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Glenn Beck on success, the message and "doing good"

LEHI, Utah County (ABC 4 News) - Glenn Beck is spending a lot of time in Utah these days. He's just over a month away from the debut of his new, live performance, "The Man in the Moon," at Usana Amphitheatre. Much of the show is being produced at Glenn's "American Dream Labs" in Lehi. We caught up with him there.
LEHI, Utah County (ABC 4 News) - Glenn Beck is spending a lot of time in Utah these days. He's just over a month away from the debut of his new, live performance, "Man in the Moon," at Usana Amphitheatre.

Much of the show is being produced at Glenn's "American Dream Labs" in Lehi. We caught up with him there.

First, it's plain to see that he is genuinely excited about the show. And yet, when we shift gears and talk about himself and his success, he is uncharacteristically somber.

The last time I saw Glenn was fall of 2006. It was a Saturday at his home in Connecticut. Glenn was making a French toast breakfast for the family.

At that time, he was well established in radio and just getting his feet wet in television. He'd been on CNN Headline News for about six months.

Glenn remembered that morning and put the last six and a half years in context, "Last time we saw each other we had six employees. We now have over 300 and are about to expand dramatically."

Indeed, Glenn Beck's media empire has grown far beyond his studio at Radio City. It also includes his own TV network online and on Dish, production, publishing and more. Last year Forbes put his earnings at 80-million dollars.

Glenn doesn't keep score with cash. "For the first time I feel like I can leave a mark. For the first time I can tell a story and get it right and have it impact and leave a mark of real good." He believes it has always been about the message.

And yet that message has sometimes sparked uproar and even anger. His detractors accuse him of being divisive. He does not dismiss such a charge, but asks, "How do I tell the truth and not be divisive? How do I ... How do I both?" He asks the question not attempting to dismiss the accusation, but to find an answer to it.

He says he wants to bring people together in preparation for a day of reckoning that he believes is around the corner. Hate, he says, is a luxury we can no longer afford.

Glenn even mocks those of his fans who might think a personal arsenal is all that's needed. "I think a lot of people believe, 'Hey - tough times come, and they come knocking at my door I'm gonna --' No you're not. No you're not. You might, but it will be the wrong choice. Will you actually stand and have the courage that Martin Luther King had to love those that hate you?"

A kinder, gentler Glenn Beck? Perhaps. He freely admits that his growing success comes with an inevitable cost. Again, referring to our last meeting six years ago he said, "I had no concept of the things I would learn, that I didn't want to learn." And he laments the toll it has taken on his family. "I miss my family."

That was never more evident than last week, when he abruptly left his home in Dallas bound for Moore, Oklahoma. His charity, Mercury One, had put together relief supplies for tornado victims and he was riding with the two semi-trucks to see the delivery first hand.

"My son came into my bedroom as I was packing, leaving. He brought in his book that we were supposed to read every night and he said, 'Dad, why are you leaving?' And I said, 'Did you see the people on the TV? We have a responsibility and dad can do good."

Boiled down to its essence, that thought, "Dad can do good" is what drives Glenn Beck.

Money gives him freedom to craft the message he wants, but if that message doesn't translate into "good" then it is ultimately unsatisfying to him.

In his upcoming production, the "Man in the Moon" looks down on earth observing and making judgments. In a very real way, Glenn Beck feels the stare of the "Man in the Moon."

"Where much is given, much is required," Glenn quotes, confessing that he worries about a more final judgment where he is found to have done good, just not the good that was expected.


Reporter's note: With the exception of the VIP packages, "Man in the Moon" tickets are already gone. However, there are also seminars and even an exhibit of historical artifacts at the Grand America in the days leading up to the performance. For a full listing of what's going on, click here.


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