(TLB: Link to radio interview with Dave & John at bottom of article.)
By TLB Contributor: Dave Hodges.
John B. Wells has one of the most recognized voices in America, but unfortunately a million Americans will no longer get to hear his melodious voice on Saturday nights on what was his popular Coast to Coast radio broadcast.
The following is an exclusive print interview I conducted with John B. Wells on the evening of February 5, 2014. Why was this ever-so-popular host let go by some unidentified powers that be in the corporate structure at Coast to Coast?
On the surface, the firing of John B. Wells made no sense. However, as we peel back the public veneer that is Coast to Coast, the firing of John B. Wells was inevitable.
The Glory Days of Coast to Coast Are Gone
In days gone by, Coast to Coast was once the flag ship of the alternative media, which captured 500 stations in late night radio when the show was hosted by Art Bell. Bell blazed a trail that nobody had ever traveled before, as he brought subjects to the mainstream airwaves that was unprecedented in both its subject areas and its depth of coverage.
Bell’s meteoric rise to unprecedented popularity in late night radio continued unabated until Premier purchased control of the show for $8 million dollars. That is when the trouble began for Bell in terms of retaining editorial control of his show. When Art Bell relinquished control of his program to corporate interests, Premier and ultimately Clear Channel, Coast to Coast was never the same as the show took a turn and became reflective of “the corporate message”.
The Corporate Structure of Coast to Coast
One cannot fully appreciate the termination of host John B. Wells as the “Saturday night guy” on Coast without having some understanding of the corporate structure which came to dominate the show when Art Bell relinquished control of the show.
Premiere distributes Coast to Coast for its parent company Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel has a long and well-known history of censorship and extreme retaliation for those who do not abide by the corporate line.
Clear Channel was once a major supporter of the George W. Bush candidacy for President and they tolerated no dissension within the ranks. They were responsible for the dramatic fall of the Dixie Chicks for espousing their anti-war views with regard to the war in Iraq. And in a case of extreme censorship, with regard to a case that I have some firsthand and personal knowledge of, a popular Phoenix talk show host, Charles Goyette was blackballed by Clear Channel for similar anti-war views. Charles was actually dismissed from KFYI radio when he was the number one radio personality in Arizona and the entire Southwest. When it comes to these corporate entities, having great ratings does not insulate one from being fired. Popular talk show hosts are expected to be the guardian of the corporate gate and as you will soon read, Wells is an oracle who quotes Voltaire and tells the truth, but he was a poor night watchman of the corporate controlled gate. Wells discovered that deviating from the company line (i.e. telling the truth) shortens the professional life expectancy of its top entertainers.
The Numbers Do Not Lie
After a period of prolonged instability following the departure of Art Bell as the primary host of Coast to Coast, George Noory entered the scene in 2003 where he has since remained. However, Noory’s listening numbers are nothing to write home about. Once upon a time, some estimated that Art Bell had somewhere around 6-12 million listeners on any given night. In contrast, Noory’s numbers are a paltry 275,000 to 300,000 listeners per night. However, George Noory is the perfect front man and his numbers take on a secondary level of importance because he is very good at protecting the corporate turf and is very careful to only take risks on subjects which the corporate sponsors do not care about (e.g. crystal skulls, near death experiences, psychic mediums, etc.). Gone are the former days of Art Bell’s hard hitting journalism which made the spooks inside of the alphabet soup agencies very uncomfortable.
Coast to Coast became a “vanilla broadcast” with occasional forays into controversy with guests such Jim Marrs. However, much of Coast to Coast today is what I call disguised controversy which presents the illusion of objective journalism.
John B. Wells temporarily bridged the gap of Art Bell’s former independent style that made him so popular to the present day version of Coast to Coast. John B. Wells was clearly the shining jewel of the Coast to Coast empire.
A Disturbance In the Force
John B. Wells is a self-confessed independent maverick with a streak of independence which makes him so very likely to convey the truth on his broadcasts. Wells had actually been hosting shows on Coast to Coast since 2005 as a fill-in until he was hired as the permanent host for Saturday nights in 2011.
John B. Wells’ numbers were anywhere between 750,000 to 1.2 million listeners for any given Saturday night. This ratings disparity could not have resonated well with George Noory who is not known for being humble.
There were some who were in favor of making Wells the permanent host of the show during the week. This idea was met with draconian repression in an effort to preserve the status quo. George Noory is a great protector of the corporate interest and that is first and foremost in importance to management. This speaks to the clear message of what Coast to Coast has become. Noory’s show is the quintessential guardian of the corporate gate instead of being what it purports to be, a news dissemination source.
In his role as the Saturday night host on Coast to Coast, John B. Wells became a man trapped between his desire to expose the truth and the requirement that he walk the company line. John lamented, both publicly and privately that Coast to Coast was not his show, he was just an employee. Wells expressed the desire to do something more meaningful because there just was not enough substance on Coast to Coast. This is a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with as I found the show, under Noory’s tenure, to have slipped to the level of a typical corporate controlled media outlet.
The Beginning of the End
I first heard that John was going to begin his own independent show back in the late fall/early winter of 2013. The new show was going to be called Caravan to Midnight. I was told that he was going to try to simultaneously do both shows. I was also told that his new show would be a “no holds barred” show. It was at that time that I told my News Director, Annie De Riso, that Coast to Coast would never permit both shows to exist simultaneously. Can you imagine what the listening public would say if Wells were to interview former CIA operative Jim Garrow on his new Caravan to Midnight show and that interview was much more revealing than anything ever heard on Coast to Coast from the same guest? It would have been obvious for even the most blind to see, that Coast to Coast practices censorship. Therefore, Wells could not be allowed to broadcast on both venues.
My predictive words were to be proven true. On January 25, 2014, Wells formally announced the launch of his new show, Caravan to Midnight, which would debut on February 3, 2014. Subsequently, John was unceremoniously fired by Julie Talbot on January 28, 2014. By that evening, I noticed that every reference to John B. Wells was scrubbed from the Coast to Coast website. Please allow me to speak clearly to one key point, the firing of John B. Wells was prima fascia evidence that the corporate structure (i.e. Clear Channel) of Coast to Coast still practices the same extreme censorship as we saw with the Dixie Chicks and Charles Goyette in a case of the same song, different verse.
Censorship was already being practiced on Wells’ show as all too often, his show would experience technical failures and be taken down in large local markets by such things as Amber alerts or just plain old dead air. In contrast, Noory’s show rarely experiences the same issues. Wells said that the technical failures happened most often when he was interviewing a controversial guest in this first hour. Coincidentally, this past Sunday, my network reran the October 6, 2013 interview I did with John and the interview went silent. The commercials still played, but the dialogue between myself and John went black.
The decision to let Wells go must have been an agonizing one as Wells’s ratings were so good. However, there can be no question that Noory was instrumental in the decision to fire Wells. There can also be no doubt that George Noory’s ego was certainly a factor in dismissal of Wells. Noory’s penchant for complete control and intolerance towards dissenting opinion is well-known to many and it was only a matter of time until either Noory or Wells had to go and the corporate golden-haired boy won out over the truth teller. Interestingly, Wells never looked at his situation as a competition, as he said, “I simply focused on doing my job”. Adding fuel to the fire, I had long heard reports which stated that Noory attempted to garner key guests before Wells could interview them in an obvious attempt to close the ratings gap between he and Wells.
A Most Insincere Farewell
After I heard the news that John B. Wells was fired from Coast to Coast, I tuned into the show to hear what Noory would say about the event. The announcement by Noory that Wells was no longer a part of the show and the network was “going in a different direction”, absolutely lacked sincerity. Based on my observation of Noory’s demeanor on the night following the Well’s dismissal, it was my personal observation that Noory was pleased to have the major threat to his status as the King of late night radio banished from the scene. In addition, the corporate controlled message was preserved and everybody won when Wells was fired, except for the listening audience. Personally, I am saddened by John’s departure, however, I am relieved because I can now catch up on my sleep because there is not much worth listening to on Coast to Coast in my humble opinion.
A Victory For the Truth Movement
Never before has the alternative media seen such a seismic shift. The departure of John B. Wells from Coast to Coast represents a major shift in the demographics which will soon be flooding the truth movement. It is often said that a rising tide lifts all boats and this is the effect that Wells’ departure from Coast will have on our industry. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people will defect to John’s new endeavor, Caravan to Midnight (airing Monday through Thursday from 10am-1pm CST). What command central at Coast failed to anticipate is that people largely tuned in on Saturday night to listen to John. Most do not listen to the show because of the name Coast to Coast. The people follow a specific person.
As John’s listening audience follows him to his new endeavor, many will soon discover other quality alternative programming, heretofore unknown to them. Move over people, we are about to get some more company over the next several months. History will show that the corporate structure of Coast would have been wise to follow a policy of making Wells the “controlled opposition” by presenting the illusion of media choice.
A New Beginning
John told me that many of his passions include stopping immigration so that more Americans can find work, to getting elected officials to follow the Constitution.
John’s new show, Caravan to Midnight, is totally listener supported. Subscriptions can be purchased at the website for $60 for 12 months.
The historical significance of this event cannot be overstated. John B. Wells will largely be responsible for the “true” waking up of millions of Americans. On that note, I am glad to welcome John to the alternative media, as both a friend and a colleague. I also pray for John’s well-being because the power shift that is about to occur will certainly draw the unhappy attention of the self-proclaimed power elite in this country.
TLB: Listen to the complete Radio interview with Dave and John HERE:
TLB Highly recommends you visit Dave at The Common Sense Show for more great commentary, interviews and shows.