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Glenn Beck on the Brink: An Ad Boycott May Finally Have Burned His Bridges With Fox

[This is a guest post by Joan Voight.]
Glenn Beck's future with Fox may depend more on the exit of about 300 advertisers as it does on the stunning loss of over a third of his once-sky high ratings. Speculation is rife that Fox may not renew Beck's contract in December, sparked by David Carr at the New York Times, who claims Beck may be on the way out because his ratings and credibility are sinking.

But let's look at some numbers. Last week Beck snagged almost two million total viewers, more than his combined competition on CNN, HLN, and MSNBC, and more than any show on those networks gets any time of the day. Advertisers, however, are still staying away in droves.

Indeed, respected mainstream companies started boycotting Beck's show two years ago after the host called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people." That could be aggravating the viewership decline. Advertisers that have abandoned Beck include mainstays such as Proctor & Gamble (PG), Progressive Insurance (PGR), UPS, Coca-Cola (KO), Walmart (WMT), Dannon and Mercedes (DDAIY). Their presence gave credibility to his platform.

It's like hosting a family show that Hallmark ditches for being too controversial. And too old. Compounding the ad problem for Beck's is that he has lost half his audience among 25- to 54-year-olds, a prized advertising demographic.

Beck seems to grasp this. He's on vacation this week, but back in mid-2009, when the advertiser boycott started, Beck went on a boycott-related rant, saying "the powers to be can take my job and they can take my wealth but that's okay." Beck's most recent crusade is against Google (GOOG), which Beck says he is avoiding because of its "hardcore leftist" associations. And the beat goes on.

Beck and his conspiracy theories are proving costly to News Corp. (NWS), and the ratings dip is a part of that. But as the two sides haggle over his future at Fox, the real elephant in the room is the continued lack of advertisers.

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