Art Bell Final Broadcast October 13

Art Bell Show Finale

Radio's Art Bell Has Mysterious Finale October 13

Radio's Bell Has Mysterious Finale
PAHRUMP, Nev. (AP) _ Radio talk host Art Bell, whose popular overnight show is an outlet for conspiracy theories and claims of the supernatural, announced today he was quitting, claiming his family was under a mysterious threat.

``What you are listening to, is my final broadcast,'' Bell told the vast listening audience of his show ``Coast to Coast,'' before signing off at about 3 a.m. PDT.

He said ``a threatening, terrible event occurred to my family, which I could not tell you about. Because of that event, and a succession of other events, what you're listening to right now, is my final broadcast.''

Bell, 51, did his broadcasts from his Pahrump, Nev., home. His telephone was disconnected today and he couldn't be reached.

Covington, Ky.-based radio giant Jacor Communications Inc. (JCOR - news), which distributes Bell's show, referred telephone inquiries to its Los Angeles syndication arm, Premiere Radio Network.

``We will be playing `best-of' shows until further notice until we find out what's going on,'' Premiere spokeswoman Mir Hendrickson said.

Jacor also distributes shows by such popular personalities as Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Last week, Cincinnati-based Clear Channel Communications (CCU - news) announced it was taking over Jacor in a $3.4 billion stock deal.

Bell's program was said to attract some 15 million viewers on more than 400 stations nationwide, making it the country's most listened-to overnight radio show. Typical topics would be people who claimed to be kidnapped by space aliens, had a theory on cattle mutilations or thought the CIA was following then.

``I'll talk about anything,'' Bell said recently. ``I allow those phones to ring and I go straight to it. As a result, I get some very, very strange phone calls.''

In November 1996, an amateur astronomer told Bell he had a photo showing a mysterious ``Saturnlike object'' trailing the Hale-Bopp comet. Astronomers later said the object was actually a star whose image was distorted by the astronomer's telescope.

Rumors continued for weeks, fostered by debate on the Internet and continued publicity on Bell's program.

Then, in March 1997, 39 people in the so-called ``Heaven's Gate'' cult committed suicide in a Southern California mansion about the time the comet was closest to Earth. They left a message saying that with the comet comes ``the spacecraft from the Level Above Human to take us home.''

Bell said he was saddened by the suicides, but never heard of the cult and carried no responsibility for them.

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