Glenn Beck steps onto the world stage from a Web platform, to Jerusalem and beyond
When Glenn Beck left his daily Fox News Channel show on June 30, he said the media would "pray for the time when I was only on the air for one hour every day." Beck is still on the radio airwaves, but now he's bet the TV farm entirely on the Web.
But first, he had to go to Israel.
On July 12, the self-described libertarian commentator -- now sporting a silver goatee -- addressed the Knesset, the legislative branch in Israel. The full speech was live-streamed on GlennBeck.com.
Now CBN has posted the entire address in sections, along with an interview (click here for that).
Beck probably wasn't in Israel just to talk to the legislature, since preparations are underway for his Restoring Courage Rally, to be held about sundown in Jerusalem on Aug. 24. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is among those expected to attend.
This rally is the third large one Beck has set in motion -- the first two being the 9/12 Project Rally on Sept. 12, 2009, and the Restoring Honor Rally on Aug. 28, 2010, both held in Washington.
The events were outgrowths of specific programs and concepts developed on FNC's "The Glenn Beck Show," Premiere Radio Network's "The Glenn Beck Program" and GlennBeck.com, and then organized independently by viewers and listeners.
Beck announced the Jerusalem event earlier in the year on radio and FNC, but the last push to it won't take place on television -- because Beck's no longer on television.
As he warned the media on his last show, he has replaced his TV platform with a new-media one.
On June 8, he live-streamed a special from GlennBeck.com to launch his new Internet venture, called GBTV, a subscriber-based service offering documentaries and original programming, including a two-hour daily show with Beck, a newscast and comedy.
There's also a cartoon series called "The Adventures of Spooky Dude," inspired by Beck's bete noire, liberal billionaire George Soros. Beck refers to this character as possibly being his "mouse." That's a reference to Mickey Mouse, a character upon which Walt Disney built an empire.
As you can see, Spooky Dude isn't as cute as Mickey, but he has an equally annoying voice.
While Beck's daily radio show remains advertiser-supported, the only bit of GBTV programming available for free is the launch special.
The cost of subscription isn't high -- either about $5 or $10, depending on what you want and when you sign up.
The full GBTV schedule launches Sept. 12. That's a date Beck commemorates as the one where Americans came together after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which marks its 10-year anniversary this fall.
Now Beck is wading into the middle of the Israeli/Palestinian issue by speaking to the Knesset and holding an event supportive of Israel in disputed Jerusalem. Fans will be able to watch the rally on ... you guessed it, GBTV (although we suspect one or more TV news organizations will offer at least some coverage).
Provided all goes well in Israel -- or at minimum, Beck emerges unscathed -- the next challenge will be putting the full-fledged GBTV on a paying basis.
It's an interesting, multi-platform, multi-faceted experiment to see whether a TV phenomenon can cut the tether with a regular time slot on the tube and exist on its own in cyberspace.
Beck has evidently poured considerable resources into the project (the launch special is very slickly produced), with facilities in New York and his new home of Dallas.
Regardless of how anyone in the media feels about Beck or his message, it might be a good idea to keep a weather eye on his venture. He may not be the best friend of the mainstream media -- and the feeling is mostly mutual -- but he's taking the plunge into what may become one of its future business models.
-- Kate O'Hare
Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH
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Photos, from top: Glenn Beck at Restoring Honor Rally (Credit: Alex Wong, Getty Images); "Spooky Dude" and Glenn Beck at chalkboard (www.businessinsider.com/)