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April 16, 2018

ART BELL, AN A.M. RADIO ORIGINAL, RIP. At the American Spectator, Daniel J. Flynn writes:

Broadcasting in the wake of Waco and the Oklahoma City Bombing and contemporaneously with The X-Files, conspiracy theories found a massive audience. But even more than broadcasting in that time in history, broadcasting during a specific time of night — which witnesses our imaginations turn on when the lights turn off — catalyzed his popularity. It helped that evangelists and paid programming provided the competition. But the presentation and content of the show, rather than its weak-sauce rivals, attracted listeners in the darkness when all seemed possible.

Over the weekend, James Lileks tweeted, “Coast to Coast came on after my show finished on KSTP. Some nights I’d hang around the station, talk w/ my producer, listen to Art,” adding, “Thing is, we look back at Art Bell — chupacabras, FEMA conspiracies, Mars ruins coverups, solar kill shots, THE QUICKENING — and think “Good times.” But it was pure Y2K anxiety.”

Conspiracy theories aren’t my cup of flavored dihydrogen monoxide, but as Flynn writes, the Nevada desert-based Bell had a huge following. RIP.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)