February 16, 2014. Pahrump, NV. For one of the most widely listened to and well known radio personalities over the past 35 years, not many people know who Art Bell is. That might be because his daily broadcasts typically aired in the middle of the night, away from the censoring eyes of the networks. After being frozen out of his own Sirius/XM show last year, Bell now vows to launch his own online radio network.
Art Bell's studio has changed, but he sure hasn't. Image courtesy of ArtBell.com.
For those not familiar, Art Bell is the master of ghosts, ancient mysteries, aliens, ESP and fantastical political conspiracy theories. It’s safe to say that Mr. Bell is the godfather of all the ‘supernatural’ and ‘alien encounters’ cable shows out there today. But for decades beginning in 1978, Art Bell was the only show of any kind discussing such frowned upon subjects. And his listeners, this author included, loved him for it.
Coast to Coast AM
It was during the mid-1990’s that radio host Art Bell saw his highest ratings and widest distribution. It was also that same time that this author was working as the midnight dispatcher for a major garbage company in Nashville. With 50 trucks on the road every night, Art Bell became my caffeine and a good and trusted compatriot. If the subject wasn’t Y2K, it was the planetary alignment on 5/5/2000 or the most recent sighting of an alien ‘gray’. When the subject turned to ancient Egypt and the mysteries of the Great Pyramid, Bell’s Coast to Coast radio network was as educational as it was interesting.
As detailed by Wikipedia, Art Bell’s on-air presence peaked in the late 1990’s. He was broadcast on over 500 radio stations and was periodically named the highest rated radio show in the nation with over 15 million nightly listeners. But in 1998, Bell suddenly announced his retirement by telling his radio audience it would be his final show. And it was, for two weeks. He came back later that month but eventually revealed he quit due to threats made against him by a competing radio station.
Art Bell has since retired again in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2013. One of the occasions seemed to be due to the heavy loss Bell was feeling after losing his wife Ramona to cancer. Ramona helped produce Bell’s show and was well know to listeners due to his nightly discussions of and with her. It was at that same time that Bell drastically cut back on his work schedule, moved to recording his live show on the weekends only and eventually remarried and became a father.
In 2008, Bell cut back to recording only a handful of shows each year and letting his fill-in hosts carry the torch on a daily basis. He also traveled to the Philippines with his wife, a Philippine national. But US officials wouldn’t allow her back in the US. While their child didn’t have a problem, US Immigration also denied a green card for Art’s wife. So he stayed in the Philippines and broadcast his show from there. Eventually, it was all straightened out and they were able to return to America.
By 2010, Coast to Coast had been bought by Premier Broadcasting and Art had failed to satisfy the terms of his contract with Coast to Coast’s new owners. He’d only recorded ten shows that year instead of the required fifteen. Replacement show hosts eventually told listeners that Bell had retired again. Two full years later, Art Bell’s Facebook page announced that the once-popular host would be back and that Bell had been forced into retirement by the network. The following year in 2013, Art Bell began broadcasting on Sirius/XM satellite radio. But that only lasted six weeks.
Art Bell launches 24/7 internet radio network
Last week, our friends at IntelliHub.com reported that Art Bell was mixing it up once again via Facebook and had announced that as soon as his non-compete agreement with Sirius/XM expires, he’ll be on the air again. Bell also didn’t fail to mention how ironic it was that the satellite radio network replaced his new show with his old show, Coast to Coast, absent Bell of course. As the report explains, Sirius/XM couldn’t or wouldn’t stream Bell’s show from their website. So, Art wanted to stream it on his own website until the satellite carrier could get his show on the Sirius website. With no agreement, after six weeks of being on-air, the two parted ways.
“As I have posted on Facebook and as I promised on this Forum, as soon as I am released from the Sirius/XM NC I will begin streaming my own show,” Bell reportedly posted online ten days ago, “It is my feeling that ‘they’ want me kept off the air, ho-hum, I will fool them by staying healthy and kicking their @$$ as soon as I can get free.”
IntelliHub reporter Dave Hodges has his own opinion writing, “Does anyone else find it compelling, that rather than work things out with Art, Sirius/XM rejected Art’s offer of a practical fix and REPLACED HIS SHOW WITH COAST TO COAST? I am really trying hard to believe in coincidences, or, is this another move, by Premier/Clear Channel Communications in an effort to suppress the truth by a known truth-teller?”
Hodges’ long-held impression of Art Bell is the same as ours here at Whiteout Press. So, we thought we’d close with his quote and look forward to hearing Art on the airwaves once again someday soon. He writes from IntelliHub, “I listened to Art’s shows often enough to know that he was fundamentally a ‘Sucker’ for the truth. This is why millions loved Art Bell because they trusted him.”
We couldn’t agree more. We also couldn’t let this opportunity pass by without reminding readers of a chilling Coast to Coast episode that aired 20 years ago. Art Bell had a psychic on that predicted, “Clinton will be the last democratically-elected US President.” When Art asked if the psychic meant the then-President Bill Clinton, the psychic wouldn’t clarify.
At the time, listeners assumed the seer was talking about Bill. And when George W. Bush won the Presidency while losing the popular vote, listeners thought he was proven right. But now, 20 years later, could the psychic have meant Hillary Clinton? She was only the Governor’s wife and First Lady back then. Just the thought of her running for President was crazy, much less winning, and much much less being the last President of a free America. Nobody ever gave it a thought at the time. But your author, with a bit of a psychic streak himself, could never forget that prediction. It was literally haunting. Maybe when Art Bell comes back on-air, we’ll have to ask him about it.
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