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Name: Clear Channel
Occupation: radio giant
Last Seen: San Antonio, TX
Bee-otched For: ringing Art's Bell
Things are starting to go Pahrump again in the night.
Yes, I said "Pahrump", not "bump".
Pahrump is the town in Nevada that's the home of Art Bell, the popular late night talk radio host. On Monday, he began broadcasting on his new broadcast home, SiriusXM after years of hosting Coast to Coast AM either full or part-time on terrestrial radio. The show airs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. so it is not competing directly with the show he created, now hosted by George Noory.
Like C2C, Bell's new show, Dark Matter deals with the extraterrestrial and paranormal. There's few changes between Bell's terrestrial and (what he calls) extraterrestrial shows; even though he's now on censorship-free satellite radio, Bell requests that callers do not use profane language since he says that the subject matter is geared towards those aged "12 to 80 and older" and wants a lot of the same audience he had back in the day. He has a lot of the same guests and even sponsors, such as gadget manufacturer C. Crane and Co.
But now that he's on a new home, on Monday night, Bell decided to get something off of his chest that he's had for years: why he had been notorious for having more retirements and comebacks than Elvis or Cher. It was all in two words: Clear Channel. Bell used to own his show under the name CBC Radio Network (obviously not the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), but sold it to Clear Channel and their Premiere Radio Networks division around 15 years ago. However, in 1998, Bell abruptly quit his show stating that he had a severe family emergency. The news shocked his 15 million listeners. However, he managed to come back a short time later, but allegations were made about him by a Christian talk radio host on the shortwave band out of Nashville, TN that he molested children.
When Bell talked about the lawsuit to Clear Channel execs, he felt that he needed their help since their reputation was on the line. Surprise! They didn't budge, which led Bell's second "retirement". He simply did not like the fact that his own employer and owner of his show felt that they didn't need to help him this time around. So, Bell fought the Defendant alone and won.
Bell eventually told his listeners the reason for his first retirement was because his then-16-year-old son, Art IV, aka "Scooter" was kidnapped and raped by his schoolteacher, who was HIV positive. Thankfully, Bell has said that his son does not have the virus. However, the teacher was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in jail.
So, what brought Art back the third time? Simple: bad ratings. C2C's ratings tumbled after Bell's departure and fans and affiliates weren't liking the host, Mike Seigel. So, Clear Channel came to Bell's house and practically told him three words: NAME YOUR PRICE. Bell simply told the two execs to take four minutes of ads per hour and he's back. Of course, Bell resigned from the show many times since due to severe back pain to the sudden passing of his wife Ramona, but a lot of it was sadly due to the way he was treated by CC when he needed them.
The amazing thing is that Bell had the second-largest amount of affiliates in talk radio next to Rush and all CC could do is say "sucks to be you" when he was going through his crisis. When Rush was dealing with his Oxy problems, CC wiped his ass thoroughly. But when it came to Scooter Bell's rape and kidnapping, CC sat back while Nero played the fiddle.
But in all, I'm happy that Bell crossed on over to "the other side" and has kissed terrestrial radio goodbye, probably forever. I've never been a fan of George Noory's and from what I've heard, C2C has cut way back on the alien talk and is more into political and money talk these days. Very sad indeed.
Sadly, I announced last week that I'm canceling my Sirius subscription this weekend because of my financial situation after nine years. But I'm still a fan of Sirius and I'm happy that Art's back on the air doing the thing he does best, which is exposing what's out there. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and the end of a terrible one. Clear Channel just didn't know what left them.
But what do you expect from a company $20 billion in debt?
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