Wow – we lost a few bright sparks over the past two days. Along with R. Lee Ermey, We said good-bye to Art Bell this weekend. Ermey, of course, is near and dear to everyone’s heart but I was more affected by the loss of Art Bell. Bell, of course, was the mad genius behind the Coast to Coast AM radio show.
Because of his interest in conspiracy theories and the paranormal, Coast to Coast was destined to be outliers of radio and pop culture. Rather than running from this reality, Bell embraced it, and this gave him a certain level of freedom when it came content and programming. It worked for him too – 2.75M people still tune in every week to hear whatever junk science or Hollow Earth theory is currently popular.
Out of this carnival, Bell’s show occasionally took us on journeys that make surreal podcasts like Night Vale green with envy. Take the following clip, for example …
Bell understood that radio was ‘theater of the mind,’ and used that to his advantage. Sometimes the best storytelling doesn’t sound like a story at all.
We’ll miss you, you crazy nut. I hope they have a mic and a transmitter, wherever you happen to show up next.