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Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell

Art Bell’s Return Will Be on Terrestrial Radio, too

Last month I told you about nocturnal radio king Art Bell’s scheduled return to broadcasting. At first it looked like his show, Midnight in the Desert, would be internet-only, save a single shortwave broadcast.

But now 17 AM and FM stations have signed on as affiliates. Another shortwave station, the infamous WBCQ, will also broadcast him to the world.

In an interview with USA Today, Bell said that the terrestrial broadcasters have to agree to carry only six minutes of commercials an hour, way below the typical talk radio load of 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Why? “Because I want more content and more content,” he said.

There are other restrictions for affiliates that have more to do with logistics and controlling costs. For instance, terrestrial stations may not run the show on their own internet streams, principally because of the additional licensing cost for Art’s famous bumper music selections. And the stations’ ads can only be inserted during two fixed breaks–the rest of the show’s schedule will not adhere to a strict clock.

Now, 17 is a fraction of the stations that carry his old show, Coast to Coast. But it sure isn’t bad for a bootstrapped operation that wasn’t designed to be on terrestrial broadcast in the first place. I won’t be surprised to see that affiliate list grow if Midnight in the Desert manages to keep rolling beyond a few months.

Although Art Bell doesn’t come from grassroots radio, he is still a fringe personality by mainstream radio standards. It’s nice to see him launch an independent internet project and still have the ability to make it onto broadcast, pretty much without marketing it for that purpose.

Midnight in the Desert hits the tubes and the airwaves July 20.


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8 Responses to Art Bell’s Return Will Be on Terrestrial Radio, too

  1. Skip stiveson June 19, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    It will be good to have Artl back on the air. I hope for a longer run than with SAT radio. Best of luck!

  2. Stephen Michael Kellat June 19, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    WBCQ is infamous? They’re a good station to work with and great management to partner with.

  3. Al June 21, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Be glad, I hope I can find out where to listen to it, and when.

  4. erik June 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Yes! Art is a true “radioman”, an excellent interviewer; with great guests and the ability to elevate our consciousness. I will listen. Thank you for reporting on this.

  5. Mccabe June 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    Awesome, I don’t Like George Noory, boring guests and too many New Age Topics, he’s a shrill and talks out of both sides of his mouth, and, dyes his hair, just Cheesy! Welcome Back Art Yeah Man!!

  6. jonthebru June 24, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    You said Art Bell wasn’t from “grassroots radio”! My, how wrong you are. This guy started with one station, along the way went from a show about political crap to the paranormal stuff he is known for. He also built his own studio out in a small town, had his own satellite uplink and did it well for many years. Oh yeah, he had a pirate station just off a military base in the SW if I remember correctly, that’s about as grassroots as you can get.

  7. Tha Dood June 25, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Looks like Art may get some Part #15 station help as well. Several AM Carrier-Current and 100 milliwatt radiating stations have said that they will carry Art Bell. In fact a couple of station ops have had that plan since last year. So, be looking for Art on micro AM stations, hopefully near you.

  8. Andrew henery July 17, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Get those area 51 lines open art.

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