Is Art Bell, the undisputed king of paranormal radio broadcasting, returning to the airwaves? Oh dear god, I hope so.
Like plenty of paranormal investigators in their late 20’s and early 30’s, I can trace my interest in the paranormal back to three important things: The X-Files, The Time Life Mysteries series of books, and perhaps most importantly, the first time that I stumbled onto a hazy AM radio station broadcasting Coast to Coast at two in the morning. From the first time I heard Art Bell interview a panicked Area 51 employee, or a hunter who claimed to have killed two Bigfoots, or a man with a bottomless pit in his back yard, it was over; I was hooked on the fringe and the fortean, doomed to spend my nights in search of even stranger stories wherever they might hide.
When Art Bell retired from Coast to Coast in 2007, I was, for lack of a more meaningful word, devastated. Though he had taken numerous “retirements” over the years for any number of personal reasons, Bell insisted that this one was for real.
Don’t get me wrong, George Noory is a wonderful host and a great replacement, but the Coast to Coast he heads up is arguably a very different program than the one Art left behind. Hearing Rosemary Ellen Guiley ramble on about this year’s latest buzzy cryptid every two weeks is always great fun, but it does make make me long for the days when each episode of C2C was as much a piece of performance art as it was a stop on a book tour. In fact, just last year Bell took his Facebook page to declare his distaste with the current state of C2C.
“I wish my name was no longer associated with what Coast has become!” he exclaimed.
A bit harsh, maybe, but like I said, it’s a much different show now. So where does that leave fans of the good old days of Harlot the Witch and Single Seven?
Well, if the cryptic update just posted to Art’s website means what I hope it does, those of us craving classic paranormal programming might be in for a much needed dose of good news.
On July 11th, a line of red, white, and blue dashes and dots went live at artbell.com, a string of characters that was accompanied by the unmistakable beeping of morse code. The code simply translates to one line:
At this point, all anyone can do is speculate as to what exactly this message means, but for the last several months Art has been hinting at a return to radio, telling fans that he was in negotiations for a new show, and while he wouldn’t be making any promises, “the wind may be about to change direction!”
Could this mean that Art Bell has been picked up for a new terrestrial radio show? A podcast, perhaps? It’s anyone’s guess, but in a time when everyone and their mother hosts an internet radio show about the fringe, the voice of a true entertainer like Bell is sorely missed. Not just because he’s a veteran wistfully remembered as the man who practically invented the genre, but because to this day, no one has been able to top him.
Do I want to take a ride? If Art Bell is driving the bus, you better believe I’m buying a ticket.
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