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If you're an insomniac Conspiracy Theorist, then Coast to Coast AM is for you.

In 1989 Art Bell received the job of filling a Las Vegas talk channel's five-hour overnight time slot. Assuming that the late hours would limit the show to a small audience, producers allowed Bell a ton of leeway with the subject matter. Bell worked Coast to Coast AM into an open forum discussing paranormal and fringe topics, and allowed the public to voice their opinions without ridicule, thanks to his trademark of unscreened open lines.

The format and subject matter quickly amassed a much larger audience than expected, and in 1993 Coast to Coast AM was syndicated. Currently, the show is broadcast on more than 500 American AM radio stations, with numerous Canadian affiliates and a worldwide audience through Internet streams.

Subject matter on Coast to Coast AM typically focuses on aliens and UFOs, conspiracy theories, paranormal activity and research, remote viewing, 2012 theories and international political issues, but has also interviewed well-known actors, musicians or authors. The show is currently hosted by George Noory on weekdays, and Ian Punnet or George Knapp on weekends. Art Bell infrequently guest-hosts.

Given the length and subject matter, there are numerous crowning moments of high strangeness and oddball characters etched into the annals of Coast to Coast AM lore:

  • Art Bell received an open-lines call from a man claiming he was flying a small plane from Fort Worth, Texas, into Area 51 (see below).
    • Or the famous phonecall from a panicked man who claimed to have worked at Area 51.
  • A recurring caller named J.C. Webster III, who claims to be a Southern Baptist preacher and the leader of an organization called CLAMP (not that one) -- "Christian Leaders Against Media Pornography" and has claimed that Art, George, and all the listeners will be thrown into the "boiling pits of sewage" for promoting pornography. He's also no fan of Food Porn, a category in which he sees to include most food, with the notable exception of boiled cabbage.
  • Bugs, a Texan hunter who claimed he shot two Bigfoot.
  • Mel Waters, who claimed to have a bottomless hole in his backyard.
  • An open lines guest pranked George Noory by pretending he was Gordon Freeman. George, who is not a gamer, took him very seriously.
  • Another recurring caller is an ADD-afflicted atheist from the northeastern U.S. who is very, er, candid about his personal life.

Bell was even given a No Celebrities Were Harmed homage in GTA Radio and a voice role As Himself in Prey, where the player can listen to snippets of people calling his show about the giant spaceship the protagonist is trapped in. He also had a cameo in I Know Who Killed Me, where he explains a plot point. Seriously.

Coast to Coast AM contains examples of:

  • Catch Phrase: "From the High Desert/City of Angels/Gateway to the West/Somewhere Deep Underground!" "Turn your radio off!" "Deus te Ama, and I do to!" "Good night America!"
  • Conspiracy Theorist: All the hosts, most of the guests and callers.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: From FEMA camps to hollow earth to mind control, it's all here.
  • Crossover: With Half Life, of all things.
    • And even Fallout. Some guy calls to talk about his "revelation" of Vault 101, and the host buys it as real.
    • Ian did an intentional crossover with World War Z during an interview with Max Brooks. And it was awesome.
  • Jumped the Shark: Some people insist the show died when Art Bell left.
  • Live but Delayed: Often utilized, most often when the callers accidentally slip in their last name.
  • Memetic Mutation: Barack Obama is from Mars!
  • Old Shame: Every now and then, George mentions how grateful he is that he DID NOT do "that Ouija board program".
    • Also the failed remote viewing predictions of Ed Dames.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: One caller who called himself "Oscar" seriously freaked George out.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Many listeners ironically consider this to be an underground news source, despite the fact that it's broadcast across the world and on most major American AM stations.
    • This is something of a Justified Trope as the entire heavy dose of general weirdness is pretty subversive for a format shared with Paul Harvey. Also, Art Bell is notable for taking climate change seriously a decade before it was considered a serious subject by the mainstream media, and in 2001 his show broke the first photos of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, a story picked up universally by the news media.
      • Possibly enhanced, since the show was dropped from the WABC lineup.
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