One could be forgiven for thinking that Glenn Beck emerged, fully formed, from some radio talk-show host birthing chamber. But the Beck of today was once a pot-smoking teen from a broken home in Washington who considered suicide, a Salon profile reveals. Beck would later clash with Mormons at an early radio gig in Provo, Utah, deriding his religious co-workers as “freaks.”
Beck has been in radio since he was 19, and his CV reads like a history of radio trends: the rise of AM talk and conservative hosts, the Top 40 “zoo” format. Beck’s own “zoo”-style show on Corpus Christi’s KZFM would inform his later transformation to a talk format based on "confessional, lighthearted, 'independent' conservatism," writes Alexander Zaitchik. "You can see the influence in everything Beck does," says a fellow DJ. "The timing, the voices, the inflections—so much of it is from the old Top 40 morning style."