By Joel Topcik (Broadcasting & Cable) December 02, 2006 — “I’m not a TV guy,” says Beck, 42. “Radio is what I do. It is me.”
A radio devotee since his eighth birthday, when his mother gave him an LP compilation of classic broadcasts, Beck first hit the air by winning a local contest at age 13 and soon began working at stations around his native Seattle.
He went on to a successful career as a Top 40 DJ in major markets like Phoenix and Houston. But by the mid ’90s, after years of alcohol and drug abuse, he grew disillusioned with radio.
He spent a semester studying theology at Yale but soon rekindled his love for radio when he subbed as a talk host on WABC in New York. “I suddenly realized: I’ve been in the wrong format,” he recalls. In January 2000, he moved to WFLA(AM) Tampa, Fla., to launch The Glenn Beck Program, a mix of conservative opinion and radio high jinks. Within 18 months, the program jumped from 18th place to No. 1 in the market.
BlatherWatch reported in 2007:
[Seattle is] the only market that has rejected me since the day I left it. ~ Glenn Beck
Beck was born in Everett, lived in Mountlake Terrace, Mount Vernon, the Sumner-Puyallup area, and Bellingham: In a puff piece last year, P-I’s Bill Virgin wrote this about Beck:
When he left the region at age 18, having graduated from high school in Bellingham, “I just wanted to get really good and come home,” he says. Coming home, at least in radio terms, hasn’t happened yet. “We are always interested and pitching in Seattle. It’s the only market that has rejected me since the day I left it.”
Beck started as a Top 40 DJ at KUBE when he was a teenager. We’ve heard from more than one radio pro in this town- Beck burned his bridges around here early in his career.
“He’s not so much asshole as he is an ass,” a former co-worker, now a program director, told us.
(Glenn Beck went on to a radio career that included stops at WRKA Louisville, KOY Phoenix, and KRBE Houston. Prior to becoming a radio talk host, Beck was often an extra on the tv series, CHEERS, hanging out at the bar in several scenes.)