Arthur William Bell, III|
June 17, 1945 (age 76)
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
|Home town||Pahrump, Nevada|
Sachiko Toguchi Bell Pontius (1965–1968; divorced)|
Vickie L. Baker Bell (1981–1991; divorced)
Ramona Lee Hayes Bell (1991–2006; died)
Airyn Ruiz Bell (2006–present)
Arthur William Bell, Jr. ( – 2000)|
Jane Lee Gumaer Bell ( – Dec 23, 2008)
|Call-sign||W6OBB / 4F1AB|
Arthur William Bell III (born June 17, 1945) is an American broadcaster and author who was the founder and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. He also created and hosted its companion show Dreamland. Semi-retired from Coast to Coast AM since 2003, he hosted the show many weekends for the following four years. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, but occasionally served as a guest host through 2010. He attributed the reason for his retirement to a desire to spend time with his new wife and their daughter, born May 30, 2007. He added that unlike his previous "retirements," this one was permanent, while leaving open the option to return. Classic Bell-hosted episodes of Coast to Coast AM can be heard in some markets on Saturday nights under the name Somewhere in Time. He started a new nightly show, Art Bell's Dark Matter, on Sirius XM Radio that began on September 16, 2013  and ended six weeks later (on November 4, 2013). He returned to radio on July 20, 2015 with a new show, Midnight in the Desert, available online, via TuneIn, and on some terrestrial radio stations. He retired yet again on December 11, 2015, citing security concerns at his home. He and his family were subject to repeated intrusions on his property in Pahrump. In fear for his family's safety, he opted to leave the air, and ostensibly, public life, as he believed the intruder or intruders wanted him off the air.
Bell founded and was the original owner of Pahrump, Nevada-based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. His broadcast studio and transmitter were located near his home in Pahrump while he hosted Coast to Coast AM except from June to December 2006, when he lived in the Philippines. He and his family returned to the Philippines in March 2009, after having significant difficulties obtaining a U.S. visa for his wife, Airyn.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Broadcasting career
- 3 Amateur radio
- 4 Honors
- 5 Marriages
- 6 Retirements and comebacks
- 7 Events of 2006
- 8 Events of 2008
- 9 Events of 2009
- 10 Events of 2010–15
- 11 Books
- 12 Other work
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Art Bell III was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina to Arthur Bell, Jr., a United States Marine Corps captain, and Jane Gumaer Bell, a Marine drill instructor. Arthur Bell, Jr. died in 2000, and Jane Bell died December 23, 2008.
Bell has always been interested in radio, and at the age of 13 became a licensed amateur radio operator. Bell now holds an Amateur Extra Class license, which is in the top U.S. Federal Communications Commission license class. His call sign is W6OBB.
Bell served in the U.S. Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War and in his free time operated a pirate radio station at Amarillo Air Force Base. He would make a point of playing anti-war music (like "Eve of Destruction" and "Fortunate Son") that was not aired on the American Forces Network.
After leaving military service he stayed in Asia, living on the Japanese island of Okinawa where he worked as a disc jockey for KSBK, the only non-military English-language station in Japan. While there, he set a Guinness World Record by staying on the air for 116 hours and 15 minutes. The money raised there allowed Bell to charter a DC-8, fly to Vietnam, and rescue 130 Vietnamese orphans stranded in Saigon at the war's end. They were eventually brought to the United States and adopted by American families.
Bell returned to the United States and studied engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He dropped out and returned to radio as a board operator and chief engineer, and had opportunity to be on the air a few times. For several years he worked behind and in front of the microphone. After a period of working in cable television, in 1986 the 50,000-watt KDWN in Las Vegas, Nevada offered Bell a five-hour time slot in the middle of the night. Syndication of his program to other radio stations began in 1993.
First a rock music disc jockey before moving into talk radio, Bell's original 1978 late-night Las Vegas program on KDWN was a political call-in show under the name West Coast AM. In 1988, Bell and Alan Corberth renamed the show Coast to Coast AM and moved its broadcast from the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas to Bell's home in Pahrump.
Bell abandoned conventional political talk in favor of topics such as gun control and conspiracy theories, leading to a significant bump in his overnight ratings. The show's focus again shifted significantly after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Many in the media did not want to be blamed for inciting anti-government or militia actions like the bombing. Subsequently, Bell discussed off-beat topics like the paranormal, the occult, UFOs, protoscience and pseudoscience. During his tenure at KDWN Bell met and married his third wife, Ramona, who later handled production and management duties for the program.
According to The Washington Post in its February 23, 1997 edition, Bell was at the time America's highest-rated late-night radio talk show host, broadcast on 328 stations. According to The Oregonian in its June 22, 1997 edition, Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell was on 460 stations. At its initial peak in popularity, Coast to Coast AM was syndicated on more than 500 radio stations and claimed 15 million listeners nightly. Bell's studios were located in his home in the town of Pahrump, located in Nye County, Nevada; hence the voice-over catchphrase, "from the Kingdom of Nye".
Fans regard Bell as a master showman, noting that he calls his show "absolute entertainment" and expressly says he does not necessarily accept every guest or caller's claims but only offers a forum where they will not be openly ridiculed. Bell was one of only a few talk show hosts who did not screen incoming calls, but this changed in 2006. On the October 31, 2006 edition of Coast to Coast AM, (renamed for the night to Ghost to Ghost AM), Bell was asked why he was now using call screeners. The explanation given was that for him to use unscreened open phone lines while in the Philippines would require listeners to call there directly at enormous cost to them. Art admitted that he should have chosen New Zealand instead of the Philippines as an alternative to the USA. He said, "It was a bad choice, and I'll regret it, one day, in the near future." He subsequently stopped screening calls upon his return to the United States.
His calm attitude, patient questions, and ability to tease substance from nebulous statements of callers and guests gave his show a relaxed yet serious atmosphere. This earned him praise from those who declare that the paranormal deserves a mature outlet of discussion in the media as well as the approval of those simply amused by the nightly parade of bizarre, typically fringe topics. Ed Dames, Richard C. Hoagland, Terence McKenna, Dannion Brinkley, David John Oates, and Robert Bigelow have all been regular guests. Some of Bell’s regular guests, particularly Hoagland, continue to be regular guests on Coast to Coast AM now hosted by George Noory.
Bell's own interests, however, extend beyond the paranormal. He has interviewed singers Crystal Gayle, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Eric Burdon and Gordon Lightfoot, comedian George Carlin, writer Dean Koontz, hard science fiction writer Greg Bear, X-Files writer/creator Chris Carter, TV talk host Regis Philbin, Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, actor Dan Aykroyd, former Luftwaffe pilot Bruno Stolle, actress Jane Seymour, actress Ellen Muth, actor and TV host Robert Stack, human rights lawyer John Loftus, legendary disc jockey Casey Kasem, and frequent guests physicist Michio Kaku and SETI astronomers Seth Shostak and H. Paul Shuch.
Beginning in late 1996, Bell was criticized for reporting rumors that Comet Hale-Bopp was being trailed by a UFO. It was speculated that members of the Heaven's Gate group committed mass suicide based on rumors Bell aired, but others dismissed the idea, noting that the Heaven's Gate website stated: "Whether Hale-Bopp has a 'companion' or not is irrelevant from our perspective." Susan Wright reported, however, that Bell was also "one of the first to publicize expert opinions refuting the 'alien' companion" said to have been shadowing Hale-Bopp, such as that published in 1998 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggesting that "the satellite's main diameter is ~30 km," and accordingly natural rather than artificial.
Bell generally chooses not to discuss his political views on Coast to Coast AM, though occasionally he has brought them up. He has expressed support for the right to bear arms and same-sex marriage. He also used to be, in his own words, a "staunch" supporter of the death penalty, though he has changed his mind at least to some extent due to innocent people being sentenced to death.
Bell has at times seemed to support many different 9/11 conspiracy theories, such as the one that claims the World Trade Center was brought down by explosives planted in it in advance. However shortly after the September 11 attacks Bell uploaded an image stating "God Bless George W. Bush and the U.S.A." .
Bell is a member of the U.S. Libertarian Party. Originally, Coast to Coast AM was a conservative political talk show, but in recent years Bell has expressed both conservative and liberal views on the air. On air, Bell has shown support for immigration reform and decriminalizing marijuana. At other times he has expressed dismay at the presence of millions of illegal aliens in the US. He has at times criticized man's role in degrading the natural environment, while at other times he expressed doubt about the scientific basis behind human caused global warming. In fact hundreds of times he agreed with guests or callers who claimed global cooling was occurring or was about to occur. Bell has also stated that he opposes abortion. At the outset of the Iraq War in 2003 he stated he did not think that a war against Iraq was worth the life of "one American service man or woman." Bell supports a free market economy.
Callers and guests
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- John Lear, ufologist, was a frequent guest on Coast to Coast AM, and whom Bell credits with getting him on the paranormal track for his show. Lear and Lazar have unveiled their infiltration and revelations of Area 51.
- On March 23, 1994, Bell interviewed Neal Chase, who had predicted the nuking of New York City for that exact day. Bell became hysterical and lost his radio composure when he read the headline that came over the newswire just at the start of his interview with Chase that "Newark Had Been Nuked!" This headline referred to the exact report of the eye-witness account of a pilot flying into Newark seeing the giant Hiroshima and Nagasaki sized fireball and mushroom cloud from the Edison gas explosion. The pillar of fire—after the initial flash of the blast—reached over 1,000 feet (300 m) into the night sky.
- On May 24, 1996, Bell interviewed William Luther Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, in which Pierce—writing under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald"—depicted a race war leading to the extermination of Jews, non-whites and gay people. Pierce denounced interracial marriage, calling white people who married non-whites "traitors to the white race"—apparently unaware that Bell himself was in an interracial marriage, as his then-wife, Ramona Bell, was an Asian-American of Filipino descent.
- One of Bell's Coast to Coast interviews occurred in 1997 with Mel Waters who discussed what is known as "Mel's Hole" in rural Washington State. The mysterious opening is said to be a fantastically deep vertical shaft which possesses extremely bizarre properties. No such hole has ever been physically located by anyone attempting to verify this story.
- On May 23, 1997, Bell interviewed a man who called himself "Victor" who claimed to have been at S-4 (near Area 51) and was responsible for the release to the public of a nearly three-minute video commonly called the "alien interview". For almost two hours Victor described the EBE (extraterrestrial biological entities) program at S-4, verifying most of Bob Lazar's claims.
- On September 11, 1997, Bell took a call from a frantic man claiming to be an ex-Area 51 employee who grew progressively more upset as the call wore on, culminating in the show's going temporarily off the air because of a satellite failure. The gentleman allegedly called back on April 28, 1998 admitting that the original call was fraudulent, however the second caller's voice, tone and mannerisms have called into question whether this was the same person. Many believe this was a cover up from the government as the original call was cut off. Seventeen years later, comic book writer Bryan J. L. Glass called in to Jimmy Church's Fade to Black claiming to be the man behind the call.
- This incident formed the basis of the song "Faaip de Oiad" by the rock band Tool which features said interview (with Bell's part cut out) dubbed in over frantic drumming and buzzing static.
- The interview was also sampled in Konkhra's track "Religion is a Whore", The Faceless's "Planetary Duality", experimental Texas quartet The Paper Chase's "It's Out There and It's Gonna Get You", MC Lars' "Lars Attacks!", Sweet Valley's "So Serene" (around the 22:40 mark), and Sons of Perdition's "No Escape from Dreamland".
- J.C. Webster III, or "J.C." – Webster began calling in 1996, and has since been on the air over 50 times. He purports to be a Baptist Revival preacher, and believes Bell to be "the Devil's Mouthpiece". He has continued to call George Noory and guest hosts. Although some listeners have expressed a disbelief that someone like J.C. could exist, Bell and George Noory have repeated their beliefs that Webster is real, and is neither a "put-on" nor a "plant".
- On October 23, 1997, Bell interviewed Harlot the Witch (Patsy).
- In 1998, Bell received two faxes from John Titor, a self-proclaimed time traveler from 2036, who made many fantastic predictions and discussed time travel.
- In a 1997 show, Bell interviewed a gentleman claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2063. He was known as Single Seven, a rank in the time travel unit he was in.
- "Bugs" – An aging farmer who has repeatedly told of his account of shooting and burying two Bigfoot creatures back in the 1970s in the Texas Panhandle, initially thinking they were bears. Bugs has mailed a map of the location of this "burial" to Bell, to be released to the public upon Bugs' death. During his first appearance in 1996, Bugs said he had taken a dozen Polaroid photos of the creatures he would be willing to send to Bell. None of the alleged photos has yet been made available.
- A caller in 2000 named "Daniel Murray" claimed he was a Majestic agent from Downey, California.
- This call served as the inspiration for the alternate reality game Majestic.
- In 2003, Chris Clements, a freelance writer with the Washington Post, called Bell to tell him he had evidence of a financial connection between the Bush family and the Bin Ladens. Clements went on further to tell of how his research showed that 9/11 may have been orchestrated by the Bush family and hinted at proof of a coming police state with secret prisons and the chipping of citizens. Clements promised to forward all of his information to Bell.
- In October 2003, Bell interviewed Temple of the Vampire representative Nemo. Nemo spoke about the Temple of the Vampire's beliefs and practices.
- In February 2005, Bell received a call from a person calling himself "Oscar", proclaiming to be "the Son of Satan". Oscar had since also called George Noory, but disappeared after a June 2007 on-air confrontation with J.C.
- In March 2005 a man also called about disturbing events on Kwajalein and Johnston Atoll about a weapon that only targeted certain people and could leave others unhurt. He indicated he had been on both islands (that are US military only) and that these weapons had been tested in 1993. Bell lost the call after another voice came on the line with a click saying: "Shelton, terminate the call from A-6." Bell tried to call the man back but was unsuccessful.
- In 2009, David Van Dyke, a photojournalist with Metro News Canada, called into Coast-to-Coast (guest-hosted by Bell that night) and warned listeners that Toronto would become a testing ground for police tactics and subverting citizens at a soon to be announced global summit. Weeks after the call Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Toronto would play host to the G20 summit. Van Dyke, also a Toronto citizen, returned to the show after the announcement and declared that Toronto's downtown would be "stripped of everything not bolted down. Even trees and sticks will be removed, so that the oligarchy could not be touched."
Bell became a licensed amateur radio operator at the age of 13. His first call sign was KN3JOX, first listed in the Winter 1959 edition of the Radio Amateur Callbook. He soon upgraded to K3JOX, and he later held W2CKS, first listed in the Spring 1967 Callbook. Bell holds an Amateur Extra Class license, which is the highest U.S. Federal Communications Commission amateur license class. His call sign is W6OBB.
Bell took and passed the Philippines amateur radio exams and became a Philippine Class A amateur radio operator with the call sign of 4F1AB. While in the Philippines, Bell is active on 40-10 Meters, as well as 144.600 MHz simplex in Manila.
In 1998, Bell was named as recipient of the Snuffed Candle Award by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's Council for Media Integrity. Bell was recognized by the Council for "perpetuating conspiracy myths... and mystery mongering". When Bell learned of the award he replied "A mind should not be so open that the brains fall out, however it should not be so closed that whatever gray matter which does reside may not be reached. On behalf of those with the smallest remaining open aperture, I accept with honor."
In August 2006 Art was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. He did not attend the presentation.
Bell was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.
- Airyn Ruiz, April 11, 2006 – present. Children: Asia Rayne Bell
- Ramona Lee Hayes, August 4, 1991 – January 5, 2006 † (see below)
- Vickie L. Baker, married March 1, 1981, divorced, July 3, 1991. Children: Arthur William Bell IV
- Sachiko Toguchi Bell Pontius, married 1965, divorced 1968. Children: Vincent Pontius, Lisa Pontius Minei.
Retirements and comebacks
Bell has retired and returned to Coast to Coast AM several times.
His first retirement was highly unexpected by his listeners, and was announced on October 13, 1998. Bell spoke of "an event, a threatening terrible event occurred to my family, which I could not tell you about. Because of that event, and a succession of other events, what you're listening to right now is my final broadcast on the air." Hilly Rose filled in after Bell's departure. Bell returned on October 28, 1998, asserting that the brief departure was brought on by threats made against his family. On May 29, 1999, Bell explained that this retirement was due to an allegation made by hosts of WWCR shortwave radio that Bell had paid to cover up a criminal indictment. The facts of the matter became public knowledge in 2000, when it was revealed that an actual criminal indictment was filed against a person who had assaulted a member of Bell's family. Because of the nature of the crime, Bell had wanted to keep the matter private. Ted Gunderson, the former head of the Los Angeles FBI and the hosts at WWCR shortwave radio had accused Bell of the crime. Bell responded by taking legal action against Gunderson, as well as the hosts and stations. The action was resolved in a settlement in 2000.
On April 1, 2000, Bell again announced his retirement, which would occur on April 26, 2000, but offered no details other than expressing intentions to "resolve a family crisis." On April 11, 2000, Mike Siegel was introduced as the new host of Coast to Coast AM, taking over on April 27, to an estimated audience of 22 million listeners. It was later explained that Bell had left to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault against his son. Brian Lepley, a substitute teacher, was convicted of sexual assault and attempted transmission of HIV and was sentenced to 10 to 25 years. Bell returned to Coast to Coast AM in February 2001. Bell noted that since his departure the show had lost a number of affiliates, commercial content had risen to an unbearable level, and Siegel had taken the program in a "different direction" of which Bell disapproved. Bell retained some authority over the program as its creator and felt his return was necessary.
On October 23, 2002, Bell announced he would be retiring due to recurring back pain, the result of a fall from a telephone pole during his youth. Bell was replaced by George Noory as weekday host of Coast to Coast AM on January 1, 2003. It was also said that Barbara Simpson would host weekends and that Bell planned to be an occasional guest host for Noory. Bell returned in September 2003 as a weekend host, replacing Barbara Simpson and Ian Punnett as host of the Saturday and Sunday evening broadcasts. In June 2005, he scaled this schedule back, calling it a "semiretirement", and hosted only the last two Sundays of every month. Bell went back to hosting every weekend show as his schedule permitted after his wife Ramona’s death a few months later.
On July 1, 2007, Bell announced his retirement stating that he wished to spend more time with his new wife and daughter. He made it explicitly clear that, unlike the circumstances surrounding previous retirements, this decision was an entirely positive and joyful one and that he would not disappear completely, announcing an intention to occasionally substitute for other hosts and host "special" shows.
On December 11, 2015, Bell announced his retirement via his Facebook page citing safety concerns for his family by saying "if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over." Throughout the fall, Bell reported several instances of an unknown number of armed trespassers coming onto his home property, sometimes firing gunshots. These events have been said to occur during or around the time of his broadcasting. This announcement came a mere five months after the start of his most recent show, Midnight in the Desert.
Events of 2006
Bell's life took some dramatic twists in the beginning of 2006:
Death of Ramona Bell
Ramona Bell, his wife of 15 years, died unexpectedly, at the age of 47, of what appeared to be an acute asthma attack on January 5, 2006 in Laughlin, Nevada, where the couple were taking a short vacation.
The events surrounding Ramona's death were described in great detail by Bell during the January 22 broadcast of Coast to Coast AM. For weeks thereafter, callers would express their sadness and sympathy for Bell to George Noory, who had taken Bell's place weekdays in 2002.
Change in schedule
On January 21, 2006, 16 days after the unexpected death of his wife Ramona, Bell announced he would host Coast to Coast AM every Saturday and Sunday evening, and that former weekend host Ian Punnett would work a new live prefeed program for the four hours preceding Bell's slot on Saturday nights (9:00 pm – 1:00 am ET). Punnett's show was titled Coast to Coast Live with Ian Punnett. When returning to the show the following day, Bell spent the first hour recounting the death of his wife.
By the end of January, Bell began hinting that he was making a significant life decision, but that he would keep it a secret for at least one year, asking listeners to remind him in 2007 to let them in on it. By March, he was saying that he would soon take a "huge risk" and "do something rash". On April 15, 2006, he ended the mystery and, to the mild surprise of listeners, revealed that, after several weeks of mourning, he had recently gone to the Philippines and married Airyn Ruiz. Airyn Ruiz Bell is a recent college graduate. Ruiz – given Bell's private e-mail address by an amateur radio friend – had contacted Bell to offer condolences shortly after Ramona's death. After "dating" via Internet videoconferencing for "hundreds of hours," the two married one week after Bell arrived in the Philippines to actually meet her in person. Bell also paid for his friend – who was courting Airyn's sister – to accompany him to the Philippines and marry her. The two couples wed in a double marriage ceremony on April 11, 2006.
On October 7, 2006, Bell announced on Coast to Coast that Ruiz was pregnant with the couple's first child. Bell told listeners that the couple's child was indeed a girl as many listeners suspected. He noted that they had been hoping for a girl and had announced only a girl's name for their unborn child in hopes of receiving a girl.
Bell and Airyn's baby girl, Asia Rayne Bell, was born by caesarean section on May 30, 2007. Bell and Airyn also had a baby boy, Alexander William Bell, on July 1, 2017.
Relocation to the Philippines
At the same time, Bell announced he would be leaving his longtime homestead in Nevada and relocating to the Philippines, near Makati, Metro Manila, intending to continue hosting Coast to Coast AM weekend editions via an ISDN connection. He departed the United States on April 29, 2006, stating an intention to remain abroad for at least a year, while maintaining ownership of his property in Nevada and of the radio station KNYE. Bell resumed hosting on June 18, 2006, but then encountered technical problems that kept him off air until July 23, 2006, when the ISDN line was finally installed.
In July 2001, the Philippine Daily Inquirer printed an email letter purportedly from Bell that made derogatory statements about Filipinos. This letter was subsequently demonstrated to be a hoax perpetrated upon Bell, who in fact had a publicly loving relationship with his Filipina wife and his previous wife Ramona, who was also Filipina, and who often spoke openly about his admiration for the Filipino people on his radio show. Subsequently, the Philippine Daily Inquirer printed a retraction and apologized for printing the statement upon their verification of the hoax.
In October 2006, Bell threatened Rogers Cadenhead with a lawsuit for some allegedly libelous comments posted on Cadenhead's blog, which Cadenhead has said he will defend himself against under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Return to "the High Desert and the Great American Southwest"
Bell opened his December 28, 2006 program by disclosing that he had just relocated back to Pahrump, Nevada, with Ruiz, who had obtained the necessary paperwork for immigrating to the United States. Bell had not disclosed on any previous show his plans to return to the High Desert. Despite feeling jet-lagged after a 15-hour flight from the Philippines via Vancouver, British Columbia, he did the full show. Bell indicated on his December 30, 2006 show that among the reasons for his return were a recent recirculation of the infamous fake anti-Filipino email, and his homesickness for his elaborate stateside Amateur Radio station.
Events of 2008
In May 2008, the artbell.com website was no longer responding to requests and had even dropped from DNS.
On May 29, 2008 Bell sold KNYE to Station Manager Karen Jackson.
On September 8, 2008, Noory stated that he would be hosting the annual Ghost to Ghost AM Halloween call-in show rather than Bell, who normally returns to the Coast to Coast to host it (along with the New Year's prediction shows). On September 19, Noory explained that Bell would be unavailable because he was on a cruise during that time this year.
On November 30, 2008, Bell hosted Coast to Coast AM. Michio Kaku was the guest. This was the first time Bell had hosted the show since May 23, 2008. On December 23, Bell's mother, Jane, died. On December 30 and 31, 2008, Bell once again hosted his annual New Year's predictions special of Coast to Coast. Bell remarked on his mother's death and stated that he was very happy that she got to spend time with his daughter, Asia, before she died.
Bell was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.
Events of 2009
Bell returned to Coast to Coast AM on February 20, 2009, for a discussion on the global financial crisis with Wall St. insider Michael J. Panzner. Bell and Panzer agreed the United States was headed for an economic depression.
Bell was scheduled to return to Coast to Coast AM on April 24, 2009, to host an evening of open lines, but because of engineering problems in Manila, Bell was rescheduled to a later date.
On May 17, 2009, Bell returned to host Coast to Coast AM live from Manila. His guest was professor Peter Ward. Topics of discussion were mass extinctions, earth's "self-destructive" phenomena, and life beyond planet earth. While on the air, Bell answered an email question from a listener who asked why he was in the Philippines again and how long he'd be there. Bell replied that he'd address it on "Friday" and hinted that his move might be permanent.
As of May 20, 2009, the Coast to Coast website listed that Bell would be filling in for George Noory on Friday, May 22, 2009 to interview Bob Koontz. However, Bell did not do that show. The Coast to Coast website, again, cited technical difficulties in Manila and that his interview would be postponed. Bell interviewed Koontz on Saturday, June 6, 2009.
Friday June 26, 2009 Bell hosted Coast to Coast AM from Manila with guest Dean Radin. He also commented on the death of Michael Jackson and how he had lived in Pahrump, Nevada not too far away from where Bell lived.
Friday November 20, 2009 Bell hosted Coast to Coast AM from Manila with guest Starfire Tor, psi researcher and experiencer who discussed time shifts and time slips, and other strange occurrences of time. During the first 90 minutes, they were joined by Whitley Strieber, who shared his take on Tor's research.
On Wednesday, December 30, and Thursday, December 31, 2009, Bell once again hosted his annual New Year's predictions special of Coast to Coast, noting that a number of the predictions this year were of an unusual and interesting nature and not mere repeats of many that had come before, though he also took several callers to task for seemingly veiling their obvious political agendas or wishes in the form of predictions, rather than offering up something from their "psychic center," which is what he repeatedly asks for during the prediction show. He also suggested that maybe Coast to Coast AM should institute some sort of prize or acknowledgment for listeners whose predictions are particularly accurate or astute.
In late 2008, Bell and his wife filed an I-751 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of her marriage-based green card process. In early 2009 the USCIS responded that they would need additional evidence to prove that Bell's marriage to a Filipina national and subsequent green card application was in good faith. Bell responded with evidence including their marriage license, their daughter's birth certificate, Bell's last will and testament, bank records, family photos, and Social Security forms. Bell sent the package to the USCIS by return receipt mail, and he subsequently received the return receipt stamped "USCIS RECEIVED JAN-15-09."
On March 10, 2009, Bell and his wife and daughter left Nevada for Manila to deal with some family business including the disposition of a condo they owned. Shortly thereafter, the USCIS denied the application on the grounds that the documentary evidence was never received, and further stipulated that Airyn Bell is not permitted to re-enter the United States, which is why Bell remains in the Philippines. Moreover, since the Bells were out of the country when the application was denied, they must start the process all over again.
On his June 6 broadcast, Bell explained the situation and asked his listeners to send emails on his behalf to the White House.
Events of 2010–15
Bell hosted 10 episodes in 2010, 5 short of his publicly announced, contractually specified quota of 15 shows per year. His last hosting gig was his annual Ghost to Ghost show on Halloween night (this was the first show ever wherein Bell used call screeners). At the end of that broadcast, Bell said "When they next call my name we'll come back and we'll do this one more time."
As of December 2010, Bell was no longer listed as a host on the Coast to Coast website; his shows were no longer searchable under his name; and the only references to Bell on the site were of an historical/archival nature. However, the weekly Somewhere in Time with Art Bell broadcasts of classic Bell-hosted episodes (which have aired before the live show on Saturday nights since 2006) were not discontinued.
On December 21, 2010, the "HamCam" on Bell's ham radio website featured an image with the following cryptic wording: "The Wind No Longer Blows, in the End it was Without Direction. Long Live the Hot Air. 30" "-30-" is journalistic shorthand for "end of story."
It was announced in late December 2010 that Ian Punnett would host Bell's annual two-part New Year's Eve prediction shows. Initially, Noory had said that Bell was unable to host them because he would be traveling, but on December 24, 2010, Noory said: "We had asked Art to do his predictions show; he's going to spend time with his family. He's winding down, folks, he's winding down....I don't anticipate he'll do any more shows." On the first of the two nights (December 30, 2010), Punnett made a brief, oblique reference to his having the honor of "picking up [Bell's] fallen mantle." On the January 1, 2011, show, Punnett stated he was "looking forward to doing the follow-up a year from now."
In email interactions with fans who have written in to inquire about Bell's absence, Coast personnel have confirmed that Bell has retired. According to Coast webmaster Lex Lonehood: "Art Bell decided he no longer wished to do live C2C shows, and asked that his name be removed from the host listings accordingly. Classics and Somewhere in Time shows will continue as is." Coast producer Lisa Lyon told another fan that Bell "has chosen to retire," but that "Art Bell will always be associated with our show, and he is welcome back to the mic whenever he feels the need."
Despite the above remarks from Punnett, Noory, Lyon, Lonehood and Bell, as of January 6, 2011, an official public statement formally confirming Bell's departure from Coast to Coast AM has yet to be made via press release, website announcement or on-air, by any party with the authority to do so—the show's producers, Premier Radio Networks, Clear Channel Communications, or Bell himself. This lack of information has led to rampant speculation among Bell's fanbase as to the motivations and circumstances behind Bell's sudden absence; whether he has given his last live broadcast; and what—if anything—he may decide to do next.
During a chat on February 8, 2011, events became even more confusing for Bell's fans as George Noory, during a public chat responding to a question regarding Bell, stated that Bell isn't responding to his emails. The questioner, "Coalspeaker," asked "Have you spoken to Art Bell lately? And if so is he and his family doing well?" Noory responded by saying, "No I haven't. Art has decided to retire for good this time. I assume all is well for him and his family. He has gone through many ups and downs. I sent him a very lengthy email a few months ago, and he never responded. Though he normally would." There was no further explanation beyond that point on why Bell did not respond to Mr. Noory's email, although it only led Bell's fanbase to speculate further.
In March 2011 a Facebook profile appeared claiming to be the legitimate page of "Arthur W. Bell III," who posted hints that there would be a "big announcement" at the end of April 2011. After much speculation and debate among fans and friends on that page and various Bell forums, and finally after direct intervention from a verified Bell account, the "Arthur W. Bell III" page was proven to be a hoax, with no "big announcement" imminent.
On July 20, 2011, Bell announced via his Facebook page that he had relocated with his family to Pahrump, Nevada. Subsequent posts indicate Bell and his family initially focusing on resettling his house and making it "fit for human habitation" again, giving no indication about his radio plans, if any (beyond maintaining his HAM activity). However, on July 30, Bell posted the following: "There is so much to do and only so many hours in the day. There are things going on in the background that I will talk about at the proper time. The move was a big one and we need time to adjust."
On August 19, 2011, Bell announced via Facebook "Phrase for the day......Stay tuned!", followed on August 31 by the message "Sorry for so few posts but we are working on this house every day like dogs, much more soon." Some Bell fans voiced speculation that the phrase "stay tuned" may have been meant to indicate Bell's return to broadcasting in some form, but 2011 ended with no such announcement forthcoming, though shortly before Christmas he did report that a malfunctioning fire extinguisher in his radio room caused tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to his equipment and house.
On August 20, 2012, Bell spoke of his grievances on with Premiere Radio stations, claiming that he would soon tell the full story of the truth of his retirement. "I am just about ready to tell the real story of my so called 'Retirements' I have asked Premiere to stop the Saturday broadcasts and thus far they have not done so as is there [sic] legal right. Free speech remains my right, I will soon exercise it."
On November 1, 2012, Bell updated his Facebook status with the following: "I wish my name was no longer associated with what Coast has become!"
Return to radio in 2013
In January 2013, Bell announced on Facebook, "I am now in negotiation for a new Radio show, stay tuned. No promises but the wind may be about to change direction!"
"I guess it is time to end any further speculation that I will return to the air any time soon. I have given (2) very solid offers a lot of thought and have turned them down. My reasons are many, though I am profoundly sad at the current state of the show, both offers would have been direct competition with Coast and anger is the wrong reason to proceed. Also I really do not want to destroy what I built despite its current state. Asia will be in first grade in the Fall and getting up very early, I would be up late and sleeping late, I would not see much of her or Airyn. Life is short and I want to spend what I have left with my Family. I hope my friends understand..."
In June 2013, Bell announced on his Facebook page that his official website, artbell.com, would be relaunching. On July 10, 2013, a red, white, and blue textual representation of a smiley face was displayed on the website. The site's favicon is a picture of a grey alien. On July 11, 2013, the smiley face was replaced with a red, white, and blue Morse code script that translated to "Wanna take a ride?".
On July 29, 2013, Bell officially announced a return to the airwaves with a launch date of September 16, 2013. His new show Art Bell's Dark Matter broadcasts on SiriusXM satellite radio's Indie Talk channel (channel #104), Monday through Thursday from 7 PM to 11 PM PT with repeats during the remainder of the night and "best of" shows airing on Fridays. His official website was updated on that date to include the announcement.
On November 7, 2013, Bell announced and began testing for potential Internet streaming sources.
Online radio network
In November 2013, Bell launched his 24/7 online radio network run by Keith Rowland, which streams live from his website, Dark Matter Radio.
Midnight in the Desert radio show
On July 20, 2015, Bell returned with his new show Midnight in the Desert. The show aired on the internet Dark Matter Digital network and on 45 stations (20 of which signed on before the show started) from 9 PM to midnight PT. He also started transmitting on shortwave radio on WTWW at 5.085 MHz as well.
On December 11, 2015, Bell announced that he had permanently stepped down as host of Midnight in the Desert due to concerns about his family's safety. Bell had reported multiple instances of someone shooting firearms at and near his property in the Fall of 2015. The show Midnight in the Desert continues with new host Heather Wade. Bell makes the occasional guest host appearance.
Bell has written, or co-written, several books. They include The Quickening: Today's Trends, Tomorrow's World; The Art of Talk (an autobiography); The Source: Journey Through the Unexplained; The Edge: Man's Mysterious Past & Incredible Future; and The Coming Global Superstorm (co-authored with Whitley Streiber), which became the basis for the popular movie, The Day After Tomorrow.
In 1996 Bell appeared in an episode of the NBC science fiction series Dark Skies as William S. Paley, head of CBS.
On September 30, 1998, NBC's Today Show aired a taped segment of reporter Fred Francis interviewing Bell. Francis questioned Bell about Hale-Bopp, Area 51, eccentric callers claiming to be "six-fingered alien hybrids" as well as the UFO sighting experienced by Bell and his wife Ramona.
In 1999 Bell appeared as himself on the series Millennium. The episode called "Collateral Damage" aired in the third season and dealt with a former U.S. soldier who claimed the government he fought for was indeed responsible for horrendous tests on soldiers and Iraqi civilians. (This episode was broadcast on January 22, 1999. The Washington Post, January 22, 1999.) In 1999 Bell was interviewed on Larry King Live. (This was broadcast on March 5, 1999. The Washington Post, March 5, 1999.)
Progressive rock band Tool's 2001 album, Lateralus, featured a track entitled "Faaip de Oiad" (Enochian for "The Voice of God"), which includes a clip of the "distraught and terrified" Area 51 employee call from September 11, 1997.
In 2005 Bell and then-wife Ramona were featured on the ABC news special: Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs — Seeing Is Believing, which reported on the entire scope of the UFO experience, from the first sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day. (This was broadcast on February 24, 2005. The Washington Post, 2-20-05.)
In 2005 snippets of Bell and callers to his show were featured on the song "Conspiracy Radio" on Sean Hogan's album "Catalina Sunrise": Bell is credited for "voice overs" on this track.
In 2006 Bell was featured in the video game Prey and played himself. He hosts, as in real life, Coast to Coast AM, and the player is able to listen to the broadcast at several terminals throughout the game. The broadcasts describe what is happening on Earth as the game unfolds. The game plot centers around a massive space ship and alien abductions. Bell receives a number of calls about people who have seen smaller craft as they abduct people. In 2007, Bell appeared as himself in the movie I Know Who Killed Me. Bell appeared alongside Mark Arnold in the 2016 film titled Abduct, directed by Ilyas Kaduji and produced by Mafalda Sa. Art plays himself as he and a group of friends try to help to protect a young woman from an alien threat.
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- "The Washington Post" 5-29-99
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- The Washington Post 4-1-00
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- Most information from "The Seattle Times" 10-26-02
- "Facebook announcement". December 11, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/art.bell.716/posts/910606172320836. "I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over. Art"
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-  (registration required) Archived February 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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