Once Upon a Time, in America, there was a terrific late night radio show to listen to. It was all about gray space aliens, evil little dudes from some bad planet who kidnapped people, as well as other out-of-this-world spooky topics like ghosties, shadow people and voices of the dead.
It originated out of the Nevada desert, a place called Pahrump, and was hosted by an equally-spooky guy named Art Bell. Now Art Bell had exactly all the right characteristics to conduct a late night show about topics which make us all uneasy, which make us all cling to the bedcovers a little more tightly. Art has a deep, dusky voice, thanks to decades of cigarettes. Art had an eerie dark little website too, and even a dark, shadowy photo of himself, which I have borrowed for this blog.
The overnight show was called Coast to Coast, also commonly called the Art Bell Show. And it WAS a great, late-night creepshow, a spendid alternative to the endless music stations and TV.
Art was not above scaring hell out of listeners, alerting us all to the threat of Y2K, global warming, and "The Quickening", a nebulous name for how everything seems to be speeding up, getting worse and feeling harsher. But he never spread fear of our own country.
Art Bell has retired again, for the 5th or the 6th time, and the overnight radio show has new ownership (Premier Radio Network), and a new host.
"Coast to Coast AM" it is called now, for legal reasons. And the new host is George Noory. Neither has the clout nor the listenership that the show once had, under the skilled, artful hosting and direction of Art Bell.
George Noory hasn't 1/10 the interviewing skills of mentor Bell. It honestly sounds as if he is reading a pre-written list of questions, never ever with a thoughtful, inquisitive follow-up question of the guest; asking questions of the guest that a kindergartener knows the answer to; wasting opportunities to ask really pertinant questions; and the show itself is jam packed shilling every Coast to Coast AM spin-off product imaginable.
The whole show now is so glitzy, so glossy, that serious treatment of the topic, of the guest of the night is lost. What once made Coast to Coast with Art Bell so great, so eagerly anticipated by millions of people, is now gone. It is overall, a total waste of 3-4 hours of time, if one must be up overnight, at all. Then there is the over done gag provided by a "kook" caller, named J.C. ((If a listener really listens closly, the phone line introducing J.C. is never identified.))
J.C. is just another tired shill, a gimmick that has lost its lustre by over-kill.
Thank Goodness that there are now acceptable alternatives to this overnight tripe produced by George Noory and company.
George Noory's thinly veiled political partisanship comes through in most interviews he conducts, but most especially in the shorter, first hour interviews with guests who have agendas clearly coinciding with that of Premier Radio Networks.
George Noory has not got the talent, much less the skill to handle this type show. Listening to him, one can hear him mispronounce words with alacrity. He seems to want to fit in to the Art Bell shoes so badly, that he becomes vocally clumsy and lazy.
I have given up on the crappy show Coast to Coast AM--except on weekends, when a listener can still get a good show out of weekend host Ian Punnett, and recordings of old Art Bell shows.
Thank goodness for other Internet radio stations, like the BBC, or like Radio America (dot org) instead.
Did I repeat myself there, saying that? Its worth repeating: Coast to Coast AM is a drag.