I agree. Art and George let guests say whatever they want no matter how stupid, crazy, or illogical. Whereas Ian questions guests and makes them prove they are worth listening to, instead of insulting their listeners' intelligence.
Hi rodanders, nice to see new people posting and I must respond to differ with you on the above comment in red. First off, George Noory has revealed his mission as one to "protect" listeners from guests, i.e., his comment earlier this week "I cannot protect you from the callers." Obviously he is not protecting us from long boring expositions of how vitamins work in the body, so what do you think he is protecting us from? How about extreme topics, truly weird/crazy people, oddball inventors and any scientists who may be rigidly adhering to facts.
Art Bell, on the other hand, relished extreme topics, truly weird/crazy people and drew them out into Entertainment. For example, J.C. With George, J.C. just sputtered into oblivion because George soothed and appeased him, agreeing with everything. Notice he has not called back. Art fed that fire, inquiring about the wife and other aspects of J.C., let us peep into the life of an extreme Christian fundamentalist and leading to the question in all of our minds, how does a person get like this?
George cannot unwind a yoyo. He just doesn't know the next logical question. When I was a detective, I had the job of mapping strategy for the investigations. Someone asked me how I knew what to do first, second, third. I answered honestly, "I don't know." It just comes to me, like it's obvious. I believe it's a gift and there is a corresponding gift that you hear on radio. The gift of knowing the next natural question plus a body of knowledge to draw on to ask substantive questions, PLUS just plain old charisma. We see plenty of radio and TV hosts who have these and then, too bad, they have impaired judgment (Glen Beck) and overshoot the audience. Or they don't manage the odd combination of celebrity ego and humility.
IMHO, these qualities don't always couple easily with high IQ. In my family, the people with the highest IQ have the most social problems, so charisma becomes an issue. Among the Coast hosts, I like George Knapp the best because he takes the time to prepare for the show. No amount of fawning compensates for lack of basic preparation, i.e., read the book or at least the CliffNotes. Not everyone has the ability Art did to rely on his own knowledge base and experience with years of interest in the topics. Art could NOT read a book and give a detailed intro on the subject of XX based on his own experience with it, then he could say, "And tonight, a very special show which casts a new slant on the subject...." The guest starts in and Art asks questions like, "Which is more reliable, mitochondrial DNA testing or carbon dating the tools?" (the guest answers) and Art asks, "What do you do if they disagree?"
This is light years better than a George Noory response, which is the next question on his list. If you listen (and I challenge all you lurkers reading this), you do not find him asking a logical follow up question on any topic other than religious-related (existence of God, angels, reincarnation). These are the topics where no one can say he is wrong. Unlike geography or math.
George Knapp asks the logical follow up questions without much of the fun element. Instead of asking "What do you do if they disagree?" George might ask "Which method do scientists choose if both are present?" Which is not as good a question because, of course, the guest will say, "They do both."
Making a show interesting involves drawing the human beings out of the science and letting us into their world. "Letting" guests talk without interruption is what Noory claims to do (and doesn't) and it results in a show which is just a stage for George's infomercials.