Nearly three years after he disappeared, Art Bell will return to late night radio on September 16th, where full moons and a howling audience will surely be waiting to welcome him back. Bell left the air waves on Halloween 2010, following a broadcast of his annual “Ghost to Ghost AM” ghost story call-in show, simply vanishing into the ether.
For more than a decade, Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” program was America’s most popular late night radio program. At its height, more than 500 radio stations carried “Coast,” in addition to worldwide distribution via the Internet. He was one of the five most-listened-to air personalities on radio, ruling the overnight with a quirky mix of guests who explored the far corners of science and science fiction.
One day, listeners might be sharing stories of near death experiences. The next, a professor of theoretical physics might be explaining string theory and 11 dimensions of time and space. There was nothing like it on the radio, and when he left, George Noory took over as host of “Coast to Coast AM” where he still entertains nightly from 1 AM to 6 AM Eastern Time on Premiere Radio Networks.
Bell’s new program will be titled “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” and will air Monday through Thursday nights, from 10 PM to 1 AM Eastern Time, on SiriusXM Radio’s Indie Channel 104. Replays of the three-hour program will air into the night until dawn, competing head-to-head with “Coast.”
“I missed it terribly,” said Bell, 68, of his former program. “There’s probably more interest in the genre now than when I did it,” he added, alluding to other hosts who’ve since entered the field of paranormal and conspiracy talk radio.
Being on SiriusXM Radio will provide Bell with more latitude than his former AM/FM program. Aside from the freedom to say anything with fear of repercussion from the FCC, Bell can elect to continue a phone call or conversation as he sees fit, without the confines of tightly-managed programming clocks. SiriusXM’s marquee draw, Howard Stern, does this regularly, “bending the clock” to interview guests like Jerry Seinfeld or Alec Baldwin for over an hour without pausing for commercial break.
“Dark Matter” advertisers will be able to take advantage of Bell’s connection with his audience, enlisting Bell to voice their radio commercials. He’s a top-tier talent with proven ability to launch and build a brand.
The question of just how many of SiriusXM’s 25 million subscribers would alter their sleeping habits to make time for Art Bell’s Dark Matter is made moot by SiriusXM’s plans to offer the program on demand for SiriusXM online subscribers.
“Art Bell’s Dark Matter” will originate from Bell’s home studio in Pahrump, Nevada, just an extra-terrestrial stone’s throw away from Area 51 and things that go bump in the night.