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Why Art Bell Had to End His Radio Show

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Why Art Bell Had to End His Radio Show
Art Bell (1), the long-term host of a number of late-night, paranormal radio programs, decided to retire once again from his most recent show, Midnight in the Desert, because of alleged threats to his life and those of his family in December 2015.

According to a report on Nevada Public Radio (2), Bell said that shots had been fired at him at his residence, and he had spotted trespassers in the vicinity. He received a telephone threat in November 2015 that he and his family would die if he went on his radio show that night. Police, thus far, have not found any evidence of trespassers or shots being fired.

Bell has retired and then made comebacks several times in his career.

His first retirement was from Coast to Coast AM when he announced that he was retiring on October 13, 1998.

However, he returned 15 days later. The reasons for the brief retirement were, at first, unclear. Bell had vaguely referred to “terrible events” and threats happening to him and his family.

The details only came to light in 2000 when it was revealed that a criminal indictment had been issued to someone for an assault against a member of his family and that the proprietors of a shortwave radio station claimed that Bell had paid to have the matter covered up.

Ted Gunderson and the hosts of the same shortwave station argued that Bell was the person who had been indicted. Bell successfully sued Gunderson and others, and a settlement was quickly reached.

Retirements & Comebacks

Throughout the next several years, Bell announced a series of retirements and comebacks. He suffered the death of his first wife and remarried a lady from the Philippines, residing in that country for a time. Bell left Coast to Coast AM eventually but returned to the airwaves in 2013 with a Sirius/XM show (4) called Art Bell’s Dark Matter, which lasted only six weeks.

The most recent version of Art Bell’s show was called Midnight in the Desert (3), which aired on an Internet streaming service as well as a number of radio stations from July 2015 to Bell’s latest retirement in December 2015.

As of this writing, the incidents that led to Bell’s latest retirement remain unsolved. No word exists concerning when or if Bell, now age 71, might make another comeback.

When Heather Wade, the current host of Midnight in the Desert announced the December 2015 departure (5), she suggested that Bell might come back at any time unannounced.

In the meantime, the longtime radio host has a social media presence on Twitter (6), with the last tweet having been in May 2016. Recently, according to the Midnight in the Desert blog, Art Bell was hospitalized for pneumonia and additional symptoms of C.O.P.D. but is currently at home recovering (7).


Coast to Coast AM

Wade assured the listeners that the incidents had not been manufactured as a publicity stunt and, in fact, corroborative evidence exists that Bell has a dangerous stalker.

It should also be noted that because of the eclectic subject matters of Bell’s various radio shows, he has undoubtedly attracted more than his fair share of crazy people. It is entirely possible that at least one of them has taken it into his head to bully him off the air.

In his career, Bell has interviewed or had callers who ranged from conspiracy theorists, to UFO abductees, Bigfoot hunters, practitioners of occult religions, and even the occasional legitimate scientist, such as Michio Kaku. His style is not to get contentious with his guests, no matter how far “out there” they are, but to let them talk about whatever subject they have an interest in.

Old episodes of Coast to Coast AM “somewhere in time” can be heard in many media markets late on Saturday nights.

References & Image Credits:
(1) Wikipedia: Art Bell
(2) KNPR
(3) Midnight in the Desert
(4) TSW: Art Bell Makes a Comeback on Sirius XM Radio
(5) Midnight in the Desert: Heather Updates
(6) Twitter @ArtBell51
(7) Midnight in the Dessert

Originally published on

  • James Bunch

    He has just gotten too old and sick to do the show anymore. I really miss him from his C2C shows back in the 90’s.

  • DavidW

    Who cares? Art has always “had issues” and sucked me in years ago. I woke up to all the BS. Good residence.

  • Roger

    If Art wants to retire he should retire and not feel pressured by fans to come back. There are a lot of great paranormal podcasts these days anyway.

  • Joe E Dangerously

    I’ve seen pictures of his house too. It is a fairly nice residence, isn’t it?

  • Boogie Ondown

    Great times listening…I remember Dreamland on Sunday nights and doing what I could to pick him on AM out of Vegas. He was a bit louder and more of an announcer then before he became more of a deeper voice from the shadows. Then the Coast started–awesome. The internet was not quite there yet so the show is where you got your paranormal fix and input on Area 51. Then the X-Files kicked in and I’m sure they borrowed from Art’s guests quite a bit, but X-Flies plus the beginning of the internet turned the show into a tidal wave. Area 51, Remote Viewing, Roswell Final Report, new planets being discovered…Art hit the jackpot for timing.

    The best part was driving at night and hearing truckers on the road reporting sightings, average people talking about spooky things they witnessed, everyone was “What will happen tonight???”. Then there was Mel’s Hole…it was exciting…the show lived in the moment, it embraced the mysterious night. The show wasn’t just about interviewing the guest but letting the night and callers explore these new places and the night seemed to embrace it.

    Now the show seems sterilized and more planned out and “on the tracks”, mixed with guests pushing Dr. Wonder’s snake oil or Market Collapse Expert. It’s like eating cheap frozen pizza after having fresh New York style pizza. It’s still pizza, but yeah…I don’t mind missing out now.

    I don’t get mad at Art…it’s disappointing, we’ve lost something, he has kind of gone a bit flaky and the smoking caught up to him. It sucks. He could easily find hundreds of people to help him run the show, protect his house, or get back to a studio and do it, but instead he has to go solo and do his own thing.

    But he doesn’t really owe us anything, he opened our minds to lots of things and people. Some of it was pure bunk, some was revealing (Skinwalker Ranch) and true. I wish there was more. I’d even take the one night a week Sunday night show again. But maybe that’s it. Maybe the baton has to be passed, but a couple more laps would be nice…even at a slower pace.

  • Bouldersteve

    Art Bell is crazy just like the guests on his radio show but he is entertaining.Much more so than boring George Nory who currently hosts Coast to Coast.

  • Artful Dodger

    Say what you will about him, Art Bell is the best radio interviewer, hell, the best interviewer period, of anyone past, present or future. He is an artist. A master. Glad to hear he’s recovered from his recent illness and hope to hear him back on the air soon, doing what he clearly loves.

  • JasonSteiner

    I have great memories of Art Bell when he was a local host on KDWN/Las Vegas in the 1980s with a show called “West Coast AM”. He actually talked more about politics back then than UFOs. Interestingly, the theme music that opens Coast to Coast AM with George Noory to this day was the exact song Art opened his local show with back in the 80s. I think George does a good job with the show but radio was MUCH better pre-syndication, every local station had their own local shows 24 hours. Even the FM music stations had live overnight DJs instead of voicetracking. I know, I was one for many years. Radio was exciting as hell back then, so different from today.

  • Eric Hutchison

    Nah, it’s not his age or health. He was the same Art when he last came back. Unfortunately, that also means he was the same guy who quits after every comeback.

  • Who has filled the Great Void left by Bell?

    Which is the undisputed leader of this kind of show?

    Too many hacks….

  • Bravo2Xray

    Really?Last public pic of him was in a hospital bed. COPD takes no prisoners at 71.

  • Preston Holland

    George Snoory.

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