Deep in the night and way strange
On 'Coast to Coast,' George Noory hears it all
September 18, 2005
When radio talk show host George Noory opens the phone lines, the calls come in from weird America. A woman reports how extraterrestrials stole her husband away. He was gone all night. He returned sweaty and disheveled but, she reports, happy.
“She told me the aliens had even stolen his wedding ring,” recalls Noory. “I just said, ˜Oh really’ and hung up. Some things you don’t need to comment on.”
As host of “Coast to Coast,” Premiere Radio Networks’ hit all-night radio show, Noory speaks with lots of strange folks. The four-hour program offers a rich stew of interviews with self-proclaimed experts on topics ranging from secret undersea U.S. Naval bases to the problem of giant reptoids who live in hidden cracks in the earth and the threat of alien abductions.
On recent a show, writer Marshall Klarfeld shared his contention that humans were created through genetic engineering 450,000 years ago by a race of extraterrestrials called the Annunake.
On another, one Command Sergeant Major Robert O. Dean discussed how secret government agencies are trying to keep a lid on a massive extraterrestrial presence. Apparently, as related by Dean, back in the ’50s there was a secret meeting between President Eisenhower and an alien being. Deans says he has access to a film of the sitdown.
On yet another show, writer David Icke discussed the Illuminati, a network of interbreeding families that rule the world from atop at a pyramid of secret societies. Some of the Illuminati you would not recognize, they being shape-shifting reptilians from Babylon who inhabit another dimension. But others would be surprisingly recognizable, George W. Bush, for example. Icke contends that Bush, in addition to his full-time job as President of the U.S., serves as the front man for the Illuminati and that through the Texas Republican leader they are working to destroy America from within.
All interesting stuff, for sure.
Each night anywhere from 4 million to 8 million listeners tune in to “Coast to Coast,” which airs 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Pacific time. Noory’s show is carried on nearly 500 stations, as well via satellite and web radio, and it’s a top-ranked show and No. 1 in its timeslot, according to Noory. All sorts of people listen: cross-country truckers, cops, shift workers, night nurses and insomniacs.
Following the interviews, Noory opens the phone lines, sometimes requesting calls from a specific group, such as those who have sold their souls to the devil, those who have seen strange apparitions in the back seats of their cars, or people who believe their parents come from another planet, literally.
“The weirder the better,” says Noory, who doesn’t screen his calls. “I don’t usually cut people off unless they are drunk or profane.”
The boards light up with calls from people like Daniel from Los Angeles, who discusses how he met a leprechaun, which he described as a demon trickster angel from hell, as he put it, in the steam room at his gym. The creature had red hair, a pointed nose and chin, a goatee and played Irish jigs on a harmonica. Daniel said the man asked him if he knew one of the songs he had played and then invited him to take a tour of hell.
Larry from Texas shares a story about a a piano-playing praying mantis he once saw perform at a roadside circus. He said the mantis, named Morty, played beautiful music on a miniature piano, including a selection by Elton John. The insect’s owner told Larry that Morty was more than 20 years old.
Another caller claimed to be a time traveler sent from the mid-1970s by an organization larger than the government. “This organization controls the government and controls time,” the caller noted, “but won’t let me win in Vegas.”
During an “alien hybrid hotline” Roy from Ohio reports that his ancestors were of a space-faring race who arrived on Earth nearly a million years ago. He describes his alien forebears as scientists who traveled the universe, cataloging countless humanoid races and exploring more than 10,000 advanced civilizations capable of intergalactic travel.
Noory says it doesn’t matter whether he believes what his callers and guests say. Ultimately, it’s about entertainment, creating a show that people will be drawn to. Says Noory: “What I do is create an aura of mystery.”
Indeed. Noory is a hard-core newsman with 30 years of experience as a news executive and broadcaster. He has three Emmy Awards in television news for covering such normal events as a Detroit blizzard. But ever since he had an out-of-body experience when he was 11, it has been the paranormal that has fascinated him.
“I went into broadcasting because I wanted to unravel strange stories,” he says. “But what I ended up doing was covering fires and murders. “Whenever my bosses were gone, I would do shows about the paranormal.”
Premiere Radio executives heard him on his late-night radio program on KTRS in St. Louis, where he covered such paranormal topics as the Nighthawk. In 2003, they hired him to fill in for retiring radio legend Art Bell, who started “Coast to Coast” after the 50,000-watt Las Vegas, Nev., station KDWN offered him a five-hour time slot in the middle of the night. Bell’s original program was a political call-in talk show.
But soon, political talk shows were jamming the airwaves, and Bell decided to do something different, focusing his show on a lifelong interest in the unusual. The program was syndicated in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Bell was criticized for reporting rumors that comet Hale Bopp was being closely followed by a UFO. Some speculated that members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide based on rumors Bell aired.
Bell still occasionally serves as a guest host, flipping the switch directly from his home in Pahrump, Nev., and speaking out from what he calls the high desert and the great American Southwest.
Noory says he has tried to bring more news to the show while still airing enough paranormal programs to satisfy fans.
“We have been ahead of mainstream media on a lot of stories,” he says. “We were the first to uncover SARS, and the mainstream media is just picking up on a story we have been doing about the large number of microbiologists being murdered.”
A Lebanese-American raised in Detroit, Noory says his Arab background gives him a wider perspective than many news veterans, a knowledge he brings to increasingly frequent “Coast to Coast” programs about terrorism, the Middle East and the Sept. 11 attacks.
And the nine years he spent in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a full lieutenant may have given him special insight into how theories of government conspiracies get their start.
The all-night time slot is essential to his show. “It gives a campfire spookiness,” he says. “The show would never work in the same way during the day. The night creates a feeling of mystery.” Although Noory has produced TV programs for much of his career, he still loves radio.
“It allows me to paint pictures with words. Radio has an intimacy. In any other medium, the show wouldn’t work as dramatically as it does.”
That said, he has been approached about doing a television sidebar of the radio show, and he probably will take the offer. He also has three books in the works. One is about the paranormal, another is fiction, and the third is an alien cook book with secret recipes for dishes like split pea Martian soup.
Even if he doesn’t believe all of his guests, he certainly is open to the paranormal. His listeners respond to that. He treats callers with respect laced with humor. He doesn’t laugh at them. And he is utterly charming. His personality and smooth radio voice would carry a show about topics much less entertaining.
“I try to do the show like I am talking to one person, not millions,” he says. “The listeners are so attached to the show. When I go on vacation, it disrupts people’s lives. I get so many emails about it. It is like the show is their fix. I think people need mysteries. They hunger for it.’˜
The show’s advertisers include a wide spectrum of companies: electronics, investment firms, health food, books, and cable TV channels such as the History and Discovery channels.
Noory weaves many of the ads into the fabric of the show and is willing to talk to advertisers personally about how they want their ads presented. Many are testimonials of products he has tried.
Although the show is bizarre, much of its success comes because the guy on the street can relate to it, Noory says. As well as the paranormal, he has done shows on raw foods, Avian flu, global warming, high prescription drug prices and the threat of nuclear terrorism.
“Basically, I use myself as barometer. I’m a pretty regular guy, so I figure if I’m interested in it, other people are too. Also, I talk to a lot of people when I’m off the air. I try to find the things that touch them.”
“People need a voice,” he says. “They need to be heard. To know the show is going to be on every night it is a comforting factor for them.” Noory plans to do the show until 2012,when he turns 62 and when the Mayan calendar ends. Many predict the world will end in a disaster near that date.
“Maybe an asteroid will hit or something will happen to the magnetic polar fields,” Noory says. “Or maybe the guy who was making calendars ran out of paper. Who knows?”
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