It seems that there are just some people who find themselves in unique and historically significant positions, even if they do not intend to place themselves in such a position. Most of us know that circumstances lead to situations in life, be they good or bad, which act as some sort of catapult into something bigger than the person. Such is the case with Arthur (Art) Bell, who is widely famous for his place on the late-night radio program he created, which is Coast-To-Coast AM.
Most who know of this show recognize it is where listeners can enjoy talk about numerous issues that tend to reside outside of the mainstream discussions. Conspiracy theories, discussions about aliens on Earth and other UFO issues, as well as many other paranormal subjects have been part of the dialogue. But such sorts of subjects are not where Bell started in his broadcasting career; he originally began broadcasting music and talk through Ham and amateur radio, eventually leading to professional work in Japan, where he remained after a time in the Air Force. This was not a forum for controversial talk; it was a forum simply for music from the only English speaking station in the region at the time. Art Bell did make a historically noteworthy move then, however, by earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by remaining on the air for 116 hours and 15 minutes. The money earned from this effort allowed him to fly a chartered plane to Vietnam and rescue 130 stranded and orphaned children who were abandoned at the war’s end. These children were brought to the United States and eventually adopted into American families.
Art began through an avid interest in radio starting in his early teens, continued ahead during his time in Okinawa, Japan, and then brought his career interests back to the United States. Bell worked in radio and cable television for a number of years, both in front of and away from the microphone, and in 1989 he was offered a slot for a political call-in forum in Las Vegas at KDWN. This was a political call-in forum just like many of those at the time and now, such as Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, for example. During the first few years, Bell’s show was popular enough that he reached syndication in 1993 and continued forward. But it was his decision to pursue controversial topics such as gun control (he is a gun rights supporter) and eventually popular conspiracy theories that his show took on even more popularity.
Then, through another dramatic historic event, which was the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, many media forums distanced themselves from topics that could be construed as anti-government or anything else potentially notorious. This prompted Bell to go further outside the mainstream rather than back into it, but with major consequence. Art Bell began approaching bizarre topics such as pseudo-sciences, UFO’s, paranormal events and issues, and so forth. Within just a couple years, Bell was considered among the highest-rated talk show hosts of the time.
This is where the issue becomes historically significant, since once Bell decided to pursue his show, Coast-to-Coast AM, with the forum being such hot and off-beat topics, his popularity and celebrity status grew exponentially. A fortunate state of affairs for Bell is that many listeners and even critics felt there was a time and market for numerous peripheral and unusual topics to have a mature forum where they could be discussed logically and with a judicious perspective. The idea wasn’t to pursue these fringe subjects for the purpose of purporting or debunking, but for the purpose of pursuit for as long as the subject was potentially viable.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, since shows like ‘In Search of’ and others have enjoyed degrees of popularity for at least a little while, and fun topics such as ghosts, UFO’s and aliens, and even crypto-zoology and the seeking of Bigfoot have been enjoyed by more than enough people to prompt their continued availability. Legendary topics such as the Loch Ness Monster, UFO’s, ghosts, magick, and the untapped powers of the mind, just to name a few, have been discussed long before Art Bell came onto the scene. The difference is that bell’s show gave a serious forum spanning a few hours devoted to the topic in question rather than offering shallow and vague rhetoric for a mere few minutes. If there was valuable information to be revealed, even on subjects such as inter-dimensional aliens and other ‘Area 51’ genre controversies, it could and would be revealed on Coast-to-Coast AM.
There have been critics of what Bell has done during this height of his popularity, but Bell has maintained that his work has been mainly entertainment. He’s stated he doesn’t necessarily buy-in to every subject of discussion on Coast-to-Coast AM, but he does want to give an open forum for discussion where open ridicule and blind skepticism is not on the table. Moreover, he can consider the opinions of his critics all the way to the bank. Bell has enjoyed enormous success, a fan base at least as large, and has even been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
He’s also actively pursued subject matter going back to center and has interviewed numerous celebrities on the topic of their careers, such as actors, musicians, other disc jockeys such as Casey Kasem. He’s also demonstrated his complexity as a celebrity and that he hasn’t taken it too seriously, as he’s offered himself into roles in movies and on TV, and even video games.
Art Bell was born June 17th, 1945, and has made a place for himself in modern history at a relatively young age. He is among those who have shown that a passion for something pursued at a young age (he was a licensed radio technician since he was 13) could lead to a career of pronounced proportions. Bell developed his career over time, working for many years in roles common to the industry before finding a place on center stage. From there, he worked in a role common to his place in the industry before finding a niche unfulfilled by anyone else. That makes Art Bell an historical figure and worthy of that recognition.