Over the weekend, I found out that Art Bell had retired from doing his late night radio show after being on the air for about four and a half months. This time, a series of threats on his Parhump compound and to his family have done the deed.
Having worked in radio from 1989 to 1996 (and from the ages of 18 to 24), I have to tell you: sometimes you have to deal with the crazy people.
When I worked for Chuck Harder in up 1994 in White Springs (just northeast of Lake City), a guy got arrested who came to visit all the way from Oklahoma. He said he was getting messages to visit Chuck from his satellite dish. Needless to say, the local cops were called in and the guy was sent jail, but I doubt he didn’t find other objects to converse with.
Back when I worked at Sun Radio and was running board for Stan Major’s radio show in the early 90’s, a guy called up saying he drives the tour bus for Hank Williams, Jr. and wanted the address of our studios. I smelled a rat pretty quickly: why would Hank Williams Jr. want to seek us out, since his song on Monday Night Football had projected him to instant fame at the time? If we wanted him on the show, I had no doubt Stan would either get in touch of Hank’s PR people or had me do it.
Fast forward to the late 90’s when I worked for Home Shopping Network. The same guy claiming to be Hank Jr.’s driver called me, wanting the address to the vast HSN complex in St. Pete. Had to tell him I heard that scam before, and if he had somewhere else to go, why not get there?
I can totally sympathize with what Art and his family are going through, and I would never chide the man for wanting to take care of his family first. Some of his fans doing so this weekend need perspective, which I hope time gives them.
(EDIT, 12/16/15: In later Facebook posts, Art gives me the impression that once the idiot terrorizing him and his family goes away, he may return to the airwaves at some point ahead. Heather Wade has been filling in for him on the Dark Matter Radio Network, and Art hasn’t ruled out substituting for her.)