Paranormal, Conspiracy Radio Host Art Bell Dies at 72 — on Friday the 13th of April

Art Bell, seen in this March 1997 photo, died Friday, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly confirmed. Bell's fans may pause to mull the significance of his having passed on Friday the 13th, of all days.  (Aaron Mayes/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
Art Bell, seen in this March 1997 photo, died Friday, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly confirmed. Bell’s fans may pause to mull the significance of his having passed on Friday the 13th, of all days. (Aaron Mayes/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

He was awake when most of the country was asleep, cultivating a loyal following while sharing his fascination with the unexplained on his nighttime paranormal-themed show.

For the better part of two decades, longtime late-night radio personality Art Bell was his own producer, engineer and host of his show, “Coast to Coast AM.” He later launched his own satellite radio program from his Pahrump home after retiring from full-time hosting duties in 2003.

On the airwaves, Bell captivated listeners with his fascination for the unexplained, such as UFOs, alien abductions and crop circles. He died Friday at his home at the age of 72.

“As he begins his journey on the ‘other side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us,” Coast to Coast said in a statement Saturday.

Coast to Coast was syndicated nationwide on about 500 stations across the United States and Canada in the 1990s before he left in 2002. He broadcast the show from Pahrump’s KNYE 95.1 FM, a station he founded.

Lorraine Rotundo Steele, who had been listening to Bell for more than 21 years, said Saturday that she was stunned by the news of her favorite radio host’s death. The 60-year-old Canadian resident started tuning in to Bell’s show after her dad died.

“Art taught me how to keep an open mind,” Steele told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “At a very dark time in my life, he kept me sane. Art’s fascination with life after death was what I needed after losing my father.”

Bell retired several times in his career, which included a short-lived show on SiriusXM satellite radio in 2013. He also co-authored a book, “The Coming Global Superstorm,” with Whitley Strieber.

Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013.

“That’s easy, because I love it,” he said at the time. “It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done. I went through a lot of family problems, so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”

Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.

For a time, he also held the Guinness world record for a solo broadcast marathon, logging in more than 115 hours of airtime while working as a DJ in Okinawa, Japan. The stunt raised funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their country, according to Coast to Coast.

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SOURCE: Rio Lacanlale
Las Vegas Review-Journal