George Noory announced Monday night on his Coast to Coast AM Show that a tribute to the late Art Bell (pictured) would air this Thursday April 19 at 10 pm Pacific.
According to a statement posted on the website for “Midnight in the Desert,” the radio show Bell started in 2015, he died one night last week, peacefully in his sleep, likely from complications associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bell was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on June 17, 1945, and developed a love for radio at an early age. He had his first ham radio license by the age of 13, and he ran an on-base pirate radio station while serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
He started at KDWN-AM in Las Vegas in the mid-1980s, broadcasting his early morning talk show from the station’s studios at what is now the Plaza hotel downtown.
Early on, Bell’s “West Coast AM” was devoted to traditional news and politics. Retired pilot and Las Vegas resident John Lear said he was the one who showed Bell the career-making potential of a show about the unexplained.
“I was one of the first people on the show who talked about the paranormal,” said Lear, an outspoken UFO buff and conspiracy theorist. “The response was so enormous that he started going all paranormal.”
Lear went on to make about 10 appearances on Bell’s show, the last coming a few months after 9/11.
“He was adamant that it couldn’t be an inside job. We parted company on that,” Lear explained.
By then, Bell was a household name, and not just among long-haul truckers, night-shift workers and insomniacs. “Coast to Coast AM,” Bell’s literally homemade show, was syndicated on about 500 radio stations and aired nightly to as many as 15 million people. They tuned in to hear a wild array of pseudo-scientists, recurring crackpots and certified stars such as Dan Aykroyd, George Carlin, Willie Nelson, Leonard Nimoy and “X-Files” creator Chris Carter.
They also tuned in to hear Bell, who almost never screened his calls and happily followed his guests and callers down any rabbit hole.
The theme music, the voice, the wild card line, and the wonderful way with words. “From the Kingdom of Nye…” such a poetic way of saying “broadcasting from my mobile home in Parumph, Nye County, Nevada.” And don’t forget Halloween “Ghost to Ghost” and New Year’s Predictions–“ding, ding, ding.” Yes, Art Bell was a unique and gifted radio personality, to say the least.