Big news at The Blaze continues with a major announcement from Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.

Many of you who visit The Blaze are also frequent viewers of programs on GBTV and supporters of the growing business that are part The Marketplace by Markdown.

These companies are now merging into one multi-platform news and information media company.

The first news of the initiative went up on CNN.com:

(CNN) — Hugely successful and often controversial, Glenn Beck is a man full of complexities.

He points the finger in his new book “Cowards” but calls for “Restoring Love” in his upcoming rally. He jokes about being “Unelectable” on his comedy tour, but his new studio in Dallas includes a replica Oval Office for his mock presidential addresses.

Now, the media mogul is dropping his name from the online TV network based on his personal brand. GBTV will be merged with TheBlaze.com, the Beck-owned but independently operated news and opinion website. The entire network will be called TheBlaze.

“I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons,” Beck said in an exclusive interview with CNN.com. “One, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”

Beck and Chris Balfe, president and COO of Mercury Radio Arts (Beck’s company), said they planned to change the name once the online streaming network was more established but the early success of GBTV precipitated an earlier name change.

In a letter to his audience, Beck explained the move.

“I told you last year that we were going to drive the establishment in this country crazy—and this is how we will do it,” he said. You can read that entire letter here.

Truly exciting. Stay tuned for more from us today and in the future. In the meantime, read the entire article over at CNN.com.

Update — here is the full news release from Mercury Radio Arts:

MERCURY RADIO ARTS MERGES STREAMING VIDEO NETWORK GBTV
WITH NEWS AND INFORMATION SITE THEBLAZE
TO CREATE A SINGLE MULTIPLATFORM MEDIA COMPANY

Merger Builds on the Quick Success of both GBTV and TheBlaze Which
Receives Over 7 Million Unique Visitors Per Month

Combines GBTV’s Line-up of Programming With TheBlaze.com’s
Growing Team of More than 25 Journalists Into One Powerful Brand

Mercury’s E-Commerce Site The Marketplace by Markdown.com,
Will Also Be Integrated Into New Entity

The Merged Network, Called TheBlaze Will Be An Online News, Information,
Entertainment and E-Commerce Destination Spanning Video, Radio, Publishing and The
Internet

(New York, NY and Dallas, TX June 18th) Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s multi-
media production company, announced today that it is merging GBTV, its streaming
video network with TheBlaze, its news and information website to create a single
multiplatform media company. The new entity, which will be known as TheBlaze,
combines one of the world’s largest subscription streaming video networks with a website
that generates over 7 million unique visitors per month into one powerful multimedia
brand. TheBlaze, which will soon offer video content on a 24/7 basis, will be a news,
information, entertainment, and e-commerce network, spanning all media including
video, radio, publishing, and the Internet.

Glenn Beck said: “I said from the very beginning that I did not want to call the network
GBTV, and a year later I finally got my way. We have ambitious plans for this network
and combining the power of GBTV and TheBlaze will help us build upon our success.”

The Marketplace by Markdown.com will also be integrated directly into TheBlaze.com,
giving small businesses that participate in the marketplace access to an even larger
audience of potential consumers, and rounding out TheBlaze’s revenue mix to include e-
commerce.

TheBlaze will offer a mix of premium subscription video content and free content:

The premium subscription content will be what is currently known
as GBTV, a streaming video network featuring Glenn’s weekday show. Since its
launch in September 2011, the network has already added a wide range of original
programming, including the reality show Independence USA, the kid’s show
Liberty TreeHouse, the news show Real News, and the comedy news show The
B.S. of A, totaling over 34 hours of original programming per week. The network
will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis. Beginning later this year, existing

subscribers to GBTV.com will be automatically redirected to TheBlaze.com. The
network will also continue to be available on iOS devices, Roku and Boxee.

The free content will be available at TheBlaze.com and will continue to include a
mix of original reporting, curated content and opinion pieces.

Christopher Balfe, President and COO of Mercury said: “TheBlaze and GBTV have each
proven to be incredible success stories in a very short period of time. Combining them
will help us accelerate future growth by focusing on one world-class brand that offers the
best of everything we produce in a single destination.”

TheBlaze’s executive team, which will report to Balfe, brings years of experience from
leadership level positions in television, radio and digital media:

Betsy Morgan, formerly President of TheBlaze is being promoted
to President & Chief Strategy Officer of the combined company. Prior to
joining Mercury, Morgan was CEO of The Huffington Post and a Senior Vice
President at CBS News.

Joel Cheatwood, formerly President of Programming at GBTV is
being promoted to President & Chief Content Officer of TheBlaze. Prior
to joining Mercury, Cheatwood was a Senior Vice President at FoxNews and
CNN.

Kraig Kitchin, formerly Director of Ad Sales at TheBlaze is
being promoted to President & Chief Revenue Officer of the combined company.
Prior to joining Mercury, Kitchin co-founded Premiere Radio Networks-the top
radio network in the country and the distributor of Glenn’s radio show.

Carolyn Polke, formerly Senior Vice President of Digital at Mercury is being
promoted to President & Chief Operating Officer of TheBlaze. Carolyn has
helped spearhead Mercury’s recent digital growth. Previously, she was a
consultant at Accenture.

Scott Baker, who has been with TheBlaze.com since its launch, will continue in his role
as Editor-in-Chief.

TheBlaze will be fully integrated with The Marketplace by Markdown.com, a curated
marketplace platform to help local small businesses reach consumers across the country.
Keith Ferry, former President of Markdown joins TheBlaze as Senior Vice President of
Digital.

TheBlaze also includes a monthly magazine and news updates delivered each morning on
Glenn’s radio show.