For all you folks who only listen to Glenn Beck's WFLA-FM 970 radio show after 5 p.m., the joke is on you.
Beck, the area's only daily local talk show host, has created a listener participation game called the "Schlub Club." The on-air club lasts about an hour and rewards early listeners by allowing them to fake out latecomers.
The Glenn Beck Show airs from 3 to 7 p.m. on WFLA. Schlub Club members tune in at 4:45 p.m. for their assignment. At that time Beck reveals a hot topic, and then asks listeners to call in with shocking opinions _ regardless of whether they really believe them.
"Players" are callers who take the outrageously opposing side to Beck's argument. "Schlubs" are listeners who tune in late, believe all the crazy stuff the players are saying on air, then call in for a passionate rebuttal.
During a recent show, Beck explained the game this way: "From 5 to 6 p.m. we mess with the schlubs. I want you to make them feel angry," he told his listeners. "Penetrate that big shield. That's our real goal here. The schlubs think they rule the world and think they understand everything."
Beck's topic that day was the lottery. He urged his players to say the lottery should be financed by the government. Those on welfare should also get lottery tickets, he said, since it restores hope.
"Blaze those phones," Beck encouraged. "This is an easy one. This is the one that will make you a star tomorrow. Go for the Oscar."
Beck sometimes coughs on air to signal that a caller is a schlub and not aware that he's fallen for a player's fictitious argument.
Beck started the Schlub Club last month and says he'll continue until he tires of it.
Since the game's inception, subjects have included the sentencing of the men who tossed a rock off an overpass and killed a driver, teen sex, corporal punishment, Elian Gonzalez and sexual harassment.
On Monday, Beck urged his players to say Mother's Day is politically incorrect and should be abolished. Players showed up in full force. Some women callers even claimed to be members of a fake organization that opposes the holiday.
Though successful, the Schlub Club makes Beck nervous.
"I will have someone on who is so close to blowing the whole thing wide open that I will be in a flop sweat. And then I'll go to a caller who is absolutely brilliant," Beck said. "I just love people who get it."