Radio legend Art Bell passed away on Friday, April 13th 2018. Bell’s show, Coast To Coast, was creative and unique. Time to talk about Art’s impact on me and reminisce about radio in Remembering Art Bell-Radio Stories-Legends-Podcast 714.
All Night Wonder
Many stayed up all night to listen to the show. Who got any work done when we stood around talking about Martians, ghosts, aliens living in the hollow earth or The End Of The World?
Saving AM Radio For A Time
These days, radio has become a wasteland of partisan political operatives shouting, cajoling, attempting to persuade. Many broadcasters have given Rush Limbaugh credit for ‘saving AM Radio’, and he certainly deserves his props. On the other hand, many forget that Art Bell probably had as much to do with resurrecting the AM Band for a short time during the 1990’s. For a kid from Chicago who spent summers sitting on the front steps all night listening to the radio, that meant something.
Creating A World You Could Never Forget
Furthermore, it isn’t the political shows I will remember from the past twenty years. It’s the Art Bell shows. The guy from Area 51. Father Malachi Martin. Gary North. Ed Dames and every other crazy person on that show. You knew it was nuts to believe this stuff. But when you’re rolling through the wastelands of Wisconsin at three in the morning, struggling to pull in a thousand watt AM station out of Rice Lake, it seems real. Because Bell was so good at creating a world where anything was possible and probably true.
For radio people, the ability to create a new world, using only spoken word, is truly significant.
The Broken Down Radio Station On The Edge Of Town
Art Bell had a big impact on me because he brought me back to my roots. The radio station in a corn field. On the edge of town. A single tower blinking red in the wilderness. The possibilities endless.
When The Guy On The Radio Was Your Best Friend
So it’s time to tell some stories. A tribute of sorts from someone, like many, who never knew Art Bell. As a listener we felt we he was our best friend. A throw back to the DJ’s of the 1960’s and 1970’s on the big AM stations in the big cities. Or to struggling to pull in a radio station with a big signal in a far away city.
A Voice In The Night
Most noteworthy is the fact that the experience of listening in the night is gone. Replaced with artless and amateur You Tube Channels predictIng the end of the world.
It is good to remember the magic that Art Bell created as a guide for podcasters. I doubt seriously radio will ever be able to accommodate a talent like Bell again.