Sleep has always been elusive for me. Between naturally being a bit of a night owl, my horrible caffeine dependency and my love of surfing the Internet, I don’t usually get to bed until at least 1:00am on most nights. Even as a child, with a strictly enforced bed-time, I would lay in bed for hours before finally being able to fall asleep. Thankfully in those days, I had my trusty clock radio and Coast to Coast AM to keep me company.
What is Coast to Coast AM you ask? It’s only the single greatest radio show ever. Ever. For four hours every night, Coast to Coast AM features the cream of the crop of conspiracy theorists, psychic mediums, cryptozoologists, and pretty much everyone else that makes Glenn Beck look like a sound, reasonable man, talking about an array of topics as varied as Bigfoot, alien abductions, hauntings, and, my personal favorite, politicians that are actually shape-shifting reptilian alien overlords. It short, it fucking rules.
Look at that man. Aviators. Turtleneck. Mustache. Smokers voice. He’s pretty much the coolest. He’s also the original host of Coast to Coast AM, Art Bell. Sadly, Art’s been retired for most of the past decade, leaving the reigns of Coast to Coast AM in George Noory’s somewhat shaky hands, but when he was at the helm, Coast to Coast AM was some of the greatest entertainment around.
You see, Art’s an old school conspiracy theorist. While contemporary conspiracy theorists have hung their hat on lame conspiracies revolving around 9/11, Obama’s birth certificate and new world orders run by bankers, Art was all about the good shit. Alien abductions. Roswell. Area 51. Reptilians. Bigfoot. New world orders run by space lizards. You know, the batshit awesome stuff you think a guy that looks like Art would be into.
The best thing about Art though, was that he didn’t take any shit. You see, Coast to Coast AM is known for it’s unscreened open phone lines. Being that there are no call screeners, pretty much any paranoid hillbilly that’s awake at 2:00am on a Tuesday could call in and get on the air with Art. And while these crazy phone calls about being abducted by aliens that did your laundry were awesome, Art calling these hillbillies out on their shit was even more awesome. You know, you don’t want people to not take your show seriously after all.
While Art’s retired, he’ll still come back to fill in from time to time, which is great not only because the show is back in it’s old form, but because Art has since quit smoking. Why does that matter? Because Art’s been taking Chantix for seemingly a solid decade. Chantix, if you’re unaware, has a variety of crazy side effects, including super vivid night terrors, which Art will talk about at length on air. Now keep in mind, this man spent his life talking to dudes who hunt Bigfoot. Can you imagine the fucked up, crazy ass Chantix nightmares this man has? Yeah, they’re fucking awesome.
Coast to Coast AM was always about the moments. On any given night, you had no idea what crazy shit was going to go down. Below are some of my favorites:
Moment 1: The Area 51 Caller
Like I mentioned earlier, Coast to Coast AM never screens their calls. One night back in 1997, this happened. A man claiming to have worked at Area 51 called in and began detailing a far-reaching government conspiracy involving cross-dimensional aliens, NASA and population control. While the caller was frantically (fairly legitimately I may add) explaining the “truth” behind Area 51, something happened and the satellite carrying the show was knocked offline.
While just a crazy coincidence, this of course was a sign that the government got wind of the fact that someone was spilling the beans and killed the satellite. The caller later called back and confessed that he was pulling a prank, but even after that disclosure, Art chose to believe the government knocked the show off the air because the guy had accidentally hit upon the truth. Like I said, this show rules.
Moment 2: JC and Oscar
Coast to Coast AM has a few notable recurring callers. My personal favorites go hand in hand. The first is the hillbilly you hear in the video above, ranting about how Bigfoot is actually Satan. His name is JC. He claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, hence the name. Art hates him and has had many amazing duels with him on the air, including this one.
The second caller may be familiar to fans of the band Islands, as they sampled him in the song Volcanoes. Oscar is a demon that also happens to be the son of Satan. He’s also a woman named Rachel. It’s complicated. Oscar started calling after Art had handed over the show to George Noory, but has still produced many memorable moments, including this great one when JC and Oscar briefly had it out over the phone:
Moment 3: The Sounds of Hell
Back to the Art Bell days. The story goes that a Siberian mining operation was wiped out when it accidentally opened a hole to Hell. After Art had covered the story, a listener sent in a cassette tape supposedly from a tape recorder lowered into the hole. The result was another classic Coast to Coast AM moment.
The actual story if you’re curious, is that the hole in question was actually a sinkhole that was amplifying the sounds from a roller coaster many miles away. Science!
Like all things in life, Coast to Coast AM isn’t going to be around forever. Already, without Art Bell behind the mic, the quality of the show has slipped. And sadly, I’m sure there will be a day when Coast to Coast AM will become an extension of Fox News and just become Republican talking points about how Obama is an socialist atheist that was born in Indonesia that is waging a war on religion, the family and America. However, until that day comes, I’ll be listening just in case something awesome happens and another classic Coast to Coast AM moment is born.
In addition to Goodspeed & Poe, Angelo writes/podcasts about the NBA for I GO HARD NOW, covers the Cavaliers at Fear the Sword, and ocassionally writes about horror films for Bloody Good Horror. He lives in his native Cleveland with his Netflix account and PlayStation.