Remembering Art Bell | 


On September 11, 1997, the Coast to Coast Am listener world was turned upside down. The phone lines light up were opened and unscreened as Art Bell manned them waiting for callers. These callers would share their paranormal experiences on the air. There was a very special line dedicated to those who had insider information on Area 51. Area 51 is a notorious Air Force base dedicated to housing UFO’s. Art Bell was nestled in his house waiting for a call that was going to shock him. Midway through the broadcast a frantic caller had called into Art’s studio talking about being above Area 51. This caller had said that the US Government would triangulate on his position very soon. This caller gave details about what he saw from the sky including government vehicles, military intelligence, and more. Unfortunately, the satellite uplink transmitter failed without a reasonable explanation after several minutes of the caller talking to Mr. Bell. Taking calls in the middle of the night from different kinds of people was nothing new to Art. Arthur William Bell the III was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina on June 17, 1945.

Bell’s parents were enlisted in the US Marine Corps and were stationed at Camp Lejeune. On May 8, 1945, a Victory in Europe marked the end of World War II in Europe. A day before Mr. Bell’s birth the United States tested its first atomic weapon called “The Gadget”. The Gadget was a very powerful bomb that could destroy half a city if needed. It was created at the Trinity Site in New Mexico’s Desert.

By early 1946 Art Bell had taken his first few baby steps when George F. Keenan sent a telegram to the State Department. This telegram was designed to push for a strategy to contain the Soviet Union. In the next year President Harry Truman signed a National Security Act which helped establish the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA. The CIA was brought into to help stabilize the US Security State. By the middle 1950’s the United States was in a war with Korea called the Korean War. This would help set the tone for the Cold War between the United States and Russia decades later.

In a book called The Art of Talk Mr. Bell had mentioned on several occasions that he had wanted his parents to divorce. But they stayed together through the most difficult times because of being enlisted in the military. By the time Art Bell reached high school he had attended over 35 different schools due to his parents moving from base to base. In 1957 Art Bell had obtained his FCC Ham Radio license at 12 years old after he took his test in Philadelphia, PA. Once he got his radio operators license, he was speaking to radio operators from all over the world. Bell graduated from high school in 1963 and then enlisted in the US Air Force. This was right around the time of the start of the Civil Rights Movement that was going on all over the United States. Though he didn’t see active combat Bell was scarred by the carnage that he saw from people being injured. Instead, Mr. Bell served as a medic for a while.

Bell moved to Amarillo Texas where he underwent basic training and ran a pirate radio station by playing rock music to GIs. Several weeks later Bell set the record for the longest solo broadcast marathon ever. Clocking in at 116 consecutive hours. This would set a Guiness World Record for endurance broadcasting. This record has yet to be broken today. In 1965 his first son Vincent Michael Pointus was born and in 1968 his second child Lisa Minei was born. After this time Art left his first wife Sachiko Toguchi. The Vietnam War was ragging across the United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Once 1978 came around Art created a radio show called West Coast Am it would later by renamed Coast to Coast Am. West Coast Am started out as a political talk show until the late 1980’s It was Art Bell’s way of being bored with standard radio flare he choose to open his phone lines to everyone. Once Art Bell changed his radio format from political talk to having callers sharing their paranormal experiences his listenership grew fast quickly. More and more terrestrial radio stations started picking up Bell’s show Coast to Coast AM along with its sister shows Dreamland and Area 2000. His first paranormal guests were George Knapp, John Lear, Major Ed Dames, and Linda Moulton Howe. Linda Moulton Howe was well known for her research on Crop Circles and Cattle Mutilations. Once 1996 rolled around Bell’s Coast to Coast Am was the number one radio overnight talk show in America. It would be syndicated on over 450 radio stations worldwide. Being in the Nevada desert was the perfect place for Bell to build his listener base. It was a place of bombs, lies, and things meant to be forgotten. In 1998 Bell spoke to the Skeptic Inquirer who spoke to him about his three radio shows. He described his radio shows as being “absolute entertainment”. 

Once Bell got on the air, he would often develop his own sociological and scientific theories on what life was to him. His favorite part of Coast-to-Coast AM was the yearly Halloween show. This yearly Halloween show would be called Ghost to Ghost AM. Listeners from around the world would call, fax, or email in their encounters with spirits. Mr. Bell would read these live ghost stories over the air for all his listeners to hear worldwide. One of Art Bell’s best traits as a radio show host was to let every guest tell their story. He would never interrupt his guests or cut his guests off as they were speaking. Once they would finish speaking Bell would ask more questions to get as much information as he could out of them.

Over time Coasts participatory format allowed folklore topics that would help transcend Bells role as host. In October 1998 Bell had to step away from radio to deal with a legal situation with his son Art Bell the IV. During this time Art Bell was married to his third wife Ramona Lee Hayes Bell. Once the legal situation cleared up Bell returned to the show he created and drifted out of host duties for several years. He retired again in 2003 and 2006. In 2006 his third wife Ramona passed away, and he moved to the Philippines to heal from her passing. While in the Philippines he met Airyn Ruiz who he would later marry. In 2008 Art Bell was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  By 2010 Art was only hosting several weekends shows on Coast-to-Coast AM before selling his KNYE radio station to his neighbor Karen Jackson. Jackson purchased the radio station and continued to run it exactly as Art did. In 2013 Bell created a new show called Dark Matter which ran for six weeks on Sirius XM. Unfortunately, Sirius XM decided to make Art’s listeners pay $200.00 a year to stream his shows. Once his six-week run ended Bell employed his webmaster Keith Rowland to build a digital radio network. Bell had to wait for his 2 year non-compete agreement with Sirius XM to expire to come back to the airwaves. In late 2014 the Dark Matter Digital Network was born.

Dark Matter Digital Network would be a subscription-based system for only $4.99 a month and would be much cheaper than being on Sirius XM. In early 2015 Art Bell hired Dr. John Ilias to be his producer for his new show. This new show would be called Midnight in the Desert. The name Midnight in the Desert was named after a song musician Crystal Gayle wrote for Art. On July 20, 2015, Art came back for the final time. During this time Dr. John Ilias stepped down as Producer, and his eventual successor would be Heather Wade. Heather Wade was an up-and-coming podcast host on the Gab Cast which was about an Art Bell fan forum called Wade produced Art’s show from early August 2015 to December 2015 when she was brought in to replace Art on Midnight in the Desert. Bell stepped down due to a stalker being on his compound. It took time for Ms. Wade to settle down but eventually she became a very good radio show host. She would host Midnight in the Desert from December 2015-April 2018. On Friday April 13, 2018, Arthur William Bell the III passed away from a prescription drug overdose at the age of 72. He would have been 73 had he made it to June 18.

Since his passing 6 years ago many of Art Bell’s fans still mourn his death. Fans from around the world still listen to his old shows from the 1990s. The staff here at Dark Matter News continue to honor Art’s legacy and his contributions to late night talk radio. Those contributions will never be forgotten. RIP Art Bell 1945-2018.

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