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Monday, September 30, 2019

Art Bell

At 50.5 years old, I’m hugely lucky(blessed) to have attended only two close-to-me funerals, and for both of those it was a grandparent, so I wasn’t expected to give a speech or write an obituary. 

Today though, I want to celebrate a life that was—and is—important to me. When you read his name, I guess there'll be two main reactions.

Either you’ll smile when I say Art Bell, or you’ll go who? and possibly do a Google search, so I'll save you the trouble. You can find out about him here.

I first “met” Art Bell in 1996 when I was a restaurant manager in Atlanta, GA, and as I generally had the late shift and a boring 30-minute drive home, I scanned the AM radio in my Pontiac Sunbird convertible. (It is truly the squarest convertible ever made, but by God, it was my first of any car and I loved that ‘86 rust bucket!)

One night, I found this deep voice dude talking about UFOs and I was instantly hooked!

As time went by, I listened to Coast-to-Coast AM at 2 or 3 a.m. more often, and became so entertained that I was never sleepy and sometimes continued listening once I got home and began the nightly ritual of restaurant decompression.

Art Bell.

A complicated man, but a blessing to those who needed him when we needed him (I never fell asleep or crashed on the way home!) Daytime radio listeners may think of Sean or the hosts of All Things Considered, but for us night owls, there will only ever be one (lower case) rush— and that was Art Bell.

I’ll never forget listening about Mel’s Hole, or amazing interviews with Michio Kaku, Malachi Martin, Richard C. Hoagland and so many more such as JC and Ma Bell (Ma Bell is easy to figure out, but it’s so well-worth finding out about the very strange and unique JC :)

The best part of the 5-hour show was when Art opened the lines to the always unscreened callers.

“West of the Rockies, you’re on the air,” he’d say, sometimes swiftly followed by, “Turn down your radio, please!”

Here is a 1999 interview Art did on Larry King Live. I want to say a public thank you to those who established the Ultimate Art Bell station, which streams replays of his shows via TuneIn radio. Art’s show ran for more than 20 years, so there’s little worry about getting bored.

Now that the shows are available 24/7 (without ads!!), they'e also fun to listen to from a historical point of view—especially the end-of-year prediction shows where Art would take predictions from listeners about the upcoming year and relate the success of that year’s predictions. (Some nailed it, we had a financial meltdown in 2008, but we’re nowhere close to living on Mars... yet.)

Sadly, Art died in April 2018, but as mentioned above, his voice, huge heart, endearing patience and absolute understanding of his middle-of-the-night audience will never be beaten.

RIP, Art Bell, formerly of the Kingdom of Nye. 


Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for introducing him to me.
Gone, but never, ever forgotten.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I certainly heard of him although I didn't listen to the show. That's great they replay his show now. Bet listening to it is a blast from the past.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I had never heard of him before, but glad I have now. You prepared a great tribute.

I always wanted a convertible but my dad said they were unsafe, so my first car was a Chevette. Now, you talk about a coooool car.

CWMartin said...

I remember. Not a follower, but he did have a way of bringing amusement to 3rd shift...

Why medical Billing???? said...

I did not listen way back but wish that I had. I LOVE his shows..and may I say radio station KYNE is amazing. Art is the best

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