Coast to Coast AM
|Running time||175 minutes, 20 seconds|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Hosted by||George Noory (weeknights and 1st Sunday)|
George Knapp (Sundays)
|Created by||Art Bell|
|Recording studio||Sherman Oaks, California|
|Remote studios||Los Angeles, California (Noory) |
St. Louis, Missouri (Noory)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Knapp)
|Original release||1984 – present|
|Opening theme||"Chase (Theme from Midnight Express)" by Giorgio Moroder|
|Ending theme||"Inca Dance" or "Ghost Dance" by Cusco (Shows hosted by Noory and Knapp)|
"Listening to Coast to Coast" by UFO Phil (Fridays)
"Midnight in the Desert" by Crystal Gayle
Coast to Coast AM is an American late-night radio talk show that deals with a variety of topics. Most frequently the topics relate to either the paranormal or conspiracy theories. The program is distributed by Premiere Networks, both as part of its talk network and separately as a syndicated program. The program now airs seven nights a week from 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time Zone.
In 1978, Art Bell created and hosted West Coast AM, a late-night political talk/call-in show on Las Vegas radio station KDWN. In 1988, Bell and Alan Corberth renamed the show Coast to Coast AM and moved its studios from the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas to Bell's home in Pahrump. After Bell's retirements, the show was hosted by various personalities, including Mike Siegel, George Noory, and others.
According to estimates by Talkers Magazine, Coast to Coast AM has a cumulative weekly audience of around 2.75 million unique listeners listening for at least five minutes, making it the most listened-to program in its time slot. The show is estimated to be carried by over 600 US affiliates  along with a limited number of FM stations, as well as many Canadian affiliates, several of which stream the show on their station's website. The affiliate group is fronted by 12 clear-channel stations, among them WBT in Charlotte, WHO in Des Moines, WWL in New Orleans, WOR in New York City, KFBK in Sacramento, and KFI in Los Angeles.
Format and subject matter
The Coast to Coast AM format consists of a combination of live callers and long-format interviews. The subject matter covers unusual topics and is full of personal stories related to callers, junk science, pseudo-experts and non-peer-reviewed scientists. While program content is often focused on paranormal and fringe subjects, sometimes, world-class scientists such as Michio Kaku and Brian Greene are featured in long-format interviews. Topics discussed include the near-death experience, climate change, cosmology, quantum physics, remote viewing, hauntings, contact with extraterrestrials, psychic reading, metaphysics, science and religion, conspiracy theories, Area 51, Ouija boards, crop circles, cryptozoology, Bigfoot, the Hollow Earth hypothesis, and science fiction literature. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the events of that day (as well as alternate theories surrounding them) and current U.S. counter-terrorism strategy have also become frequent themes. George Noory, the primary host since Art Bell retired, took interest in the 2012 phenomenon and believed that a transformative event could happen, but stated repeatedly on air that he believed human civilization would still exist on December 22, 2012.
In 2008, Noory volunteered an elaboration of the show's policy respecting the controversial opinions of regular guests. He explained that, provided there was no element of hostility toward third parties, it was program policy to allow expression of opinion unchallenged. He gave as an example Richard C. Hoagland's contention that features on Mars are artificial, constructed by a civilization that once inhabited the planet. Noory does not challenge these statements and agrees with whomever is making the statements.
The Halloween edition of Coast to Coast AM becomes Ghost to Ghost AM, as listeners call in with their ghost stories. The New Year's Eve show usually entails listeners calling in their predictions for the coming year, and the host rating the predictions made a year earlier. In recent years, the host of the New Year's Eve prediction show has been cautioning the open line callers that they may not predict the assassination of any person or the death of the US president.
Scholars have criticized Coast to Coast AM for promoting pseudohistoric and pseudoscientific ideas. Historian Ronald H. Fritze characterized the show as an "especially influential example" of the trend in modern media to disseminate false history and fake science.
According to State University of New York (SUNY) professor Paul Arras, early shows hosted by Art Bell featured guests that were frequently pseudoscientists, but "regardless of their reputation, all guests are presented as experts." According to Arras "Bell seems to believe much of what even his wildest guests say". Boston College professor Michael C. Keith noted a "characteristic of distrust and fear that is a part of the text of Coast to Coast —fear of the unknown, fear of invasion, fear of being taken over by some kind of evil force".
Religious Studies lecturer David G. Robertson observed that "sweeping conspiratorial revisionist histories and ancient alien narratives" are a frequent feature of the show. Nolan Higdon of California State University speculated that programs like Coast to Coast AM that "propagate unsubstantiated claims" were "potentially dangerous".
According to The Atlantic senior editor Timothy Lavin, host George Noory "lets clearly delusional or pseudoscientific assertions slide by without challenge". Lavin wrote that "Coast to Coast AM, has perfected a charged and conspiratorial worldview that now pervades American media".
In 1998, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry awarded show host Art Bell their mocking "Snuffed Candle Award", citing his work "for encouraging credulity, presenting pseudoscience as genuine, and contributing to the public's lack of understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry". CSI fellow Joe Nickell has appeared on the show occasionally as "a voice of skepticism", saying his goal was to explain and demystify the "bizarre topics 'Coast to Coast' deals with" such as Bigfoot and ghosts.
At its peak, "Coast to Coast AM" under Art Bell was syndicated by Premiere Radio Network, and aired on more than 500 radio stations and boasted a weekly listening audience in excess of 10 million listeners. Since 2013 the weekly listener numbers have declined to 2.5 million.
Bell announced his retirement in 2007, but returned as show host a number of times, citing disagreements with replacement host George Noory. Noory said after Bell's death in April 2018 that the two were "not that close" personally and that there were major differences in their approaches; despite this, Noory said that Bell was "instrumental in me being where I am right now."
George Noory hosts the show on weeknights and on the first Sunday of every month. Las Vegas-based investigative journalist George Knapp hosts the third and fourth Sunday of each month, and when there is a fifth Sunday, George Noory or another fill-in will host. Since the controversial firing of host John B. Wells, many Saturday episodes, as well as Sunday episodes not hosted by Knapp or Noory, are hosted by Connie Willis, Lisa Garr, Ian Punnett, or Canadian political conspiracy talk show host Richard Syrett. Syrett, Punnett and occasionally others also host some Fridays when Noory travels to Denver to record his video show Beyond Belief. Jimmy Church is another guest host, sometimes getting the whole weekend.
Mike Siegel hosted the show from April 2000 until February 2001. He became a frequent substitute for the show's original host, Art Bell in late 1999, and when Bell announced his retirement in early 2000, he recommended Siegel to succeed him. Siegel maintained the format of the show that Bell had created, but his personal style was very different, and the show became less popular. Siegel hosted the show from Seattle, Washington, where he lived. Early in 2001, Bell decided to return, and Siegel left the show.
Other past hosts include weekend host Ian Punnett (who retired from the show due to tinnitus until returning on an occasional basis in 2018), Hilly Rose, Barbara Simpson, Rollye James and Dave Schrader. In January 2012, John B. Wells replaced Punnett as host of the Saturday evening and the second Sunday evening programs. He was fired in January 2014 because the show's producers wanted to go in a "different direction on Saturday nights", and is now the host of his own subscriber based program, Caravan to Midnight.
The show featured a number of guests, some recurring.
- Katherine Albrecht, consumer rights advocate.
- Howard Bloom, author of The God Problem, The Lucifer Principle, Global Brain, Reinventing Capitalism and former publicist for Prince and Michael Jackson.
- Sylvia Browne, psychic.
- Gerald Celente, economic and political forecaster.
- Neal Chase, disputed leader of small Bahá'í sect.
- Loren Coleman, cryptozoologist and author on issues relating to new animal discoveries and the sightings of Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and other cryptids.
- Jerome Corsi, Harvard PhD, author of sensationalist books on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. Joined Infowars, as correspondent.
- Lionel Fanthorpe, author, director of Media Studies at Cardiff Academy, president of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, and president of the British UFO Research Association.
- James H. Fetzer, conspiracy theorist on Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. According to Fetzer, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, according to Fetzer, a "government hit job" and claims "the Zapruder film is a fake".
- Catherine Austin Fitts, Politically Conservative economist; was Assistant Secretary of Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at HUD in the first Bush Administration
- The late Stanton Friedman, former nuclear physicist; author and ufologist who focuses on the Roswell UFO incident.
- Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author who discusses paranormal, visionary, and spiritual topics.
- Richard C. Hoagland, former museum curator who was a major figure in the show's history, discussing issues relating to NASA's activities, space anomalies and alleged extraterrestrial architecture (the Face on Mars and vast glass domes on the Moon). Hoagland was replaced as "science adviser" by Robert Zimmerman in June 2015 and developed digital radio chat-shows of his own.
- Linda Moulton Howe, reporter and ufologist. Famous as pioneer in the study of cattle mutilations and crop circles.
- David Icke, New World Order conspiracy theorist.
- Alex Jones, radio talk show host, New World Order conspiracy theorist, filmmaker and political activist.
- Michio Kaku, mainstream theoretical physicist who typically discusses topics involving string theory, quantum physics, astrophysics, and other hard sciences.
- The Amazing Kreskin, magician.
- Peter Lance, investigative journalist, specializing mainly in terrorism and the Mafia.
- Bob Lazar, physicist and president of United Nuclear, a scientific supply company; renowned for disclosing his supposed employment at a secret government facility called S-4, and his alleged work reverse engineering extraterrestrial crafts.
- Nancy Lieder, Niburu cataclysm advocate.
- Mr. Lobo, horror host of nationally syndicated cult film television series Cinema Insomnia.
- The late Eugene Mallove, cold fusion advocate.
- The late Jim Marrs, author mostly known for "Crossfire", a discussion of the Warren Commission conclusions and commentator also on "hidden history " and the paranormal.
- The late Malachi Martin, Catholic priest, theologian and professor, known for sometimes controversial views concerning the Catholic Church.
- Dick Morris, former Advisor to President Clinton. Switched parties to Republican and hosts his own podcast. He is a big supporter and defender of President Trump.
- Stan Romanek, UFO abductee. George Noory arranged to have Stan take a lie detector test over some of his claims of alien visitations, which Romanek failed.
- Whitley Strieber, Author of Communion and many other books. A frequent guest on the show since the 1990s.
- The Late Zecharia Sitchin, author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts.
- Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, one of the hosts on History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and the publisher of Legendary Times magazine, a periodical that is centered on the ancient astronaut theory. \
- UFO Phil (aka Phil Hill), a comedic singer, songwriter, and claimed alien abductee. He created the program's Friday end theme, "Listening to Coast to Coast." He has appeared in various media venues, including UFO Phil: The Movie (2008) and The Gong Show.
- Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics who discusses his research with implants, artificial intelligence and robotics – especially cyborgs.
Several shows associated with Coast to Coast AM have aired in the slot immediately preceding the late Saturday night edition of the program, from 6–10 p.m. Pacific time.
Dreamland was another Art Bell creation, nearly identical to Coast to Coast AM but less caller driven. Bell recorded Dreamland on Friday afternoons where the show streamed live over the Internet and listeners could call in towards the end of the show. The show then aired at various times on different stations during the weekend, but doing eight shows a week got to be too much and he handed over control of the show to Whitley Strieber. Many affiliates aired the show before Coast to Coast AM on Sunday nights, but Premiere Radio pre-empted that time spot after it began to syndicate Matt Drudge, and then dropped the program entirely.
Coast to Coast Live
Upon Art Bell's January 2006 return, Ian Punnett hosted Coast To Coast Live on Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern Time. A spin-off of the original Coast to Coast AM, the show covered similar topics as its flagship program. With Bell's July 2007 retirement, Coast to Coast Live was discontinued, with Punnett returning to host the regular Saturday edition.
Art Bell, Somewhere in Time
Replacing Coast to Coast Live in the late Saturday time slot is a series of reruns of classic Art Bell episodes of Coast to Coast AM, airing under the title Somewhere in Time.
Midnight in the Desert
Midnight in the Desert is a live radio and podcast which Art Bell founded. The program was later hosted by Heather Wade and then by Dave Schrader.
- Randy Dotinga (February 15, 2006). "Coast to Coast AM Is No Wack Job". Wired.
- Knight, Peter (2003). Conspiracy theories in American history: an encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 120. ISBN 1-57607-812-4.
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences (Updated 2/15)". Talkers Magazine. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014.
- Ronald H. Fritze (May 15, 2009). Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-674-2.
- Paul Arras (June 22, 2018). The Lonely Nineties: Visions of Community in Contemporary US Television. Springer. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-3-319-93094-7.
- Lavin, Timothy (January 2010). "The Listener". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- David G. Robertson (February 25, 2016). UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age: Millennial Conspiracism. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-1-4742-5321-5.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel; Wertheim, Bonnie (February 20, 2017). "Does Bigfoot Have a Soul? A Radio Host's Audience Ponders". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- Roberts, Sam (April 17, 2018). "Art Bell, Radio Host Who Tuned In to the Dark Side, Dies at 72". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- "Radio Host Art Bell Dead At 72". Inside Radio. Inside Radio. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Fisher, Marc (March 29, 1998). "The outer limits: A lone voice in the desert lures 10 million listeners". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers Magazine. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers Magazine. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- Dickey, Jack (September 23, 2013). "Insomniac Radio King Art Bell Reclaims His Crown". Time. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "Coast to Coast AM". Talkers. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
- Judith Michaelson (April 11, 2000). "Veteran Talk-Show Host Mike Siegel to Succeed Bell". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2009.
- "Make Ready For What's To Come". Caravantomidnight.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "Guests". Coasttocoastam.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "Katherine Albrecht - Guests". Coasttocoastam.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "Howard Bloom - Guests". Coasttocoastam.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "9-11 Theories & Evidence – Shows". Coast to Coast AM. February 23, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "Catherine Austin Fitts - Guests". Coasttocoastam.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "Richard C. Hoagland: out at Coast, in at Dark Matter Network". www.darkcity.fm. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- "Zecharia Sitchin - Guests". Coasttocoastam.com. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- Spotlight on UFO Phil. Coasttocoastam.com. October 12, 2010.
- Hartmann, Thom (May 4, 2011). "Political Commentator and Talk Show host". Thom Hartmann Program. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
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- Corliss, Richard (August 9, 1999). "The X Phones". TIME Magazine. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- Jaroff, Leon (April 14, 1997). "The man who spread the myth". TIME Magazine. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- Davis, Pamela (January 1, 2001). "10 years to grow, 1 snip to go". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- Dakss, Brian (November 8, 2002). "Pentagon Photos Whodunnit". CBS News. Retrieved April 19, 2007.