Radio Gaga: I Drove All Night to Get Away From Art Bell
A reader requested post!
If you’re smart or privileged or both, most likely you’ll have satellite radio for your overnight drives, but if you’re like me after about four hours on a twelve hour run, you will tire of your entire music collection and need something besides gas station coffee and fresh air via an open window to keep your mind sharp and your eyes open. That I-81 corridor between Binghamton and the I-64 ain’t no freaking joke. Neither is I-85 between Durham and Charlotte or I-95 from Ashland, VA to Rocky Point, NC! Trust me, I’ve done the legwork. Late night radio programming to keep you from swerving into a guardrail or oncoming traffic.
- Man, I have been listening to this guy kvetch up the overnight broadcasting hours for nearly eleven years. I have never understood the premise of the show – Joey tells everyone how he’s more famous and more talented than other folks you’ve actually heard of, backed by a loyal stable of other curmudgeon like the late Les Paul and a woman named Myra whose claim to fame is pronouncing everything she eats as being too spicy. I do think he did broke such rising stars as Michael Buble – “that Frank Sinatra knock off is going places!” – and maybe one of those self help style gurus. He also seemed to believe for a decade that savory cheesecake is the new cupcake. Myra backs him up on this.
- The premiere show of the tinfoil hat black helicopter “Three Days of the Hunter” crowd! And to hell with anyone who believes their brand of paranoia is different from someone else’s! Art Bell sees no such distinction. Crop circle enthusiasts share airwaves with conspiracy theorists who share the airwaves with abductees who share airwaves with psychic surgeons who share airwaves with various miscellaneous prognosticators of doom. For LIKE FIVE HOURS A NIGHT. In my many years of listening to the show I’ve witnessed Art Bell retire and come out of retirement several times, Whitley Strieber clarify “facts” in his best seller Communion, which became a 1989 cheesy Christopher Walken vehicle of the same name and George Noory declare that some quasi-scientist from South America predicted the economic crisis with a set of serving forks and a bottle of Popov’s. Good stuff.
- This was my show! Everything about it appealed me as a viewer – audience participation, marginally applicable show content and most definitely dodgy legal advice. The early incarnation boasted:
- no guests, no topics, no screeners
- a nightly Mr. KFI/KABC oath (which I took on the air and am able to deputize folks of the IFMiB community.)
- a monthly children’s night where kids could call in and ask questions (about anything) and he would answer them. My niece was forced to contact him to ask questions.
It goes without saying I was a frequent caller to his show!
- By far the most hilarious of the bunch. Hendrie and I go waaay back. He replaced Mr. KFI when he moved to KABC, and at first I found his show really “problematic”. Who was this Margaret woman – a frequent guest – and why was she suing the PTA for not reimbursing her for the hot tub she’d installed at her Costa Mesa residence? Like Margaret, Hendries fatuous guests included a Relationship specialist from “a very good college in West Lima, Peru” who believed the way to a satisfying relationship was training your female partners like dogs with a few key Spanish phrases. The best part of the show – as you might imagine – is the earnest callers arguing with Hendrie (who does all the voices/characters) and the hilarity that ensues.