Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Art Bell, Again

Yes. Again. Seriously. I don't believe it, but then again, yeah, I do. Because he's done it before.

This past week legendary radio host Art Bell quit his radio show. Again. The current incarnation, "Dark Matter," broadcast on satellite radio by Sirius XM, is over. Bell cited technical concerns, as well as a small audience. In other words, it was hard.

And it's not like he hasn't done it before either. He's quit before, or left under mysterious, sometimes highly suspect, circumstances, with little advance warning, or concern for his audience - no matter how big or small. As a matter of fact, he may well be more remembered for his vanishing acts than his radio act when history is done with him. He quits so often, it's almost an industry joke.

The way he has left, and the reasons he's given, all indicate one thing. Art Bell was doing this show for himself - not his audience, his fans, his loyal listeners. This was about him, not us. We would have listened without guests, without callers, and without a clear signal. Surely I'm not the only one who listened years ago with crappy reception from an AM station two cities ago, am I? It was hard for him. Again. So he quit.

Yeah, I'm angry, but that doesn't dispel the man's talent as a broadcaster, talk radio host, and interviewer. I would rather listen to bad Art Bell reruns than the best George Noory interview on Coast to Coast AM. At least Art would study up on his guest, ask intelligent questions, and not nap during the interview.

But now, not only is Art gone, but Coast to Coast AM has left Sirius XM as well. I am forced to rethink my satellite radio subscription once again. I love Opie & Anthony and Radio Classics, EW Radio, and I'm digging the sadly temporary David Bowie station, but really the only time I have dependably to listen is late at night, the former realm of Art and Coast.

Art has left me high and dry once again. I should have seen it coming. I hope Sirius XM saw it coming, and wrote that contract appropriately. I hope the quitter pays. Thanks, Art, for six weeks at least.


  1. From what I read, the "technical concerns" were mass piracy. People were streaming the content all over the place. And this is the main problem with Sirius's overall business model. Not only does Sirius need to compete with podcasts, bluetooth smartphone apps, and the coming generation of embedded apps in the car, but any content can be hacked and streamed over the web. This is going to be the big challenge for Sirius and for radio shows on Sirius going forward.

  2. This is an excellent blog. You nailed it. He has done this again and again.I actually sent him an email telling him what i thought of him. Guess what? He responded. I'll give you my exact opening line when I contacted him. I said " Excuse me, Is it Art Bell? Or Art "the quitter" Bell? Art Bell is a flake with money and no credibility. He has pimped his loyal audience again. Your review of his latest exit is superb Very well written