Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, who left Fox News (NASDAQ:NWSA) last year, is extending his contract with radio network partner, Clear Channel (NYSE:CCO). Beck reportedly signed a new five-year, $100 million extension with Premier Networks, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clear Channel. And the deal is stirring up questions about whether Beck’s days at Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) may be numbered.
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Clear Channel and Sirius have, until now, happily shared the commentator. Beck appears on Sirius XM Patriot each weekday. It is still unclear how the new deal is likely to impact Sirius XM, but it may struggle to hold on to the popular broadcaster. Beck’s last contract with the Clear Channel subsidiary was reportedly for $10 million a year in 2007. This big hike in pay is likely to affect his relationship with Sirius. He now certainly has more clout, which gives him some power to call the shots.
The Glenn Beck program airs on 400 stations and is the third most popular radio show in the country behind those of fellow conservative commentators, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Over the past five years, his audience has grown nearly 50 percent.
“Since we began our relationship 10 years ago, Glenn has not only built an incredible connection to his audience on multiple platforms, but has also established himself as a true talent and visionary,” Julie Talbott, Premier Networks president of content and affiliate relations, said in a statement.
Premier and Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, also extended their deal under which the former will represent the broadcaster’s properties, including streaming video network GBTV, news site TheBlaze.com, e-commerce marketplace Markdown.com, and fan portal GlennBeck.com to advertisers and sponsors.
Clear Channel has proved to have no objection to dealing with Siriux XM, but will the two be able to come to terms surrounding the new deal? The audio entertainment landscape is changing rapidly — Clear Channel is holding onto some top-tier talent, and is certainly paying for it. The question is, can Sirius afford to pay what personalities like Glenn Beck are now able to demand? And for non-exclusive content at that? We’ll just have to wait and see…
As of 3:06 pm EST, shares of Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) were trading down 1 cent at $1.85 per share.
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