Former “Coast to Coast AM” and “Dreamland” radio host Art Bell, W6OBB, of Pahrump, Nevada, died on Friday, April 13, at his home, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office announced. He was 72. A KSNV news report indicated that Bell’s family was with him when he died. The Sheriff’s Office said an autopsy would be performed.
“The cause of Bell’s death was yet to be revealed,” is how International Business Times put it in its obituary of Bell, lending an air of mystery to its account, much as Bell himself enjoyed doing on his long-running radio show that trafficked in conspiracy theories, the paranormal, and “dark matter.” Ham radio came up too, from time to time. In early 2004, Bell aired an extensive, live interview with then-ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP (SK).
“Coast to Coast AM” was syndicated nationwide in the early morning hours and, at its peak, was said to have reached 50 million listeners. A decidedly unconventional yet distinctive radio host, Bell produced the show from his own studio in the High Desert of Nevada. Often, after his show was over, he would get together on 75 meters with a group of friends. He used the phonetics “Old Broken Bottles” for his call sign.
Bell retired from “Coast to Coast AM” in the early 2000s, although served as a guest host as recently as 2010. The show’s current host is George Noory. Bell briefly returned to the air with “Art Bell’s Dark Matter,” which lasted several weeks on the SiriusXM satellite network, but subsequently got involved with another radio program, “Midnight in the Desert,” streamed via the Internet. He quit that show in 2015, however, citing “security concerns” at his home, reporting gunfire and repeated home intrusions; Bell said he believed someone wanted him to quit his shows.
Bell was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to US Marine Corps parents. He served in the US Air Force and was a medic during the Vietnam War, according to International Business Times, which also reported that Bell once operated a pirate radio station at Amarillo Air Force Base, playing anti-war music.
Bell was the author of the books, The Arts of Talk, The Quickening, and The Coming Global Superstorm.
His wife and a daughter survive. — Thanks to KSNV and International Business Times
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