Politico Looks at Beck’s Growing Empire

A new piece in Politico examines Glenn Beck’s expanding empire since leaving the confines of his Fox News show two years ago:

Beck departed Fox in June 2011 and just three months later launched his own conservative and libertarian network. Today, TheBlaze — originally named GBTV — features 43 hours of original programming each week and is available via internet streaming, on Dish nationally, and through more than 15 operators, including Cablevision’s Optimum TV service in the New York metropolitan area.

On the radio, his nationally syndicated show ranks third among political talkers, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, with over 7.5 million listeners per week, according to Talkers magazine’s latest ratings. Beck regularly interviews big-name political guests from the right, and in recent weeks has featured Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. As an author, his fiction and nonfiction works often hit the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Glenn Beck speaks during the Dish Network “War of the Words” event in New York City, Sept. 13, 2012. (Getty Images)

Conservative political consultant Mary Matalin, a friend of Beck’s, described him as having “no preconceived ‘boxes’ limiting his creativity. He trusts his instincts, his gut. He is fearless.”

TheBlaze’s Buck Sexton told Politico the vibe at Beck’s company Mercury Radio Arts and TheBlaze is like a “start-up” company: “He lets all of us experiment and try things.”

Politico noted some recent wackier moments: Beck’s “Obama in Pee Pee” creation and his wig- and mustache-aided imagined meeting between the White House and IRS in June.

With an editorial staff of fewer than 20, TheBlaze.com saw traffic of 13.2 million unique visitors and 116 million page views in the month of July, according to Google Analytics. TheBlaze.com has received more than 2.5 billion page views since launching less than three years ago.

Politico cited some other examples of Beck’s “innovative, entrepreneurial spirit”:

Create a jeans line? Sure. Beck designed 1791 Denim jeans that debuted in October. Team up with a Hollywood star to produce a reality show? Why not? Beck and Vince Vaughn’s program, “Pursuit of the Truth,” pits documentary filmmakers against each other as they compete for financing and distribution for their film will debut this fall. Host a three-day extravaganza in Salt Lake City ending with the performance of an original show? Of course. Beck performed his “Man in the Moon” extravaganza complete with dancers, music, fireworks and a robot to a sold-out audience in July.

Sen. Rand Paul praised Beck to Politico, saying he “connects, in a very visceral way, with those who believe in Constitutional government. Glenn’s influence goes beyond the political as he understands that the very root of our crisis is spiritual. Likely, no other broadcaster in America attracts as fervent a following.”