Famous paranormal radio host, best known for his supernatural and conspiracy radio show Coast to Coast AM, has passed away on April 13, 2018. To celebrate the life of Art Bell, here is a detailed biography on the famous radio host.
Who Was Art Bell?
Arthur William Bell III was born on June 17, 1945 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He worked as a broadcaster and an author, but was mainly known for his paranormal themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. However, he also hosted other radio shows during his career, including Midnight in the Desert.
His Early Years
Bell’s passion for radio work showed early in his life, since he first became interested in being a radio host at the tender age of 13. Even though he was quite young, he still became a licensed amateur radio operator, being only 13 years old! He also obtained an Extra Class License, this is one of the highest license classes from the Federal Communications Commission.
Art Bell also spent some time in the army, where he served as a medic. Still, even in the army, he still operated a pirate radio station at his air force base in Amarillo. He would eventually leave the military, but remain in Asia on the Japanese Island of Okinawa.
During his time in Japan, Bell set a record that was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records! He achieved the record of longest continuous radio host, totaling on 116 hours and 15 minutes. The money he obtained from the record break he used to rescue 130 Vietnamese orphans, we were stuck in Saigon after the end of the Vietnam war. The children were transported to the United States and adopted by various American families.
Bell eventually returned to the United States and enrolled at the University of Maryland to obtain a degree in engineering. However, Bell would drop out and return to a radio career as a board operator and chief engineer.
His Radio Career
Bell had a reputation as a critical radio host, which is certainly necessary when you host a paranormal radio show. Still, despite not taking his guests’ claims at face value, he was also known for his calm and patient nature, creating a relaxing show everyone loved to listen to.
Art Bell believed there was a need for a mature and informative platform for the paranormal and he certainly succeeded in creating this. He managed to create a platform without judgement, where people could talk freely about their believes and personal experiences. He will be greatly missed.
His Passion for Coast to Coast AM
Art Bell would retire several times from Coast to Coast AM, yet he always returned. His first retirement came on October 13, 1998, where he announced his retirement on air. He told his listeners an “event” occurred in relation to his family, but he never gave much detail at the time.
Despite announcing his retirement, Bell would be back only a couple of weeks later. He stated that the brief departure was necessary due to threats made against his family. A year later, on May 29, 1999, Bell would add to the story and state that hosts of WWCR shortwave radio accused him of covering up a criminal incident. In 2000, the matter became public knowledge, where it came to light that an indictment was filed against someone who assaulted one of Bell’s family members. Even though Bell wanted to keep the matter quiet, WWCR shortwave radio hosts and former head of the FBI Ted Gunderson accused Bell of the crime. Art Bell would later take legal action and the matter was resolved in a settlement.
Bell would retire again on April 1, 2000. The reason for his retirement was a “family crisis”. At the time of this retirement, his show had an estimated listener count of 22 million. At this time, a new host was introduced in the form of Mike Siegel.
Art spent a year looking after his son, who suffered kidnap and sexual assault at the hand of a substitute teacher called Brian Lepley. The teacher eventually got convicted of attempted transmission of HIV as well as sexual assault. He received a 10 to 25 years prison sentence.
Bell would return and retire several times afterwards. However, his final retirement would come on December 11, 2015. However, his retirement once again came to protect his family, which caused him to drop his passion for Coast to Coast AM in the end.
Art Bell was a remarkable man, who put his family before everything else. It was clear that radio and the paranormal were his passions, but he never forgot the true importance of family. R.I.P. Art, you will be missed.