Blaze radio stops by Salt Lake City

By Jonathan Boldt

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 9 2013 12:55 p.m. MDT

Doc Thompson; Left Skip LaCombe; Right

Jonathan Boldt

Few names in the public arena can evoke such polarizing reactions as Glenn Beck. With very little middle ground, just the mention of his name either sends someone up the walls while another will sit down and have a spirited conversation on the state of an eclectic collection of topics.

While Beck began his career in radio as a thirteen year old, he has branched out and extended his reach through television and the internet. After stints with CNN Headline News and Fox News, Beck now hosts a self-titled show on his own network The Blaze – which is available on a subscription basis online and is beginning to be picked up by regional and national satellite and cable providers.

Beck has amassed a wide-ranging stable of media venues including print publications and a news website, but it may be the medium where he began his career which has the most untapped potential for growth and innovation with his company, Mercury Radio Arts. The Blaze Radio Network is one of the least publicized branches of the media mogul’s empire but Beck is quietly building a talented roster of broadcasters and is tapping into the app based listening capabilities of new technology.

In Beck’s most recent project, Man in the Moon, the Blaze radio personalities made the trip to Salt Lake City to broadcast live in the days and hours leading up to the event over the Independence Day weekend and were more than happy to share their insights into the state of the brand and where it’s headed.

“There has been basically zero marketing for the Blaze Radio up to this point,” said Skip Lacombe, producer of the Doc Thompson show. “Aside from an ad on the Blaze TV here and there and maybe something on the blaze.com – it’s all just been word of mouth and it’s grown exponentially. I think that goes to show there is a need for it and a market for what we’re doing, as more people hear about it, it just keeps snowballing.”

The lineup includes Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe which airs in the morning daily, Jay Severin in the afternoons as well as Saturday programs featuring Buck Sexton and the newest addition – Joe Pagliarulo, as well as live simulcasts of the various television programming.

While there is a common ideology and philosophical thread between all those on air, each has their own method and ideas of what the best way of communicating those ideas to their audience may be.

“Jay Severin and I could be the same person as far as the way we believe. I mean we are like 99% of the way there the way we believe. Jay and I both, it’s all about personal freedom. You can boil it all down and if I can’t have that personal freedom it doesn’t matter. But Jay approaches it one way and we approach it another. We are the jokers in the deck and the avenging angels,” Thompson said.

“We try to focus more on the humor aspect of things,” Lacombe said. “That’s one thing the left has retained ownership of forever and we don’t’ see why that is. You can be conservative and humorous at the same time and that’s the only way we are going to be able to reach out to some of the younger people.”

Severin brings the attitude of the salty veteran to the group and anchors the Blaze Radio in the realm of serious political matters.

“There is a tremendous team spirit, as for what I do – I come more from the news and politics background,” Severin said. “I realize that talk radio, such as it is, is evolving. It’s like soldiers, we’ll always need soldiers even in a time of peace – I feel we will always need somebody with that background and grounding in news. I come out of twenty plus years of running political campaigns, advising candidates for governor, senator, congressmen etc. all across this country and in foreign countries, so I know – I think, more than most people in the business how all that works.”

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