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Your Paracast Newsletter — April 15, 2018

Merchandise that’s just out of this world!

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
April 15, 2018

Paracast Guests Take a New Look at the Socorro, NM Sighting and Other UFO Events

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This Week's Episode: Gene and special guest cohost Don Ecker introduce UFO researchers Ben Moss and Tony Angiola, from MUFON Virginia. The two focus on their four-year study of the 1964 Socorro, NM case and their friendship with UFO researcher and amateur paleontologist Ray Stanford. Both Moss and Angiola have been guests on the History Channel’s “Hangar 1” reality show, loosely based on MUFON’s research. While this episode will focus heavily on hardcore research of UFOs and the possibility that they are extraterrestrial, they will admit that, so far, very little progress has been made towards solving the mystery.

Chris O’Brien’s Blog: Our Strange Planet

Dark Matters Radio: Don Ecker's Dark Matters Radio

MUFON Virginia: mufonva

After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on April 15: Gene and guest cohost Don Ecker devote most of the episode to the unexpected passing of pioneer paranormal broadcast Art Bell of unspecified causes perhaps fittingly on April 13, 2018. Don traces Bell’s start switching from a political talk show host to the world of the unknown. Our dynamic duo covers Bell’s show business leanings as he brought on eccentric characters to populate his overnight radio show, Coast to Coast AM, and about his final years, where he retired several times before giving up the airwaves for good.

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About the Pioneers of Paranormal Radio
By Gene Steinberg

It may have been fitting that life ended for a famous, and some say notorious, paranormal radio talk show host on April 13th, 2018. To many of you, Art Bell represented a source of overnight entertainment, a way to cope with insomnia, or just to pass the time.

While I listened to Bell during his heyday, I turned to radio as a lifelong profession years earlier while barely a teenager.

When I couldn’t get to sleep, I’d listen to Long John Nebel over WOR radio in New York City. He had a fascinating life long before he hit the airwaves. His own biography, “The Way Out World,” tells the story of how he ran Long John’s Auctions and attracted a following of people who just wanted to hear him talk for hours on end.

Once this unlikely personality was hired to host an overnight talk show, it wan’t long before he had an almost nationwide following — on a single station in fact. You see, WOR is one of those “clear channel” AM radio stations, powered by 50,000 watts over 710 on the dial. It’s one of those stations that can be heard in many parts of the country after the sun goes down. While Long John was eventually syndicated, this skipping phenomenon brought his unique brand of chatter to many nooks and crannies of the United States and parts of Canada.

To Long John, the paranormal was by and large a matter of entertainment and ratings. He often said he didn’t “buy” any of it, but he was happy to host just about every notable in the UFO field over the years. I remember once spending the night at a friend’s house, as we eagerly listened to Major Donald E. Keyhoe on the show. In those days, they didn’t take many phone calls from listeners, but you could send a telegram with your question.

So we did, costing my friend’s mom over $20. The priced it by the word in those days. If you had something to say, better to count your change first. How things have changed in the era of Facebook and Twitter.

I suppose Twitter is in some ways roughly descended from telegrams in the way messages are formatted. But nobody censors your tweets except in very extreme cases.

When Long John began to take listener phone calls, WOR’s engineer invented a way to protect the station from people saying unexpected and sometimes vulgar things on the air with a seven second day. Those seven seconds were critical to censor the offensive words and dump the caller. Later, we used cartridge machines on talk shows to protect ourselves from the FCC’s wrath. Today it’s done digitally. Even though The Paracast and The Tech Night Owl LIVE keep the friendly language, our network still uses a delay for all its shows, only it’s done digitally.

Long John died in 1978 of prostate cancer.

His wife, former model Candy Jones, kept the show going for a number of years, but I no longer listened. For me, paranormal radio was dead until the early 1990s, when I stumbled upon Long John’s true successor, Art Bell.

He wasn’t Long John, but I suppose he represented a convenient substitute for baby boomers and for new generations of people who had reason to listen to talk radio at night.

Indeed, I was writing a book on consumer technology, when I got into the habit of keeping on the radio in the background. One night, I was tuning the dial when I caught a familiar voice, someone I’d known from the UFO field. I forget who.

I was no longer much of a night person by then, so I didn’t listen to Bell regularly, though I didn’t fail to catch his cast of characters that included alleged remote viewer Ed Dames, Richard Hoagland, the controversial promoter of the face on Mars and other space mysteries, UFO disclosure advocate Dr. Steven M. Greer, purported cattle mutilation expert Linda Moulton Howe and, on one occasion, someone claiming to be the late rocker Jim Morrison of The Doors.

Now our own Christopher O’Brien has a few things to say about Howe promoting alleged mysteries that have conventional explanations. But what about “Morrison”?

Well, the guy had a voice that might, in manner of speaking, sound roughly similar to what you’d expect of Morrison’s voice had he lived another 30 years or so. But typical of the eccentrics who often turned up on Coast to Coast, there was never any evidence that this fellow was the genuine article. The possibility that the classic rocker’s death might have been faked was as realistic as the alleged death of Paul McCartney. In other words, even slim to none would be overly optimistic.

Now I never got caught up in Bell’s reports of various and sundry personal crises. It passes as a blur to me as I recall his decision to first retire from his show, and later to return full-time and, later, part-time. On a recent occasion, he had a short-lived stint over at Sirius XM radio, where he called his show “Dark Matter.”

This seemed doubly curious because he knew full well that Don Ecker had hosted a “Dark Matters” show for years. In fact, Don had appeared on Coast to Coast from time to time, so how could Bell not know?

Some time after Bell’s new show debuted for its brief run, I got a call from his webmaster who said that Bell was establishing an online radio network, and asked whether I would like to move The Paracast there.

This presented me with a dilemma. I was certainly willing to consider the possibility that such a change might expand our audience, and perhaps opportunities for some sorely needed advertising revenue, but there was that name, which would also be used by the fledgling network.

I told the caller of my concerns, that accepting the offer would, in effect, betray my friend. So I asked if he knew about Don and his show. He claimed not to, but promised he’d talk to Bell about it.

That’s the last time I heard from him.

Bell’s new show attempted to duplicate the old one, as he brought back some of the same guests. But it expired after a few weeks due to some sort of contract dispute with the satellite network. Later on, he announced plans to bring back his show in yet another form, but he eventually retired for good.

My sympathies go out to his family. Without doubt, Bell was the true descendant to Long John, as he reintroduced the excitement of paranormal radio to millions of insomniacs. Those of us who continue to labor in this field owe debts of gratitude to these two. For better or worse, they will be missed.

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Great newsletter Gene.
Do you have many recordings of the late 'Long John Nebel' radio shows?
Art Bell RIP .

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
None actually. But our staff announcer and my good friend Bob Zanotti does. I'll bring him on again soon and we'll talk about it.