“From the high desert and the great American southwest, I bid you all good evening, and/or good morning,” Bell’s voice would often be heard as he began the show every night, broadcasting from his home in Nye County, Nevada. During the height of Bell’s tenure as host of Coast to Coast AM, the program was carried by more than 500 stations nationwide.
“It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done.” Bell said of his profession in August 2013, coinciding with a brief return to broadcast after a hiatus of several years. “I went through a lot of family problems,” Bell told the Pahrump Valley Times, “so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”
Bell was a recipient of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame award in 2006, and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008. However, famous for his reclusive behavior, the radio legend made it standard practice not to appear in person to accept such accolades. Bell also reportedly held a Guinness World Record for the longest solo broadcast, a feat he achieved in Okinawa, Japan, Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
Bell began his format while still based out of Las Vegas, initially presenting a more traditional politics-based program format. With time, the popular inclusion of guests like Linda Moulton Howe and Whitley Strieber lead to a shift toward the unexplained, which became the hallmark of the Coast to Coast AM format.
Among Bell’s frequent subjects were popular conspiracy theories that included time travel allegations–urban legends about John Titor were a favorite among these in the 1990s heyday–to reports of nighttime encounters with “shadow people.” Bell would also feature wild yarns that came completely out of left field on occasion. One popular series of shows featured a man called Mel Waters, who claimed to have found a hole on his property which had no discernible bottom. Throughout frequent return visits on Bell’s program, Waters expanded the narrative with the inclusion of alleged Native American legends about the spiritual significance of the mysterious pit, and stories about weird creatures from within.
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