|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.
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 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 retirement, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a live radio and podcast which Art Bell founded. The program was later hosted by Heather Wade and is currently hosted by Dave Schrader.