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Art Bell Will
Return to His Show

UPDATE:
Dateline 10/24/98

Art's statement Friday night:
Click here for RealAudio

Greetings to you again from the Kingdom of Nye. While all the difficulties that caused me to so unexpectedly and quickly leave the air, have NOT been resolved yet, they remain as grave as any family would ever face. The situation has improved to some degree, and I pray it'll continue to do that. I WILL NOT further exacerbate the crisis by making public what should remain private. In my position, I trust you'd do no less. Should the matter however become public despite my best efforts, I will have, believe me, a very great deal to say about it.

To again state as categorically as I'm able, this was not any kind of hoax or stunt, it was not a contract ploy nor a negotiation tactic for more money. Money has never been a goal for me in doing this program, NEVER. Not so much as one dot on an I or cross on a T has changed in my contract. This was and is a family crisis, PERIOD. My network has been nothing but helpful and supportive. And there are too many people to thank individually including all of you, thank you.

My sincere thanks to Hilly Rose for keeping the live forum going during all this, on I might add, very short notice. So I'm very happy to report, I WILL RETURN to Coast to Coast AM and Dreamland beginning Wednesday night, October 28th. 'Til then, from the high desert, goodnight.

-- Art Bell

UPDATE:
Dateline 10/21/98

On Monday night, before turning over the program to substitute host Hilly Rose, Art read a statement to his listeners. (Go here for complete text [see "Art's Second Announcement"] or here to listen to a RealAudio recording.)

Although Art did not give any more detailed information, he did restate that the reason for his leaving was because of a "terrible life-threatening event which occurred to my family about a year ago, as well as events subsequent to it." Then he added that there was "no immediate danger to my family."

Art assured his fans that his action "certainly was not a publicity stunt or contract ploy as rumored by my competitors and detractors." But then he added confusion by saying, "my network has been doing their very best to help resolve the situation." Well, if doesn't have anything to do with his contract, how can his network help resolve the situation?

Last week, Ignatius Graffeo, editor of Ufoseek claimed to know the real reason, saying: "The REAL REASON is the merger of Jacor [the company that distributes Art's show] with Clear Channel Communications. Art Bell did as any self-respecting person would do after very likely being told he would have to compromise his program format and that he would no longer have full artistic and creative control over the content and guests on his show. He QUIT! This is the issue, plain and simple."

In his statement Monday, Art said he hoped the situation -- whatever it is -- could be resolved, allowing him to "return to what I love doing so much!" Art will be back.

Dateline: 10/14/98

Popular talk radio host Art Bell surprised his fans and the broadcast industry Monday night when he announced that he was quitting his show -- in fact, ending his broadcasting career entirely. Art's show, the fourth most listened-to talk radio show in the U.S., dealt with all manner of paranormal, UFO, and conspiracy topics. He made the announcement at the end of his Monday night (early Tuesday morning) show, saying that "an event, a threatening, terrible event occurred to my family. Because of that event, and a succession of other events, what you're listening to is my final broadcast on the air."

True to the spirit of his show, Art created an air of mystery about his reasons for quitting the show, saying only, "I can't discuss it, I won't discuss it. And when you finally hear whatever it is, I think then you will understand."

RUMORS SPREAD
Naturally, Art's fans are abuzz with all kinds of theories about his abrupt departure from the airwaves. They are speculating about everything from health problems to marriage problems to -- yikes! -- government pressure. The conspiracy-minded are convinced that Art has stepped on some mighty big toes in some of his interviews... and perhaps the government wants to shut him up -- for good! Art has certainly discussed all kinds of government conspiracies on his show -- everything from the "UFO cover-up" to mind control to the suppression of free energy, but to say some government agency is behind Art's decision is, I think, ludicrous.

Because of all the speculation, on Wednesday (Oct. 14) Art posted on his website a list of the things that are not the reasons for his quitting, including:

  • Art is currently not being threatened, his family's safety is not in danger, unless you count the onslaught of media.
  • Romana [his wife] did not leave him or have an affair.
  • Art did not disconnect his phone and vacate his home. He is still home safe and sound.

The day after Art made the announcement, the local sheriff (Art lives out in the Nevada desert, west of Las Vegas) stopped by his home to make sure that Art was okay and that there was no immediate threat to him or his family. "He's not, nor is his family, in immediate danger," the sheriff told the Associated Press. "They have not been threatened."

THE REAL REASONS?
I think there was a lot of showmanship in Art's sign-off, and that the mysterious nature of the announcement was intentional. It's good show biz! Not that I think it's phony or merely a publicity stunt. Art's reasons must be quite compelling -- he's giving up a very lucrative, high-profile job -- but when Art finally does make his reasons public, which he has promised to do sometime in the future, I have a feeling most of us will find those reasons mundane.

Because of the atmosphere Art and his guests -- who often included psychics, remote viewers, and "time travelers" -- created on his show, his most ardent fans are fantasizing -- perhaps even hoping -- that Art's reasons are far more dark and dangerous. It would be far more exciting and dramatic if Art were quitting because he has taken seriously the predictions of the likes of Ed Dames and Gordon Michael Scallion and sees the end of the world as imminent. (Art, in fact, has written a best-selling book -- The Quickening -- on radical, devastating Earth changes that he says will befall the planet in the next few years). It's a lot more interesting than quitting just because he got fed up with the pressure of the job. The "threatening event" could merely be a warning from his doctor to slow down and eliminate stress. But then would he say, "I can't discuss it. I won't discuss it."? Who knows?

COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK
True to form, Richard Hoagland, who was a regular on Art's show and has written extensively on the "face on Mars" and something he calls "hyperdimensional physics," is thinking the worst. "I cannot believe this is trivial," he said. "I think it's something very serious." He went on to say that he suspected that Art faced some kind of pressure to quit because of the subjects he put on the air.

Steve Bassett, a lobbyist for UFO groups thinks it might have something to do with the mysterious deaths and illnesses of people associated with the extraterrestrial issue. "There's a lot of people who are coming down with cancer. We're concerned about it. We're tracking it," he said.

Art is an ardent fan of ham radio, so it's no surprise that one fan claims to have picked up off the shortwave Art talking about his decision to friends. According to this person, Art said the following: "...due to stress and all, I can say (there) is no (way) I will ever consider coming back to radio, ever. Don't know why they decided to come to my house to do... oh, damn... glad I caught myself. I'm sick of the crap... all for something 20 years ago, damn it. It's not me who they are... there I go again... gotta learn to stop before I let it out."

Please remember that the above in no way has been verified to be authentic. In fact, it sounds completely phony to me.

What do you think? Right now, all we have is speculation. Is it a hoax? A publicity stunt? A real threat? Or just a family matter? Feel free to post your thoughts on the Paranormal Phenomena Bulletin Board.

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