Member Commentary

Bell's Audience Should Select His Successor

Robin Falkov ( writes:

It was with great sadness that Richard (Hoagland) and I awaited Art's announcement, after they did the first hour of the Show together.

We feel enormous regret that Art has been under such an insidious attack for the past few years, necessitating that he apparently, permanently now retire from his Show in order "to regain his peace of mind and protect his family and himself from further suffering."

Of course we know that no one can replace Art. What we all hope for is someone, or hopefully several hosts, who will maintain this fabulous forum so it continues to be the beacon of light that guides so many listeners through the night, and the incredibly complex times in which we are now living.

Listening as Art spoke, I remembered what he did for Richard with the loving help of all you wonderful people, barely more than a year ago. Obviously, I am speaking of Richard's heart attack. The outpouring of love, in your focused prayer and the literally thousands of cards and letters, provided strength and support for the full and complete recovery Richard has made. You all helped to make it possible, and we will always feel blessed by the Seventh Great Experiment that Art initiated. This was in spite of his earlier misgivings, which he overcame that night in order to help Richard in this extremely precarious time!

It then became obvious: the only way -- the fairest way! -- to decide upon which hosts will follow Art, who will attempt to fill the seven nights of "live" Coast to Coast that Art laid out last night, would be for all of you wonderful people to have the opportunity to vote and recommend your own choices!

This could take place here, and at several other websites simultaneously, just to keep things "on the up and up." The tally could be visible for all the listeners (if not Premiere Radio!) to follow.

Remember, there are only TWO weeks left for all of you to stand up and be counted. This "People's Choice" should be welcomed by Premier Radio. After all, as Richard Lina stated in an earlier post, it is all of you that buy the products that ultimately sponsor the entire Show.

Now, I'd like to share a bit of information that is not public knowledge, which up until Art's sad announcement, we could not share: Richard himself was contacted to be a guest host for his friend, Art, about two weeks ago.

The local Premier affiliate had been contacted and studio arrangements made for Saturday, March 18. Conference calls between Premier executives and Richard had taken place, covering all the possible contingencies; everything from breaks to bumper music, even how the audience calls would be answered from Medford, Oregon and forwarded to Albuquerque.

Based on these conversations, Richard had invited 3 important guests, one of whom, as a current government employee, only agreed to be interviewed anonymously. This was all okayed by Premier Networks. Then, less than an hour later, Premier suddenly called back. It was all cancelled, another guest host suddenly switched into his "slot." And now, two weeks later, still no explanation given for this extraordinarly unprofessional behavior on the part of Premier.

It is for this reason, unknown to Art's audience, that we strongly feel something "is not right" with this whole process. And the most important players of all -- you, the audience -- have not even been consulted!

You, Art's audience, have collectively been responsible for a striking series of "public victories" over the past few years: from demanding of NASA and receiving new pictures of Cydonia, to literally "saving the Miami Circle," to obviously spurring Senator John McCain's recent "interest in the Congressional oversight of NASA," your input has definitely been felt on several major issues.

So how come, in a world of polls and focus groups, for the most important decision affecting the entire Art Bell audience, you -- that Audience -- haven't even been consulted by Premier?! What's wrong with this picture?! And what can make it right?

Obviously, a little fundamental democratic input from this audience!

Remember the power you have all wielded so successfully. Never forget the accomplishments your collective strength and perseverance have made a reality.

What Art has created is a unique phenomenon in radio history: an involved audience, participating from the "fringe," and yet affecting REAL WORLD CHOICES. That precedent MUST be carried through on this decision ... which will affect the very continued existence of the Show he loved.


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