For those of you who don’t know, I drove team over-the-road with my husband for ten years. He would typically drive during the day, and I drove at night. I spent many a long, lonely night driving the interstate highways of this great country. However, I could always turn on our satellite radio and listen to Coast to Coast with Art Bell, and the miles would seem to fly by. His show was always interesting and managed to challenge his listeners to think outside of the box.
The subjects were intriguing, at times a bit silly, while other times they were just plain out scary. I remember one Halloween night during his Ghost to Ghost show where callers would share their ghost stories; I sat in the driver’s seat of our Peterbilt truck scared shitless. It didn’t help while driving across the desert in Arizona, I drove into a pocket of cold air. This, of course, caused the windows in the cab of the truck to fog up just when he was talking about how ghosts create cold spots at that VERY same moment. Yep, you couldn’t have pealed my hands from the steering wheel. Heck, after that, I was WIDE AWAKE for the remainder of my shift.
I even remember the time my stepmom, who was a huge Art Bell fan, talked my dad into to taking her to edge of Area 51. Dad said, “There were several groups of UFO hunters, all sitting in lawn chairs and looking up at the night sky waiting for a UFO. We sat there ALL night long and never saw one. Well, some thought a shooting star was a UFO.”
However, things don’t last forever. I no longer drive that big ol’ truck, and Art Bell is no longer with us. He passed from this existence and on to the next, on Friday 13, 2018 in his Pahrump home at the age of 72. I find it ironic he would pass on Friday the 13th, don’t you?
Bell was best known for his unsettling conspiracy theories and paranormal topics on his radio show, Coast to Coast AM. He was fascinated by paranormal and unexplained subjects, such as Bigfoot, UFO’s, crop circles, and those things that go bump in the night.
Coast to Coast was syndicated nationwide on roughly 500 North American stations in the 1990’s. He left the show in 2002 and turned the reins over to George Noory, who continued with the controversial show. Bell broadcast the show from Pahrump’s KNYE 95.1 FM, a station he founded. He was his own producer, engineer, and host.
Bell retired several times in his career, which included a short-lived show on SiriusXM satellite radio in 2013.
Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013.
Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013. “That’s easy because I love it,” he said at the time. “It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done. I went through a lot of family problems, so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”
In 2006, Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, and then the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008. He also held the Guinness World Record for a solo broadcast marathon, logging in more than 115 hours of airtime while working as a DJ in Okinawa, Japan for a while.
Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina on June 17, 1945, he was the only child of a military family and moved around a lot as a kid. I can relate because I’m the only child of a military family. Huh, maybe that’s part of why I enjoyed his show as much as I did; we were kindred spirits. LOL
According to the Coast to Coast AM website, Bell was an FCC licensed radio technician at age 13. He then went on to serve as a medic in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. However, this did not dampen his love for radio, and while in the Air Force, he created an on-base pirate radio station.
Though, it wasn’t until the mid-1980’s talk radio captivated Bell. He had joined KDWN-AM in Las Vegas, where he mastered his blend of the contemporary and unsettling.
In 1996, Bell, then 50 years-old, Bell told the Pahrump Valley Times, “I want to bring topics on the radio you otherwise might not hear.”
Well, I must say he did just that, and millions of his fans tuned in each night to learn about those things the MSM refuses of cover. Thank you, Art Bell, for making my long nights on the road entertaining while expanding my understanding of this grand universe we call home.
Please share your memories of listening to Art Bell below.