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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Glenn Beck Political Relevance Keeps Rising

June 10, 2010

Former President Richard Nixon once said that in politics, someone is relevant if they could do something for you, or to you.

Something very similar can be said about personalities in the media. If the public is talking about you, it’s a good thing, regardless of what it is they are saying.

One media person receiving a great deal of attention these days is Fox News star Glenn Beck.  He was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Persons, and he continues to befuddle his detractors with viewership ratings that are soaring above the competition.

Beck’s fans would like him to have a more visible time slot, in the primetime hour, but he is providing a valuable service to Fox by airing live at 5 p.m. He is “teeing up” the evening lineup of Fox programming – of all which are outperforming the cable competition, and in some cases, pulling in more viewers than all of them combined.

The country seems divided on Beck – he is seemingly either loved or hated, depending upon ones’ own political persuasion, or sophistication/depth of forethought.

No one can argue that he is not successful at what he does, but like any person who provokes the unconscious thought of others, his opinions and brashness makes some people feel uncomfortable.

His personal opinions are sharp, and whether you agree with him or not, he is provocative, and his insights will have an impact on the 2010 elections.

For the record, Beck is anything but an overnight success. He toiled in obscurity for years in various radio and television positions, and along the way, wrote six books, which all became best sellers. He also started his own production company which produces his successful television show and other media endeavors.

All this is to say, he is no dummy, and to those who criticize his style, many of these people would do well to remember, the best way to succeed in television and entertainment is simple, just be you.

We are reminded of a young Howard Stern, working at a small Michigan radio station early in his career. His then wife, thought he was “too provocative” in his routine, and constantly found herself apologizing to her friends for his on-the-air conduct.

“That’s not really who he is,” she often said. Maybe not, but Stern knew better. He didn’t feel he was going far enough with his on-air antics, and told his wife so. “I’m going to let it all go,” Stern said to her, and the rest is radio history.

So it is with Glenn Beck, he is himself. He is a passionate guy, and often pleads and cries when he makes his case to his audience. He tells us who he is, and what he believes, and while there’s a lot of people who agree with him, those that don’t, are being influenced, too.

After all, they are talking about him, and as former President Nixon inferred, people only talk about you if you’re relevant, and being relevant, is having the ability to influence others.

His critics will also agree that he is certainly doing that.

Robb can be reached at Rbbaustin@aol.com)