk-show hosts." In that sense, Beck's great works are coming to fruition. After all, he once vowed: "I`m a guy. I speak for all men when we say, we live to get women naked. Period."
So, let's recognize: Beck's got undeniable, demo-delivering game. But he also delivers a heaping dose of the sort of crazy that makes terrestrial radio something entirely extra-terrestrial. Keith Olbermann once said of Beck, "There's something about him that suggests one night he will say something that costs him his career in television." And he could be right. Maybe he's sowing the seeds of his own demise when he says things like, "I figure, why not just wipe out the entire human race by arming monkeys -- sorry, sorry, simian-Americans -- and that way, we can make everyone happy, the baby-haters and the monkey-lovers, you know?"
Sheesh. Everyone knows that the simian-Americans listen to Imus.