Showing an early interest in radio, Art Bell became a licensed
amateur radio operator at the age of 13. By the late 1990s he was
reaching 15 million listeners a night as host of Coast-to-Coast
Bell operated a pirate radio station while serving as a medic in
the Air Force during Vietnam, often playing music deemed inappropriate
by the Armed Forces Radio Network. He stayed in Asia after his military
service and worked as a disc jockey for KSBK, an English-language
station in Okinawa, Japan.
Upon his return to the U.S., Bell studied engineering and returned
to radio as a board operator. Then in 1989 he was offered a five-hour
time slot on the air in the middle of the night by KDWN/Las Vegas
and Coast-to-Coast AM was born.
The overnight show originally had a call-in format and covered
politics, but Bell quickly switched its focus toward hot button
issues such as conspiracy theories and gun laws. The show changed
again in the mid 1990s, this time embracing off-beat topics such
as the occult, UFOs and all things paranormal.
Syndication of the program began in 1993 and reached 500 stations
at its peak. Starting in 2003, Bell hosted only the weekend shows
until he retired in July 2007.
Art Bell was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.
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