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Grey Matter


Art Bell -- The comeback kid?

Last week I came across this article: Is Art Bell Hinting at a Come-back?

When Art Bell, long time host of the "Coast to Coast" radio show which attracts up to ten million listeners a night, announced his retirement on his July 1, 2007 show, he knew that his listeners had heard this before. So he emphasized, "This time it's for real though. It's for real."

But now, six months later, Bell's retirement is not sounding so permanent.

On the night of Jan 4, 2008, Bell was sitting in for George Noory who was on holidays. Nothing odd about that, as Bell had said when announcing his retirement that he would occasionally fill in or do a special. What was odd was Bell's response when a caller popped the question: 'When are you coming back?' Bell explained that he had done the show for years and was spending time with his family. "I'm in a break here," he said.

A break? That doesn't sound like permanent retirement.

The caller told Bell that he didn't think the hosts who had replaced him were taking the show in the direction he had intended. "If they're taking it in a direction that listeners don't want," Bell responded, "they won't be here because the ratings will fall." He added calmly, "Time will tell."

Firstly, I disagree that Art was hinting at any type of come-back on c2c. Was he leaving the door open? Maybe. Though as I remember his answer, there seems to be some stuff left out. He recounted how old he is and how long he had been doing radio and made it pretty clear that he no longer wanted it as a full time job, which is what hosting c2c 5 nights a week is.

Maybe he left the door open slightly in the event that his wife left him or something happened that gave him time that he needed to fill. That said, I don't believe Art really wants to ever do 5 shows a week again and who can blame him? What does he really have to gain by it? Nothing. It is doubtful he needs money, he doesn't especially like fame and he is probably somewhat tired of the esoteric monster he has created.

The rest of Art's statement that night is what I found interesting. At no time does he stick up for Noory or say that he believes the show is good. He instead says the listeners will decide and time will tell. Now, to me, that is almost like saying "yeah, the show sucks, but people still listen and it will be on until they tire of it."

One of the things I have noticed over the years that Noory has been hosting C2C is that Art doesn't listen. Art is a night owl, and always will be, but he doesn't seem to listen to the show that he created. It is so obvious too because people call in about things that are constant topics on the show and he has never heard about them. He didn't even know about the drone photos (that were all the rage in Ufology during the Summer) until he had Whitley Streiber on for an interview. That was one of many times since he quit being full time host that he seemed completely unaware of the big paranormal stories. I guess, at least from what I am observing, he doesn't keep up on ufo/paranormal matters at all. That is another of those things that points to him having no interest in being at the helm of c2c again.

Let's face it, anyone can sign up for google alerts, or yahoo news on the subject of ufos, aliens or whatever and have those stories delivered to your email daily. Art apparently doesn't even care enough to do that.

So back to my original point, I don't think Art has a come-back in mind. I honestly don't believe he is even very interested in the subjects he used to cover on c2c. That is probably why he has mostly the same guests that he has interviewed many times before.

There is nothing wrong with that. I still, depending on the guest, very much enjoy Art's shows, but I am not sure I would want him hosting 5 nights a week unless he suddenly becomes more serious about the subjects. Sure Noory asks silly questions, but at least most of the time he has some vague knowledge of the latest news.

Now that Rollye James has quit we really need a new host who is willing to put the time and effort into it. I nominate Tim Binnall. He reads his guest's books and does research on them. He knows more about Ufology and Conspiracy than Noory, Bell and Punnett put together. Hear me now Clear Channel, hire Tim Binnall while you have the chance or be forever sorry! You have been warned.

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