I have this little app on my mobile called Tunein Radio. Allows you listen to radio programs from Africa to Antarctica to America and everywhere in-between.
Vintage C2C AM
So I’m listening to *The Very Best of Art Bell* (yes, I like the King of Nye). This must be a show from the early ‘90s. Art and his guest are taking unscreened calls; his guest is a hacker “Cap’n Crunch,” a then-young American computer programmer and former phone phreak, who went to federal prison for his talents. Inventor of the “Blue Box” – no not the recycling thing. Callers, mainly other hackers, act as if the Cap’n is a demi-god.
It’s a trip down Memory Lane, a side road of — remember this ickyism? — the Information Highway. They’re talking about computers and phone security, tapping, etc. Art is asking the Cap’n what these things called cookies are all about? Later a caller accuses Art’s own website of attaching cookies, and Art goes ballistic, citing his legendary Webmaster (remember Webmasters? bwoohahaa) Keith Rowland’s reassurances.
Now Art is talking about his how his website has just crashed AOL. Ay Oh Ell<>Oh Em Gee! (Art reveled when his enormous fan-traffic would take down a website) or when a phone died mid-call and he could claim he was being tapped (he probably was), or when he’d get knocked off air by some satellite malfunction and he’d claim the powers-that-be didn’t want his audience to hear what his guest was revealing.
Art knew how to create controversy and conjure drama.
Art the Ringmaster
He was always a Ringmaster extraordinaire. At its apex, his show *Coast to Coast AM* had 500 affiliates and 20million listeners. It aired from 1 to 4AM in my time zone.
Art owned the Night in the ’90s.
He broadcast from his home studio in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada. There were classic shows his alumni still talk about. One night about 2AM, he thought he saw something in the sky. Art Bell left 20 million listeners waiting with the dreaded dead air (he didn’t care) for about 5 mins. while he ran outside to check it out. I may be conflating two shows, but I think that’s the night he also fell off his porch and drama ensued – at which he excelled.
Art chats with the Anti-Christ
Another night he invited “Anti-Christs” to call in on his Anti-Christ Line. One of the Anti-Christs had a voice so deep it was deeper than that hole Art featured on another show (“The Sounds of Hell”). One “Anti-Christ” took Art to task: “How dare you imagine to know what the Anti-Christ is?” Art knew not to gut off a guy like this – instead he apologized and asked the caller to tell him what the A-C was like……
Friday night was Open Lines Night, some of his most brilliant work. Art could take the most tiresome caller-in and turn it into brilliant interview with his questions.
20M listeners making up their own minds
Art interviewed astronaut Edgar Mitchell; he interviewed Terrence McKenna; he interviewed a guy, John Titor, who claimed to be a time traveller from 2036; he interviewed witches and a guy from Vietnam who claimed to be an ET. He interviewed everybody who had something weird to say. So, occasionally, did mainstream media–but they generally ridiculed those people.
Art didn’t ridicule them. Instead, he drew them and their stories out with skilled questioning. His hallmark was that he trusted his 20-million strong audience decide on a guest’s veracity and mental status.
The Alien-in-the-Freezer story
One of the best events that went on for a long time as it supposedly unfolded was the “Alien in the Freezer.” As Art said, “It’s a helluva story.”
Art cross-examined this Dr. Jonathan Reed on his story over several interviews (at one point Reed vanished and later said he’d had to go underground for a time for his personal safety.) Some later said The Alien-in-the-Freezer was a hoax: if so, Reed was an extremely accomplished impromptu liar. As always Art asked the telling questions then, then he’d just be quiet and let the guest talk and his 20M listeners decide for themselves what they thought about it.
Memory Lane on the Info Highway
On this old show I’m listening to, a caller boasts about AOL and how it gives him 3MB of storage on each email address. 3 megabytes,wow! We get 15 gigs across the Google platforms now. Someone starts to mock AOL and Art jumps on him: “There are internet snobs. AOL brings people into the Net that otherwise wouldn’t be there.” AOL!! It’s still there.
Art and the Cap’n have spent quite a bit of time in this show on how you can tell if your phone is being tapped and also how hard it is to get the phone co. to tell you where a call originated from. Remember The Time Before Call Display? Some Bell Tel “Operators” have called in talking about PBX-hackers. PBXs – do they even exist anymore? And when’s the last time you had a telephone Operator? The Cap’n cites the book Takedown as describing ways you can find out yourself if your phone is tapped, but he can’t mention them on-air or he’ll be back in the slammer
“Dealing with the phone company is a little bit like dealing with government, isn’t it?” Art opines and laughs that room-filling laugh of his; his guest and caller agree. Fun to think that a decade hence those guys would be dealing with the ISP companies, the mobile phone providers and their phone plans and all the stuff we have to navigate. Dealing with a phone company seems like small potatoes in the 21st century.
Someone just mentioned their laptop and had to say “portable computer” after laptop so people would know what he was referring to. Ah, the Nineties: we forget how far we’ve traveled (some of us in chain gangs) down the ol’ Info Hwy.
Cap’n Crunch talks as if he so cool.He gives out his web address and it’s full of forward slashes, an address that today would be the apex of uncool. Crunch’s website is hosted by The Well. The Well!—remember The Well (“Birthplace of the online community movement”)? Be still my heart, I’ve just time-traveled back to 1985. And I just checked – The Well is still there.
“Wanna take a Ride?”
Art Bell has had a roller-coaster of a radio career since he started Coast to Coast AM. He’s resigned a few times and done dramatic comebacks. He interviewed witches like Evelyn Paglini and Harlot (“The Self-Proclaimed Witch”) and his beloved wife, Ramona, was a witch. She died suddenly and tragically.
When, about a year later, Art announced that he was marrying a young Filipina woman, the judgment was ferocious. Art moved with his wife Airyn to the Philippines for a time and his network so valued him, that they worked things out so he could broadcast from the home-studio he built in Manila. Airyn and Art had a beautiful little daughter they named Asia, and moved back to the States eventually, and are still together in Pahrump.
Art was last heard from in July this summer:
Thursday 7-07: Update From Art –
I am now home after five days in what must be one of the greatest hospitals in the world, St Rose. I am not in good shape, so weak I cannot dress myself. I want to publicly thank my wife Airyn who never left my side and helped every moment day and night and still is. I went through every test known to man. Had a hole punched in my lung, MRI, PET scans, X-Rays, more blood tests then could be counted, was on Morphine the whole time. Had so many IVs running it started to get hard to find a vein. If I make it I will have the best wife in the world to thank as well as the best hospital. Can’t really type more now but that is the current situation, more later.
Art Bell on the radio, broadcasting from The Kingdom of Nye, especially talking about any of his high-strange topics is better than melatonin or any sleeping pill for that Middle of the Night insomnia. I miss 3AM with Art Bell and Coast to Coast AM. I miss his voice, his creativity, his absolute genius at conjuring the un-conjurable, at opening up our minds to possibilities, to the unbelievable — but never telling us what to think or believe.
I’m not ruling out his return. Yet.
Cap’n Crunch, John Draper: http://www.webcrunchers.com/
Some classic Art Bell shows on YouTube:
- Art interviews astronaut Edgar Mitchell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M72CIrS7t64 Talking to the Anti-Christ: youtube.com/watch?v=fuwHtTOc_Yw; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aRMbw0TYC8
- Sounds of Hell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvnxeX2SQso
- Art with Terrence McKenna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2oyd1Y3SG0
- Ed Dames (“Dr Doom”) remote views Satan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRwvrgvXY40
- More classics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omtRsUqMN6c&list=PLNZkV-oyBzmc2VcKdX3PmY8Kb18kwAXPC
Online radio – stations around the world:
- Tunein Radio: tunein.com
- U7 Radio online: u7.org
How to hear Art Bell today
Art has been ill recently and had to give up his show Midnight in the Desert that he launched a couple of years ago. Midnight airs live M-F 9pm-midnight Pacific.
- Read about Midnight’s status today and how to find it online here: http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/144296/midnight-in-the-desert-continues-art-bell-may-return-unnanounced/ and here http://midnightinthedesert.com/.
- You Tube – just search “Art Bell” and you can hear many of his old shows.
- Art had a history of resigning or retiring from his shows, due to circumstances in his life and/or disagreements with his contract holders (radio networks such as Premier): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Bell
- Art leaves Midnight due to family security reasons: http://www.strangerdimensions.com/2015/12/12/art-bell-steps-down-as-host-of-midnight-in-the-desert/ but the door has been left open for him to return.
- Even Art and Keith Rowland fall out: http://horrorreport.com/horror-report/rowland-with-the-punches-keith-calls-it-quits-art-bell-may-too/
(c)2016 margo lamont