Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Matchups: Art Bell vs. George Noory

Today's bout is a featured match between two overnight broadcasters: Art Bell and George Noory. Let's go to the ring...

Every night somewhere, Coast to Coast AM comes on the radio, and the journey through the evening begins with the opening chords of “The Chase” from the movie Midnight Express. The show covers the paranormal, the weird, the wacky, the Illuminati, and so on and so forth. They talk politics and world affairs; and the show discusses money and has for years touted investing in gold. It debuted in the 1980’s and the number of listeners and the availability of the show is staggering. Over 500 stations pick it up across the United States alone and it is also aired around the world and of course on the Internet. There are numerous telephone numbers for listeners to call in on such as the “east of the Rockies” line, the “west of the Rockies” line, and the “wild card” line.

Art Bell founded the show and is at this point in semi-retirement. He’ll host from time to time on the weekend and also will do his annual Ghost to Ghost show on Halloween. Bell, has retired many, many times, one particular time was when his son was kidnapped. Normally, Bell, a former member of the U.S. Army, is based in Las Vegas, which he refers to as the "high desert." However, he did his show from the Philippines for a time when he married a woman from that country. These days, as far as I know, Bell is back in the United States.

It’s called the best half-hour in radio and to be honest, I agree. George Noory, a former member of the U.S. Navy opens his radio show with a couple of quick things and then goes to commercial. When he comes back he gives you all the news of the day, plus some nuggets about the bizarre. Noory reports not only the news that we all hear, but he’ll give you stuff from literally all over the globe with more analysis. Noory started doing the show part-time in 2001, before becoming full-time in 2005. He is based in L.A., with the rare occasion being when he is in St. Louis.

Ian Punnett is also a host and does a special edition on the Internet. To be honest, when Punnett is hosting the radio show, I turn the station. He just doesn’t have the voice to host that type of a show, he’s better suited for hard news. It makes me wonder how the show would do without Bell or Noory. George Noory says that he will do the show until 2012, when it is said by some that there will be “calamitous events” on this planet.

If you are ever on the road between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. just hit the scan button on your radio and you’ll find the show on at least five stations, I’m willing to bet. Bell has a pretty calm demeanor and always is respectful to the callers. He also doesn’t screen his calls, which is almost unheard of. Noory also has a pretty mild demeanor, but the reason I prefer him over Bell is because he doesn’t make things too technical. Bell sometimes tries to delve way too deep into certain subjects.

So the winner of this one is George Noory. I don’t get to listen to the show as much as I used to, but if I’m up at that time I know that their show is the first place I’ll go for entertaining radio. Funny enough, the two didn’t meet until 2007, when Noory was presenting Bell with a lifetime achievement award.

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