Art Bell

Arthur "Art" W. Bell, III (born June 17, 1945) is an American broadcaster and author, known primarily as the founder and longtime host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. He also created and formerly hosted its companion show, Dreamland.

Semiretired from Coast to Coast AM since 2003, he hosted the show on many weekends for the next 4 years. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, effective immediately, but will host occasional shows in the future. He attributed the reason for this latest retirement to a desire to spend time with his wife and new daughter born May 30, 2007. He added that unlike his previous "retirements", this one will stand, while leaving open the option to return.

Bell also owns oldies station, KNYE 95.1 FM ("The Kingdom of Nye ... Things That Go Pahrump In The Night") in Pahrump, Nevada. He broadcasted from his home in Pahrump for his entire time as host of Coast to Coast AM except from June 2006 to December 2006, when he lived in the Philippines.

Bell was born to Arthur Bell, Jr., , a United States Marine Corps Captain, and Jane Gumaer Bell, a Marine drill instructor. Arthur Bell, Jr. died in 2000.

Art Bell III was always interested in radio and at the age of 13 became a licensed amateur radio operator. Bell served in the U.S. Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War and, in his free time, operated a pirate radio station at Amarillo Air Force Base. He would go out of his way to play anti-war music (like "Eve of Destruction" and "Fortunate Son") that was not being played on the American Forces Network.

After leaving military service he stayed in Asia, living on the Japanese island of Okinawa where he worked as a disc jockey for KSBK, the only nonmilitary English language station in Japan. While there, he set a Guinness record by staying on the air for 116 hours and 15 minutes. The money raised there allowed Bell to charter a DC-8, fly to Vietnam, and rescue 130 Vietnamese orphans stranded in Saigon at the war's end. They were eventually brought to the United States and adopted by American families.

Bell returned to the United States and studied engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He dropped out and returned to radio, this time as a board operator and chief engineer, and had a few opportunities to be on the air. For several years he worked behind and in front of the microphone. After a period of working in cable television, in 1989 the 50,000-watt KDWN in Las Vegas, Nevada offered Bell a five-hour time slot in the middle of the night.

Bell's original Las Vegas program was a political call-in talk radio show, but he tired of the format, believing there were too many such programs, especially in the wake of Rush Limbaugh's huge success.

Bell abandoned conventional political talk in favor of topics such as gun control and conspiracy theories, leading to a significant bump in his overnight ratings. However the show's focus shifted significantly after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Many in the media did not want to be blamed for inciting militia/anti-government actions like the bombing. Subsequently, Bell discussed offbeat topics like the paranormal, occult knowledge, UFOs, protoscience and pseudo-science. If one were to only read a transcript of Bell's early 1990s shows, one might not recognize it as the widely popular show it came to be. During his tenure at KDWN, Bell met and married his third wife, Ramona, who later handled production and management duties for the program.

At its initial peak in popularity, Coast To Coast AM was syndicated on over 500 radio stations, and it claimed 15 million listeners nightly. The show typically has received upwards of 30 million listeners when Bell himself hosted the show.[citation needed] Bell broadcasts from his home in the town of Pahrump, located in Nye County, Nevada, hence, the catchphrase "from the Kingdom of Nye".

Radio host Phil Hendrie occasionally lampoons Bell (using the bumper "Dancing Queen" by the pop group ABBA), his guests ("General Johnson Jameson" is a combination of Coast regulars Ed Dames and Richard C. Hoagland), and the unusual products offered by advertisers. Other observers regard Bell as simply a master showman, noting that he calls his show "absolute entertainment" and that he expressly says that he does not necessarily accept every guest or caller's claims but only offers a forum where they will not be openly ridiculed. Bell was one of only a few talk show hosts who do not screen calls. He began screening calls in 2006. His calm attitude, patient questions, and ability to tease substance from nebulous statements of callers and guests gave his show a relaxed yet serious atmosphere earning him praise from those who contend the paranormal deserves a mature outlet of discussion in the media, as well as the approval of those simply amused by the nightly parade of bizarre, typically fringe topics. Ed Dames, Richard C. Hoagland, Terence McKenna, Dannion Brinkley, David John Oates and Robert Bigelow have all been regular guests. Some of Bell’s regular guests, particularly Hoagland, continue to be regular guests on Coast to Coast AM, now hosted by George Noory.

Bell's interests, however, extend beyond the paranormal. He has interviewed singers Crystal Gayle, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, comedian George Carlin, writer Dean Koontz, hard science fiction writer Greg Bear, TV talk host Regis Philbin, Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, actress Jane Seymour, human rights lawyer John Loftus, legendary disc jockey Casey Kasem and frequent guests physicist Michio Kaku and SETI astronomer Seth Shostak.

Beginning in late 1996, Bell was criticized for reporting rumors that comet Hale-Bopp was being trailed by a UFO. It was speculated that members of the Heaven's Gate group committed mass suicide based on rumors Bell aired, but others dismissed the idea, noting that the Heaven's Gate website stated that: "Whether Hale-Bopp has a "companion" or not is irrelevant from our perspective." Susan Wright notes, however, that Bell was also "one of the first to publicize expert opinions debunking the 'alien companion'" said to have been shadowing Hale-Bopp.

There have been three annual features on Bell's program: On April Fool's Day, Art has always concluded the show with at least one gag story presented in a way that listeners are left wondering if they are being deceived, such as when Bell supposedly took a cellphone call from a pilot claiming to be flying his home made airplane over Area 51 and wound up getting shot down while still on the line. Another time, a truck driver supposedly called in on a cell phone while following a van with no driver. On Halloween, his show is renamed "Ghost to Ghost A.M.", and has been devoted to callers relating their allegedly real-life encounters with ghosts. Every New Year's Eve and usually the night before New Year’s Eve, Bell has invited callers to make a prediction for the coming year based on actual precognitive experiences or inside clues, as opposed to guesses or wishful thinking. The predictions are then reviewed at the end of that year and given an audible "Ding" if deemed correct, or a "Bonk" if the prediction did not materialize.

* J.C. Webster the Third, or "J.C." – J.C. began calling in 1996, and has since been on the air over 40 times. He features himself to be a Revival Baptist preacher, and believes Art to be "the devil's mouthpiece." Among other outlandish assertions, he seems quite sure that the show's listeners are going to be condemned to rot in Hell in "boiling pits of sewage." He has continued to call in while George Noory and guest hosts are hosting the show.
* One of Art Bell's more notorious Coast to Coast interviews occurred with Mel Waters, who discussed what is known as "Mel's Hole" in rural Washington, which is said to be an infinitely deep hole featuring paranormal powers. No such hole has ever been found.
* In the mid to late 1990s, another regular caller, named "Fritz" would call in, and give his view on various matters.
* In February 2006, Bell received a call from a person or entity calling itself "Oscar" or "Swede", who is allegedly "the Son of Satan". Oscar has continued to call when George Noory is hosting the show.
* At about 1am EST, Friday, September 12, 1997, he designated one phone line for Area 51 employees who wanted to discuss the secretive base. Several callers claimed to work at Area 51, but the bizarre highlight of the night came when a seemingly distraught and terrified man claimed to be a former Area 51 employee recently discharged for "medical" reasons. He cited malevolent extraterrestrials at Area 51 ("extradimensional beings" who are not "what they claim to be") and an impending disaster that the government knew would take out "major population centers." Midway through this call, Bell's program went off the air for about 30 minutes. After talking to network engineers, the official explanation was that the network satellite had "lost earth lock" or forgotten where the earth was. Network officials were baffled. The caller surfaced a couple weeks later, by the name Brian, and said he had created the character (confirming the claim after a brief performance, using the same panicked voice) but said he had no idea how or why the show was knocked off the air.
o This incident formed the basis of the song "Faaip de Oiad" by the rock band Tool, which features said interview (with Art Bell's part cut out), over frantic drumming and buzzing static.
o Another song featuring this call was "They are not what they claim to be ..." by electronic artist The Boy Flood. It was featured on the main page of Coast to Coast AM in the listers submission section. This version is a more musical affair than the Tool one, but still has a dark edge about it.
o Yet another song featuring the call was "It's Out There and It's Gonna Get You" by experimental Texas-quartet the paper chase on their 2006 album Now You Are One Of Us.
o Johnette Napolitano's album Sketchbook contains Art Bell interviews interspersed within the music throughout.
o A caller in 2000 named "Daniel Murray" claim he was a Majestic Agent from Downey CA.
o This call served as the inspiration for the alternate reality game Majestic.
* In March 2005 a man also called about disturbing events on Kwajalein and Johnston Atoll about a weapon that only targeted certain people and could leave others unhurt. He indicated he had been on both islands (that are US military only) and that these weapons had been tested in 1993. Art lost the call after another voice came on the line with a click saying "Shelton, terminate the call from A-6." Art tried to call the man back but was unsuccessful.
* "Bugs" - Aging farmer who has repeatedly told of his account of shooting and burying two Bigfoot creatures back in the 1970s, in the Texas Panhandle, initially thinking they were bears.[9] Bugs has mailed a map of the location of this "burial" to Art Bell, to be released to the public upon Bugs' death.
* On March 23, 2000 Art became the first commercial radio program host to have a live on-the-air interview with McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Bell is well known in the world of amateur radio, and holds an Advanced Class License issued by the Federal Communications Commission. He is also well known by his callsign, W6OBB.. He and many of his ham friends could be heard nightly on the 80-meter amateur radio band at a frequency of 3840 kHz (before he moved to the Philippines). While there he could occasionally be heard on 3678 kHz via EchoLink. Art Bell has returned to the USA and can be heard on 3850 kHz.

In 1998, Bell was named as recipient of the less-than-prestigious Snuffed Candle Award. The Council for Media Integrity cited Bell "for encouraging credulity, presenting pseudoscience as genuine, and contributing to the public's lack of understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry."

In 2005, the City of Las Vegas renamed a portion of 11th Street in the downtown area "Art Bell Drive."

On March 10, 2007, Bell received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the trade publication Radio & Records in Los Angeles.

* Sachiko Toguchi, divorced. Children: Vincent Pontius, Lisa Minei. These children were not acknowledged publicly until July 2007.
* Sukiyaki Sakamoto Kyo Bell, divorced. Children: Art "Scooter" Bell IV.
* Vickie L. Baker m. 1981 d 1991
* Ramona Bell, 1990 – January 5, 2006 (see below)
* Airyn Ruiz, April 11, 2006 – present. Children: Asia

Bell has retired and returned to Coast to Coast AM several times.

Retirement: His first retirement, highly unexpected, was announced on October 13, 1998.

Return: He returned two weeks later, leading many to believe it was merely a publicity stunt. Bell asserted that the brief departure was brought on by threats made against his family. Later, in 2000, it was explained that this retirement was due to an allegation made by hosts of WWCR shortwave radio that Bell had paid to cover up a criminal indictment.

The actual facts of the matter became public knowledge with Art Bell's second retirement in 2000, when it was revealed that an actual criminal indictment was filed against a person who had assaulted a member of Bell's family. Due to the nature of the crime, Bell had wanted to keep the matter private. The hosts at WWCR shortwave radio had accused Bell of the crime. (Bell took legal action against the hosts and stations, which was settled in 2000.)

Retirement: In April 2000, Bell again retired, but offered no details other than expressing intentions to "resolve a family crisis." Mike Siegel was left in charge of the program. It was later explained he had left to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault against his son. Brian Lepley, a substitute teacher, was convicted of sexual assault and attempted transmission of HIV and was sentenced to 10 to 25 years.

Return: Nearly a year later, in February 2001, Bell again returned. He noted that since his departure the show had lost a number of affiliates, commercial content had risen to an unbearable level, and that Siegel had taken the program in a "different direction", of which Bell disapproved. He retained some authority over the program as its creator, and thus felt his return was necessary.

Retirement: In late 2002, recurring back pain (the result of a fall from a telephone pole during his youth) forced yet another departure, and Bell was permanently replaced by George Noory as weekday host of Coast to Coast AM.

Return: Bell again returned in September 2003, having missed the microphone, this time replacing Barbara Simpson and Ian Punnett as host of the Saturday and Sunday evening broadcasts. In June 2005, he scaled this schedule back a bit (a "semi-retirement"), deciding to host only the last two Sundays of every month. Bell went back to hosting every weekend show as his schedule permits after his wife Ramona’s death a few months later.

Retirement: on July 1, 2007, Bell announced his retirement again, stating that he wished to spend more time with his wife and daughter. He made it explicitly clear that unlike the circumstances surrounding previous retirements, this one was an entirely positive and joyful decision, and that he would not disappear completely--he will occasionally substitute for other hosts and host "special" shows.

Bell's life took some dramatic twists in the beginning of 2006:

Ramona Bell, his wife of fifteen years, died unexpectedly, at the age of 47, of what appeared to be an acute asthma attack on January 5, 2006 in Laughlin, Nevada, where the couple was taking a short vacation. Despite having asthma, Ramona smoked cigarettes, and she and Art owned several cats; smoking and animals can both trigger asthma problems.

The events surrounding Ramona's death were described, in great detail, by Art Bell during the January 22 broadcast of Coast to Coast AM. For weeks thereafter, callers would express their sadness and sympathy for Art Bell to George Noory who had taken Art Bell's place weekdays in 2002.

On January 21, 2006, just days after the unexpected death of his wife Ramona, Bell announced he would host Coast to Coast AM every Saturday and Sunday evening, and that former weekend host Ian Punnett would work a new live prefeed program for the four hours preceding Bell's slot on Saturday nights (9:00pm - 1:00am ET). Punnett's show was titled Coast to Coast Live with Ian Punnett. When returning to the show the following day, Bell spent the first hour recounting the death of his wife.

By the end of January, Bell began hinting that he was making a significant life decision, but that he would keep it a secret for at least one year, asking listeners to remind him in 2007 to let them in on it. By March, he was saying that he would soon take a "huge risk" and "do something rash." On April 15, 2006, he ended the mystery and, to the mild surprise of listeners, revealed that, after several weeks of mourning, he had recently gone to the Philippines and married Airyn Ruiz, whose name is pronounced like the name "Irene", but Art likes to pronounce her name as "Arin". This is because during their Internet dating Art imprinted her name with that pronunciation. Airyn Ruiz Bell is a recent college graduate. Ruiz — given Bell's private e-mail address by a ham radio friend — had contacted Bell to offer condolences shortly after Ramona's death. After "dating" via Internet video conferencing for "hundreds of hours", the two married one week after Bell arrived in the Philippines to actually meet her in person . Bell also paid for his friend — who was courting Airyn's sister — to accompany him to the Philippines and marry her. The two couples wed in a double marriage ceremony on April 11, 2006.

On October 7, 2006, Bell announced on Coast to Coast that Ruiz was pregnant with the couple's first child. Art told listeners that the couple's child was indeed a girl as many listeners suspected. He noted that they had been hoping for a girl and had announced only a girl's name for their unborn child in hopes of receiving a girl.

Art and Airyn's baby girl, Asia Rayne Bell, was born on May 30, 2007.

At the same time, Bell announced he would be leaving his longtime homestead in Nevada and relocating to the Philippines, near Makati, Metro Manila, intending to continue hosting Coast to Coast AM weekend editions via an ISDN connection. He departed the United States on April 29, 2006, stating an intention to remain abroad for at least a year, while maintaining ownership of his property in Nevada and of the radio station KNYE. Bell resumed hosting on June 18, 2006 but then encountered technical problems that kept him off air until July 23, 2006, when the ISDN line was finally installed.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer printed a letter found on a web page purportedly from Bell that made derogatory statements about Filipinos. This letter was subsequently demonstrated to be a hoax perpetrated upon Bell, who in fact had a publicly loving relationship with his Filipina wife and his previous wife Ramona who was also Filipina, and who often spoke openly about his admiration for the Filipino people on his radio show. Subsequently, the Philippine Daily Inquirer printed a retraction and apologized for printing the statement upon their verification of the hoax. This fraudulent act upon Bell still periodically results in serious threats to Bell when this material surfaces from time to time.

In October 2006, Bell threatened Rogers Cadenhead with a lawsuit for some allegedly libelous comments posted on Cadenhead's blog, which Cadenhead has said he will defend against the lawsuit under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Truly bringing his personal events of 2006 full circle, Bell opened his December 28 program by disclosing to his stunned listeners that he had just relocated back to Pahrump, Nevada with Ruiz, who had obtained the necessary paperwork for immigrating to the United States. Bell had not disclosed on any previous show his plans to return to the high desert. Despite feeling jet-lagged after a 15-hour flight from the Philippines via Vancouver, Canada, he did the full show. Bell was aloft returning to the States when an earthquake cut off undersea cables that would have prevented his broadcasts from the Philippines. Bell indicated on his December 30, 2006 show that among the reasons for his return were a recent recirculation of the infamous fake anti-Filipino email, and his homesickness for his elaborate stateside Amateur Radio station.

On May 30, 2007 at 12:51 pm PDT, daughter Asia Rayne Bell was delivered by caesarian section. Her birth weight was 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Her height was 19 inches.

On July 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm PDT, Art Bell announced his retirement from regular hosting effective that day, expressing a desire to spend more time with his family. Bell stated that he will only host occasionally.

Bell has written, or co-written, several books. They include The Quickening: Today's Trends, Tomorrow's World, The Art of Talk (an autobiography), The Source, The Edge: Man's Mysterious Past & Incredible Future, and The Coming Global Superstorm, which became the basis for the popular movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

In 1996 Bell appeared in an episode of the NBC science fiction series Dark Skies, as William S. Paley, head of CBS.

In 1999, Bell appeared as himself on the Chris Carter created series Millennium . The third season episode was called "Collateral Damage" that dealt with a former U.S. soldier who claimed the government he fought for was indeed responsiple for horrendous tests on soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

In 2005, Bell and then-wife Ramona were featured on the ABC news special: Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs — Seeing Is Believing, which reported on the entire scope of the UFO experience, from the first famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day.

In 2006, Bell was featured in the video game "Prey" and played himself. He hosts, as in real life, Coast to Coast AM, and the player is able to listen to the broadcast at several terminals throughout the game. The broadcasts describe what is happening on Earth as the game unfolds.

In 2007, Bell appeared as himself in the movie "I Know Who Killed Me."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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