Alumnus Profile: George Noory '72
When the popular Coast to Coast AM radio talk show host, George Noory, graduated from the University of Detroit in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in Communications, he also had on-the-job experience as a TV production assistant and a radio reporter. Noory always knew he was meant to be in broadcasting, but after two years of pre-dental school at U-D, getting there meant he had to take matters into his own hands.
"I switched majors without telling my parents," says Noory. "My dad looked at my report card and was impressed with the grades, but he was upset that I switched majors without telling him."
Noory recalls that it took two months before his dad spoke to him. Today, his parents listen to his nationally syndicated radio show on CKLW (AM) and thoughts of dental school are long ago memories. After all, their son hosts the most listened to overnight radio call-in show in the nation, broadcasting to 528 radio stations in the United States and Canada by Premiere Radio Network and on XM Satellite Radio along with streaming Internet access. The show focuses on the bizarre, with topics on the show ranging from UFOs to ghosts to a variety of paranormal subjects.
"It deals with high strangeness," says Noory. "I interview guests who are hunting for Big Foot or who are ghost hunters. I want interesting guests and spontaneous conversations," says Noory, who prefers to interview guests on the fly.
In January 2003, after spending time as the show's guest host, Noory replaced retiring long-time Coast to Coast AM host, Art Bell. He is on the air five days a week and the first Sunday of every month between 1 and 5 a.m., attracting a younger audience than expected because of the subject matter.
Noory spends the first hour talking current events, then turns to the phones to interview his guests and engage listeners who call into the show. Some of his favorite (and recurring) guests have been Richard Hoagland, who studies conspiracy theories and pseudo science, Glynis McCants who is a renowned numerologist, and Rosemary Ellen Guiley, an expert on paranormal, mystical and supernatural topics.
Because he is based in Los Angeles, Hollywood actors like Pat Boone and Pamela Anderson have spent time in the studio. He describes his show as non-argumentative and relaxed talk radio. After work, he logs roughly six hours of sleep then wakes up and begins answering the 1,500 emails he receives a day.
Early Influences Shape Career
Noory studied the broadcasting techniques of Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow when he was growing up in Detroit. The oldest sibling of two sisters, he convinced his childhood friend to help him build model rockets and launch them so that he could be the newscaster on the scene covering the event. By the time Noory was 11 years old, he mapped out his destiny in the field of broadcasting.
"At a young age I figured out that broadcasters are the only people who get others to talk to them," says Noory.
His early career included positions at TV stations in Minnesota, where he was the youngest news director in the nation, and then St. Louis. While in St. Louis, in 1996, Noory reinvented himself for radio and hosted a late-night program called Nighthawk. The popularity of the show caught the attention of the Premiere Radio Network executives who lured him away to Los Angeles to be the guest host and eventually the host of Coast to Coast AM.
"I learned a long time ago to treat people like people. My show is about the listeners," says Noory of his formula for success.
The next chapter in Noory's career involves writing books. He has authored one book with Bill Birnes titled, Worker in the Light: Unlock your Five Senses and Liberate Your Limitless Potential and another, titled, Journey to the Light, will be released in November 2009. Noory collaborated with Rosemary Ellen Guiley on this book about real life stories from people who interact with the supernatural. He has plans to write four more books.
"I always knew I wanted to unravel the unusual and the bizarre," says Noory.
Looking back on his life journey, Noory realizes that his mom supported his interest by giving him a book from New York Times writer Walter Sullivan, called We are Not Alone.
"My mom calls me after every show with guest ideas," says Noory. "She's like my producer."
And all these years after graduating from the College of Liberal Arts & Education, instead of the UDM School of Dentistry, it is likely that his parents (and his fans) believe that Noory made the right decision to switch majors.