Art Bell dead at 72

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Art Bell dead at 72

Postby radiofan » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:39 pm

George Noory has just announced on CTC the passing of Art Bell. Apparently, Art passed away today (Friday April 13th) at his home in Pahrump, Nevada.

Here's Art's bio from Wiki ...

Arthur William Bell III (born June 17, 1945 - April 13, 2018) was an American broadcaster and author. He was the founder and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM syndicated on hundreds of radio stations in the U.S. and Canada.[4] He also created and hosted its companion show Dreamland.

Semi-retired from Coast to Coast AM since 2003, he hosted the show many weekends on Premiere Networks for the following four years. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, but occasionally served as a guest host through 2010. He attributed the reason for his retirement to a desire to spend time with his new wife and their daughter, born May 30, 2007. He added that unlike his previous "retirements", this one was permanent, while leaving open the option to return.

Classic Bell-hosted episodes of Coast to Coast AM can be heard in some radio markets on Saturday nights under the name Somewhere in Time. He started a new nightly show, Art Bell's Dark Matter, on Sirius XM Radio, that began on September 16, 2013.[5] It ended six weeks later, on November 4, 2013.[6][7] Bell cited technological problems and a disagreement with Sirius XM over the show's distribution, for his ending the program.

He returned to radio on July 20, 2015, with a new show, Midnight in the Desert, available online, via TuneIn, and on some terrestrial radio stations. He retired yet again on December 11, 2015, citing security concerns at his home. He said he and his family were subject to repeated intrusions on his property in Pahrump, Nevada, including gun shots. In fear for his family's safety, he opted to leave the air, and ostensibly, public life, as he believed the intruder or intruders wanted him off the air.

Bell founded and was the original owner of Pahrump-based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. His broadcast studio and transmitter were located near his home in Pahrump where he also hosted Coast to Coast AM. However, from June to December 2006, he lived in the Philippines. He and his family returned to the Philippines in March 2009, after having significant difficulties obtaining a U.S. visa for his wife, Airyn.[8]
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Re: Art Bell dead at 72

Postby Richard Skelly » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:33 am

Art Bell really was one of a kind. And quite possibly the finest talk broadcaster from about 1993 to 2003. To top it off, he chose Friday the 13th to shuffle off his mortal coil.

He came close to checking out about a year ago with complications from COPD. He probably rallied that time from the urge to spend a bit more time with his young family. His daughter Asia is about 11 while his son Alexander is still an infant.

Now for an affectionate ramble...

Art’s decision to switch from rants against Bill Clinton to covering the paranormal was brilliant. It pretty well coincided with the 1993 television launch of The X-Files Both shows found there was a huge audience yearning for information on alien abductions, strange creatures, exorcisms, Bigfoot, time travel, quantum physics, government conspiracies et al. In 1999, Art trekked to Vancouver to appear as himself in an episode of Millenium, a quasi-spinoff Of The X-Files. Around that time, he also hosted a Coast to Coast from CFUN after disembarking in Vancouver from an Alaskan cruise.

What first drew me to Coast was, of course, Art’s commanding vocal presence. Also unforgettable were Ross Mitchell’s pre-recorded intros such as “Live From The Kingdom Of Nye” (a reference to the state county surrounding Art’s home studio in Pahrump, Nevada). Then, too, there was Art’s eclectic choice of bumper music such as a relatively minor late ‘60s soul hit Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations (which did quite well on Vancouver radio) and Some Velvet Morning by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. Art interviewed Lee—who wrote and produced Nancy’s song—shortly before the iconoclast’s passing. Then he interviewed Nancy for her reflections on Lee.

I’ll never forget Art’s scintillating interviews with Vatican whistleblower Father Malachi Martin. With his stern views on skullduggery afoot in the highest echelons of the Catholic Church, Martin did not lack for enemies. When he ended up dead in New York City, at the bottom of a flight of stairs, there was no shortage of Coast to Coast callers and show guests convinced he had been murdered.

Around 1997, my wife and I signed up for a Coast to Coast cruise of the Mediterranean with Art and late wife Ramona. We chatted with them a couple of times. Art was somewhat reserved, a not unusual trait in radio broadcasters IMHO once away from the mic. Ramona was warm and effusive. A spiritual woman, Ramona was very moved visiting the birthplace of Jesus. I remember scaling the tiny ladders to get into a couple of chambers in the Pyramids.

We were distraught when Ramona died of an asthma attack in January 2006 while they vacationed in Laughlin, NV. No shortage of Art haters figured he played a part in her demise, especially when he wed young Philippines schoolteacher Airyn Ruiz a few months later. But Art seemed shaken and cast from his moorings when he returned to the airwaves not that long after Ramona’s passing. I, too, had doubts but ultimately couldn’t imagine a cat lover like Art—who continued to care and talk about his and Ramona’s pets—doing dirty deeds. Other than his production staff and listeners, Art probably didn’t have a close circle to draw support from. It seemed he was quite estranged from the three children of his earlier marriages. He certainly wouldn’t have been the first lonely guy to meet someone on the Internet and marry on the rebound.

George Noory sounded genuinely chuffed when his staff confirmed Art’s death early in the second hour of Friday’s C2C. To his credit, he commented on their difficult relationship. Art had regularly critiqued George who took over as full time host in 2003. He also prevailed on George to stop acknowledging him along with production staff and key substitute hosts at the end of each show. A tad churlish. On the other hand, George had the infamous reverse-speech “expert” David John Oates on Coast a few weeks ago. I listened fairly carefully but heard no questions from George about Oates’ role in scurrilous 1998 broadcast allegations that Art was a child molester and into pornography. Considerable litigation ensued for Art to clear his name. To my mind, Oates should have remained permanently banned from Coast.

I’ll leave it to others to analyze Art’s innumerable semi and full retirements that—as often as not—included some alleged high drama. I remember at his peak how he could lampoon himself. One night he staggered back to the mic, quite dazed, after taking a smoking break and falling out his back door, having forgotten the rear balcony had just been removed for renovations. Another time, he grabbed for chapstick but inadvertently got a tube of glue which quickly began sealing his lips. Great moments to remember Art as the rare celebrity capable of self-deprecation.

It’s not often I quote Wikipedia. But one passage about Art captures his essence as a talker non pareil: “His calm attitude, patient questions and ability to tease substance from nebulous statements of callers and guests gave his show a relaxed yet serious atmosphere.”

Godspeed Art Bell. Condolences to his widow Airyn, all his children, extended family, friends, broadcast colleagues and fans...of which there was no shortage in British Columbia.
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Re: Art Bell dead at 72

Postby kal » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:58 am

What was the Las Vegas station where Art ran his evening talk show? I certainly remember listening to it here when it was all political content, in the lead-up to the election of Bill Clinton. And I recall him switching format.
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Re: Art Bell dead at 72

Postby Richard Skelly » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:26 am

Art Bell originally broadcast from KDWN, a 50,000-watt station in Las Vegas. His largely political show was renamed Coast to Coast in the late ‘80s. Still largely touting conservative/Libertarian subjects, Art moved to a studio close to where he lived in Pahrump. He also ended up buying KNYE a local FM station with a transmitter close to the compound he soon shared with third wife Ramona.

Interesting that estimates that Art was worth about $10 million. His successor George Noory only rates an estimated $2 million. No wonder George has the sideline tv and personal appearance gigs,

George has been full time host since January 1/2003. Art briefly retired in 2000 but quickly seized the show back from Mike Siegel. Coast now is syndicated to over 600 stations. At its peak with Art, Coast claimed up to 15 million late-nighters tuned in. A recent Talkers Magazine estimate is that 2.75 million “unique listeners” check in for at least five minutes per week.

Quite a difference. But in Bell’s day, Coast may well have substantially “goosed” estimated listeners. Still, with the Internet, aging listeners dying off, greying Boomers hitting the sack earlier and the more ho-hum nature of the current program, C2C is likely well down in popularity compared to Art’s heyday. Also, George may have always worked cheaper. In which case, Premier Networks might not have been that upset when Art opted to begin hanging up the headphones.
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