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Wee small hours of the morning

George "Nighthawk" Noory

When news broke here Tuesday that George Noory's "Coast to Coast AM" was leaving its longtime home at KTRS-AM ("The Big 550"), station execs say listeners called to express their displeasure with the show being dropped.

"We feel the exact same way," station general manager Mark Dorsey said, noting it was the show's syndicators who opted out of renewing the contract.

Dorsey said the looming split is especially painful because Noory had been a longtime local host at KTRS and lived in St. Louis before he was recruited in 2003 to replace Art Bell on "Coast to Coast AM."

"We thought we were going to have him a long, long time," Dorsey said. "George is own of our own and we considered him family. Obviously, George didn't feel the same way about us."

On Tuesday, program director Lauren Ryan confirmed the show would leave KTRS in early May. Both Ryan and Dorsey said they were now weighing "several" program options.

Noory has declined to comment, saying he would address the issue in late April.

"Coast to Coast AM" (midnight-5 a.m.) focuses on UFOs, near-death experiences and other supernatural phenomena. It is carried by more than 560 radio stations and claims three million listeners.

Joe Holleman is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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