Nearly 20 years ago, Art Bell created the wildly popular radio program Coast to Coast AM, a wee-hour forum for weird science.
Jump ahead to 2010, and longtime fans of the show can probably count the number of time Art Bell hosted episodes last year. The number is 10, which was 5 short of his publicly-announced, contractually-specified quota of 15 shows per year. In fact, his last hosting gig was his annual Ghost To Ghost show on Halloween night. 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 Art 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.
On December 21, 2010, the “HamCam” on Art’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.” Fans on Art-centric comment boards have identified “30” as “a sign-off when a Ham has their final transmission from a particular location.” Other interpretations are similar: “The End”, “Good Night”, “No More”.
But was that really the end?
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 Art 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 on Art Bell, stated that Art Bell is no longer responding to his email. There was no further explanation beyond that point on why Art Bell did not respond to Mr. Noory’s email, although it only leads us fans to speculate further.