Coast to Coast AM is a North American (United States and Canada) 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 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time Zone.
Created and originally hosted by Art Bell, the program is now hosted on most nights by George Noory. According to estimates by Talkers Magazine, Coast to Coast AM has a cume (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. Today, the program is heard on more than 600 stations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Guam.
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, crop circles, cryptozoology, Bigfoot, the Hollow Earth hypothesis, and science fiction literature, among others. 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 main host since Art Bell retired, also took interest in the 2012 phenomenon and believed that something could happen; but stated many times on air that he believed we would still be here on December 22, 2012.
After the theme song is played (Giorgio Moroder's "Chase" from Midnight Express), the broadcast is typically kicked off with a reading of current events or news stories by the host, usually with at least one bizarre or peculiar story. This is frequently followed by a guest interview for the rest of the first hour (with open phone lines if there is enough time), then a lengthier three-hour interview with a second guest. For the last hour of the show, people may call in to ask questions of the second guest. Every so often, host George Noory will flip the show's format and have the longer-interview guest on first to fill the first three hours of the show. In this format, the primary interview begins after the reading of the news and then the first break. The last hour in this "flipped" format will sometimes feature a guest with a shorter subject or, more often than not, be simply an hour of open lines. Occasionally, round table discussions are held on one of the show's common topics. Conventional topics are sometimes discussed, with interviews with notable authors and political talk sometimes featured.
On rare occasions, hosts have cut interviews short when it became clear that guests were being dishonest, unethical, unintelligible, abusive, or patronizing. When this happens, the rest of the show will be filled with a stand-in guest of Noory's choosing. Guests that have interviews cut short due to bad phone connections for example, or, at the last minute, becoming unavailable, are generally rescheduled for a later date.
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. During hours of "open lines", calls are taken and put on air. Art Bell created multiple call-in numbers for:
- "East of the Rockies,"
- "West of the Rockies,"
- "First-time callers,"
- "International callers,"
- A "wild card" line.
These lines were all announced at the beginning of each broadcast by Ross Mitchell for nearly all the show's history until the spring of 2012, when Mitchell's home station, KKOH in Reno, Nevada, chose not to be a Coast to Coast affiliate any longer. Two new announcers, Charles Tomas and Dick Ervasti, are the current voiceover announcers of the program. Since 2007, Coast to Coast AM rolls out more numbers on special occasions, including lines that are reserved for special "themed" callers, for example those who claim to be from other dimensions, time periods, and those possessed by spirits.
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.
The 2006 first-person shooter Prey featured Art Bell as a guest star and featured him as himself in mock episodes of the show with guests calling in to discuss the various extraterrestrial or mythical phenomena making up the game's story line, sometimes to advance the plot and other times simply for humour. Additionally, an internet video featuring Bell was shown in the 2007 Lindsay Lohan film I Know Who Killed Me, whose plot centered on the phenomenon of stigmatic twins.
Coast to Coast AM is broadcast on over 600 United States 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; some stations are subject to pre-emptions for sports play-by-play or local breaking news and severe weather situations. Among them, they bring the show to almost all of North America.
The show's Coast Insider service offers live Internet feeds of the show by subscription. The program is also broadcast on Sirius XM Radio in the United States, on Indie Talk Radio, channel 104 since November 12, 2013.
The show's complete schedule can be found on its website. Because the show is so frequently repeated, audible cue signals are inserted at the beginning and end of commercial breaks, to facilitate substitution of commercials by local stations.
George Noory hosts the show on weeknights and the first Sunday of every month. Las Vegas-based investigative journalist George Knapp hosts the 3rd and 4th Sunday of each month, and when there is a 5th Sunday, George Noory or another fill in will host. Since the controversial firing of host John B. Wells, most Saturdays and non-Knapp Sundays are hosted by Dave Schrader or Canadian political conspiracy talk show host Richard Syrett. Syrett and Schrader also work Fridays when Noory travels to Denver to record his video show Beyond Belief.
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.
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. On the February 4, 2014 episode of that program, Wells stated that he thought he had been fired from Coast to Coast because he hated Barack Obama to the point where he can't bear the sight or sound of him, going even further to state that he avoids "even speaking his (Obama's) name," and that he thought Obama is a communist.
- 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.
- Gerald Celente, economic and political forecaster.
- Neal Chase, Exilarch, religious educator.
- 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.
- Callum E. Cooper, psychologist, parapsychologist and author.
- Gordon Duff (writer), editor of Veterans Today website and military affairs analyst for Press TV, expert on "UFO conflicts, technologies and history" and Israeli false flag attacks
- Steve Elwart, executive research analyst, Koinonia Institute
- 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.
- Joseph P. Farrell, theologian who discusses secret history and pseudoarcheology.
- James H. Fetzer, founding member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth who has stated the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was "conducted by agents of Israel".
- Catherine Austin Fitts, economist; was Assistant Secretary of Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at HUD in the first Bush Administration
- Matthew L. Fraser, an American psychic.
- 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). His current status as a recurring guest on Coast to Coast AM is questionable.
- John Hogue, prophecy expert and author of books on Nostradamus.
- Linda Moulton Howe, reporter and ufologist.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mr. Lobo, horror host of nationally syndicated cult film television series Cinema Insomnia.
- Eugene Mallove, cold fusion advocate.
- Malachi Martin, Catholic priest, theologian and professor, known for sometimes controversial views concerning the Catholic Church.
- Tobias McGriff, author of Savannah Shadows and an expert on supernatural science and the haunted history of the southern United States.
- Steve Quayle, researcher who discusses current events, prophecy, legends, aliens, stargates, and supernatural creatures.
- Stan Romanek, UFO abductee. George Noory arranged to have Stan take a lie detector test over some of his claims of alien visitations.
- Zecharia Sitchin, author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts.
- Giorgio 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.
- Louis Turi was born and raised in Provence, France. Following four UFO experiences he was influenced to re-kindle Nostradamus' methods of Divine Astrology and spent many years reviving the Seer's cabalistic healing method.
- Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics who discusses his research with implants, artificial intelligence and robotics – especially cyborgs.
- David Wilcock, professional lecturer and filmmaker who discusses ancient civilizations, consciousness, and new paradigms of matter and energy.
- Robert Zimmerman, space historian, journalist and blogger. Acts as "science adviser" to the show.
A complete list of guests is available on the Coast to Coast website, where they can be searched by show date, year, alphabet, etc.
Nancy Lieder is no longer booked, since several of her prophecies of doom have spectacularly failed.
The Amazing Kreskin was banned after misrepresenting a so-called mass "happening" as a UFO sighting.
The Ghost Buster Gals are no longer booked, since they appeared on Art Bell's Dark Matter. Foster and Laure Lee have stated that Coast to Coast AM producer Tommy Danheiser informed them that since they were on Dark Matter their services were no longer needed.
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. It is now heard over the Internet, exclusively at UnknownCountry.com.
Dreamland continues to focus on many of the same topics as its sister program, although often with a more spiritual point of view, as well as an increased emphasis on extra-terrestrials.
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.
The radio show published a monthly newsletter for subscribers called After Dark. Discussing matters covered on the show, it contained fourteen inner pages, approximately 46% of which were illustrations and photos, rather than text. The front cover contained artwork, and the back cover showed a list of recent shows. The newsletter ceased publication in January 2011, but the show now offers a free daily e-newsletter called CoastZone.
Art Bell stated that the decision to come out of retirement was entirely his, a response to the direction that George Noory has taken the show—closer to political talk radio rather than the open-minded exploration of the supernatural that defined Bell's tenure as host. Noory, Bell says, has "ruined" the franchise of Coast to Coast AM.
The program's ratings under Noory have fallen to only 3.25 million listeners per week. Coast to Coast AM previously boasted a weekly listening audience in excess of 10 million listeners under Art Bell. Since 2013 the listener numbers have shrunk an additional half million to a mere 2.75 million. Listener numbers in 2014 have continued to decline to 2.5 million.