Showing an early interest in radio, Art Bell became a licensed amateur radio operator at the age of 13. By the late 1990s he was reaching 15 million listeners a night as host of Coast-to-Coast AM.
Bell operated a pirate radio station while serving as a medic in the Air Force during Vietnam, often playing music deemed inappropriate by the Armed Forces Radio Network. He stayed in Asia after his military service and worked as a disc jockey for KSBK, an English-language station in Okinawa, Japan.
Upon his return to the U.S., Bell studied engineering and returned to radio as a board operator. Then in 1989 he was offered a five-hour time slot on the air in the middle of the night by KDWN/Las Vegas and Coast-to-Coast AM was born.
The overnight show originally had a call-in format and covered politics, but Bell quickly switched its focus toward hot button issues such as conspiracy theories and gun laws. The show changed again in the mid 1990s, this time embracing off-beat topics such as the occult, UFOs and all things paranormal.
Syndication of the program began in 1993 and reached 500 stations at its peak. Starting in 2003, Bell hosted only the weekend shows until he retired in July 2007.
Art Bell was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.
He died on April 13, 2018.