Jonah Engel Bromwich and Bonnie Wertheim profiled Coast to Coast AM with George Noory on Monday – and the article seemingly talked more about Art Bell than the newer host!
The TIMES’ tone seemed positive.. but also nostalgic for the predecessor.. From the text:
Given the size of its audience, the show might be expected to cover topics squarely in the mainstream. But Mr. Noory’s listeners, whom he refers to as “the night people,” tend to focus more on fringier fare, whether it’s U.F.O. sightings near Area 51 or the myriad conspiracy theories that Mr. Noory’s predecessor, Art Bell, established as signatures of the program.
“Coast to Coast” began in 1984 as a talk radio program broadcasting from the Las Vegas station KDWN. Mr. Bell, its founder and first host, had originally been a D.J. He switched his focus to talk radio at a time when music listeners began to favor higher-fidelity FM stations, forcing many AM channels to switch formats. When “Coast to Coast” went national, in 1992, he started to receive calls from listeners about their paranormal experiences. Those calls soon became the show’s trademark.
When Mr. Bell left the show, he advised Mr. Noory not to imitate his hosting style, which gave listeners the (accurate) sense that he was broadcasting from a compound in the desert. He was isolated from his audience and occasionally confrontational with callers.
On one call from a man claiming to have worked for Area 51, Mr. Bell made his suspicion known right away: “Well, look, let’s begin by finding out whether you’re using this line properly or not.” And on Oct. 13, 1998, Mr. Bell signed off by saying: “This is it, folks. I’m going off the air and will not return.” When Mr. Noory took over, after his forerunner returned and vanished from the show a few more times, listeners noticed a shift in tone, from skeptical and sometimes critical to open-minded and kind.
“Art was a little more, if he thought you were loo-la, he would tell you,” said Veronica Costin, who started tuning in during the 1990s. It became a ritual for her: drifting off in her San Antonio bedroom to the sounds of faraway voices.
….I think it sounds like Bell had a fandom in the TIMES’ press room.. perhaps those late nights burning the fish wrapper oil with Bell in the background yelling at callers with insanity.. ?
Back to the present time: Noory is given some kind words as well from the TIMES article.. But one section pointed out just how different Bell and Noory actually are.. even reminding readers that Noory appears on Alex Jones’ radio show.. And a little product placement as well:
Each episode of “Coast to Coast” begins with a news segment, but when asked if he saw himself as a journalist, Mr. Noory responded that he was “a facilitator of the truth, wherever that takes us.”
His audience seems to see him as an authoritative, unifying force at a time when the country appears more fragmented than ever. Through his radio show, live events and two dating sites — Paranormal Date and Conspiracy Date — he acts as a connector and a surrogate for his listeners, whom he considers extended family. (Mr. Noory has three children and six grandchildren. He is private about his relationship status.)
Nearly 200 stations have added “Coast to Coast” in the last 18 months. One is WABC. The station’s late-night ratings have increased 30 percent, to 8.9 percent of the audience, since November. “I saw the numbers from across the country,” said Phil Boyce, WABC’s program director. “I wanted to get on that freight train.”
How far things have come.